Tag Archives: romantic comedies

Movie Review – Home Again (2017)

Ugh…why did I waste my time on this stinkburger?

Oh, I know.  Because the East Randomtown Cineplex was all sold out on “It” tickets.

BQB here with a review of the poopfest that is “Home Again.”

If I wanted to write a parody of a romantic comedy, I would start with some vapid, surface level characters – beautiful people with beautiful people problems.  They’re rich and successful but they’re still sad because, I dunno, they’re not getting rich and successful in the exact way they’d like to be.  And they’re hot and attractive and have lots of dating options but can’t quite decide, out of the large pool of people who want to bang them, who to bang.

I’d add some boring, long drawn out conversations – a lot of “tell” instead of “show” and presto – a perfect romcom parody.

“Home Again” has all that and more.  Had they added a laugh track, it would have been the comedic event of the fall, poking fun at all of the romantic comedy tropes but alas, the rub is, this was a serious attempt at a romantic comedy that just fell flat.

Other than about an hour too long, I’m not sure what this movie is about.

The set-up is that Alice Kinney is a newly separated mom who has just moved her two kids to LA to live in the sprawling LA estate left to her by her wealthy Hollywood director father after his passing.  Oh, and her mother is a retired movie star played by Candace Bergen.  But the fact that Alice is rich and the offspring of Hollywood royalty is completely glossed over.  She’s struggling really hard to start her own interior decorator business and her client, played by Lake Bell, is being mean to her, and somehow you’re supposed to feel bad for Alice even though she’s rich enough that she could tell Lake to eat a bag of dicks if she wanted to.

During a 40th birthday celebration, Alice parties and meets three dudes.  They’re aspiring filmmakers including Harry, Teddy, and George (Pico Alexander, Nat Wolf and Jon Rudnitsky.)

The dudes are on the verge of a major movie deal – and you’re supposed to feel sorry for them because Hollywood suits are totally screwing with their artistic vision, even though, you know, we normal people, if offered any kind of Hollywood deal, would gladly suck a bag of dicks for it and let the suits know they can feel free to shit on our vision as much as they want as long as they back up the money truck to our houses.

Feeling sorry for the dudes because they have no place to stay, Alice allows the boys (all twenty somethings) to crash in her guest house.  Over time, a romance blooms between Alice and Harry.

It’s complicated because Alice hasn’t quite resolved things between her ex, Michael Sheen.  And Alice’s daughters start to get attached to the dudes, seeing them as quasi-uncle type figures.

At this point, the whole thing meanders and farts around, leaving the audience unsure as to what the hell is going on, what the point is, or if there even is one.

Perhaps the point is that older women shouldn’t feel ashamed if they fall for younger men.  Younger men shouldn’t necessarily even feel ashamed if they fall for older women.  Maybe age is just a number and as long as everyone is an adult of consenting age, then who cares?

The problem is at no time is that issue ever really explored.  A friend of Alice’s points out that older men go for younger women all the time so why shouldn’t Alice do the reverse?  True, but keep in mind that men are led by their boners while women are led by a desire for security.  Thus, an older man can hook a young babe as long as he’s willing to be treated like a human cash machine.  An older woman can snag a young guy as long as she’s still hot.

Reese is still hot, so it’s not like Harry’s really putting his ass on the line.  Further, at one point in the film, Alice goes on a date with a “man her age” and the 40 year old man is presented as a bald, bearded, unemployed, bumbling oaf.  The rub seems to be that women like to complain a lot about how men see them as objects and kick them to the curb when they get older even though its not their fault that time robs them of their beauty. The date with the “man her age” is presented as though Alice is really going to be fucked if she can’t make it work with Harry, otherwise she’ll have to settle for a bald old piece of shit even though, I mean, yeah it’s not like that fucker could have a brain or a heart or a soul because fuck him hair stopped growing on his head.

Men should stop pretending like older women can just will their knockers to not be saggy anymore.  It would just be great if women could stop pretending like older men could will hair back on top of their bald heads.  Let’s just all agree that time fucks us all over real good and agree to be nice to one another in spite of it, OK?

