Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Why Guys Don't Like "Chick Flicks"......

After having this conversation on five separate occasions, I finally decided I would write a blog about this topic.

As a film critic, it's kind a rule of thumb to not be biased about any particular genre of film. After all, it's kind of important to review and analyze a film based on it's own merits and themes presented individually, instead of grouping the film into a broad category and writing it off as "just like all of the others".

However, a lot of films that we see fall into the "just like all of the others" a little too often, unfortunately, but as a film lover and reviewer, especially when it is kind of your job to watch films and give your honest opinions and share experiences and make recommendations, you have to watch everything like it's the first time. It gets hard sometimes, but it comes with the territory.

I was recently involved in a conversation about how this particular woman was more than happy to go with her guy friends to see movies that are "guy movies" all the time, but they aren't willing to go to "Chick Flicks" with her or her other girl friends. There is a simple explanation, and I am going to give it to you. I will also include screenshots from the films I talk about to illustrate my points, except for a certain topic that you will understand later.

To make my point, I chose two films that are well liked and talked about. One very recent, and one that has been around for a few years, but it makes the points very clear. It does, however, apply to a lot of different films, and not just these two, but it's easiest to make my points with these two films.  I chose:

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy  VS.  The Notebook            I will talk about Guardians of the Galaxy first. I used Guardians of the Galaxy to make the points because the comic book was/is pretty obscure before the film was announced and made, and even when it was announced, people thought that Marvel had lost it. So, it's a little easier to use over something like Spider-Man who has been in pop-culture for a long time.

1. It's a movie based on a comic book. Not that girls can't be interested in comic books, but it's pretty much a proven fact that more guys are into comic books than girls. However, I know a few girls that are way into comic books. So, guys are behind this already, but there are a bunch of girls out there who are too.

2. It's a sci-fi action film. While this is something guys are interested in way more often than not, the science fiction is a change of pace for girls who are used to normal films, and the action is still entertaining and easy to enjoy by both men and women. The peril the actors face is still just as dangerous and exciting and thrilling to women, so both men and women can get behind this fact and enjoy it.

3. It's a comedy. Funny is funny no matter the genre, no matter the gender. Guys and girls both find the humor a lot of fun and silly.

4. There's a hot, green alien chick who kicks a lot of butt. Maybe this is more of a fantasy for the guys, but still, a super cool, kick-butt woman character is still pretty cool for girls, even if girls not as pretty as her call her degrading names behind her back, but that happens in real life and in chick flicks as well, so yeah, the guys might get the fantasy aspect, and by fantasy, I mean.....well, we know what guys think about when they see someone they are attracted to.

5. The plot is interesting. A good plot, and this goes both ways for guys and girls in any genre, but the plot of Guardians of the Galaxy is a lot of fun and interesting to watch play out. There is some childhood emotion that is involved with Star-Lord or Peter Quill, there is a little romance between Star-Lord and Gamora, There's a great partnership between Rocket Raccoon and Groot, Drax the Destroyer has a back story about his wife and daughter being murdered, and there is a whole planet on the verge of being wiped out unless the Guardians can make it there in time and stop a pretty powerful villain. It's interesting for everyone who watches it.

Those are five reasons why Guardians of the Galaxy is technically a guy film and why men love it, but let's be honest, it was one of the highest, if not the highest grossing film of the year, and was attended by millions and millions of girls and women as well. But there is something in Guardians of the Galaxy that women get that men, well, straight men, don't get.

That's right, a shirtless Chris Pratt with a nice body shape and great abs. Honestly, I am a little jealous, but not to the point of calling him a slut and demeaning him on Facebook, that's more of a girl thing....Just saying.....

So, really, what did a girl or woman have to "put up" with? They get a fun story, thrilling action, comedy, shirtless hunk, a cool kick-butt female hero to like and for the more nerdy girls, a fun comic book movie.

Now we have reached The Notebook.

I saw this film on a date with a serious girlfriend at the time, and it was still kind of hard to watch. I wasn't a critic at the time I saw the film for the first time, that's right, I have seen it more than once, but I still was open-minded towards all films, just as I am now. Like I said earlier, this is one film, and one example, but it can be applied to many others.

1. Rachel McAdams as the film's leading lady. While Rachel McAdams is a beautiful actress, and girls and women will argue that we get her when they got Chris Pratt, Rachel McAdams was, what's the best way to put this, made a "Plain Jane". What that means is that, yes she is a beautiful actress, but they made her look like a "regular girl" in the film. There is a great quote from The Simpsons that makes this point, and for the sake of time, I will just say the quote. If you want the reference, email me and I will send it to you. "I mean TV ugly, not Ugly ugly".

While still pretty, her character is supposed to make every girl or woman feel like they can relate to her. If she is done up like this....

Now, I am not here to debate on what is pretty or beautiful , and I know that people are more than just their body and that we can find people attractive by their minds and actions and how they treat others, and yadda yadda yadda. I get that. I am just saying that the intent of the film is to make Rachel McAdams look more like an everyday woman over a glamorous movie star. The reason is so that women relate to her, so that the romantic events that ensue seem likely and plausible to every woman. More about this topic later.

As far as I am concerned, the girls get a hot and shirtless Chris Pratt, where as I am pretty sure us guys will never get a hot and shirtless Rachel McAdams in any special edition version of The Notebook.

2. Drama. Now, guys can get behind drama if there is something exciting going on behind it. Drama can play out a lot of different ways. it can be intense, so Drama isn't really a bad thing and is used in every movie. That creates the conflict that our protagonist has to overcome whether it be aliens from another planet, or an eating disorder, drama is in everything. But really, the drama in The Notebook is will she be with the guy or not, or what will happen to them if they are? Not really that exciting. Sitting for two hours with an off chance of violence is a long time to sit through a film with no payoff for a guy.

