High on Hollywood

I have a guilty pleasure. I love watching a predictable movie or television show where characters dress like runway models while grocery shopping, children expertly assess adult situations and mouth loaded dialogues while playing with crayons, and the friend who has nothing better to do than live vicariously through the protagonists’ various misadventures knows exactly how things will end up without having an inkling about their own life. I enjoy watching how the actor’s or actress’s entire personality is wrapped up in the opening scenes where they wake up drunk, roll out of bed angry and stand at a coffee shop to buy black coffee until they receive an urgent call for a job that only they can deliver for their irate boss who hates their guts but grudgingly admires their talent. If they’re walking, they don’t need to watch their step because they’re proud and self-assured and if they’re driving then parking their cars is never a problem. They’re saving the world so they have a right to screech in and out of parking spots as though they own the city even if it is New York.

    The taxi driver always makes smart aleck-y comments, the neighbour is usually an old lady without any business of her own and the pub owner is a grumpy man who surprisingly knows nothing about hospitality. People from small towns are almost deliriously chirpy and oblivious to life’s realities. They never get the drift when a snotty big city person is trying to get them to shut up. The office assistant (always the opposite sex) usually has a crush that is obvious to everyone except the hero or heroine although in all other matters they are smarter than everyone else. If it’s a cop he has to wear a leather jacket and go rogue, if it’s a journalist they have to wear a trench coat and dodge a corrupt government and if it’s a secret operative they have movie star looks but a painful past that has compelled them to choose a life of secrecy and betrayal. The dad is always pot-bellied and tired, the mother is always harassed but loving and the siblings hate each other until the time comes when they have to risk their lives for one another, which they do while making snarky comments and yet throw in the one backhanded compliment that makes everyone tear up.

     I admire aliens in sci-fi films because they are never hostile although humans have always been warring. I enjoy the last-minute dash to the airport/wedding in die-hard romantic comedies, the zig-zag chalk lines of spreadeagled murdered people in bloodless mysteries (as though being poisoned is not violent) and I haplessly watch the brutal crime in gangster movies because it is offensively absurd and doesn’t warrant much attention. I like clueless professional detectives and bright amateur ones who trump them. I root for the underdogs who stand up for themselves to group applause. I like the women who finally accept their own body shapes and mindsets and dump undeserving men. I adore the loving dogs, the precocious children and the suburban parents. I can’t help laughing over cheesy dialogues, feeling outraged at the stereotypical portrayal of cultures and unashamedly allowing my heart to thump with excitement because everything has fallen apart in order to work out in the end. Seriously, I don’t know what I’d do with my thoughts on some days if I couldn’t dim the lights, grab the remote and switch off my mind.

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