At any rate, the whole issue of May/December love between a young man and an older woman could be explored.  It raises a lot of questions.  What if Harry wants kids?  Alice already has two and she might not have much time left to have another.  Will Alice’s health decline before Harry’s?  Will Harry spend his prime years taking care of a sick old lady?  Harry may be a pretty boy but he has some depth.  He wants to succeed on his own.  Will it be too easy for him to just let Alice take care of him?  Oh wait, she’s a struggling decorator and you’re supposed to ignore her massive house.

What about Alice?  Will Harry understand her point of view when he didn’t live during the time period she grew up in?  Will he be able to understand her in any meaningful way?  Will a woman who has been through it all ever be able to see a babe in the woods just starting out as her true equal?

Getting some answers might have made the movie great, but all of that is glossed over.  Instead, we are offered a rather lazy excuse of a breakup.  A Hollywood hotshot keeps Harry in a meeting to make his movie for a long time, causing him to miss some shindig Alice invites him too.  She’s pissed and feels unloved so she dumps the lad, even though, you know, the average guy watching the movie is like, “Um but he’s in a meeting to make a movie and that like never happens so give the guy a break.” Thus, all of the older woman, younger man issues are left on the floor, unexplored.

So then I thought the point of the movie might be that it is possible to cultivate happiness out of a non-traditional family.  SPOILER ALERT – the film ends with Alice happy to be around the three dudes who are just going to be her friends and he ex-husband who is just going to be her friend.  In true Hollywood style understanding of a relationship, Alice will just be everyone’s friend forever, content to have nothing more out of her young suitor or her ex-husband, and I dunno, I guess she’ll just spend the rest of her life looking for that special romance where the guy shoots fireworks out of his ass and everyday is Mardi Gras.

That’s always been the problem with rom coms.  They just don’t play well in Peoria.  It’s love as understood by Hollywood people who have it all and can afford to navel gaze about their love lives well into eternity.

As for the rest of us, some tired old trailer park broad isn’t going to relate to a rich bitch who dumps a guy because he came home late from his once in a lifetime movie meeting deal.  Maybe if Harry had coldcocked Alice in the face because she drank the last beer and ragged on him for being unemployed, then you know, the average trailer park movie viewer might understand.

The rest of us in the real world gave up on perfect love long ago.  Just give us someone who we’re 95% percent sure isn’t going to stab us in our sleep and they can attend as many late movie deal meetings as they please.

STATUS:  Not-shelf worthy.  I took one for the team and saw it so you don’t have to.  Seriously, don’t take your date to this.  If I were a woman and a man were to take me to this movie I would give him no pussy.

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Top Ten Warning Signs Your Girlfriend Might Be a Romantic Movie Fanatic

shutterstock_3277737Oh Hollywood.  When will you ever learn that every time you put out another cheesy romantic movie, you’re causing the women in our lives to hold us up to ridiculously high standards?

Men, are your women way into romance flicks for YOUR own good?

From BQB HQ in fabulous East Randomtown, here are the top ten warning signs your girlfriend might be a romance movie fanatic:

10.  She watched Serendipity then erased her number from your phone and wrote it down in a copy of the book, Love in the Time of Cholera.  She sold the book to a used book store and then informed you that you will never talk to her again unless fate sees that the book with her number in it makes its way to you.  You call her the next day and you are all like “Seriously babe I remember your number because we’ve been dating for years” and she’s like “Why do you ruin everything?”

9.  Whenever she watches Sleepless in Seattle, she demands that you meet her at the top of the Empire State Building.  After doing this once or twice, you sit her down for a talk in which you explain that while you do love her very much, you’re going to end up in the poor house if you have to take time off of work, fly to New York City and then stand around on top of the Empire State Building like a jackass every time Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan are on TV.  She laments your total lack of Tom Hanks in his prime charm.

