I have a pretty nice movie collection, but I am very, very particular about the movies I will actually spend my money to own.
The first movie I ever fell in love with was The Sound of Music. I was three and my mother swears I sat through the entire three hours without so much as a single whimper. Apparently, I was so enthralled that I never took my eyes off the screen. Now, as an adult who tends to be very introspective, I know why, to this day, I continue to love this movie. Not just because the music is amazing and Julie Andrews sings spectacularly, but because it is a love story that encompasses an entire family. The Captain, the nun-in-training, and the crowd of children all fall in love with one another, escape the mean Nazis and trek across the Swiss Alps to live happily ever after. What could beat that?
Pretty Woman is one of those movies that I love and will watch every time it comes on TV, but I would not buy it because, when it comes to romance/romantic comedies, I have to be able to identify with the female lead in order to really bond with the movie. The actors in this movie are beautiful to look at, the script is witty and engaging, and the plot is an updated Cinderella story … so why wouldn’t I buy it? Because, never in a million years, can I imagine myself being a hooker.
The torn, single mom played by Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire, the devoted wife character she played in Cinderella Man, who stood by and affectionately supported her man when they went from riches to rags during the Great Depression, the best friend played by Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, and even the nervous Isabell, played by Selma Hayek, who gets pregnant after a one night stand with a guy she just met in Fools Rush In … these could be real women. These women could be me.
But a hooker, picked up off a street corner by a multi-millionaire who just needs a navigator, but then proceeds to fall in love with her? Give me a break. That’s not real. But …
The other night I was home washing clothes and watching BravoTV. A new reality show comes on about a California-based MatchMaker who specializes in helping multi-millionaires find the love of their lives. She seems to take her job very seriously and, in addition, seems to have a very strict screening process. Not every millionaire can become a member just because he has the financial chops. Not every woman gets in just because she’s drop-dead gorgeous, funny, graceful, classy and smarter than Einstein. Matchmaker says, “This is about finding love. Men, this is not about finding a trophy wife or getting laid w/lots of beautiful women. Women, this is not about gold-digging. This is about finding your soul mate.”
I’m thinking, “Good for her!” God knows those millionaires could use someone to help them screen out all the deceitful, scheming women with dollar signs in their eyes. Wealthy men are entitled to the same advantage as that of the poor dude. What? You ask, your eyebrows raised…What the hell are you talking about? Every man, wealthy or not, should be able to put his head on his pillow at night and know without a doubt that the woman lying next to him is lying there because she is in love with HIM, not because she is in love with his bank account and all the expensive things it can buy her. He shouldn’t have to wonder if, behind all her smiles and pretty words, she is just waiting for the day he keels over and all that lovely money becomes hers. He should know that, even though he can afford to “buy love” 1000x over he didn’t have to.
So where is all this heading? To the final scene of Pretty Woman. The male lead is afraid of heights, but when he realizes that she loves him for who he is and not because he’s dirty wealthy—(she must, right? Once she attempted to leave without even taking the money he owed her because he’d insulted her and the second time, when he offered to “put her up in a really great condo” and pay her to be his mistress, she walked away from that, too. She wanted the man’s heart, not his paper.)
So he gives her the fairy tale and “risks his life”/makes the sacrifice to show her he is willing to climb the tower and rescue her. They meet half way down the fire escape stairs where he asks, “What happens after Prince Charming rescues the princess?” She responds, “She rescues him right back.” I never really, really heard that line or understood what it meant until last night. I’d always just figured that after the credits rolled, she grabbed him by the lapel and said, “Okay, you big chicken… put one foot in front of the other, don’t look down and I’ll get you back into the building (or back down to the sidewalk … whatever … ) safe and sound.
But that isn’t really what was meant by that line at all. The man had wealth, but no nurturing relationships. His so-called lawyer “friend” didn’t care about him. He just “loved the kill.” He had a career that made him a lot of money, but wasn’t fulfilling him or making him happy because it had been built on getting revenge against the father who’d abandoned him. He looked like the perfect picture of a wealthy man who had it all, but the reality was he had nothing of any real, lasting value. He had no one who loved and cared about him for who he was. He had no peace. He had no laughter or fun in his life. The sincere, good-hearted hooker, Vivian, rescues business man, Edward Lewis from a life that surely would only have become sadder by the day had she not been there to show him what he was missing. Now, that … that I can relate to.
As soon as I have $1.98 I am heading straight to Half-Price Book Store and purchase my copy of Pretty Woman … in the meantime, I’m posting my bio on a Millionaire Dating Website!