14 Ways Hollywood Gets Romance Way Wrong

By @anandawrites
14 Ways Hollywood Gets Romance Way Wrong

According to Hollywood you can get around anywhere in LA in 15 minutes, no one ever pays street meters, everyone orgasms every time they have sex, knocking someone unconscious is easy as pie, and Santa Claus is most definitely real. We’re not saying anyone is turning to Hollywood to learn the truths of the universe, but boy does it feel like filmmakers aren’t living in the same world we do. Nowhere is this more evident than in the completely implausible distortions poured down our throats and injected into our hearts in the form of romance films.

I mean honestly, have these people ever even gone on a date? Here’s our tally of Hollywood-romance injustices, just in time for everyone’s favorite red-bathed holiday: Friday the 13th. Wait, what did you think we meant?

Stalking is Romantic

Twilight is a stalker movie

Proven By: Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping, Hitch, Twilight, You’ve Got Mail

Oh, the intrigue of strangers. The hottie on the street. The co-worker who doesn’t know we exist. The widow on the radio who lives clear across the country. Love at first sight/sound not only happens all the time according to Hollywood, but also leads to lasting relationships. And hiring someone to spy on/get the scoop on that hot honey you’ve been eyeballing is apparently a legit form of courtship. What no one seems to talk about though is just how creepy it is to form that sort of attachment in the first place. That these protagonists are clearly unbalanced. And even though the romantic interest might be weirded out at first that the lead lied, spied, or scammed them, in the end they find it hopelessly romantic. I’m sorry, but in the Book of Reality, that behavior calls for restraining orders. [Ananda]

The Cutest Protagonists are Hopelessly Flawed

Pretty Woman

Proven By: Pretty Woman, Bridget Jones, Twilight

The damsel in distress. Since the dawn of time she’s been every man’s weakness. How efficiently she throws into contrast his own robust manliness and put-togetherness. Do you fall down a lot? Spill papers at the office regularly? Maybe have no idea what forks to use at fancy dinners or generally just say the wrong thing all the time? Then you, my friend, are adorable and highly loveable—and maybe have a neurological issue that you should have looked at, or high levels of social anxiety disorder. Not only is this protagonist offensive to able-bodied women who rightly believe that one hires trainers/coaches/therapists and dates dudes who aren’t trying to take on those roles, but it also implies that women who embrace these sorts of meek attributes will be rewarded with love. Being loved for one’s shortcomings isn’t romantic, it’s backwards. And honestly, dating a woman that klutzy or awkward is bound to hurt in the end. [Ananda]

Finding Love in the Workplace is a Cinch and Totally a Good Idea

Bridget Jones

Proven By: Bridget Jones, The Proposal, Miss Congeniality, What Women Want, The Wedding Planner

Hollywood would have us believe that in the big wide world of dating, in addition to bumping into eligible single folk on the street, the next best option is one’s workplace. Whether it’s your saucy and sexual-harassment-lawsuit-waiting-to-happen boss or the co-worker you never noticed before, love is sure to blossom under the fluorescent lights of your office. Clients? Fair game. They walked into your office didn’t they? And no one would assume if you sleep with your partner on that big project that it could in any way backfire or be misconstrued. Hollywood people might be used to running into their exes on every other film set—I mean, they have A LOT of exes, right?— but the average person in reality would define that as a personal hell. Heck, there’s even a well-known idiom to make this rule of thumb that much easier to remember and avoid: Don’t sh*t where you eat. [Ananda]

Meet the Love of Your Life at 15… Because What Could Go Wrong?

Romeo and Juliet

Proven By: The Notebook, Titanic, Romeo and Juliet

When the average lifespan was 35, I suppose 15 seemed like a decent age for settling down and starting your ‘forever family’ since it was, for all intents and purposes, middle age. Nowadays, however, we’re all living to ripe old infirmity so getting married later in life has become much more of a common occurrence. Which is a great thing, judging by how well these young lovers fared: vengeful parents, murderous cousins, sinking ships. Who can really say that they’ve found the love of their life after one make-out session in the back of someone else’s car?? We can blame some of them on William Shakespeare, but the others we only have ourselves to thank. I mean, if chasing you up a ferris wheel and threatening to take his own life to force you into going on a date with him isn’t a sign of prime partner material, I don’t know what is. Let’s just say, it never hurts in life to PACE YOURSELVES. And if a complete stranger starts spouting sonnets at you, RUN. [Scarlet]

Love Conquers All (Even Affairs With Your Girlfriend’s Mom…)