8.  Ever since she saw Notting Hill she greets you with “I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her.”  It seems sweet at first, but then she starts demanding you speak with a Hugh Grant-esque British accent.  You could do it to keep the peace if you wanted to.  It’s mostly just going “um um um uh” a lot but you refuse to demean yourself.  You’re an American, dammit and she can take your regular voice or leave it.  (Psst…she’ll probably leave it.)

7.  My Best Friend’s Wedding leaves her disappointed if get togethers involving your family don’t break out in a spontaneous song and dance rendition of I Say A Little Prayer For You.  You try your best to make it happen but your Aunt Edna can’t hit the high notes.

6.  Her love of Say Anything requires you to stand outside her window in a trench coat whilst holding a boom box in the air.  She won’t make any reasonable concessions about this.  You still have to wear the trench coat in August and no matter how heavy the boom box gets, she won’t let you hold up your iPhone with Pandora blaring on it instead.

5.  Chasing Amy has led her to believe your relationship would improve if a) she were to become a lesbian and b) you tried to look more like Ben Affleck.  The lesbian thing is doable but the Ben Affleck thing is unlikely.

4.  Ever since you two watched The Notebook, she asks if you’d spend a large chunk of your life in a depressed funk if she were to ever leave you.  You realize it’s for your own good to say yes but deep inside, you know there are other fish in the sea.  Most won’t require you to climb up the side of a ferris wheel like a dumb ass either.

3.  She has long dreamed that you’d become more like Patrick Swayze in Ghost and sensually work a pottery wheel with her in perfect time with her hands.  You try your best but the apartment just ends up covered with sticky gobs of clay.  Part of you just wants to give her five bucks to go buy a damn ash tray, flower pot or whatever she’s always trying to make with that thing.

2.  She made you watch Love Story.  You’ve been on anti-depressants ever since.

  1. She’s a big fan of Titanic, so much so that you often find her butt naked on the couch, breathlessly urging you to “draw me like one of your French girls.”  You grab a paper and pencil and do your best to sketch a stick figure with circle boobs but she invariably just puts her robe back on and storms off in a huff.  Seriously dude, take an art class.
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Do Rom-coms Create Stalkers?

Hey 3.5 Readers.

I read this column, “The Dark Side of Rom-Coms” on the CNN website by Julia Lippman, a post-doctoral fellow in communication studies at the University of Michigan and thought it would make for a good discussion here.

Go read it.  The gist is basically those romantic comedies might not be harmless as you think.  A guy who stands outside a girl’s window holding a boom box in the air a la Say Anything is weird.  A guy who hires a private investigator to track down his prom date thirteen years later a la Something About Mary is even weirder.

Though in the context of movies, we laugh and have fun, men might be taking cues to relentlessly pursue or even stalk women…that they might get it in their heads that their persistent advances on uninterested women aren’t bad behavior but rather, charming displays of romance a la Lloyd Dobler.

Hmmm.  Well, here’s my first observation:

I am a man and I have zero interest in romantic comedies.  Romantic comedies are made for, geared towards, and primarily marketed to women.

There’s Something About Mary isn’t really a good example.  That’s more of a raunchy comedy that just happens to involve romance.  I liked that one, but any other romantic comedy?  No.  No interest.

I’ve never seen a commercial that went like this…

He was a guy down on his luck. She was the girl who had it all.  This summer, Hunky Guy and Hot Girl in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah.

…and was like “OMG I MUST SEE THIS!”  No.  Never.  I’ve never seen a rom-com on my own.  Any time I’ve seen one involved seeing it because someone else wanted to see it.

Are there all different varieties of men?  Yes.  Are there some men who like romantic comedies?  Sure.

But I don’t like them and while I don’t know if there’s been a study commissioned on this, I’d dare say the lion’s share of men aren’t spending their days thinking “Oh my God I want to see She’s My Gal or Love in the Time of Love or whatever dopey title the latest romantic schlock is called.

So in my opinion, don’t worry.  Men aren’t going to become stalkers because of rom-coms because we’re too busy watching super hero movies.

