5 Romantic Movie Gestures That Were Actually Dick Moves
We've all grown up watching classic movie scenes where a character puts it all on the line with one massive romantic gesture to prove his or her love. No doubt many a little girl has grown up wondering why this kind of thing so rarely happens in real life.
Well, the reason that stuff only works in the movies is because if you sit and think about it, the real-world implications of those seemingly romantic gestures become so unsettling that they start to look about as romantic as an unsolicited boner text.
50 First Dates
The premise here is that Drew Barrymore has a brain injury that, every night, wipes out her memory. So, every day, she wakes up having forgotten the previous day.
One day she meets marine biologist Adam Sandler and they hit off, but the next day she immediately forgets him. She therefore has to meet him for the first time the next day, and the next, over and over again. Thus, 50 First Dates.
Or 90 Minutes of Adam Sandler Making Terrible First Impressions.
The happy ending is that Sandler finds a way to make Barrymore love him over the long term. He makes a videotape that recaps the beauty that is their life together -- the proposal, their wedding, their daughter's first steps -- and she just watches it every morning to catch up. And he's even found a way to keep living his dream as a marine biologist, taking his bride out on a yacht on a tour through the Arctic, because for some reason that makes the most sense for a man whose wife suffers from a debilitating mental disorder.
So What's the Problem?
Just look at this shot from the film, after Barrymore finds herself in the middle of the goddamn ocean:
This happens every fucking morning. The last thing she remembers, she's a teenager living in Hawaii. She goes to sleep and wakes up on a boat, in the Arctic, with a videotape laying on her bed. Isn't this how all of the Saw victims wake up?
She then spends every morning reliving her accident and composing herself to meet her husband and daughter, who are complete strangers. And she's adrift among the polar ice caps, so there's absolutely nothing familiar anywhere near her. It's amazing she doesn't die of shock every morning.
On the plus side, she never has to know about Bulletproof.
And yes, we said "daughter." They have a kid at some point. Imagine waking up and finding yourself nine months pregnant with a sticky note on the VCR in a stranger's handwriting that says, "Good Morning, Lucy." Imagine her terrified confusion every time this strange infant wakes her up crying in the middle of the night. Or any time Barrymore accidentally falls asleep while her daughter is napping. Or, you know, the hilarious night she spent going into labor, completely clueless as to how the hell she got pregnant in the first place. You go to sleep as a care-free teenager, you wake up in labor.
"I cannot be held responsible for my actions if I just freak out and throw you to the sharks."
Sandler isn't a heartwarming romantic, he's a selfish captor who's trapped a person with a severe mental handicap in a life of responsibilities she can't possibly keep up with.
Beauty and the Beast
After switching places with her father in the Beast's castle, Belle is subjected to the Beast's bipolar fits of rage on a regular basis. Gradually she breaks through his bastardly exterior with the help of some talking furniture. She discovers that the Beast is actually a decent guy who cares about her, despite being a giant horned gorilla monster who could rape her into oblivion at any given moment.
His transformation from surly asshole into sensitive guy comes through in a big way when he gives Belle an enormous, beautiful library.
It's an undeniably tender moment that puts most gifts any other girl has ever received to shame.
So What's the Problem?
You know where else you can spend all day reading? Prison. Which is exactly where Belle is. Read all you want, as long as you don't think of leaving to see your family or loved ones ever again.
Remember, she's being held against her will -- she agreed to take her father's place as the Beast's prisoner. She had tried to escape once already, but the Beast tracked her down. Sure, he saved her from some wolves in the process, but he's still her captor. It's true that after he collapses, she drags him back to the castle to tend his wounds and willingly remains in his possession. But that makes perfect sense if you've heard of Stockholm syndrome.
Belle has. She's read everything.
Hostages, in order to keep from losing their grip on things, have been known to fall in love with the people holding them captive. There are four distinct stages of it, and Belle goes through each one in order:
Stage 1 is the act of being held captive itself. The captive person is held by fear of pain and/or death, and learns that the only way to survive is to be compliant. Belle does this right away and goes to her room without a struggle.
"I could probably do without the talking wardrobe now that I'll never see my father again."
Stage 2 is getting to know your captor so you can avoid pissing him off and causing him to harm you. Belle gets pretty familiar with the Beast's moods and what will set him off, which may seem like she's getting to know him as a friend, but is really just an innate survival instinct telling her to tread lightly around his monstrous ass so he doesn't rip her in half in a fit of spectacular rage.
Stage 3 is regarding any act of kindness as a sign that your captor is basically a good person -- even if that act of kindness is simply not killing you. The Beast giving Belle a library seems like a wonderful gesture from a sweet guy until you consider the fact that the library was already there. It's just another room in his house. All he did was open a door and point. So really, it's no different than "giving" her a bathroom to use, although Belle thinks it's the grandest thing anyone has ever done for her.
"Hey, here's the part where I start blaming myself for all the bruises!"
The final stage is when you start thinking of your captor as your friend, and of the people trying to rescue you as your enemies. The guy coming after her (Gaston) is a meatball, to be sure, but he and his mob are basically just trying to rescue Belle from a cruel, kidnapping monster's mind games.
Aside from the whole forcible marriage thing, he does look arguably badass.
Not that it's always the guys doing the screwing over in these scenarios ...
