My Begins! (2012)

Once upon a time, Jon had this great idea to try and watch 50 movies and read 50 books in the year 2012.  But I've already told you that part.

Fast forward to January 1st, when I watched my first movie of 2012.  I decided to set a light tone for the year and start with a romantic comedy. I got a few minutes into Love and Other Disasters, starring Brittany Murphy, and it was, true to its name, pretty disastrous, mostly in the British accent department.  I decided rather than waste time on something I'm not enjoying (hopefully a habit I will keep up throughout the year), I'd try something else.  So I started to watch TiMER, which I had saved in my Netflix queue but am not quite sure how I found it.  I tend to be willing to watch anything that's a romantic comedy. It's like candy for my little brain.  I have a million foreign films and documentaries lined up (just trying to save my street cred here, can you blame me?) but I wanted something easy to slide right into the new year.

Now, I don't remember how I came across the movie TiMER, but the concept stuck in my head- it's about a company creating chips they can implant in you that will begin counting down to when you'll meet your soulmate (once that person, too, has a chip).  I won't give you the whole synopsis, it's probably worth watching.  I identified with more of the dialogue than I expected to, and the characters were all very likeable.  But what I enjoyed most was that it had a smart sense of humor and opened up the age-old discussion of whether it's better to know your fate, good or bad, or if you should just wing it.  And is there only one person for you?

Let's be honest, it's not common for romantic comedies to get you thinking.  I found myself wondering what I would do, if I would get a bracelet, how it would change things to know that someone was/not coming into your life.  Where does timing play into your life?  What do you do when, like one character, you find out that your soulmate IS out there... but it'll be approximately 5000+ days until you guys cross paths (apparently the answer is: you sleep around).
 A lot of girls (myself included) tend to eyeball whether something is worth their time; we don't, especially in our 30s, do as much of dating because someone is interesting or just funny to be around.  We'll move on if we don't see it going somewhere.  The irony is that we end things and we don't know if, in a parallel world, it would be the person you end up with, because you close that dorr.  In the movie romance quickly becomes subjected to the timer litmus test.  In fact, the opening scene is a girl dragging her new (1 month) boyfriend in to get timers so they can figure out if this is worth their time.

I guess on some level, women already do this, blurting out questions about long-term goals and needs on first dates.  (Thanks simply to the bad advice of a dating guru whose butt landed on Oprah's couch)  Women often put out awkward feelers early on to figure out if they have the information they need to proceed (or not) with a guy they're seeing.  TiMER effectively offers the scientific scenario (hm...perhaps it should be filed under "fantasy" for women??) -- where you could just, with the press of a timer, identify if you're investing your time in the "right" person.

Ultimately the question becomes whether experience for experience's sake has any value in a world where you could move straight to point B.  With a timer it becomes about the destination, not the journey.  So pick your side.  And having the timer/not becomes somewhat of a social statement in the movie, a ready identifier of people who live by different philosophies regarding fate and romance.

Would you get a timer if they really existed?  After devoting more time to pondering a romantic comedy than I ever have or ever will again, I can safely say that I don't think I would.  I don't know that I could handle the pressure or the disappointment of its certainty.  I read the horoscope in line at the coffee shop and that's enough to rattle me, so do I really need to know the facts about my long-term future?  Nope!

Anyhow, I was excited to watch my first movie of the year and the challenge, and it got me thinking that I might explore a "sci-fi romantic comedy" major.  (Yeah, I didn't know that existed until yesterday either.)  It might end up being a minor, because there really aren't that many options.  But so far I've found another couple of movies that might fit in my sci fi romcom category, Peggy Sue Got Married (which I've never seen) and Happy Accidents (which I'd never heard of).  The key is to see how they can work comedy into it. They always throw a hot chick into sci fi movies to keep the boys entertained, so the challenge is in making it cute.

By the way, am I the only person who sees "romantic comedy" and automatically thinks "Meg Ryan"? Just wondering. 

As for Book #1, I'm slogging through The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obrecht.  The book is covered in praise, which can be hit or miss.  Usually I'm skeptical, but right now my defenses are down because last year I read Jennifer Egan's Visit From the Goon Squad, equally decorated with accolades, and it totally delivered.  The writing in Tiger is good, but not keeping me up at night.  I'm hoping it picks up- I have lots to do!  The last time I put so many holds on books/movies at the library I was 12.  In the meantime, I will probably diversify and read something else, just so I don't, you know, lose all my enthusiasm about reading. Ok, slightly dramatic.

If you guys are fiftyfifty'ing, rest assured that I'm trawling your blogs and goodreads lists for suggestions.  The question isn't whether I'll get 50/50 done- I think I will. The key is to actually enjoy what I dive into.  I can safely say that on movies, I'm 1 for 1 so far.  Hooray!


irene joy said...

i'm really looking forward to participating in fiftyfifty AND blogging about it and reading everyone else's blogs about their fiftyfifty reads/watches! so fun!

Bookgirl said...

i'm so excited you're doing this! i crib off your reading list half the year anyhow, so now it feels sanctioned :) we may have to do celeb trash book-movie combo night