Why?  That leads us to my next observation:

As a man, I prefer action movies, super hero movies and so on.

Here is the plot of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron:

A billionaire in an iron suit, a Norse God, a scientist who turns into a green rage monster when he gets mad, an invincible WWII veteran, a Russian assassin and an expert arrow shooter join forces to stop an evil robot.

I loved it.  I enjoyed it.  And do you know why?  Though it was sheer, utter fantastic nonsense, it was more believable than any rom com ever written.

Why?  My next observation:

Love rarely works out as perfectly as it does in the movies.

It really, really doesn’t.  Which leads to another observation:

Personally, I believe if there is any “risk” involved in rom-coms, it is that they encourage women to yearn for highly unlikely Hollywood generated scenarios that could never happen in real life, all the while ignoring what’s around them.

I’m just going by personal experience.  Over the  years, women have basically trained me to treat a first date like a job interview.  What are the job interview rules?

  • Don’t sneeze.
  • Don’t burp.
  • Don’t fart.
  • Don’t scratch.
  • Make a little eye contact but not too much.  Don’t talk about anything controversial.
  • Don’t say anything that resembles your thoughts, opinions, hopes and or dreams.
  • Ask questions and provide a general sense of interest.  However, not too much interest.  Don’t inquire about anything deep or meaningful.  Stick to the weather.  “Nice weather we are having” will prove that you are alive and have a pulse but cannot be construed as being too intimate.
  • Don’t be yourself at all.  You are horrible.  Wait to be yourself until you’re hired and then it is too much of a chore to replace you.

I mean that’s pretty much what dating has become now, thanks in large part to Hollywood convincing women through romantic movies that they should expect pure, unadulterated perfection out of men at all times or bust.

Men can follow all those rules and still be rejected when women jump to conclusions based on harmless stimuli:

MAN SCRATCHES HEAD.

WOMAN THINKS: He scratched his head sixty seven minutes into the date.  That’s a deal breaker.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to be saddled with a head scratcher!

MAN DROPS HIS KEYS.

WOMAN THINKS: He dropped his keys.  Clearly has reflex issues.  I’ll be picking up his keys until the end of time.

MAN SHOWS UP EARLY.

WOMAN THINKS: Must be obsessed with me.  Clearly thought about me all day.  Probably slept over in the restaurant parking lot all night and day just to be here five minutes early.

MAN SHOWS UP LATE

WOMAN THINKS:  What a self-absorbed psychopath to make me wait five minutes.

You laugh!  You laugh, but this is what men are facing now.  Thanks to handsome, hunky men in romantic comedies who always say and do the right thing, we have to deal with women who aren’t happy unless we’re jacked up and all muscly, picking them up on our white horses with the wind blowing our luxurious hair and we never make a mistake or do anything wrong.

I mean, holy shit, if you’re an average man and you’ve got a wife that Hollywood has trained to think you should look and act like early 1990’s Hugh Grant, then good luck to you if you forget to rinse off your dish before you go to bed one night as she’s going to divorce you, take half your shit and go off in search of Mr. Romantic Comedy Man, who does not exist.

And if you have a pimple, or some minor bodily flaw?  Jesus Christ, forget it.  Just forget it.  Wait for the scientific community to invent robot girlfriends because you’re never getting a human girlfriend when Hollywood is telling women to hold on because Bradley F$%King Cooper is going to swoop in and whisk them away any second.

BQB, this column is getting a little one sided.  Surely there are movies that mess with men’s minds too.

There are.  There are probably dudes who see hot actresses and expect that women who have jobs and commitments should look like they spend 24 hours a day working on their bodies the way actresses do.  There are probably even dudes who like rom coms and expect a woman to be perfect like the rom com leading lady.

Anyway, those are my main observations.  Lippman did end her column by pointing out that she isn’t in favor of banning rom coms or anything.  And she does note, as I would point out too, that only an idiot would take love advice from a movie.

And if you take the rom com part of it out, the more debate worthy topic might be when does pursuit cross the line into stalking?

