Ed note: apparently holidays lead to writer’s block. First, because attempting to make an earring selection at Clare’s for your second-cousins is wildly mind consuming, and second, because every time you sit down to edit something reasonably good you’ve written, you get distracted by Julie and Julia and sparkly wine, or by home movies and laughing with the people closest to you, or by thinking about how you saw Lauren Graham at the Ferry Building and tried to say “hi” to her like you knew her because admittedly, you’ve watched the entire Gilmore Girls series more than twice all the way through. So today, I bring you something I wrote about dating four years ago for the now defunct site StudentStuff – which is all neatly wrapped as a review of New Moon.
There are many things I expected to happen while watching New Moon, the second of four movies in The Twilight Saga. Among them were: witnessing a theater full of young adults swoon, cheer and jeer as Edward (Robert Patterson) and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) filled the big screen, feeling slightly let down that the movie was not entirely true to the book, and wishing that the movie stars portraying the emo characters had taken some acting lessons since Twilight was released last year. I was certainly not expecting to, in the course of two hours, decide my boyfriend thinks I’m fat, get engulfed in the story of New Moon, and then realize thanks to New Moon that my boyfriend is just trying to take care of me (but in a less awkward and creepy way than Edward takes care of Bella).
The first thing that happened when the eight previews ended and New Moon started is that my boyfriend removed the popcorn I was mindlessly munching on from my grip and placed it on the other side of him, far away from me (causing me to start agonizing over my body image). The second thing that happened is the dialogue in New Moon began, and I became less interested in my own drama than I was in the fact that indeed, it seemed as though an acting teacher had been brought to the set.
With one key exception, every actor had upped their acting ability ten-fold since “Twilight.” Kristin Stewart’s interpretation of Bella was much less jerky and awkward, and her and her father Charlie (played by Billy Burke) suddenly had a sort of banter and ease with each other as though they really were father and daughter. Bella’s classmates had more life than a set of spinning tops and the vampire family, the Cullens, were not in the movie enough for their stoic and vapid interpretations of their characters to matter. Unfortunately, Robert Patterson must have been absent the day the acting lessons took place, as he continued to rely on mumbling his lines and giving dark stares in various directions as his sole avenue of conveying meaning. Thankfully, he appeared only for a total of fifteen minutes, as the story of New Moon revolves around Bella and Jacob rather than Bella and Edward.
Still, despite New Moon actually being entertaining, the second the Quileute’s morphed into werewolves that looked as if they were animatronic instead of computer generated, I was a little disenchanted and returned to my own musings of being bothered by my boyfriend’s actions. What was he thinking? What was in his head? New Moon continued and Jacob and Edward both professed feelings for Bella. I watched as both the idea of masculinity and the ideals of feminism were flushed out the window in an unconvincing attempt to prove that seventeen year old boys can articulate what they are thinking and feeling with words rather than actions. Then I suddenly realized what my boyfriend had done: he had been a real person.
Real people don’t have conversations about how wonderful they are, how much they love each other, and how they cannot live without each other. The story of Edward, Jacob, and Bella is disturbing not because of the cross-breed dating that occurs between vampires, humans, and werewolves, but because no person of any age talks the way they do, no matter how emo of a generation we’re all part of. The conversations in New Moon between the leads is insipid, uninspired, and boring; and never do they address the real issues of being in love. And that is nothing new for Twilight–the books are like this too, but watching it happen rather than just reading it really demonstrates just how unrealistic the relationships are.
My boyfriend was watching me eat salty food late at night, and was more than likely imagining the conversation I would have with him later about how I felt entirely craptastic (because since when has a salt-overhaul ever made anyone feel good?), and rather than saying all of this as a midnight movie started, he simply remedied the situation. He was doing what Edward and Jacob do for Bella when she’s busy trying to learn to ride motorcycles or cliff dive–he was saving me from my own mindlessness, my own recklessness–I just happen to have the decency of being reckless with popcorn instead of with two-wheeled death traps. The hardest part of being in a relationship isn’t saving your partner from monsters…it’s saving your partner from themselves.
New Moon is light-years better than Twilight in every way, shape and form–Edward’s sparkling doesn’t seem so crazy, Dakota Fanning is what Kirstin Dunst was in Interview With the Vampire (an evil, pain-loving blonde), and though it made me feel a little bit like a cougar in the making, Jacob looks fantastic without a shirt on. New Moon, as all of the Twilight Saga is doomed for, will not offer a total escape from your life because of the improbability not of the situation but of the character’s behavior. It’s not the worst way to spend part of your weekend thoug, and you’re guaranteed to be able to talk about it with any female under the age of forty at school next week.