The Graduate

Proven By: The Graduate, You’ve Got Mail

You’ve Got Mail is one of my favorite movies of all time. Nora Ephron knew what she was doing to us. And The Graduate is a cinema classic studied in film classes throughout the country. I get the sentiment. I really do. But someone has to give these people a reality check. Or at least lifetime couples’ therapy. There’s no getting past those major faux pas in the developmental stages of a relationship without needing to do a complete psychological overhaul, major emotional detox, and perhaps some good old-fashioned brainwashing. I mean, it’s bad enough having your mom set you up with someone—let alone her secret lover. And moving in with a superstore and destroying the only living link she had to her dead mother’s memory? It’s fine. Really. Nope. No sir. There’s no coming back from that in the real world. [Scarlet]

Violence is Sexy

Gone With the Wind

Proven By: Gone With the Wind, 50 Shades of Grey

I don’t know what it is. Does the person having domination over us making us meek and powerless somehow illicit an attraction that is in our inherent make up? Maybe it stems from being a caveman and needing someone to grab us by the hair and drag us away in order to propagate the species. Whatever it is, you would think we might have evolved somewhat in a few million years. Unfortunately we still see cases in movies, especially those lauded by Hollywood as ‘the next big thing’, where it seems that there has been no evolution of any kind since those days of neolithic neanderthalisms. So many times the woman “needs” to have some sense slapped into her, to be grabbed violently in a “loving” embrace, to steal a passionate kiss from her so she might finally be made aware of her feelings for you. And yet doesn’t it all lead inevitably to a Lifetime movie-ending; where a woman and child escape to a sanctuary in fear? Not really inciting those warm cuddly feelings of romance. [Scarlet]

Love is Often an Epiphany


Proven By: Clueless, When Harry Met Sally, Jerry Maguire

Because the good people of Hollywood’s dream-world are often really busy being awesome, or being klutzy, or dating their co-workers, it’s not always obvious to them when the love bug has bit. It’s hard when wrapped up in your perfect life, or utter despair, or exciting career, to know when the light switch flipped. Lucky for them Hollywood devised the Love Lightning Bolt™. A handy dandy device that strikes a character at the exact moment they are meant to know love has arrived. Usually it’s a complete surprise. And often it calls for spontaneous action. Is she on her way to the airport? Run after the chick! Is she in an important meeting? Bust that sh*t up! (See below for thoughts on declarations of love in inappropriate places.) Ok, what makes this most improbable is what usually ends up coming out of their mouths after this epiphany. “You complete me”?? No. Have some self-respect. Co-dependence is never sexy. [Ananda]

Love CAN Be Bought

Dirty Dancing

Proven By: Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Ten Things I Hate About You

We all know the scene, she carried a watermelon, and he’s just here to keep the, uh, guests happy. There are so many people out there disparaging the moral value of money. Dough. Moolah. Don’t they realize that if it weren’t for money, NONE of these iconic couples would have ever wound up together? Which, I’m sure, can only be a bulwark for lasting success in any romantic endeavor one might undertake. How on earth else would we have had Pretty Woman, a classic Cinderella story (albeit Cinderella as a prostitute)? Where would Bianca be if Patrick Verona hadn’t been bribed into asking out Kat? I’m not even kidding right now. Show me the money. According to Hollywood, money CAN buy love, ladies and gentlemen. We’ve been getting it all wrong. [Scarlet]

Yep, That Kept Person is Definitely Into You

The Apartment

Proven By: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Apartment, Moulin Rouge

Apparently this was a popular theme in the ’60s. But with movies we hold up as near and dear to our hearts. There was a certain endearing romanticism surrounding those poor young artists taken in so wide eyed and innocent by their unassuming benefactors and then drawn into an…arrangement. Could, perchance, you have met them precisely at a time when they where looking for real love? I’m not saying it can’t work but…there are a few obstacles one might run into in this situation if it were to occur in everyday life. And it’s not the fact that said relationship involved the exchange of money and/or goods. It’s not even the fact that love doesn’t seem to be an essential element of a romantic partnership for them. But their previous partner was paying for their living arrangement, bills, clothing, jewelry…and they didn’t even have to see them every day. How do you compete with that? Wait…do I detect a look of disapproval in your eye? [Scarlet]

The Perfect Match Is Actually Your Best Friend/Co-Worker/Neighbor/Recently Met Stranger, Who Knew?