3. This kind of echos my last point, but, little to no action. It's all about feelings and feeling excited when you find true love, and this sadness that the woman, SPOILER ALERT, doesn't remember her own husband and love story in the end, which he comes and tells her everyday, and not only that, but the only hint of violence that the guys like is at the end when the guy commits suicide and dies with his wife. While sweet and romantic to women, guys find this lame.

4. I guess since I posted the pictures of Rachel McAdams, and while I did post a picture of a shirtless Chris Pratt.....

That's right. Ryan Gosling.  I actually really do like Ryan Gosling. He is in a few brilliant films, including Lars and the Real Girl, which he was amazing in and should be seen by everyone, and the film Drive, which was also amazing. They are both worth watching. However, the girls get a dreamy hunk, and while girls can get behind a character like Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy because, yeah, she is hot and guys like her, but she is also a strong, independent woman who is tough and kicks butt, so they can get behind that. If I even say the phrase a guy getting behind Ryan Gosling, it's opening up a can of unclean jokes, so I will stay away from it, but you get my point. Guys don't care about other good looking guys. Which leads me to my next point....

5. SEX SCENES. But Nate, guys love sex scenes, I mean, that's all they tend to think about most of the time, right? And The Notebook has two, pretty long, (and uncomfortable, might I add.), sex scenes.  Well, yes and no. Guys like Male Fantasy Sex Scenes, and The Notebook has Female Fantasy Sex Scenes. What's the difference?  Quite a bit. A Male Fantasy Sex Scene is different in ways I kind of mentioned above. Men like sex scenes of a super hot girl, usually not wearing any clothes, which usually shows gratuitous nudity and acts that you would never talk about with, well, hopefully anyone, but honestly, guys fantasize about women they most likely could never be with or do that stuff with, doing things that just about every real woman outside of the movies and porn industry will never do. However, the same can be said for Female Fantasy Sex Scenes, but in a different way. My 8th grade English teacher defined Romance perfectly. She said, "Romance is something that is possible......that will never happen."  (Mrs. Hunter at Joel P. Jensen Middle School in West Jordan, Utah, You are still one of my all-time favorite teachers.). The difference is that the sex scenes in The Notebook are "Romantic Love Scenes". The girls and women fantasize about this situations happening to them with a strange new, hot guy. They usually aren't graphic, and kind of depict the sexual experience being awkward, but intimate and special. Just as porn or Male Fantasy Sex Scenes depict women doing things that will never happen that women feel that they can never aspire to, nore should they because it really is sick and degrading, Female Fantasy Sex Scenes give women a more realistic scene.......that will never happen, causing women to feel that they are under-appreciated and not treated with the same love and respect as the leading hunk in the film gives to the woman. It's still fantasy, and will never happen, just different. the approach is the same, but the different types of fantasies are played out different in different genres. And then, after all is said and done, if a guy goes to a chick flick hoping to score some points with the wife or girlfriend and is hoping to get lucky later that evening, even if he does, the lights are turned out, and the woman is fantasizing about Ryan Gosling instead of the guy.

Where are the payoffs for the guys in a chick flick? Granted, there are some chick flicks that do have things that men might like, but most of the time, chick flicks are made for women to be watched by women and enjoyed with by other women. In a relationship, you should do things you love to do together, but when it comes to movies, there should be some give and take, but there are certain films that are just for men, and just for women, so enjoy them that way, or even by yourself. I go to the movies by myself all the time, and I have a great experience just the same. I get what I go in for and enjoy the experience. If women don't want to go to a "guy movie", then don't go, or at least understand that there will probably be something in that "guy movie" that you can find to enjoy whereas this isn't the case MOST of the time. There are exceptions to this, and you will usually hear about a film that is great for both men and women that fall into the "chick flick" category that are worth seeing.

Also, Romantic Comedies don't count because men can get behind the comedy and enjoy that, and we have had a lot of instances where rom-coms can be guy movies as well. Pretty much any romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler proves this point. They are romantic and funny, but you get crude and usually sexual humor that guys tend to like over girls.

I am also going to say this right now, I find sex scenes uncomfortable despite them being male or female fantasy sex scenes. I think that they are gratuitous most of the time, and I think that sex can be implied without being seen. The film Fury that came out recently with Brad Pitt had a scene where sex was implied, but didn't show anything, and I was grateful for that. I really hope that guys don't think about sex most of the time and that men respect women and love and care about them for who they are and what they do and say over what they do behind closed doors. I hope that women recognize this and that it is a two way street. Men want to be appreciated and know that they are making their girlfriends, spouses, or partners happy by being themselves and treating them right, and not by how big their abs are....or if they have abs at all, and not in perfect harmony with their feelings all the time.

I love film, and I love the way it makes us feel and think. I love the way that people can gather into a theater and watch a movie and experience it intimately, as well as collectively. Movies can be personal, or an event shared by lots of other people, usually strangers. I think men and women should be more open-minded when it comes to certain genres of films, but I also know that this isn't as realistic as I would like or hope. Most people go to the movies for entertainment, and they tend to watch the genres that entertain them and complain about the genres that don't. My dad will probably never sit down and watch a documentary film, unless it is about sports, and then it's probably a huge maybe. I wouldn't bet on it. I think he might think I am weird for loving Documentary film, which is okay. We are all different and have different likes and dislikes, and to each his or her own.

Anyway, this blog is long enough. I hope you enjoyed reading it if you made it this far.

This is Nate signing out.

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