Monday, November 21, 2011

Chick Flick Bust

I spent this morning helping get the church set up for Advent. My main job was polishing the Advent wreath candelabra and then refilling the candles with oil (instead of using wax candles, we have these things that look like candles but that are actually oil lamps). And then I helped decorate the Christmas tree. It was fun, but I think I may have inadvertently landed myself in the altar guild. I suppose that wouldn't be so bad. It's a rotating thing and not that much work.

My planned weekend of chick flicks kind of fizzled out, mostly because the first couple of movies I chose to watch turned me off chick flicks entirely for a while and I had to switch to documentaries and crime dramas to clear my palate.

First, there was Love and Other Drugs, which was essentially a Lifetime Disease of the Week movie, only with lots more nudity. Lots and lots of nudity and fairly graphic sex. This is not a movie to watch with your parents or with anyone of the opposite sex with whom you don't have a really good comfort zone. Definitely not a first-date movie. A pharmaceutical salesman meets a woman with early-onset Parkinson's disease and has some grand idea that since she must go to a lot of doctors, she could probably provide him good introductions to doctors he could sell to. Somehow that turns into one of those "this is just sex, it doesn't mean anything" non-relationships, but then of course they start falling in love, but then there's her illness, and along the way a new drug that I'm not going to name because it will attract tons of spam comments gets introduced. I'm not sure if this movie wants to be some grand statement on the health care and pharmaceutical industries, some exploration of love and disease, a raunchy guy version of a romantic comedy, or what, but it didn't work for me. I guess I'm just old-fashioned, but I like the idea of the sex coming after you fall in love, not before, and if the characters talk so much about how they don't really care for each other, why am I supposed to care about them or their relationship?

Then there was Going the Distance, which was just lame without trying to be profound and with less nudity, though with enough sex to make it another bad movie to watch with your parents/on a first date. This one's about a couple who meets in New York, has a one-night stand (sigh, I get that the whole no sex before marriage thing has totally gone by the cultural wayside, but does it always have to come before love now?), then decides they want to see each other again -- except she's only there for a summer internship during grad school and she'll be returning to Stanford in the fall, so it's supposed to be just for fun, no deep feelings. Of course, they do develop feelings, so they decide to try to maintain a long-distance relationship. They both work in fields where jobs are hard to find, and she doesn't want to sacrifice her career for a relationship because she's done that once before and that's why she's so far behind in life. So, there's lots of waffling and whining and sulking. I will give this one credit, though, for not having the Romantic Comedy Dash. No one makes the desperate, last-second sprint to reach the other person before it's too late. There's not even a publicly humiliating declaration of feelings.

However, both do show the "falling in love" process via montage to a pop song and both rely on the current gross-out trend of the guy having friends or family members who are the overgrown man-child type who talk way too much about bodily functions and who eavesdrop on the relationship.

After that, I resorted to watching the British series Whitechapel OnDemand. It's about a squad of detectives in the Whitechapel station who find themselves dealing with a copycat serial killer who's reproducing all the Jack the Ripper killings. That part was interesting, but what I really loved was the team. The detectives are a bunch of slobs who may even be a bit lazy, and then they get assigned a new boss who's relatively new and inexperienced but very politically connected and on a fast track to bigger and better things. He's supposedly just in this job long enough to gain that little bit of credibility before moving on in the hierarchy, and the team has zero respect for him at first. But as they investigate the case, they all start gradually changing. He learns a lot and learns to respect them, and they start smartening up their act as they grow to respect him. It was really fun (if a bit gory). I was mostly watching for the team stuff and read while they went through all the Ripper parts, which were a bit much for me.

I had some romantic comedies on DVD, but after those first two, I was afraid to try anything else new, and I wasn't in the mood for anything I had that was a known quantity. Next weekend starts all the Christmas programming, which means Lifetime starts the one time of the year when people are allowed to have happy endings instead of learning that their spouses are serial killers. We get to watch a bunch of Canadian and/or B-list actors (lots of SyFy channel regulars) fall in love in a Christmassy setting. Though I draw the line at any of those "Santa needs a wife" movies because Santa Claus is not my idea of a romantic fantasy.

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