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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Definitely, Maybe" -- Forget It!

Lately my wife has been indulging herself by having Netflix send her romantic movies, instead of stuff that I like, like the Discovery Channel programs that depict the planet as it would be should every human suddenly and forever disappear. Her latest was something called "Definitely, Maybe." I'm not going to bother speaking about who had roles in it, except to say that the lead character looked a little like one of those Affleck boys, and one of the women that he courted had an amazing resemblance to Parker Posey.

It's about this guy telling his small daughter -- who, using a popular conceit of New York City film writers, somehow speaks with the force and insight of a highly perceptive 40-year-old woman -- about his love life that preceded her birth, and he gives all but one of the several women involved pseudonyms, and the girl is supposed to figure out which one became her mother.

The movie started out okay, but it gradually fell to pieces because of egregious shortcomings of the lead character. My dismay started with his opening a package that he had been asked to deliver to someone else and continued with his blatant exhibitionism and with his sophomoric reaction, when, after having been a heavy B. Clinton political operative, he finds out about Clinton's dealings with the Lewinsky woman. The character immediately joins the Clinton attackers without having given that matter more than a second of the long periods of thought that that matter required.

But the real kicker came in the case of one of the women in his life, after he found out that she had built up a big collection of used editions of the C. Bronte novel "Jane Eyre." During her teen years her father had given her a copy of this book in which he had written a beautiful inscription -- two weeks before he died in a car accident. The book later fell out of her hands, and ever since she had haunted used book stores looking for it, while buying any other editions that had inscriptions.

This guy happens to find just that copy. Though it is at a time when he is not in close contact with her, he still knows where she lives, and he actually goes to give it to her. But, unaccountably, he turns and leaves while still hanging on to the book, after finding her living with another guy. And he compounds that misdeed many times over by waiting eight or nine years and marrying another woman and having this daughter and then starting on a divorce, before he gets around to looking up this woman again and finally giving her her long-sought-after book. And he -- and the film's writers -- can't come up with even a piece of a dumb reason to justify this highly criminal dereliction.

She, with all the justification in the world in spite of her intense gratitude, immediately tells him to leave after he tells her this. Yet the writers conspire to have him end up with this woman that he in no way deserves -- while the mother of his overly precocious daughter turns out to have been the Parker Posey lookalike instead (Elizabeth Banks).

That "Jane Eyre" thing really sank this movie for me. It was already bad enough that the film was set in heavily over-dramatized New York City.

Some of us may live for very long periods, but time is still too short for that kind of callous and unthinking behavior, and I'm glad that I'm not a New York City-inspired sophisticate that can find an excuse for it.

You just don't do that sort of thing with someone's long-lost book. With other objects, maybe, but a book -- never!


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