Monday, March 16, 2009

Irrational Anger

Target must have a lot of unsold Garden State dvds on its hands, because it is selling them in 2-packs, packaged with either Say Anything or The Graduate. It makes me irrationally angry to see two of my favorite movies packaged with Garden State in this way; Garden State is beneath them.

I'm on the record and being somewhat of a Garden State hater. While a lot of my friends saw it as our generation's answer to those classic movies, I saw it as a trite, shamefully derivative, and overly precious, not to mention that it helped to popularize The Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the type of gorgeous, free-spirited, ready-willing-and-available young woman that, in the words of Onion A.V. Club critic Nathan Rabin, "exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures." To be certain, it has a lot of funny scenes, but it goes off the rails whenever it tries to be serious, which is way too often. I can imagine meeting all of the characters from Say Anything, but I can't imagine meeting anybody from Garden State in real life - can you? I suspect that a lot of people now in their twenties will look back on it fondly as a coming-of-age movie, in the way that Baby Boomers think of The Graduate, or that Generation Xers see Say Anything, but I would ask them, was the movie really that affecting, or were you just caught up in the soundtrack and Natalie Portman's gorgeous . . . everything?

Changing gears a little, I was in the checkout line at Target when I saw that the cover of the latest issue of Cosmopolitan promises a sexual move that will "light a bonfire in his pants . . . and in his heart." Really? A bonfire in his pants? Is that the best you can do? Does Cosmopolitan even employ professional writers anymore? I know it doesn't attempt to compete with The New Yorker or The Economist, but surely they can do a little better than that. Does anybody else believe that women's magazines secretly exist to make white women feel bad about themselves, so that they'll buy more makeup and, well, women's magazines to make themselves feel better? Think about it - every issue is about how to lose weight (because you're too fat), sex tips (because you're lousy in bed) and heavily airbrushed photographs of models and actresses. Airbrushed, of course, so that the readers will find themselves to be lacking when they compare themselves to the photographs they see in Cosmopolitan, so they'll buy more issues of Cosmopolitan to learn more fitness tips. I just don't get it.

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