Last weekend a friend suggested we download and watch the movie The Notebook, which is based on the book of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. Even though the book was a bestseller and the movie ended up being a popular chick flick, I had the same reaction to this suggestion as if my friend had proposed we order out for monkey brains right after we shaved the cat.
Eww. No, thanks. (Insert grossed out expression here.)
The suggestion was doubly perplexing because my friend is a guy and usually you have to drag guys to movies like The Notebook by either threatening them with death or bribing them with sex. I did neither. Instead I graciously asked him to pick something else. And added that if the next words out of his mouth were Steel Magnolias I’d have to revoke his man card.
I know he was probably just trying to choose something that he thought I’d like, but holy mother of pearl, why do people assume every woman loves a schmaltzy tear jerker? I sure as hell don’t. One of my biggest choked up cinematic moments came when I realized everyone had been “Keyser Söze-ed” at the end of The Usual Suspects. But those were tears of joy because someone in Hollywood finally had the brains to write a believable ending that made sense, but no one saw coming.
Movies Are a Thrill Ride for Me
I admit my taste in movies is not “normal” for my gender. This has been a problem for me since the beginning of time (or at least until I became old enough to go to the movies without adult supervision). I’d want to see stuff like Silence of the Lambs, but my girlfriends would veto me in favor of something a little more light and airy…which usually meant cannibalism was off limits.
I grew up reading Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and every Robert Heinlein science fiction novel I could get my hands on. When I lived in L.A. there was a local TV channel that did a Twilight Zone marathon every Thanksgiving weekend, and even though I’d seen all those episodes a million times, I’d camp out in front of the TV all day, watching reruns back-to-back.
What can I say? I love horror, action, and campy violence (and dumb comedies, but that’s a whole other blog post). Plus, I have a special place in my heart for dark, quirky movies that become cult classics for some, but total enigmas (and not in a good way) for others. I remember once in college a guy took me to a film retrospective of Harold and Maude at the old California Theatre in Berkeley. I was hooked from the opening scene when Harold hung by the neck from a chandelier, looking deader than a kosher cow carcass. His mother walks in and without so much as a backward glance says something like, “Harold, get down from there right now before you hurt yourself.” Add to that the Cat Stevens soundtrack and the fact that a death-obsessed 18-year-old young man who drives a hearse falls for an equally death-obsessed 79-year-old woman, and what’s not to love?
When we left the theatre I was just about to turn to my date and say, “Wow, that was the best movie ever!” But he beat me to the punch by blurting out “Wow, that was the dumbest movie ever.”
Needless to say we didn’t go out again.
Fast Forward Back to the Present
Fortunately the same rules don’t apply today to my sentimental “Notebook” friend. He wasn’t a date, but rather a pal I’ve known forever, so I’m certainly not going to dump him over a movie that plays on your emotions in stupid ways that would never happen in real life. (There, I said it.) Although I do wonder how he could’ve known me all this time and NOT KNOW that I prefer blood and guts over unrequited love.
My friend and I never did pick a movie last weekend, instead we ended up just hanging out. But the next night my sons and I fired up our Amazon Prime subscription on the old flat screen and watched a PPV of DJango Unchained. Loved it. Any movie that combines a badass 1970s black exploitation film with a spaghetti western set during the Civil War, AND sneaks in Jim Croce’s I Got a Name is pure genius.
On Mother’s Day I plan to introduce my kids to Kung Fu Hustle. I can hardly wait.
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Stacy Dymalski is the host of the hilarious TV talk show “Mother Bloggers” on FirstRun.tv. She’s also an award winning keynote speaker and stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.
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