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Crazy, Stupid, Love of Ryan Gosling

I'll be honest folks, I used to really like to do movie reviews.  However, I found myself sliding deeper and deeper into the abyss of negativity and relying on cynical platitudes to describe the majority of what I was watching.  I didn't stop to think that maybe it was a problem in the choices I was making of what to watch, I just found it easier to ridicule what was on the screen in front of me.

Searching through the moribund wasteland of new release titles for an appropriate Valentines day movie, I settled on Crazy Stupid Love. I figured, this is something I won't have to pretend to like too much, and Janelle, wife, will most likely enjoy it.

You can imagine my surprise, halfway through the film, when I found myself not hating it. Had I turned a corner? I was actually watching and enjoying a mainstream Hollywood film!

Granted, there were things that annoyed me. Especially the young boy caught doing things that young boys should not be doing, then having the character act completely normal, without any lack of shame. Obviously the message is, hey, it's fine, everyone does this, etc.

 ***spoilers ahead**** The ending was far from cute, with the masturbatory interest giving the young boy compromising pictures of herself to, "get him through high school."  It was a stark blemish on what was otherwise a pretty engaging film. Those two scenes were absolute turnoffs, and kept me from liking this movie as much as I could have. Shame on them. It was lazy, cheap, and added nothing to the story.***end spoilers***

I loved that the movie showed divorce in a negative light. Kevin Bacon played the suitor, turned home wrecker. Normally, movies turn this character into a sly manipulative dog. One who lures the victim in with such brilliant seductions that we really can't help feeling sorry for the seductee, even though they cheat on their sacred vows. Instead, Bacon's character is a normal guy, at a normal office, who commits a terrible act along with Julianne Moore's character. The film doesn't make excuses for this or turn either of them into victims, they present the whole situation as a terrible mistake and make each character pay for that mistake.

I enjoyed seeing this, because divorce is as normal as it is horrific and I'm glad the movie chose to recognize that. It also celebrates the idea of monagamous commitment, chastity, and chivalry. Of course, it does this in a way that for a time appears to glorify the opposites of those qualities, but in the end, the taste that's left is pleasant.

***Sploilers*** The movie ends with promise of the main couple reuniting, and Gosling's character providing a great example of a chivalrous suitor.  He even asks his love interests father for the blessing on the relationship.  He's concerned about the parental relationships being maintained.  Good times. ***end spoilers***

It was interesting to see what I assumed would turn into a standard, run of the mill RomCom be so positive.  Heck, just the fact that a movie in hollywood actually said, "divorce bad, marriage good and whoring around brings you no joy," is just unfathomable at this point in the life of our culture.

Stray observations -

  • Ryan Gosling and I are pretty much indistinguishable without our shirts on
  • Julianne Moore's nose is tiny and her playing alongside Steve, "the schnozz," Carell is hilarious all by itself
  • I'm pretty sure the producers watched Pollyanna McIntosh in "The Woman," before coming up with Ashleigh Tipton's (Jessica) character.
  • No Oscar buzz for Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene?  Seriously?  come on....
  • Pretty sure the best character in this entire film is the daughter, who dances wildly in front of the Television, to infomercials, with no prompting.
  • Why does saying, "let's get outta here," work for Ryan Gosling in a bar and not for me, standing by my windowless van?
  • Marissa Tomei's Cheeks look extra chipmunky on blue-ray

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