Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Definitely, Maybe

Warning: You might not like this entry. I'm sure I'll disagree with a few people. But we can still be friends, right?

So, you know the scripture in 2 Nephi that says that the Devil leadeth us "carefully down to Hell"? I believe that applies to our media. The storylines of modern theater, movies, and music not only reflect our culture but drive it.

So Scott and I rent "Definitely, Maybe." Betsy's asleep, we're snuggled together in bed, and I'm expecting this adorable chick flick that actually does leave you wondering what the end will be. Which is a nice departure from the typical formulaic romance.

Turns out I'd rather have the formula. I should have known I might have misgivings when they first five minutes has an eight year old repeatedly using the word penis. It's just not a sign of most high-class films.

But what really left me thinking (another move atypical of romantic comedies) was the approach to marriage. Here's the premise: Daughter is spending time with her dad. She's upset because he's divorcing her mom. She asks to hear every detail of how they got together, and he tells her a "mystery love story" and changes the names so she won't know which of his three love interests is her mother. And the back of the box alludes to her learning that love can be complicated and him learning that maybe happily ever afters are possible.

Sounds like it has potential, right?

But the script is manipulated to give preference to one woman, and she doesn't end up being the mom. Fine. So the daughter has herself a good 30 second pout, and then -- for our dramatic ending -- encourages her dad to go hook it up with the preferred love interest.

Is it any wonder our values are so polluted? Stories like this one seem to subversively, underhandedly cripple our morals. Here's the gunky lessons from Definitely, Maybe:

  1. Sleeping around is juuuuuust fine. (Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to find a film indicating otherwise.)
  2. Difficulties in marriage occur because you've married the wrong person.
  3. Divorce is the best answer to problems in marriage.
  4. Divorce isn't easy on kids, but they'll be okay. And probably in a matter of hours.
  5. Besides, kids are way more interested in the so-called happiness of parents than they are in their parents staying together to form a complete family unit.
  6. I hate Hollywood.
It's interesting. Divorce was totally portrayed as just another difficult, but necessary, part of adulthood. Most perturbing was the thought that Hollywood was no longer thrusting these ideas on an unwilling public, but simply reflecting the common outlook.


Jamie said...

I have not seen the movie, but I agree that the downfall of our generation's morals can be easily seen through the media. Even the "cute, nice chick-flicks" usually end with the couple sleeping together with a far-off 'possibility' of an engagement or marriage in the future. Now as a parent, it's becoming easier to spot what kind of trash is out there and to (hopefully) keep the kiddos away.

Weed said...

1. I think your scripture interpretation is right on.

2. I hate when movies try to be "cutesy" by having young children flaunt body-vocabulary in a "see? We here in this movie are not prudes. Are you?" kind of way.

3. That movie's story-line sounds HORRIBLE. I am irritated just thinking about the self-justification that seems to be seeping through in the writing. Makes you wonder what tragic real-life story is being "vindicated" by this hackneyed, romanticized cinematic portrayal of the ever-mythical "for the better of us all" divorce. Like infatuation (cleverly masked under the weighty and totally inaccurate title "love") is the only thing that really, really matters. Please. Try "loving" your kids by not breaking up their family and by actively loving and serving their father/mother.

Reminds me of that song by Kenny Loggins called "The Real Thing." That song makes me so mad every time I hear it. It's the one that goes "I did it for you, and the boys, because love is to teach you joy and not the imitation that your mommy and daddy tried to show you. I did it for you, and for me, and because I still believe that love's the one thing you never compromise on..." (or something along those lines). It's completely outrageous to me that people attempt to remediate their guilt at completely devastating their children by memorializing their act of divorce in some popular medium like that. Face it: if you're getting a divorce, MOST of the time you're not doing it FOR your kids. You're doing it IN SPITE of your kids and the deep-seated knowledge eating away at your insides that what you're doing is tearing up their lives, and isn't truly for the better good of your family. Obviously there are exceptions to this in abusive situations, but, in general, barring such cirumstances, there is only one person a divorce is for, and that's the person requesting it, at the great expense of their children's and former spouse's welfare.

In sum: I couldn't agree with you more.

Okay, wow, the marriage and family therapist is now stepping off of the soapbox. Sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Amanda said...

That was a movie that I totally wanted to see because it sounded cute--but knowing what you've said about it, I think I may pass. There are so few movies that we see these days because I try to be careful of the spirit I'm carrying into my home.

I recently had a similar experience. I was reading the book, "The Accidental Tourist." And, at the end, (don't read this if you don't want the book to be spoiled for you), the main character chooses to leave his wife for the sake of actually making a choice. And it made me mad. I wondered why he couldn't choose to stay and choose to make things work with his wife. So what if you've changed--isn't that what marriage is about? Loving and helping each other through life? Anyway--I'm obviously still not over that one. :)

Thanks for this post! And, weed, I couldn't agree more!


Thank you for posting this! I agree, too. I think you should send a letter to the producer of the show about how you felt. Seriously. We really need to fight against all the garbage that is being made by letting the producers know how crappy their garbage is. Otherwise, it will just keep happening.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree! I saw the movie and was sorely disappointed. The careless approach to marriage and commitment, the lie that you can't choose your happiness but rather it chooses you (like that because he choose the "wrong" woman he couldn't be happy), the false portrayal of the "wisdom" of the little girl. What child would be a) so calm and understanding about her parents divorce and b) then encourage her father to love another woman? It made me so frustrated! And then I felt there was a lot of political propaganda attached to the movie as well - but that's just me. Definitely, Maybe? Definitely not!

Blair said...

Haven't seen the movie, but I agree with your sentiments.

One issue that has become my pet peeve in such discussions, however, is the tendency to blame the faceless "media." While it is true that a lot of these storylines which conflict with our beliefs are pushed on us by Hollywood, I think it is important to remember that Hollywood and "the media" are made up of people.

This distinction is important: If it is always "the media's" fault, then I can just rail against "them" as a tool of satan, and not actually to anything to make the world a better place. On the other hand, if I recognize that there are actual people behind it all, I feel more responsibility to do something productive, like share the gospel with others, and tell them why such influences are bad, and how we can live our lives better and differently.

This is by no means a rant against you, Mickelle, it is only my own private crusade to show that these stories are created and distributed not by a faceless enemy, but by people, and as people, we can fight against it.

Bethany said...

Even the kids movies are becoming trash. It's scary to me to think that society is moving toward a sci-fi movie I once saw where all femalwas were on birth control and anytime anyone was stressed in even the tiniest way, they would pop some drugs and go have an orgy. It's starting to sound kind of familiar.

Michele Sekaquaptewa said...

Wow, I thought it would be an okay movie, just like you did. ICK!! Scratch that off my list of things to see! I miss you and want to come play with you and Betsy, even if it's just for a few minutes. I've tried calling and you won't answer!!!!!!! Call me soon!