A Knight's Tale
A Knight's Tale tells the story of a peasant named William Thatcher (portrayed by the late Heath Ledger) who pretends to be a knight so that he may compete in jousts and earn a living. Through this he meets a noblewoman named Jocelyn and, unsurprisingly, falls in love with her. William vows to win a tournament in Jocelyn's name, but she then suggests that he should lose the joust to prove that he values her love over his sense of pride, because as we all know a strong relationship is built on demeaning yourself at your partner's whim.
So What's the Problem?
This isn't a high school basketball game or a boxing match from Teen Wolf Too, where "taking a dive" just means putting in zero effort and feigning sadness at the after-game pizza party. This is a fucking joust, where men on horseback gallop toward each other at full speed, trying to knock each other into the air with giant wooden lances.
And while in jousting it wasn't necessarily the point to cause irreparable damage to your opponent, it absolutely happened -- it wasn't unheard of for people to die while competing, especially if a lance went high and hit someone in the face. And in fact, we the audience are treated to a montage of William being beaten down again and again, to the point where even if it were happening to a crash test dummy we'd feel the need to step in and put an end to it.
It's highly likely that this onslaught would break a few of William's ribs. And we know for a fact that it results in a dislocated arm, because we see William's friends help him pop it back into place with a very painful looking brace.
But it's all OK, because it's in a montage with a classic rock anthem.
With the amount of pain that William is going through, you'd hope that the object of his affection would show some kind of sympathy or at least concern, given that he could easily be killed or paralyzed at any time. However, Jocelyn's reaction to Will's suffering can best be described as a combination of amusement and arousal. It seriously seems like she gets some sort of girl boner from watching him being injured.
"I do so love how m'lord doth get his ass beaten in."
Never Been Kissed
Drew Barrymore (again) is a 25-year-old journalist who has to pretend to be a high school student in order to research a story. While in school, she falls in love with a teacher, Sam, who can't show his feelings toward her because he thinks she's a teenage student and he doesn't want to go to jail.
After she comes out and tells the truth, Barrymore writes a column in her newspaper declaring her love for the teacher.
"So you're not really a teenager? Wow, that's a boner killer."
Brave and spunky, she stands on a baseball field in front of the entire town, waiting for him to come give her her first kiss before the game starts.
So What's the Problem?
Sam shows up a little late, because he's in the process of getting the hell out of town in the wake of his ruined teaching career. You know, because of the whole falling in love with a student thing. He was probably looking over his shoulder constantly, convinced everyone who walked by could read his tormented mind like some ephebophilia Garfield thought balloon.
It's bad enough that she tricked him into thinking she was a student while openly flirting with him at every opportunity. But after she finally tells him the truth, she puts the whole thing in the fucking newspaper, essentially announcing to the community that Sam is a burgeoning sexual predator who falls in love with his teenage students. Remember, he didn't know she was 25 -- it was basically a To Catch a Predator setup.
This is just blatant honey trapping.
And if for some reason a lynch mob hasn't already smashed his dick with a toaster and set his car on fire, Drew's baseball-field stunt has made it virtually impossible for him not to show up. If he skips town, he'll go down in local history as the douchebag who broke the heart of sweet and adorably earnest Drew Barrymore.
So really, Sam is left with no choice but to publicly declare his love for a girl that everyone thought was underage until like three days ago, essentially destroying his chances of ever teaching another class for the rest of his life.
While she writes an amazing story and dumps him after getting a Pulitzer.
In this film adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel, a lower class guy named Noah spots wealthy Allie at a carnival and is immediately smitten with her. Not realizing that theirs is a grand romance that will break through class barriers, Allie is resistant to his initial advances. When she and the obviously-not-right-for-her guy she's dating go up on the Ferris wheel, Noah climbs all the way up to them so that he can convince Allie to go out with him.
"I guess I could have waited until you got off, but that wouldn't be creepy enough."
So What's the Problem?
While Noah hangs around on the Ferris wheel, he takes the chance to ask Allie out once more. Again she says no, because the act of determinedly climbing the scaffolding of a carnival ride is something a crazy murderer would do, and as we all know those types of people do not make good boyfriends. And so after understandably rejecting the stranger who has been continually harassing her and her date, this happens:
Noah drops an arm and very strongly implies that if she continues to reject him, he will let go of the Ferris wheel and kill himself. We'd like to point out that threatening suicide is categorized as Level IV domestic abuse by the Marine Corps, which is on par with "significant use of non-accidental physical force." So Noah inflicts significant emotional damage to a girl he just met, just so she'll go to the movies with him.
"You know what, buddy? You're kind of an asshole."
Even when Allie succumbs to Noah's psychotic antics, he feels like he hasn't traumatized her enough. So he feigns ignorance and makes her tearfully shout out that she wants to go out with him. Finally, when Noah is done mentally torturing her, he gets a smug smile on his face and calmly agrees to take her out on a date, as if she'd been the one pestering him in the first place.
What more do you need, Allie? Marry that man!
Simon Bower pretends to be a writer from time to time. Follow him on Twitter for occasionally witty updates.
For more lovey-dovey things you misinterpreted, check out 6 Romantic Movie Gestures That Can Get You Prison Time and 8 Romantic Songs You Didn't Know Were About Rape.