Romance is in the Air
Or, are these films really all just a bunch of stalker movies?
> Valentine’s Day. A day of candy boxes, Hallmark cards and lingerie. Couples everywhere are rekindling their love or trying to keep it together for the sake of roses, a fancy dinner and a late-night showing of the romantic-film-of-the-moment. But, the barrage of romance movies clogging the local multiplex on Cupid’s day of reckoning is not as saccharine-sweet as you think. So, beware if you and your sweetie decide to hit the theater on this magical day.
I guess it goes without saying that my least favorite films are romantic comedies. Why? Because rom-coms, or romance dramas, tend to put crazy ideas in people’s heads about what is realistic romantic behavior and what is just plain silly. If you don’t think it’s true, please explain “Twilight” to me. Vampires and werewolves are not real, and quite frankly, if they were, you should be really scared. Yet, there are teenage girls losing their minds and grown women mentally sexing up barely-legal Edward and Jacob— it’s all too much!
This got me thinking about certain movies that are labeled “romantic”—but in my opinion, are not romantic at all. I’m talking about movies that present male characters doing “romantic” things that, in the real world, would get them handcuffed and slapped with a restraining order. I’m talking about romantic movies that are thinly veiled stalker films. This could be a whole new genre. Nora Ephron and Nicholas Sparks, take notes.
“Say Anything” starring John Cusack and Ione Skye (1989) The worst offender of stalker-masquerading-as-romance, “Say Anything,” follows the budding romance of an average student named Lloyd Dobler and his infatuation with valedictorian Diane Court after they graduate high school. By infatuation, I mean terrifying obsession. This movie drifts into stalker territory with the infamous boom box scene. If someone were standing outside your window blaring Peter Gabriel in the wee hours of the morning, wouldn’t you frantically be dialing 911 and thinking of the nearest hard object you could use to bludgeon him with? That’s not the only stalker moment in the film. Think back to when Lloyd lets Diane’s father in on his grand plan—telling him that his main goal in life is to be Diane’s boyfriend. Seriously? When anyone tells you their biggest career move is to be your boyfriend, start rethinking the relationship. This means that a) this guy needs an excuse for not having gainful employment and/or b) he is slowly reaching for a chloroform-soaked rag, you will soon be rendered unconscious, and your body found two months later.
“The Graduate” starring Dustin Hoffman, Katherine Ross and Anne Bancroft (1967) Ben Braddock has an affair with Mrs. Robinson. He falls in love with Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine, after one date. Ben then moves to Berkeley to secretly follow Elaine around campus after she breaks it off with him because she finds out about the hard-core affair with her mother. It’s a classic storyline if you are a stalker. Who falls in love after one date, packs up and moves to that person’s city, then follows them around secretly? Oh, I know, a stalker. Get where I’m going with this? Coo, coo, ca-choo, Mrs. Robinson…the stench of Ben’s craziness is ripe!
“Love Stalker…An Unromantic Comedy” starring Matt Glasson and Rachel Chapman (2011) This indie film shot in St. Louis (and first aired at the St. Louis International Film Festival) is about a sex and relationship blogger, Stephanie, who dates a loser, Pete, then breaks up with him after finding his little red book of sexscapades. Said loser is heartbroken, has a bit of a nervous breakdown and proceeds to stalk the heck out of her. The twist in the film is this: Maybe this was the intended behavior Stephanie was hoping to provoke all along. Pete realizes a little too late that all of his misguided and absurd antics were chronicled in Stephanie’s blog. Way to go, sister! Flip that script! Finally, a romantic stalker film that makes sense!
Every girl wants a little romance in her relationship. Cool. I can dig it. But, obsessive behavior and unhealthy boundaries aren’t the basis of a reallife relationship. Do yourself a favor and keep an eye out for any suspicious boom boxes, okay?
Romance is in the Air
Romance is in the Air
Photo credit: Sarah Quatrano