When Harry Met Sally..., Moonstruck, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Pretty Woman—each one involves men and women, regardless of when in the process they have sex, getting to know each other by talking, by exchanging information. I’ve already written about Altman and Taylor’s social penetration theory...
(Sidenote: maybe the stated theme (per yesterday‘s discussion, is Philip’s line, “You’re gonna get lost in the dark.” Vivian lives in the dark. She wakes up in the evening, works all night, and that’s before we deal with the metaphorical darkness inherent in her job. And, Edward, he works in the darkness of corporate raiding, making a living off the suffering of others. And, I’ve said before, they are both lost before the events of the film.)
Anyway, where was I? I think it’s nice that even the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold setup revolves not around the sex but around conversation and other, non-sexual interaction. Edward and Vivian definitely get into Altman and Taylor’s exploratory affective exchange phase. Interestingly, talk works against both Edward’s work and Vivian’s work. There’s no instant intimacy, but they exchange personal stories. They talk about work, they talk about their pasts. She teaches him to relax and take a walk. He teaches her to appreciate the opera. That’s how two people get together... or stay together.
Back when I was first married, I got my wife watching movies far more than she ever had before. And, if she hadn’t started as a nontraditional student in college, I never would have gone back to school myself, I wouldn’t be in grad school today, and would not be teaching. I doubt me back then would imagine I’d be here. (I probably would have liked to imagine this blog, but I don’t know if I would have had as much to say back then.)
We’re not together anymore, but some changes stick. She doesn’t see as many movies as I might, but come December and Oscar season, she’ll probably pay more attention than a lot of people might. And, I’ve stuck with school when once upon a time I wrote an essay arguing against going to college.
(Sidenote: there are little moments in Pretty Woman that I really like. When Edward is on the phone with his girlfriend early in the film, for example, the camera moves over him and it’s an interesting angle, just barely keeping the camera out of the reflection in the window, even as we see a second Edward in the reflection—some hint at changes to come for him later. Another moment I like is when Vivian turns her attention away from I Love Lucy to Edward, and she’s on her knees in front of him, and whether it was Julia Roberts’ choice or the director’s, I like that she moves away from Edward again briefly to grab a pillow to kneel on. It softens the character at the same time that it suggests she does this far too often.)
We change each other and, at least for the time we are together, we sort of become each other. Give and take, back and forth.
(Another moment I like: not Vivian singing in the bathtub, and certainly not the negotiation bit that follows, but the moment after the negotiation, when she’s underwater, she moves her legs up and down like a kid who’s overexcited. One moment I shouldn’t like, but Roberts and Gere play it well: when he comes into the lounge to find her dressed for their dinner with the Morses, she says, “You’re late.” He says, “You’re stunning.” She replies, “You’re forgiven.” It’s a shallow bit there at the end, but she plays it cute, and it works. There’s a lot of little fish-out-of-water bits for Vivian that work even when they’re almost too silly, like her eating the leaf off of her dessert, than pulling it out of her mouth in disgust.)
I’m getting lost in the parenthetical. That’s a good thing, I think. I’m finding the good.
I’m gearing up for a very different month coming up, though. I’ll be done with romantic comedies, and moving—as I think I’ve mentioned—back to horror films, but in a different way than before. That first month sort of happened one movie at a time. The next “month” is planned ahead, and it will be more than just four movies... I’ll explain in more detail in a few days. For now, though, the thing is, between this blog, grad school, teaching, coaching, being a father, a movie buff, a gamer, getting into my thesis... and I was thinking about auditioning for the theater on campus, but I doubt my schedule will fit their rehearsal schedule. I’m going to like being busy again. And, it’s times like this that I wonder how it would be if I had someone to share it all with. I mean besides you readers of this blog, whoever you might be—most of you don’t interact with me on here, or Facebook or Twitter... the conversation is very one-sided. Speaking of which, and getting off on a tangent (but I’ll come right back), I’m considering adding a new element my prospectus for my thesis, something to do with the illusion of connection we have over the internet. I already need to code my own blog entries, as well as those of a few other people, for where personal stuff is included (and a more detailed breakdown, but the basic coding will be that)... That is the kind of thing I’d like to talk about with someone else. But, I’ve got people for that, I think, friends in the Comm Department, and soon I’ll have my thesis committee together as well. But, that’s more business than personal. I’m concerned with the personal here, too. It’s not just a new element for the potential thesis, but also a new element for me to think about as I write. I mean, this blog is not just for me. But, it also sometimes very much is.
Consider the next month of horror films I was alluding to. I’ve set up a standard for the second year of this blog, I’ve followed it for two months so far, and I’m changing it up for the next month. It should be back to (the new) normal after, but my point is I can do whatever I want with this blog. I can make it personal, I can make it objective. I can make it dense with research, or just ramble on about whatever subject comes to mind, as long as it connects to the topic at hand. And, all of this does connect to the topic because as I embark on a new... I don’t want to call it a chapter but that is the nomenclature. As I embark on a new chapter of my story, so to speak, it would be nice to have someone to share it all with. Not just my kids, because there are limits to what I can share with them. Not my ex because there are also now limits to what I would share with her. I’ll tell her what’s going on, but her input into the directions I might go, in school, in life, in whatever—it doesn’t hold the same weight as it used to. And, there are limits to what I share with one friend or another. Hell, sometimes it seems like I can be more personal here because as I’m typing, I’m often alone. Sure, Pretty Woman is playing right now, and Vivian is sorry she ever met Edward right now, but it’s just me here in the living room, and though this will be put out on the internet, to remain there indefinitely, in the moments I’m typing, it’s just me and the screen. I can say anything I want.
(“That’s just geography.” That’s a good line.
I argued once that I was in a relationship with Groundhog Day, watching it every day for a year. It was a constant when so much else in my life was in flux. This blog, even without Groundhog Day, is still a nice constant in a life that is often in flux. Constants are good.
Of course, so is flux.