Sunday, February 15, 2015

it's when i don't look that it happens

Saw a lot of movies today, most of them short. Sixteen short films, ten of them nominated for Oscars next week, then a feature film--Still Alice--nominated for best actress. Now West Side Story. That's a good day for me. But then, there's disappointment...

And, I find myself just sitting her watching the movie instead of bothering you all with personal details. Forty minutes in, Tony and Maria have just met. It's good timing to actually get to some typing.

Anyway, the disappointment--ran into someone I know at the movie theater, did not talk to her. Avoiding her was easier.

I argued the other day that musicals operate in a world where love at first sight is, you know, a thing. It exists, it happens. In the real world, I figure I'm unlucky or that's a load of bullshit that keeps us going to movies and reading romance novels and listening to pop music, because it just doesn't happen. In the real world, what we call love takes effort. It's not a dance and a kiss and you're in love.

And, if you show up at a girl's house right after you met her at the dance, you're a stalker and it's creepy, not romantic. But, romance has to actually exist in a story like this. It makes a small story bigger, deeper. It universalizes it even as it makes it unreal. We buy into it because it is unrealistic. Climb up the fire escape and it's a beautiful scene, a romance to drive the tragedy to come...

Hell, this first segment of "Tonight" is even more unreal than it seems because neither Richard Beymer nor Natalie Wood are singing what we're hearing.

The thing is, I don't really want to write about this. I'm torn between telling some personal story, ranting about cinematic romance, or changing the topic altogether and starting from the beginning. I've still got over an hour of the movie left.

I realize, though, that I will be writing about romance and love for the next couple weeks. Moreso than when I was watching romantic comedies for a month, musicals just cannot help it... In fact, I think there's a mistake in separating out musicals as a distinct genre. Musicals can be dramas, musicals can be comedies. But, most of all, they can be... they are romantic. After all, what drives people to song better than love?

(I just noticed a color/costume detail I missed the other day: In the dress shop, leading into the "wedding" scene, Maria is wearing a yellow (a Jet color) dress under a red (a Shark color)... I guess it's a smock. I noted the yellow before, but not that it was covered in (disguised by) red. She removes the red once Anita is gone.)

It is also a requisite part of cinematic love that it can happen not only quickly but without much interaction or gaining of knowledge about one another. In the real world, that is, at best, a crush. In a movie, that's love. But seriously, what do Tony and Maria know about one another? She knows he isn't part of the gangs anymore, but then he jumps right back in to kill her brother. So, if that was his selling point, she should be asking for a refund.

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