Hollywood says: Change yourself, and guys (or girls) will love you!!
Examples: Grease, She's All That, Never Been Kissed (kinda), The Breakfast Club (again, kinda), Clueless, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Cinderella, Crazy Stupid Love (Steve Carell's character)
Look. I love a makeover montage as much as anyone. When Andy Sachs gets made over in The Devil Wears Prada, I die because it's all just so glamorous. And sometimes, ya just need a makeover (lookin' at you, Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman!). And change can be good! Especially when you're married and you're looking to change your own negative behavior. But. Changing yourself to snag a man? Nope. We all love Sandra Dee in her tight black catsuit and her, "Tell me about it, stud." But this is how she chooses to hook Danny? Smoking cigarettes and teasing her hair?! And the worst part is, he totally eats that shit up! His face when he sees her...It's electrifying! If I was Danny, I'd be like, "Hey girl. Don't change yourself for me. Let's go get you a cardigan and a milkshake."
Also, why is it that a girl can suddenly take her glasses off, maybe let her hair down, and she's suddenly sexy and popular? This isn't how it works! It's just not! I have tried. And this isn't only specific to chick flicks. Even in Harry Potter! Ron doesn't even realize that Hermione is a girl until she walks down the stairs all gussied up for the Yule Ball. Right?! How rude.
Hollywood, changing to make guys like you never works in your favor. I used to subtly (I thought) change things about myself with each guy I dated. For example. In middle school, I had a boyfriend who really dug Jesus. Like, Jesus was his homeboy. I decided to start going to church and to youth group events, because I wanted to have more in common with him. We broke up. Then, in high school, I dated a guy who dressed solely in preppy clothes from the Buckle. I did so as well. I even went so far as to pretend I knew all about Halo and Xbox 360s and shit...simply to make a guy think I was cool. Also, that Converse and black hoodie trend that popped up in middle school and then again in the first year of college? Yeah....I was dating a guy who favored Converse and black hoodies. Yikes. (I saw Regina George wearing army pants and flip flops...so I bought army pants and flip flops.) This doesn't work. I hooked the one I've got now by being true to myself. Which means making lots of fart jokes and impressing him with my Super Mario Bros skillz.
Hollywood says: Grand gesture = instant forgiveness!
Examples: Say Anything, Ten Things I Hate About You, Pretty Woman, The Wedding Singer, Beauty and the Beast
To be fair, this scene from Say Anything is unsuccessful because the girl doesn't fall for it. However, it is still a huge and ridiculous romantic gesture trying to make up for some past transgression. For example, don't even get me started on Pretty Woman. I hate it so much. That guy is such a dick, and just because he climbed up on your fire escape to bring you flowers does NOT mean he should be forgiven! Likewise, I understand that Heath Ledger was adorable and it would be hard to resist those dimples. But he effed up quite a few times. He publicly serenades Kat on the bleachers because he...I don't know. Smoked in front of her when he said he wouldn't? I can't remember. AND THEN. Kat finds out that he has been getting paid to take her out, and then she finds a guitar in the backseat of her car. And hey! All is well. Unacceptable!
I will say, though, that there are two movie moments that I would have forgiven: the Beast's gift of a whole library to Belle in Beauty and the Beast (eeeek!) and The Wedding Singer's plane serenade of "I Wanna Grow Old With You." Sigh. Robbie Hart.
Also, this. This is hard to not forgive: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC_Y9f3VGqY&noredirect=1
Hollywood says: A player will change for you! And a commitment-phobe will suddenly decide to become committed, just for you!
Examples: Dirty Dancing, Sex and the City, Knocked Up, Tangled, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Crazy Stupid Love, Just Friends, Pretty in Pink
Here is what would happen in real life: He WOULD have let them put Baby in a corner, because a playa never changes his ways. Baby never would have seen him again after that summer. And Seth Rogen would NOT have been a great dad in Knocked Up, Blaine would have dumped Molly Ringwald for a cheerleader (it's okay, she belongs with Duckie anyway), and Flynn Rider would have left Rapunzel up in the tower so he could go stare at himself in the mirror. Call me a cynic. Once an asshole, always an asshole. This does not apply only to men, mind you!
Also, could someone please tell me why Carrie Bradshaw is such a dumbass? After Big leaves her at the goddamn altar. She still goes back. Really? And then he sends her a bunch of emailed love letters that he didn't even write! I mean, come on, Carrie. I shouldn't care, anyway, because she could have had Aiden. She chose Big. Over Aiden. But seriously. Sucky people don't generally change (except not Steve, in this case, because I know he never would have cheated on Miranda. That was a grave error on the writers' part. Steve is an angel.)
Hollywood says: Kissing in the rain is super sexy!
Examples: The Notebook, Spiderman (admittedly not a chick flick), Dear John, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sweet Home Alabama
That Nicholas Sparks sure does love a makeout session in the rain, doesn't he? This only really works in the movies. Rain is one of the most unsexy things ever. Almost nobody looks good in the pouring rain.
Hollywood says: Sneaking around is sexy, too!