Something Borrowed

Proven By: Something Borrowed, Thirteen Going on Thirty, French Kiss, Brown Sugar, Made of Honor, Just Friends

Every girl, and probably plenty of guys, spends time mapping out “the one.” They make a list, or cut out pictures in magazines. He may have far-fetched characteristics, like a keen intuition on when to grab chocolate and wine on his way home from work, or a deep-felt love for Taylor Swift, but he’s pretty fleshed out. So how is it in romantic films that protagonists walk around as though with blinders on? While most women would find it incredibly convenient if their male best friend also happened to be very attractive, very thoughtful, and very into them, the ladies, and often men, of the rom-com world are always completely oblivious. Like, are they impervious to puppy dog eyes and longing stares? Even the people who meet strangers and spend some time getting to know them seem to not understand that THIS IS HOW LOVE WORKS. How can anyone spend that much time with a person and never take a second to consider their characteristics and the uncanny way they align perfectly with everything they’ve been looking for in life?? [Ananda]

Weird is Adorable (aka the Manic Pixie Dream Girl)

Bringing Up Baby

Proven By: Elizabethtown, Garden State, Almost Famous, Bringing Up Baby, Forces of Nature, Serendipity

The MPDG is nothing new these days, and hopefully is on her way out, but considering Katherine Hepburn played her in the black and white days and “quirky” continues to be a word we adore using, well then weird will always mistranslate as desirable in some cases. The MPGDG is marked by her irrationality and, often unattainability, a weird girl (and sometimes weird dude, possibly referred to as an Affable Dork). You might know this person if they are the one who confuses the hell out of you in conversations while simultaneously intimidating you into not revealing your confusion. They trick you into thinking that the state of bewilderment they lead you into is a place of depth and romance. That you are somehow enhanced by their strangeness. It’s a lie, a clever ruse of nature meant to detract you from their shallowness and persuade you to mate with them… or it’s just Hollywood’s weird idea of what a normal person is like. We can’t blame them too much, there are not likely to be any normal people in Hollywood for them to draw from. [Ananda]

Declarations in Inappropriate Places Are Romantic Not Awkward

Ten Things I Hate About You

Proven By: Love Actually, Moonstruck, Notting Hill, That Awkward Moment, Sweet Home Alabama, 10 Things I Hate About You, Dirty Dancing

So you’ve just had aforementioned epiphany and realize you’re in love. There’s no time like the present! Put on those tennies and go get that girl/boy! Happen to be in the middle of your own wedding to someone else? No big deal, just go. Already in a relationship? Meh, you can deal with loose ends later. Walking in on a very public/very important meeting, public gathering, family event? It doesn’t matter, this is pressing. Other than the EXACT second you realize you’re in love, any other minute won’t do. Life is fleeting. Yeesh. Boy is Hollywood really proving they do all buy into the adage “live fast, die young” with this one. But of course what’s more appalling in romance films is that this ALWAYS works. Instead of fierce anger or mortification, the love interest seems to find this quite endearing. Or they say no for now, but they’ll come around. I’m sorry, but lose me a chance at career success or publicly humiliate me and I will NOT be falling in love with you. And for the record, kissing in the rain is super uncomfortable and why would you want me to catch a cold? It’s just rude. [Ananda]

One Night Stands Totally Turn Into Lifelong Love

That Awkward Moment

Proven By: Working Girl, That Awkward Moment, Moonstruck, Two Night Stand, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Knocked Up

Forget the unlikely amount of hotties who hang out in the average movie bar, or even more unlikely the number of eligible single people at movie weddings, the sheer amount of protagonists who make drunken mistakes that turn into true love is staggering. Like, according to Hollywood this should be the only way girls attempt to find lasting happiness. No one ever gets STDs, they only rarely get pregnant, and they are often incited by the heat of the moment, which is a totally sustainable energy. Mostly I’d like to know what kind of beer they’re all drinking, because their beer goggles are giving them some sort of superpower for honing in on soul mates. Granted in some of these movies the characters acknowledge the total awkwardness of jumping into bed with someone quickly and then not quite knowing where to go from there, but the percentage of the likelihood of matching compatibility, using a limited knowledge of a person, expounded by varying levels of horniness is the sort of math I can’t pretend to do. It’s not the kind of odds you play in Vegas folks, that much I do know. [Ananda]

He Looks Like a Jerk Now, But Just Wait ‘Til He’s Changed…You

She's All That

Proven By: She’s All That, Strictly Ballroom, My Fair Lady

Their motives might be different: some might want to win a bet, others a dance competition…but the end result is the same. Ultimately it boils down to highlighting just how worse off you were without him! Without him you were homely, uncoordinated, and probably needed glasses. Good thing he showed up. Good thing in his benevolence he picked you up out of that horrible scrap heap of nerdom and set you on the path to hotness. How else would you have learned the power of make up, contacts, and a few lessons in gracefulness? Of course, there’s always the empowerment that comes with self-actualization and confidence. But that won’t sell roses and chocolate!!! [Scarlet]

Best Of The Web