Everyone probably has a different idea on that.  My general argument would be if you like someone and know your friend is a friend of that someone and said friend is throwing a party and you ask to come so you can chat up the person you’re interested in, that’s just an attempt at kindling amore.

But if you know none of those people and just followed a person you saw walking down the street to a party and you spent the whole night in a dark van waiting to catch a glimpse…yeah, you might be a stalker.

All joking aside, if you like someone, be cool, give it a respectful try, but once rebuffed, realize that there are other fish in the sea, so plant your hook elsewhere.

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Storytelling Interview Series

3.5 readers, I think I might have invented something.

“The Storytelling Interview Series.”

As I’ve discussed ad nauseam, this October there will be an interview series on this site called “#31ZombieAuthors.”

Once a day in October, I’ll be interviewing a different zombie author.

I’ll be doing it in a fun way.

A zombie apocalypse will strike East Randomtown and it will be up to me to save the day.

Every day will feature an excerpt from my Zombie Apocalypse Survivor’s Journal, followed by the zombie author interview of the day.

I will actually take a break from the action to “call” authors using Alien Jones’ space phone.

It’s very tongue in cheek.  At times, various characters will comment on my incompetence for calling authors when I should be fighting the apocalypse.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that my 3.5 readers will receive this well.

The zombie authors have gotten a kick out of it so far, and these are all people who’ve successfully published, so they know a thing or two.

At the very least, no one’s told me, “This idea sucks!  Get lost, loser!”

So that’s always a plus in my world.

Perhaps it might be too early to be thinking about the future.  I should wait and see how #31ZombieAuthors goes.

BUT – it has recently crossed my mind that if all goes well, I could start applying this concept to other genres.

So you tell me, 3.5, which of these concepts would you like to see next?

YETI HEAT – THRILLER AUTHORS

Stupid Yeti

Stupid Yeti

BQB’s nemesis, the Yeti, devises some type of hilarious crime.  BQB and Alien Jones get deputized as Jack Bauer style agents and have to unravel the furry snow beast’s plot before all is lost.  Along the way, they stop to interview thriller authors.

CAPT. BATTLER’S CURIOUSLY FUNKY FLYING CONTRAPTION – STEAMPUNK AUTHORS

shutterstock_248751778 copy

       Capt. Battler

A contingent of steampunks crash their airship in East Randomtown.  Their Captain has been murdered by a ne’er-do-well who has captured their city in the sky, forcing them to go on the run.  The steampunks recruit BQB to become their new Captain and Alien Jones as his first mate.  They go on a mission to oust the baddie and along the way, you guessed it, authors of steampunk books are interviewed.

UNTITLED BQB/VGRF ROM COM – ROMANCE AND/OR ROMANTIC COMEDY AUTHORS

WOMAN:  Sniff.  I hope BQB and VGRF get back together. MAN:  I wish I was watching Yeti Heat.

WOMAN: Sniff. I hope BQB and VGRF get back together.
MAN: I wish I was watching Yeti Heat.

BQB and Video Game Rack Fighter split up in a comical manner.  It’s BQB’s fault because, well, it’s always the man’s fault, isn’t it?  If you disagree, ask the woman.  BQB goes through a series of hurdles to win back his lady love.  In the meantime, romance authors are interviewed.

JONESING FOR THE COSMOS – SCI FI AUTHORS

The Esteemed Brainy One in a rare pants wearing moment.

The Esteemed Brainy One in a rare pants wearing moment.

Alien Jones recounts the tale of how he first met Bookshelf Q. Battler, as a result of being ordered by his ruler, the Mighty Potentate, to become a columnist for the Bookshelf Battle Blog.  From time to time, AJ takes a break to interview a sci-fi author.

THOUGHTS

  • I have a few other ideas, but these are the most formulated so far.
  • I’m leaning toward Steampunk first because in my mind, that story has the most concrete outline.
  • I’m not sure how often I’ll be able to do these.  I love doing them but I’d also like to get a book or two out next year so I guess I’ll have to make a choice.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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