I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I have a number of credible DVDs but also a healthy helping of more embarrassing ones and, it being a quiet Saturday, I have found myself drawn towards the lighter side of my collection as I continue to purge my DVD shelves.
I’m about 15 minutes from the end of Something’s Gotta Give and I’ve been pondering why I like this movie so much – there is very little in the lives of the characters that I can identify with but it gives me that warm, goofy smile feeling. It’s a perfect soufflé; from the French soundtrack, to the amazing seaside location (in the other Hamptons) and a sprinkling of little quips and quirks that are just witty enough to make it OK to admit owning.
Nancy Meyers (the writer/director) and Norah Ephron movies for me have a lot in common and I think a lot of what really resonates for me in their work is beyond the fluff – sure the boy and girl getting together at the end is nice (if a little ick) – it’s the fact that the heroines only get the guy because they have proven they were witty and independent enough not to need him and they are still flawed and neurotic. Sure, you could see this as making the heroine ‘low maintenance’ and needy enough to be rescued by her white knight but in reality I think it makes it OK for the single women who watch these movies to like the women, who in another type of movie could be just plain insufferable.
Plus Meyers and Ephron do have an amazing skill at dialogue and witty asides. In the film I’m watching my favourite, for obvious reasons, comes from the sister (whose role seems to be limited to bringing back Keanu Reeves at a key moment and making enough snarky comments to avoid a saccharine overload) and is directed towards the Jack Nicholson character:
“This is really fascinating, what’s going on at this table. Let’s take you and Erica. You’ve been around the block a few times. What are you, around 60? 63. Fantastic! Never married, which as we know, if you were a woman, would be a curse. You’d be an old maid, a spinster. Blah, blah, blah. So instead of pitying you, they write an article about you. Celebrate your never marrying. You’re elusive and ungetable, a real catch. Then, there’s my gorgeous sister here. Look at her. She is so accomplished. Most successful female playwright since who? Lillian Hellmann? She’s over 50, divorced, and she sits in night after night after night because available guys her age want something-forgive me, they want somebody that looks like Marin. The over-50 dating scene is geared towards men leaving older women out. And as a result, the women become more and more productive and therefore, more and more interesting. Which, in turn, makes them even less desirable because as we all know, men- especially older men- are threatened and afraid of productive, interesting women. It is just so clear! Single older women as a demographic are about as fucked a group as can ever exist.”
Sure, the message isn’t that optimistic but, like the Starbucks quote in You’ve Got Mail (my personal Ephron favourite), there is a perfect balance of humour and truth.