The other day I was drinking with a group of friends, and after a few hours of conducting ourselves accordingly, we, like most people, started talking about questionable moral choices that we’d all made throughout the courses of our lives. Like dinging someone’s car with your car door when you get out, sneaking your own candy into the movie theater, or masturbating into a library book before you return it.
Mine: Shallow Hal
Around the time Shallow Hal was released on video tape and this new thing called DVDs (they’ll never last), my best friend told me that he wanted to see the new Jack Black movie. It looks hilarious! he says.
(I’m sorry for the aside, but I’m assuming that all of you reading this have a best friend and can therefore understand where I’m coming from with this. If not, before you continue reading this post, you should go make a best friend so you can better understand this scenario. I trust my best friend with my life. If I were taken captive by terrorists and tied to train tracks and left for dead, my best friend would do whatever he had to do to save me. If I were Catholic, he’d be the Godfather to my unborn children. I trust him that much. So when my best friend told me that a movie looked hilarious, I was apt to believe him. I learned however, that his taste in movies… I guess I may not trust his ideal comedy as much as his ability to dispatch an entire underground terrorist organization. The whole point of this aside, I suppose, is that I did not… did not… suggest watching Shallow Hal. Nor have I ever suggested such a thing.)
Riding the coattails of his critical acclaim as J.D. in the foreign film of the year “Saving Silverman”, my friend informed me that Jack Black had made his own situational comedy, in which he co-starred with Gwyneth Paltrow and George from “Seinfeld”. Recipe for success, right? At least to a 19 year-old boy it doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea. 19 year-old boys also tie sleds to the backs of their friends’ Jeeps and drive down unplowed roads at 40 miles an hour. Needless to say, the judgment and critical thinking skills of a 19 year-old may not be as well developed as on might expect.
That evening I suffered through one of least enjoyable cinematic experiences of my life. I remember laughing at all the right parts; Gwyneth’s 10XL underwear, or her jumping into the pool and splashing all of the water out of it. All the while, Jack Black is totally aloof to all the gags and simultaneously I’m wishing that the movie had been filmed in Latin so that it would have made more sense. I guess I laughed because it was supposed to be funny. But my laugh was hollow and empty. Much like my heart.
Anyways, after discussing this with my friends, I realized that Shallow Hal brought up a very delicious discussion appetizer. I don’t want to say that I learned anything from that disaster. However, hypothetically, think about being able to communicate with someone via telephone, text message, e-mail, whatever. The means of communication isn’t important. What is important is that person you’re talking to… you can’t see them. You know absolutely nothing about what they look like.
Now imagine that you can openly and easily communicate with them like no one else that you’ve ever met in your life. You don’t believe in soul mates, because women have no souls, but if they did, this person would be your soul mate. You’ve learned to affectionately care for this person. Deeply. You love everything about them. Even their little bastard son.
Then let’s say that you finally get a chance to meet in the flesh. And it turns out this person is not up to your physical standards. “Ugly”, you could say. Maybe not even hideous, like hillbilly ugly, but just unattractive to you. Could you spend a considerable amount of time with someone of the gender you’re attracted to, even if they were ugly? Now let’s up the ante. Could you spend time with them if they were attracted to you and looking for something more than just a friendship?
Typical Shallow Hal viewers would probably tell you that they learned a valuable lesson from Hal’s story. You should love someone for who they are on the inside. I absolutely agree with that sentiment. Everyone is special for who they “really” are, not what they look like. Right. That’s why all the actresses in Hollywood are so hot. Because of their awesome personalities. F that. I want my soul mate to be a pre-preggo Jessica Alba, or else I’m going to look for a new one. I couldn’t make a connection with someone that fat. Are you kidding me? The whole time we’d be talking, all I would be able to think about is Kevin Spacey in “Se7en”. Then I’d be freaked out because, Jesus, Kevin Spacey is a weird guy and I don’t want to have to worry about being around someone that serial killers may be targeting. No way.
In hindsight, I probably did not take away the same lesson from that movie that most people did. Or that the producers, directors, or writers intended for me to take away. Oh, well. I’m going to go troll the anorexic self-help groups and look for someone I can connect with emotionally.