Monday, July 5, 2010

Romantic Comedies

For a long time I had trouble with the idea of a romantic comedy. I'd seen loads of comedies and I'd seen loads of romantic comedies, but I couldn't name a single romance that I had seen. If romantic comedy was a hybrid of two themes, why weren't there that many straight romances? The trouble, I found, was that a movie can't just be straight romance. Two people meeting, falling in love, and getting married is not something anyone really wants to see. It is part of the reason NBC's the Office isn't as exciting as it used to be. While many people like to point out that movies are in no way realistic, because of which people cannot possible truly "relate" to them, I think that in this case, this is a fantasy to which people do not respond well. Not because relationships don't often work out easily and without conflict, but because, in general, no one is really having an easy time with everything. Why, for example, do people cry at weddings? I think its a simplification to say that they are weeping with joy, the emotion is much more complex. They're not crying because of the present event, but rather the events that led up to it and the events that will follow, moments of struggle, anxiety, etc. They feel, in some ways, life's unfairness, that things aren't as easy as they "should" be. When I mother cries when she finds her lost son, its not because she has found her son, but because she had lost him. Thus, I see beauty as understanding, in the sense that people respond well to representations of the general way in which they experience life, often as a struggle for happiness that is all too rare. A piece of art that can represent that in a unique and revealing manner is, I think, the best and most enduring.

So it seems to me that sadness is often beautiful, or that the things I like most are representations of both awe and pain, joy and doubt, where beauty only exists because of sadness, as a representation of contrast and rarity. The title "Brokedown Palace" and the song itself, from my previous post, show this idea wonderfully. Life is worth living in: its a castle, a temple, a palace, but one can only reap its benefits through a struggle to connect the dots, to fix his or her broken down home. The narrator in the song, notice, explains his ideal life not as one of enjoyment and happiness, but rather as one of leaving home to finally rest, where he will lie down his tired head. Life is beautiful, but it is also exhaustion.

Here are a few more songs that I think represent this feeling, either lyrically, musically, or both. Needless to say these are some of my favorites:

Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945

Found at

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Bonnie "Prince" Billy - You Want That Picture

Found at

Panda Bear - Bros

Found at

The Avalanches - Since I Left You

Found at

David Bowie - Heroes

Found at

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