2011 was a good year for movies I guess! Since I’m not able to extract an interpretation from a film yet, I’m just going to summarize the film instead, and hopefully that which I sift out of the film in my plot summary will be useful. Another thing: movies are soooo complex. Too complex to just encapsulate in one blog post. So a plot summary will have to do for now.
There’s a whole bunch of plot lines in Crazy Stupid Love which all coincide with each other. Cal is a boring kind of American guy who has a stable job and a family and a house with a white picket fence. But his wife divorces him out of the blue because he’s boring and she cheated on him. He’s crushed, and decides to cut off the relationship as quickly and cleanly as possible so as to minimize the pain.
The moral? When you cheat on someone, it’s cause you want to see if they care enough for you to throw a rage and get mad, because then the marriage matters to them and you have proof of that. If they don’t get mad and throw a fit, then you can use that in your argument as evidence that they don’t love you enough, and thus they should agree to the divorce. But what should you do when someone cheats on you?
You’ve got to go to the bar and sulk, and then a male Casanova angel will take pity on you and tutor you to pick up chicks. That’s what Cal does. At first, Cal tells people about how his wife was so cruel to him and how he hates that guy who she cheated on with. No woman listens to him of course.
Then, Mr. Ryan Gosling takes him under his wing, breathes life into his sense of fashion, and shows him a few tricks. At first, Cal is a terrible pick up artist – he insults the person he’s with, he talks about how he has kids and an ex wife, tells them he works in insurance (boring!) and he reveals to the person that he has lines memorized so that he can pick someone up, and is very…unsophisticated with himself. But then, one woman takes his bait, and she and him go home to his new apartment – she’s turned on by his honesty (?!?!?!).
That person turns out to be his son’s English teacher. Yes. Well, we’ll get back to that in a moment.
So what’s the point to make here? One of the things that was so interesting was that picking up people is strangely similar to advertising. In the movie, the women to whom Cal talks are all scared off by his feelings and whining. They don’t want to hear about it! Instead, they would like to be picked up by guys! But not any guy – the guy has to be charming, mysterious, prone to sleep with other women, etc. Thus you’ve got to become someone who is attractive if you want to have a chance at developing a relationship with someone.
You’ve got to be able to be a fu**boy if you want to develop or maintain a relationship with your wife. That’s what Cal was doing (or so he thought): one of the reasons why he was sleeping with all of these women was because he was “trying to move on.” But a consequence of this was that his wife got a bit… jealous? No, jealous is too strong. I think she felt as if she had let go of something which turned out to be valuable. Yes. And when he told her that he had slept with 9 people in the midst of an argument, she was hurt by it – signifying that she still has feelings for him, even though she divorced him.
This idea – be able to be a slut if you want to move it further – repeats itself in the movie with Mr. Gosling as well. He picks up a woman (or 2) every night in the film. But one day, he picks up Emma Stone. What makes her special? She makes him feel self conscious. When he goes home with her, she intelligently articulates that he’s doing his procedure on women: first he smart talks with them, then takes them home, then makes a nice fancy drink and plays the perfect song, and then does this dance routine, the name of which I’ve forgotten, but it was kinda silly. Both of them acknowledge that it is the stupidest thing they’ve heard of, but then whenever he does it, the woman always wants to sleep with him after. Not to mention, she asks him to take off his shirt, and then goes on to point out how it’s as if he’s photo shopped, and then he wants to put his shirt back on again (because he’s feeling self conscious and awkward) but she’s like “nope!”.
So then they go to Gosling’s bedroom, and they talk about how everything in his house is attuned to picking up women at bars and bringing them back home: the pillows, the music, the art, everything. She keeps making jokes while in bed, and he kinda finds it annoying cause he just wants to sleep with her and get it over with, but she makes him laugh and then they go make fun of his silly contraptions in his house. Then, and here’s the tipping point, he asks her to do him a favour: to ask him a personal question. I think this is groundbreaking because it’s at this point that he’s willing and wanting to have an actual relationship with this woman, rather than just sleep with her. And that’s how he asked her: he didn’t ask her to go out with him, like a novice would. No, he asked her to ask a personal question, something only someone who wants to break down some walls would ask.
That’s all I have for today, but it was a great movie. I’d highly recommend it to people because of…well for me, I really found a lot of wisdom in it (see the above). So, till next time.