Monday, December 27, 2010

3 Must-See Relationship Movies: 500 Days of Summer, He Said She Said & He’s Just Not That Into You

We can argue that all movies are about relationships on some level but some movies depend on the evolution of relationships alone and some romantic comedies are just really better than other - at being more real.
Here are 3 that you should give a shot to:

Starring Bradley Cooper, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Ginnifer Goodwin, Justin Long and Drew Barrymore

Based on the best- selling book of the same name and featuring a stellar cast, this is a really good romantic comedy. I’ll warn you though- the movie features many stories and some of them (2, actually) have happy endings. If you want more truth, read the book. The book is as entertaining and as in-your-face as non-fiction can ever get. I have a detailed review of both the movie and the book here.

He said, she said - 1991
Starring Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Perkins

He Said She Said movie poster from

Journalists Dan (Kevin Bacon) and Lorie (Elizabeth Perkins) are journalists working at the same office and having opposite views. This colorful opposition lands them their own TV show called He Said, She Said. Of course eventually they get romantically involved and things get complicated. The story is told in three parts: he said, she said and what really happened.

In "he said", we listen to Kevin Bacon’s side of the story – where she comes off as a needy, bitchy, hard-to-get-along woman where he pretty much does nothing wrong.

In "she said", we listen to Elizabeth Perkins' side- where he comes off an immature, insensitive jerk who is impossible to have an adult relationship with.

The third and the most fun part of the movie is the "What Really Happened" section- we don’t get biased versions but what actually happened and it is neither like her version, nor his.

This is a wonderfully charming and honest movie about how we tend not to put ourselves in the other one’s shoes. It feels easier to place the blame to one side, but things are almost never that simple.

This is one romantic comedy when it is not about a happy or unhappy ending – but the communications problems we have.It may not have the best plot, but I love how the story is told.

Starring Joseph Gordon – Levitt & Zooey Deschanel 

This movie is bittersweet- it is funny and told in its own
unique way as well as managing to be sad and romantic- although the omance is one-sided.

It is how the movie differentiates itself - the boy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls in love, the girl (Zooey Deschanel) doesn’t. It is not for the moments when you want to get your happy ending and mutual love-  at least in a film. But if you are cynical, this movie is perfect. 

Detailed review and plot can be read here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

11 Wrong Reasons to Have Kids

I have nothing against kids, as long as they cute and sweet. But 90% of the time I am inspired to write ads for condom brands - and I see children everywhere that would make the perfect commercial to scare anyone into wearing condoms (I double-majored in advertising and I am a writer so my mind does work in weird ways). 

  Image via cartoonist Dan Rosandich.Cartoons can easily be licensed for your books, newsletters, web and Facebook pages, presentations and much more. cartoonist Dan Rosandich also offers in depth information regarding the business of cartooning on his cartoonist blog.

There is of course the rare occasion when I picture having a kid, but that fantasy also features Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the father so I don’t see that happening. 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Inspired by my own mindset, as well as a couple friends’, I wrote an article about how to know when you are not ready to have kids. Consider this one a sequel article.

It seems like more and more people are having more babies than they can take care of so it is getting impossible to get a quiet (=no kids zone) time apart from a library. I can so relate to Samantha’s  no-kids- allowed-restaurant fantasy. It is all very well if you are truly ready for kids- both emotionally and financially, fine. Be my guest. But many people seem to have babies for all the wrong reasons. Here’s the list:

  1. ·         Because the parents won’t shut up.
  2. ·         Because the in-laws won’t shut up.
  3. ·         Just to please your spouse/lover.
  4. ·         Because you think you are running out of time.
  5. ·         Just because everybody else is having them.
  6. ·         Because models made it look so cool.
  7. ·         Because society wants you to.
  8. ·         Because all your friends are having them.
  9. ·         Because you are against abortion.
  10. ·         Because you happened to get pregnant and decided to roll with it.
  11. ·       Because you can.
If you could have a customized kid, though- I’d love to have the adorable 4-year-old in Jerry Maguire or the kid in The Blind Side. Other than them, thanks but no thanks.

So, where do you stand when it comes to having kids? Are you for or against? Why?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Does the Dating Universe Want Us to Be More Specific?

Apparently, it does. Because crossing your fingers to meet a cute guy or hoping that the guy that you like will like you back no longer seems to be enough.

Here’s what I learned so far in my 26 years (of living):

-         * It is not enough for the guy you like to like you back. He has to be single and he has to be a nice person, and a good boyfriend. I covered this in detail in 5 Parameters That Keep Us Single.

-         * And apparently, when you are in your 20s, you have to be more specific than “I hope he doesn’t have a girlfriend”. Well, guess what- he might have a wife! So we need him to be 100% single. No wife, no girlfriend and hopefully, no friends with benefits.

