Rarely does one weekend provide such a dramatic cinematic dichotomy: the ultimate guy movie vs. the classic chick flick.
I’m an unabashed Sylvester Stallone fan. From ”Rocky” to “Cop Land” to “Rocky Balboa”, I’ve enjoyed watching Stallone on the big screen: a macho not-all-that-guilty pleasure. So, as the weekend approached, and the big Friday 13th movie premieres loomed, my choice was easy. I suggested to my wife Victoria that we go see Stallone’s latest action opus “The Expendables” – and she agreed.
I wasn’t sure that Victoria was truly prepared for the level of sense-surround mayhem and bloodshed she might witness, but she knew “The Expendables” was a guy thing – and an older guy thing at that. For a 52-year old gym rat like me, the opportunity to sit in the dark next to my hot wife, eating popcorn and watching Stallone and his mercenary buddies kick butt and crack wise, constituted the perfect date night.
Then, this morning, as I stepped out of the shower, my wife presented me with a new idea.
“What do you think,” she asked, “about seeing ‘Eat Pray Love’ instead?”
It was almost too much to wrap my soggy head around. “The Expendables” vs. “Eat Pray Love”. What’s a guy to do?
It was obvious that my darling wife would prefer the gauzy, romantic, introspective Julia Roberts vehicle to watching Sly and the boys wreak havoc on a fictional South American island. And at such a moment the less experienced, less mature husband or boyfriend might have been in a quandary. But I held firm, secure in the knowledge that my marriage was strong enough to withstand my choice of a potentially corny comic-book action yarn over the filmed adaptation of a romantic, best-selling, Oprah Book Club-selected memoir of one woman’s search for self.
Luckily for me, Victoria is one of only six or seven women in the U.S. who has not read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book. So, it was relatively easy for me to make a quick deal with my entirely reasonable wife. We agreed to see “The Expendables” tonight (Friday the 13th) and catch a weekend matinee of “Eat Pray Love”. Having had my testosterone level sufficiently pumped up by Stallone’s high-explosive heroics, I could withstand the mellowing, sensitive and emotional travails of Julia Roberts on a round-the-world journey of self-discovery after a bitter divorce.
Tonight, as we wait in line for the opening of Stallone’s summer blockbuster, it will be interesting to see the group lining up for the other blockbuster, “Eat Pray Love”.
How many men in the “Eat Pray Love” line will be looking over at guys like me with a hangdog, wish-I-was-you look? And how will the women in line for “The Expendables” differ from those in the queue for Julia Roberts?
Which couples will look like either “The Expendables” or “Eat Pray Love” was their one and only possible choice between the two films? And how many other couples will look like they might have made the same deal that Victoria and I made?
The people-watching might be as fun as the film.
As for the under-30 crowd, there’s no choice to be made. They won’t be in either of those two lines.
They’ll be with their dates waiting to see that other summer blockbuster: the one starring the completely anti-Stallone movie hero, Michael Cera, and a non-Julia Roberts-type heroine named Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
“Scott Pilgrim Saves the World”.
And that is as it should be.
Definitely not Sly Stallone and Julia Roberts.