Wednesday, October 12, 2005
With This Film I Thee Wed
A good friend and I were talking about film yesterday and he asked: "Why is it, you suppose, so many people like to see weddings in movies?" And I thought for a minute and said, "For the same reasons they like to go to weddings. To escape." Think about it. Some women start planning their wedding day for more than a full year before the date. Hell, some start planning it when they're 12! That's a lot of planning (and a lot of stress) for ONE DAY! And the majority of the time, yes, the majority of the time...the marriage does not last. So, the wedding ceremony and reception are a bit of a sham. And what about that white dress? Hmmm. White, huh? OOookay. Still, friends and family come to weddings to celebrate a "lifetime" of happiness for the couple. And they come to escape their (perhaps troubled) realities. They see the white dress and think..this is pure. They hear the vows and think...this is forever. They listen to the sappy I-can't-live-without-you lyrics and they get sentimental. They dance, eat the free food, and drink a lot of the free alcohol and think...this is a great party!! That's why wedding movies are so popular. People go to the movies for the same reason -- to escape reality. So wedding movies are a double whammy! Witness the rash of successful recent (and not so recent) wedding films: The Wedding Crashers, American Wedding, The Wedding Date, The Wedding Singer, The Wedding Planner, My Best Friend's Wedding, Runaway Bride, The In-Laws, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Muriel's Wedding, Father of the Bride, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. These are all romantic comedies, by the way. None of these films show the reality beyond the wedding day itself, as for example, director Michael Cimino did so brilliantly in the first half of his Oscar-winning Best Picture The Deer Hunter. In that film, we see the harsh underpinnings of the wedding reception. The bride is pregnant. The husband is about to go off to Vietnam. The in-laws are worried sick. The guests at that wedding party are escaping a reality too. But the difference is, we see the reality as well. Not so in the recent crop of wedding films. Will the pendulum swing back? Not as long as these films keep making over $100 million.