Directed by Stephen Frears
Written by John Cusack, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink and Scott Rosenberg based on the book by Nick Hornby
The movie opens with John Cusack talking to the camera about being miserable because of pop music, and then he is immediately broken up with by Iben Hjejle’s Laura.
I’ve seen this film a few times, I like the wallowing in the past loves, I love the monologues to the camera, I love the music and the late nineties fashion. But it has been a while since I sat down and really watched it.
Watching it in the wake of the massive amounts of sexism and bullshit that’s been happening online lately I can’t help but notice all the judgements Rob makes on all women. All women are withholding their breasts/sex from men. They are tricking men by wearing their most fancy underwear on dates and then wear boring cotton underwear, etc. And I know that it’s just one broken hearted dude’s point of view but it still kind of sucks when you are a woman and watching this. Especially because we don’t get to see how much of a jerk he has been to Laura until 40 minutes into the film.
Joan Cusack of course turns up in this film because John always brings her along I guess. Very notable in this film is a young Jack Black, who had been in other stuff by this time but it’s the first time I remember noticing him. He’s a horrible elitist loudmouth, which…is pretty much the same character he always plays.
The other shop assistant Todd Louiso plays, Dick, is more endearing to me, a quiet, uncertain guy who plays Belle and Sebastian at the start of the film. And he has a cute, tender relationship with Darlene from Roseanne, or rather… Anna, and that’s very sweet.
I love the idea of organising things autobiographically… I’ve wanted to do that with my DVDs but I’ve never managed to actually do it. I fear never being able to find anything again so I always just default to rough alphabetical instead, a hangover from my library days.
Does it make me love the people? Yes and no. I kind of love these people despite myself, knowing that they’re being dicks a lot of the time and hating how hypocritical Rob is. I feel for Laura a lot, extreme empathy there. Ian is a caricature and therefore not set up to be at all likeable, and you do start to care about Dick and Barry kind of despite yourself.
Bechdel test: Laura talks to Liz for an entire scene it’s about how the relationship with Rob broke down, so I’m not convinced it counts. I mean the sentences are all about his actions towards her. The other women are mums and exes and sexy ex Cosby Lisa Bonet.
Jo and Liz also talk at the funeral about Laura but that’s pretty closely tied to Rob and he is standing there and butts into the conversation so… Not sure that counts.
Rob: what should I do to make yourself happy?
Laura: nothing. Make yourself happy.
Rob: Should I bolt every time I get that feeling in my gut when I meet someone new? Well, I’ve been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.
State of Mind: Didn’t enjoy that as much as I wanted to. I think it’s because… it just seems like such a familiar story… a straight white guy who manages to grow up in his late thirties and we’re meant to celebrate it. Like he super judged Laura for sleeping with Ian but the fact he slept with Marie is never even addressed in the context of Laura. I dunno. I was pretty grumpy when I watched this. Maybe I’d like it better on another day.