Examples: Romeo and Juliet, Titanic, Moulin Rouge...there are definitely more, but I can't think :(
In Romeo and Juliet, the fact that they are from two families destined to be enemies doesn't stop them from kissing in elevators and making googly eyes through fishtanks. In fact, it makes it even hotter. In Titanic, they run away all giddy and try to hide their frowned-upon affair from everyone. Hiding things really is not fun, though. Especially when you're in high school and you're trying to hide the fact that you're in a relationship at all from your parents. Parents somehow know everything and when it comes to boys in the house, they can sense them. I once had a male friend over (only a friend, I promise) when my parents weren't home, even though of course I knew it wasn't allowed, and when my mom got home, her senses were suddenly superhuman. "I smell cologne in here." And that was all it took. I was done for. Sneaking around is definitely way harder (and a lot less fun) than it looks in the movies.
Hollywood says: Hardship always makes a relationship stronger.
Examples: A Walk to Remember, Knocked Up, Moulin Rouge, Twilight, Love Story, Dear John, The Last Song
In very strong, committed relationships, couples definitely can get brought closer together because of hard times, like an illness or a death in the family. But usually, in the relationships that Hollywood shows us, that wouldn't really happen. Take A Walk to Remember. Now, I haven't seen this movie in years, so bear with me. Shane West's character falls for Mandy Moore, right? And finds out she has terminal cancer and doesn't have much time left. Most high school students, upon hearing this, would turn the other way and, maybe not run, but definitely walk away. I know it sounds awful, and perhaps I'm not giving teenage boys enough credit here. But Shane West must be a saint, because not only does he help her finish her bucket list, but he marries her! And I have a very hard time believing that Bella would continue to stay after finding out Edward is a vampire. I know, I know, it's a goddamn vampire love story, it's not real life. And maybe, if I were Bella, I would have stayed after hearing the news...but I would DEFINITELY have been outta there after Jasper saw my blood and tried to eat me. I don't care how sparkly his skin is or how intense his gaze. See ya. (Actually, I probably would have left after Edward said, "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb." Because ew.)
Hollywood says: Stalking is cool and super romantic!
Examples: Twilight, Say Anything, Pretty Woman, Love Actually, 10 Things I Hate About You, Ghost, Beauty and the Beast, 50 First Dates, Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping
Let me break it down for you.
Edward, Twilight - Edward is the stalker of all stalkers. He watches Bella while she sleeps, shows up unexpectedly in her room, is much much older than her technically, is visibly aroused by her scent. Do I need to go on? Team Jacob!
Lloyd, Say Anything - I know that the iconic boombox-above-the-head thing is supposed to be the ultimate romantic gesture. But this girl lives with her family, right? And the song blasting out of his boombox under her window is the song they first had sex to, is it not? This is creepy to me.
Edward, Pretty Woman - I hate Edward. He pays her to spend time with him AND to change her entire personality and looks. And he climbs up onto her fire escape. I would have pushed him over the edge. Jerk.
Love Actually - There are quite a few events in this movie that could be considered stalker-ish. The one I'm referring to, however, is when the guy shows up to show very inappropriately romantic cue cards to his best friend's wife. At whose wedding he was the best man. You don't do that!
Cameron, 10 Things I Hate About You - I will never speak poorly of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Just know that his character Cameron secretly hired a guy to take out her sister and that he learned French solely to help his love interest study. Too far, JGL, too far.
Sam, Ghost - This seems unfair, doesn't it? However, Sam, you're dead. I know it sucks, but you got mugged in Chicago, and you're dead. And now you need to let your wife get on with things instead of speaking through a medium to her and just generally stirring up a bunch of shit. (Though that scene where he slides the penny up the door? Oh, the tears.)
Beast, Beauty and the Beast - Steals Belle's dad, then trades his captivity for hers. Originally keeps her in a damn cage. Nuff said.
50 First Dates - Adam Sandler's character, taking advantage of Drew Barrymore's amnesia, makes it his goal in life to consistently pop up where he knows she'll be, so that they can meet-cute all over again.
Sleepless in Seattle - Meg Ryan flies across the country to meet up with a guy whose voice she's only ever heard on a public radio station. This would never work. Come on.
While You Were Sleeping - Sandra Bullock literally watches him while he is "sleeping", and lies to his entire family. Yikes.
Hollywood, stalking is never romantic. I had a former boyfriend send me angry text messages for YEARS after we had broken up; one text message involved a picture of his own poop that was captioned, "Chelsea? What are you doing in my toilet?" Maybe Hollywood should put that in the next romantic comedy? :)
A few other Hollywood deceptions: Cheating is okay, as long as you really like the person you're cheating with (The Notebook, Titanic, Moulin Rouge, etc.); high school is chock full of sexy studs (John Tucker Must Die, Mean Girls); awkward, ugly adolescents quite often turn into hunky, beautiful people (13 Going on 30).
There are a few romance-type movies I've come across that strike me as very realistic, however. Those would be Like Crazy (shows the ambiguity and awkwardness in a long distance relationship), 500 Days of Summer (gotta show my love for JGL, plus this is an awesome example of miscommunication in relationships), and Blue Valentine (which is hella depressing, but, unfortunately, pretty typical). Which do you prefer: the movies where they live happily ever after even though it's unrealistic? Or the movies that relate to real life but don't leave you feeling the greatest?
What do you think? Did I leave any examples out?