Thursday, 28 April 2011

"My Wedding And Other Secrets"

Tonight I went with my wife to see the movie My Wedding And Other Secrets. It has a number of points in common with my life story, starting with "nerdy white guy meets Chinese girl(s) at Auckland University". It was fun watching scenes in Albert Park, Continental Noodle House, and the university Science Building --- exactly where I used to hang out with my Chinese friends. (At least it looked like the science building, but it was dressed up to look like a film school. I'm pretty sure the Auckland uni film school doesn't look like the science building.) It was also fun to spot HP8, the Viaduct, downtown Queen St, and various other Auckland locations.

Although I enjoyed the movie, I was not over-impressed. Like a lot of romantic stories, much of the drama seems to depend on the protagonists being foolish. The dramatic arc of the last section of the movie seems unfathomable. James stakes the whole relationship on insisting Emily "choose him over her family" ... but she already has, because she's confronted her family and they've obtained her parents' permission to marry; his demand is that she move in with him immediately instead of waiting until they're properly married. To me that just seems pointless, petty and self-serving. Partly that's because I'm against sex before marriage, but even aside from that, it doesn't make sense. Plus I don't understand how Emily's mother's opposition to their marriage is motivated or is resolved.

Even more distressing, there is a major error in the Dungeons and Dragons scene. Emily is holding a d4 and announces she'll attack with her dagger, but then the DM tells her off for using the wrong die! But Emily was right, daggers do 1d4 damage!

Lastly, why is it that in movies, nerd girls are always actually gorgeous, just disguised? Is it impossible to cast a woman who's not beautiful, even if you're planning to ugly her up for most of the movie?



7 comments:

  1. Leaving aside what sounds like a crazy movie, in general, I think it seems perfectly reasonable to live together for a while before marriage, even if you have no intention of having sex before marriage. If you intend to spend the rest of your life with someone, it seems like a good idea to find out how the two of you will feel about each other when living together rather than just spending time around each other. I'm all for the nice long engagement rather than the short marriage. :)

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  2. What, you think most people don't act foolishly in real life? :) I would agree that lots of movies in general require the characters to act especially foolishly, but I don't think it's too far outside the norm. Go watch some reality TV if you don't believe that's how a large part of our society acts. (Not that I'm recommending that, reality TV is awful.)
    I also agree on the casting of actresses. It's been parodied before, the "ugly girl" who becomes beautiful as soon as her glasses are removed. I guess maybe the perception is that she can't be taken seriously as a love interest unless she's unfathomably beautiful? Seems silly since the overwhelming majority of men in the world fall in love with women who are not, in fact, supermodels. Granted, most people in movies are of above average appearance anyway, so it may just be related to that.

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  3. Did the DM tell Emily to pickup a d20 instead of the d4? You have to roll to hit with a d20 before dealing damage with D&D v3 and up.
    And yes, love is irrational.

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  4. Robert O'Callahan29 April 2011 00:29

    Ted: I assume that movies cast beautiful women for the simple reason that sex sells. Which is true, although the only actress who I'd specifically go to a movie to see would be Kathy Bates (OK, and Michelle Yeoh, I admit).
    Chris: nope, that wasn't it.
    Anonymous: I don't like long engagements either. Marriage is great, why wait?
    One problem with the whole test-drive concept is that people and relationships change, especially when you have kids. Experiences living together before marriage do not necessarily predict much ... e.g. my wife and I never had a fight before we had kids, after that we've had plenty. What you need is flexibility and commitment to adapt yourselves to each other and changing circumstances. That's also a reason why it's good to marry before getting too old and set in one's ways.

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  5. Kathy Bates? look at her in older movies. her body wasn't terribly 'shapely', but her face was relatively cute.
    truly ugly actresses are rare. there aren't many sizable parts for ugly actresses.
    so they muck up the makeup when they need an 'ugly' character.
    their problem with the 'ugly duckling' movies (such this one you reviewed) is that the 'before' must look like the same person as the 'after. that limits how much uglification they can apply to the 'before'.
    the 'ugliest' actresses are those that came into film via other entertainment: comediennes, singers.
    bad guys are almost always male, and *sometimes (the bad guys are creepy-looking. so there are parts for 'ugly' male actors.
    "I guess maybe the perception is that she can't be taken seriously as a love interest unless she's unfathomably beautiful? Seems silly since the overwhelming majority of men in the world fall in love with women who are not, in fact, supermodels"
    actually, lots of real world women are better looking than most 'supermodels'. then certain guys perceive them as unfathomably beautiful ;-)
    ________________
    I agree with the value of "test runs" (living together). and whether that includes sex, whatever...

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  6. The DM says. "Wrong dice, that went out with version 2". I believe he's referring to AD&D's conversion to the so-called D20 system from V3 onwards. However, even in the D20 system you roll either a D3 (using a D6) or a D4 for damage with a dagger.
    I liked the movie. Made me want to be a student again.
    Definitely some shots taken in the foyer outside MLT1.

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  7. Old English romantic novels (e.g., Jane Eyre or to some extent Elizabeth Bennet) explicitly described their heroine as non-pretty. It is nice how some movies when moving from just flesh beauty get much more interesting (see examples on YouTube).

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