-        * So I like tall guys, standing at 5'9" myself.  And one of the tall guys I ended up dating was...Well, let's just say that as it turned out, he wasn’t getting enough oxygen in his brain. I guess that can be a problem when you are about 6’ 5”. I wonder if this is the reason Jennifer Aniston-Vince Vaughn relationship didn't work?

-         * So after a "tall" disappointment, I said: "OK, height doesn’t really matter that much."
      I was hoping the dating universe would understand and send me a guy with decent brain activity but all I got was a guy closer to my height who was even more of a weirdo than the taller guy when it came to relationships.

-         *  I later asked for a great guy who I had lots in common with, who I’d have a riot with. I found such a guy. He was a great friend, and really good-looking too. Nothing happened.  But I wasn’t his type. Ouch.

Yep, the universe kept misunderstanding me. So  I decided to be more specific. I am sharing what I want with you, and sending the wish out there:

I want a cute, totally single guy who is fun, nice, attractive (to me) and attracted (to me). I also want him to be easy going and have a high level of emotional intelligence. Oh, it would really help if he didn’t have kids. And it would help if he doesn’t really want kids at all. I also need him to be fun-loving, loyal and reliable. I also need him to have the skill of empathy. I want him to be romantic and attentive but not possessive. I want him to like me for who I am. And I need to have mutual sparks flying all over the place!!!

Do you think that was a bit much? Well, sorry. It never served me well when I just asked for a nice guy! So there! I think that’s specific enough.Don't you?

Feel free to be specific in comments :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bad Boys Are Way Overrated

Ah, the allure of the term bad boy. It inspired countless stories. And there is also the myth that girls love bad boys.

OK, so it is not exactly a myth. There are many girls who like bad boys. In fact, to my major disappointment, one of my best friends admitted to this fact.

But trust me- there are also many girls out there who think bad boys are way overrated. I should know, I am one of them.

If a guy is an asshole, it is a deal-breaker. He can be the richest and/or sexiest and/or smartest man I have ever met. So what? Nothing matters when the guy doesn’t have the personality it takes to be with me. And what I basically want is a laid-back, easy-going nice guy who doesn’t see picking fights as a hobby.

And by laid-back, I don’t mean lazy or irresponsible. I just mean someone who makes it easy for me to be around him.

I don’t know when people started seeing bad boys as sexy. And movies don’t really count. Seriously. If Timothy Olyphant is playing a badass, and I am finding him attractive, it is because I just like how the guy looks and acts. I am not turned on because he is a jackass. I am turned on because he is Timothy Oylphant.

Tİmothy Olyphant with Jennifer Garner in Catch & Release.

Nice is sexy. I am not saying I’ll fall for any guy who is nice. But come on. Dating is a lot more complicated than that. There has to be an attraction. But let me tell you this much, if I ever liked a guy up to now, it was because I thought he was nice. I was so put off after I learned that the nice boy thing was an act.

And look how Hollywood makes money out of bad boys. They put a misunderstood guy who the audience thinks to be a bad guy but the guy is intrinsically good and he proves it to the audience and the girl he ends up with. Remember Patrick Swayze’s Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing? Timothy Olyphant’s Fritz in Catch and Release?

So I like good guys, shoot me.  In fact, I have a feeling fewer girls would be single if bad boys were ALL THAT.

Some Essentially Recommended Movie Good Guys

Hugh Dancy’s Grigg in The Jane Austen Book Club
Hugh Dancy’s  Luke Brandon in Confessions of a Shopaholic  

OK, pretty much any Hugh Dancy character is a desirable nice guy, so moving on:

Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy – Bridget Jones’ Diary, Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason
Daniel Day Lewis’ Hawkeye – The Last of the Mohicans


My list goes on, but you get the idea. Let me know what you like: bad boys or good guys. But even if you like bad boys, can you honestly resist a good guy looking like Simon Baker? I am just saying…

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Settling, The Last of the Mohicans and Looking for Who You Really Want

Image via:

Epic/period movies are definitely harmful to any girl’s psychology. Sure, regular romantic comedies do their best to create flawed but loveable male characters that also happen to look really cute. But in (epic) period films, the hero is typically handsome, strong, thoughtful and emotional, romantic, heroic and to add insult to the injury, he is a great lover. The other night, my friend and I made the mistake of watching The Last of the Mohicans. Again. You can watch the trailer here.

The Last of the Mohicans is a great adventure/romance/war flick from 1992. Directed by Michael Mann, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe and rated 7.8 on IMDB, it is by no means a film for just girls. But it leaves the biggest (and worst) impact on girls. You can read the plot and review here, but my first paragraph pretty much explains why Daniel’s Day character is sets an impossible example.
The truth is, we don’t expect a guy to look as gorgeous as Daniel Day does in the film. But that character of his will turn us on anytime. 
Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawkeye.

