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May 11, 2009 | by  | in Film |
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The Twilight Effect

How do you compare to modern-day romance?

The forty-minute mark is usually the best. It’s the time when the protagonist and the mentor finally break each others communication barriers, find they’ve got more in common than they think and sparks of friendship appear. It’s an inspirational time. A decent way into the film, the exposition and character setup is done, you’re comfortable on your couch/theatre seat/bed, and it’s before the sixty minute mark, the inevitable argument between the two leads—a time where hand holding is key. Forty minutes, perfect.

You slowly raise your hand, inch it towards hers, lightly graze her hand with your little finger, and if that’s received well (her moving her hand into a more welcoming position or simply not moving it away), you slide your fingers across her palm to intertwine her more slender digits. Your heartbeat quickens. Your breathing shallows. It’s done. Physical contact plateau reached! It’s all automatic from here:

Movie finishes,
You initiate base one, stay on that for a while, suggest moving from lounge/theatre/bed, to bedroom/your house or hers/under the covers…

You’ve scored! And all thanks to a good emotionally-involving film picked by you. Effective storytelling works wonders.

That’s if you pick the right film. An example of the wrong film to choose would be Twilight. For those of you who haven’t seen or heard about the global phenomenon that is Twilight, here’s a quick summary.

Based on the book by Stephanie Meyers, the movie version of Twilight has swept the female market of all ages and quite a few males. It’s the story of an incredibly attractive and brooding young vampire male, Edward, who falls in love with the unsuspecting, rather mundane (but very attractive)
female, Bella. Chaos ensues. While the film’s admittedly well shot, decently acted and apparently quite faithful to the book, more important is the astonishing sexual tension drenching the film (and the audience) like treacle. Edward loves Bella so much but can’t get too close to her in case he succumbs to the potent urge of sucking her entire body dry, turning her into what I can only imagine to be a mess of pale skin and frail bones resembling that of a prune. Luckily, this didn’t happen. Bella stays hot.

Every time Edward and Bella are in a scene together there are lingering looks, sharp intakes of breath, sentences awkwardly half spoken, the whole shebang. Fantastic for the ladies, perfect. You’d be hard pressed to find a woman who’d turn down the offer of Edward the vampire suctioned securely to her neck, erotically killing her—a lot of guys would seriously consider going there also—but not so great for the males trying desperately to keep up with the level of intensity shown on screen with their distracted partner while she dribbles over Eddie. Some would say—and I’ve heard the argument often—that taking your lady friend to see Twilight is clever. A form of aphrodisiac, the fairytale love story will cause her to be so turned on that she can’t keep her hands off you. WRONG. Depending on the girl, sure, I can possibly see that almost happening maybe, in rare cases. But usually, WRONG. The sad truth of it is we pale in comparison. Romance was just taking a step in the modern direction too. Movies such as Sex & the City or Forgetting Sarah Marshall have depicted their characters falling in love, not in the hard-hitting, all-consuming passionate way where you feel like you’ll never live a full life if not with this person, but in the more believeable and sadly more superficial, real way of, ‘Yeah, she/he’s better than nothing, may as well take it lest I end up alone’.

This isn’t to say that real romance isn’t around anymore. I see it every day. The way a couple will avoid each other’s eyes for the duration of a whole meal to avoid repeated conversation, the way a guy snaps off half of his chocolate stick to give to his girlfriend, only to watch her dip it in her coffee, envy etched on his regretful face, or the way a couple feel each other up in the library, ignoring the afternoon’s deadline, choosing lust over study. Ah, love. When that’s considered, it’s rather refreshing to have some serious romance on the scene. Be it the media’s influence or just natural evolution, our view of romance today has changed from major acts of selfless love to small sacrifices and compromises. Sacrificing a night out at Dreamgirls with friends to stay in and watch The Notebook, or sacrificing this entire week’s pay to buy that special someone’s forgiveness with expensive floral. She wants to meet at Southern Cross, you the DTL? Meet at Good Luck Bar, a nice midway point, but compromise nonetheless. If these small submissions are hard enough, think about poor Edward. While he struggles against the craving to suckle her blood out of her neck, we sit back and say, “Oh really? You want to eat at ‘Chow’ instead of ‘Abrakebabra’? Why can’t merely not killing you be enough?”

The sad truth is that romance in our hectic and selfish lifestyles can not match that of the intensity in Twilight. Instead of trying, failing and getting upset, we should aim low. Start off by giving your significant other half of your chocolate stick and not eyeing her while she eats it and maybe go from there. “Aim for the moon and if you miss you still end up among the stars?” Nah. Aim for the bin over there and if you miss and end up in the gutter, at least you weren’t aiming for the stars because that would be embarrassing.

Next time you’re in Video Ezy, frantically scanning the shelves for something mood-inducing to watch with the lucky gal, ask the dude behind the counter, because they know these things best. They’ll tell you, “Choose Twilight by all means, but if the night doesn’t end how you were hoping, don’t blame me. Choose Zack and Miri Make a Porno, now that hooks the high-class ladies.”

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Comments (4)

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  1. Yourbabiesaremine says:

    Dear Mr. Weal,

    What a fantastic piece. I hope to one day marry you and have your children.

  2. james says:

    HAYDEN IS THAT YOU!?!?! YOU LIKE TWIGHLIGHT?!?!?! Whalerider!!!

  3. I pity you says:

    You are a sick pig. What an increidibly immoral and wrong way to view the world. I feel sorry for you.

  4. Felicia Jollyfellow says:

    I hired ‘Twilight’ for $1 at Civic. What a waste of $1! As a movie it fails on all accounts. Too lame and too little sex for a romance. Vampires who are immune to sunlight and don’t bite anyone fails it as a horror. No humour and no action. An unrealistic plot and lousy acting makes it useless as anything else.

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