The Chemical Compostion of Romance

I discovered two things in the last two days. The first thing involves drinking coffee (my lifeblood, as may of you know) and eating cheese, which, to my great surprise, is NOT a winning flavour sensation or delightful combination. Milk and butter go so well with coffee–hello cookies and croissants–but I was pretty startled that cheese does not. Man, I thought there was a milk product to go with everything. Turns out there isn’t. Naturally, I had to consume more coffee to wash out the astonishingly crappy oiliness left behind by mellow Bega Mild.

Next on my list of shocking discoveries was the realisation I don’t like Four Weddings and a Funeral (4WAAF). Well, that’s not exactly correct. I should say I saw it years ago and enjoyed it, but it is not a romantic comedy that works for me more than once.  I like Hugh Grant. Andie MacDowell is lovely, gorgeous in fact, but while I watched the movie I noticed that, despite some really awesome writing and bantery dialogue, their characters never really quite…spark. There’s no smoulder, no glint. There is a lot of Andie’s eye batting and Hugh, in his floppy haired stage, established his now trademarked and charming blinkety-blink-blink. For the most part, for me, the pair lack chemistry. And in a romance chemistry is everything. Although I’d seen the film before and knew what happened, I still found myself hoping it would end differently, like Hugh would wind up with Kristin Scott Thomas, who had better lines than Andie. The scenes with KST, Hugh seemed natural. With Andie, Hugh seemed extra blinky. After a while, with Andie’s eye batting and Hugh’s blinking, things started to seem like a silent movie. I had would not have been surprised if dialogue had shown up on black cards.
However, what I do like about 4WAAF is that, as a romance, the movie broke some romance genre "rules," and you know I’m all for knocking convention on its ass.

I like it when someone dares to remix romance elements. My vote for one of cinema’s best chemical reactions is The Cooler with William H. Macy, Maria Bello and Alec Baldwin. It’s got sleaze, it’s got guns, it’s got violence, it’s got gamblers, and pubic hair. Yes, my Bitey-ites, this dirty little foray into the crime underworld is actually a romance rather than a gangster movie, it’s even billed as a romance drama, and it shakes up a few romance tropes. Most importantly, The leads, William H. Macy and Maria Bello have totally believable chemistry, which may seem odd considering our hero, Bernie, is a lonely loser. Bernie loses at gambling and at love. In fact, Bernie is such a loser, he’s paid to sit at tables in Alec Baldwin’s casino because when Bernie’s around his loserly life seems to rub off on the other gamblers. His presence ‘cools’ winning streaks and turns winners to losers. Our heroine, Natalie, is a cocktail waitress. When Bernie falls for Natalie, his loserdom begins to change. Little does Bernie know Natalie has been paid to seduce him. However, Natalie actually does fall for Bernie and then all hell breaks loose. People get kneecapped and dead because that’s what happens in Vegas gangster movies. But unlike other ultra violent films that make you think of Joe Pesci and bodies being buried in the desert, and, despite a body count, The Cooler, like any romance, has a happy ending.

And I’m pretty sure there’s a scene where they drink coffee without eating cheese.

3 thoughts on “The Chemical Compostion of Romance

  1. I seem to remember reading once upon a time, long long ago that the Saami reindeer herding people (a/k/a Laplanders) use cheese made of reindeer milk in their coffee.

    I must have been all of 9 or 10 when I read that, so take it for what it is. But maybe reindeer milk cheese tastes better with coffee?

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