Recently on Facebook, I filled out one of the “top five” quizzes: Five movies you wish you hadn’t paid to see. One of my picks was Master and Commander, a Russell Crowe flick that received four stars from the Boston Globe and was otherwise critically well received.
When I first saw the trailer for it, I was with my friend Ron. As the trailer ended, we turned to each other and spoke simultaneously:
He: I want to see that.
Me: I’d rather have a spike driven through my forehead than see that.
I love a good movie, but I don’t like period films, I don’t like epics, and I don’t like movies that take place entirely on a water vessel. (Correct: I have not seen Titanic.) Having seen a whole lot of movies, I know what, um, floats my boat. (I’m so sorry for that.)
But because of the rave in the Globe, against my better judgment, I went to see Master and Commander. It starts off disgusting, with a limb being amputated after a cannon battle. Oh, I could see the beauty in the filmmaking, the craft in the realistic action, the way the amputation scene became personal for the viewer. Beautiful filmmaking or not, it did not whet my appetite for more. After 45 minutes had passed and, really, nothing at all had transpired plot-wise, I decided I had better things to do with my time (but apparently not my money), and left.
Why did I let a good review sway me? After watching hundreds of movies, how could I question my preferences? I haven’t since then. Lesson learned.
A recent recurring theme on The BetsyG-Spot has been my unusual lack of interest in dating. And I’m afraid, in addition to the other reasons I’ve discussed in earlier posts, one of them is the Master and Commander syndrome; I’ve seen so many men already, I know what I do and don’t like. It’s one of the side-effects that comes with being, uh, experienced; it’s gotten harder and harder to entertain me, whether with books, movies, plays, or men. Been there, done them.
I don’t know what’s changed since last year at around this time when I wrote Better to Have Loved and Lost…?. At that time, I was still optimistic about love, and for no good reason, given that I’d just been dumped. But maybe because I’ve had some time to think about it in the past six months since my last relationship broke up, I’m just that much more jaded. Now when I envision meeting someone, the plotlines are too familiar and lack a satisfying ending.
Unfortunately, movies like Master and Commander just drive home the point—I know myself, and when my instincts say no, even the best review in the world won’t mean a thing.
So what will break me out of these doldrums? The answer is so close to “nothing,” it hardly bears mentioning. One possibility is that someone will introduce me to someone who I’m certain, feature for feature, will appeal to me. I don’t seem to have any tolerance at all for the features that don’t appeal anymore. “On balance, he seems like a good guy,” even though he’s a Republican or something else on the definitely no list, is not a sentence I see myself uttering. (For the record, I am not suggesting Republicans are bad people; I just don’t see myself dating someone on the opposite end of the political spectrum.) Another possibility is that I’ll meet someone in such an original and unusual way that the plot will actually seem fresh, and I’ll want to stick around to see how it will turn out.
If I were to actually meet someone on my own—you know, just living life, I ran into someone I found attractive on all the right levels—I’d be up for it. But honestly, the only men I meet “the natural way” who I find interesting are inappropriate: too young, married, completely oblivious to my existence, or looking for someone who doesn’t immediately strike them as psychotic.
Some people think my current state of disinterest is a good thing, because when you’re not looking, that’s when someone will come along. But I think the people who believe I’m more apt to meet someone I like simply because I’m not looking have seen too many movies too: pure fantasy.