Tuesday, June 9, 2009

American Romance

Fred Astaire  Ginger Rogers swingtime2

There is something so remarkably uplifting and romantic when you watch Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger gliding and dancing cheek to cheek in the countless number of movies they did together. Then you have something so deeply moving and again, romantic when you see Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in a movie like Casablanca.

I can quote a long list of classic American movies made in the 40s and 50s bearing similar theme, but I won’t bore you with it.

I adore American cinema during that time and I believe that it was THE golden era for romantic comedy or drama. Nothing like the present time chick flicks which are made to target specific niche. The good ones are usually those which portray lives back in the olden times when couples still express their feelings in more subtle but dazzling ways. Now, it’s all so garish and impersonal.

The special effect, artistic direction and casting may be way more sophisticated now but they still lack that je ne sais quoi and charm often found in these classic romance. I think the characters in many new movies often lack characters and even the musical score is pale in comparison.

I’ve been watching some romantic chick flicks recently on TV and I’ve come to one conclusion; most of them end in public confessions. If you don’t believe me, take a look at Picture Perfect, Definitely Maybe, Because I Say So, Baby Mama, 27 Dresses, etc. Jerry McGuire’s “you had me at hello” would have been better without the group of divorced women gawking at them.

Whether the confessions are carried out in front of a large group or just one or two people, the couples are never alone. This includes making a public apology. (If only most politicians could learn from that).

27 dresses

I rather like the movie 27 Dresses and almost thought it was romantic in the way that the love interest turned out to be the wedding section writer whom the main character was “secretly” in love with. Then by the end of the movie, she jumped into a private boat wedding, grabbed the microphone and declared her love. Most of you might find such act courageous or even romantic, but if I had an erection then, it went flaccid.

It’s almost as if there’s nothing these couples can’t say in front of anyone, even at the most intimate moment like saying “I love you” or “Marry me”. At the end, what is supposed to be the climax of the movie, the big moment when two persons are about to reveal and share that exclusive conversation is ruined by the thunderous claps of bosses, colleagues, friends and strangers. Whatever shred of romance or dignity left is killed there and then.

And what is with the public proposal thingy?! Is it really romantic or it’s just plain rude for the man to put the woman in such a public spot where saying “No” or “I need to think about it” would make her a spoil sport or a bitch?

Maybe by saying all this makes me a romance killer but excuse me, romance is not about being an exhibitionist or voyeurism. It’s that special emotion, gestures and moment between two people. Don’t you think so?

Call me old fashion but is declaring one’s love or faults in private so passé? I would like to see more movies bringing back that old-fashioned honest-to-goodness kind of romance, rather than the present cliché where there is a need to define romance based on what other people can or cannot see.

Now, I beg of you. If you’re an American reader, I would like to know whether it’s common practice for people to do this in America or it’s just dramatization by movie sellers.

For female readers, do you really think it’s romantic when your man proposes in public? 

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