So the next day, we found ourselves talking about relationships and why we are single. I complained that we are just both unlucky when it comes to attracting the guys we want to attract. But she said, usually everyone is. A majority of people fail to attract the people they truly want, so they settle for whatever they can get. That’s a depressing theory, but she might have a point.

I had mentioned in a previous post that there were 5 parameters that kept us single and those had nothing to do with high expectations.  But I always want mutual attraction. I don’t believe in game-playing. I believe in being open and nice to each other. Technically, I don’t want much. But I am not going to date a guy because I am afraid of being alone or because he likes me. If I don’t like him, I am not going to spend his time or mine.
But when many people settle or date for the sake of dating and not for their actual feelings, the same people expect you to settle as well. If you are single, they try to convince you that there’s something wrong with you. But the truth is, most of the time you are single because you are not afraid to ask for what you want. You do want to feel intensely attracted to someone. You want to feel extreme excitement. 

Yeah, I realize the modern guy won’t be a gorgeous adopted Mohican fighter. But hey, he doesn’t have to fight in actual battles. But he should be able to fight for you. He should be willing to make an effort to be with you and you should do the same. He has to be decent. He should respect the fact that he is not your only option but you choose to be with him- over anyone else.

So no, I am not settling. Because what bothers me is not being single. It is not being with someone I really want to be with. I have nothing against being single. If my option is to settle for less than what I want and/or deserve, I am not going to take it.

We are talking about personal and emotional compatibility, coming with mutual feelings. And I will keep searching for that. Even if I don’t find it, I’ll be proud of myself that I tried. How about you?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Book Review: What the hell is he thinking? by Zoe Strimpel

I had a great laugh while I was watching Mel Gibson’s What Women Want. It was a great comedy/romance about a chauvinistic, guys’ guy who starts to change after he unexpectedly begins to hear what every woman thinks. The movie had gotten a lot of things right, but then again it was written and directed by a woman, Nancy Meyers (also the writer& director of Something's Gotta Give, It's Complicated). I had then contemplated the opposite idea. I remember thinking it would be a great idea to hear what men think…But the truth is, as long as the ability comes with an off switch, it would feel more like a curse than a blessing.

Image via

Still, it sucks not being able to figure what they think, doesn’t it? Especially if you like a guy who is giving you mixed signals or acting weird. It gets even more complicated when he turns out to be the exact opposite of what he claimed to be when he was first met you. You want to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the longer you stay in the relationship, the more you realize he was an asshole who had disguised himself as a nice guy.

As for the benefit of the doubt, there is no need to be naïve about it. I used to believe that every man was innocent until proven guilty. I was just being a nice girl and a romantic. But I realized that being a cynic does more good than harm and it is better to accept the opposite: Assume guilty until proven innocent. And there is an awesome book on relationships to help me prove my point: "He is just not that into you".

Don’t think that I am being particularly feminist or sexist- when I covered the book and the movie on the same article, I made sure I believed the books’ points made sense for both sexes. The most important to take from it is that if he/she is making you confused, making you second-guess them, you feel like there are mixed signals…well, he/she is not just that into you. It’s that simple, right?
But sometimes, you wonder why that person is like that. What the hell is crossing their minds? Why aren’t they that into you in the first place? Why are they acting like jerks?

The difference is, while “He is just not that into you” can be considered unisex in many aspects (if guys can be smart and take hints), What the Hell is He Thinking?: All the Questions You've Ever Asked About Men Answered is strictly for girls.

Image via amazon.

The author Zoe Strimpel is a British writer, born in 1982. She has been writing a dating column but she wasn’t less clueless than the majority of her friends and the rest of the female population when it came to the puzzling behavior of men. So she talked to many men, including strangers, friends, friends’ boyfriends, dating gurus…that cover a wide range of ages, physical appearance, jobs and personality.

And while it is a very fun, fast and true-to-heart read, it is not for the faint of heart as you will listen to true stories of men who only want to date skinny women but consider having sex with plump women “lovely” (they just wouldn’t date them), men who read Cosmopolitan so that they can get laid more often and fool more girls (-they don’t read these mags to make their women happy), men who get possessive over women they are not in love with, Casanova wannabes who try their initial games on you, men who give mixed signals, men who openly lust after other women while their girlfriends are present and much more depressing true stuff…

While I still believe that "He is just not that into you" the pretty much the only relationship book you’ll ever need to get to be with people you deserve, What the Hell is He Thinking?: All the Questions You've Ever Asked About Men Answered is the next best step, if you are trying to figure out what the hell was that behavior all about. And yes, many of the reasons and explanations are going to be too superficial or too brutally honest. But don’t forget, it is coming directly from the source and you did ask for it.