Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: Crazy, Stupid, Love

Every time I watch a movie with any romance in it I can't help but notice whether it portrays game accurately. It is satisfying to see romance portrayed realistically. Unfortunately, realism is not very popular in Hollywood. So we see movies like Hitch, where the titular character shows well developed ALPHA traits in the first half of the movie, and in the second half he tosses out everything he knows because he has seen the light and realizes that everything he believes does not work. His enlightenment is accompanied by a reversion to his previous state as a BETA. While the formula is not necessarily completely inaccurate, after all, if a guy decides he wants a LTR he does have to show some interest in commitment, most of the time the behavior that gets the girl's interest in the first place is rejected in favor of some nonsense about true love or soul mates. While the need to sell tickets is certainly understandable, I would like to see a movie that is a little more realistic when it comes to game.

So when I saw the promos for Crazy, Stupid, Love I was somewhat hopeful. I hoped to see a entertaining portrayal of the MAP, and possibly game in general. I was not disappointed, much.

In the beginning we are introduced to Cal Weaver, a frumpy, passive-aggressive husband whose wife cheated on him. After his wife announces she wants a divorce, Cal does nothing to save his marriage and moves out immediately to get away from her. He ends up at a local bar and complains loudly about his wife and divorce to anyone who will listen. After a few nights of this, Jacob, one of the bar's patrons and a skilled ladies man, takes pity on Cal and offers to help him to rediscover his manhood. Cal accepts and0 Jacob then guides him through the MAP, with a hilarious combination of contempt and concern.

This part of the movie was the best. Jacob comes across as a believable pick-up artist. He runs a highly confident direct game, while not as tight as it could be, would probably work with the powerful frame that he has. He peacocks with a wide array of colorful clothing, mostly suits, all perfectly fitting, in contrast to Cal's ill fitting clothes. The best thing about Jacob is his frame. The movie is worth watching just to see what amused mastery looks like. His frame never cracks, he is always calm and always confident. His movements are slow and deliberate, and he never looks like he is wasting energy. In short he is an ALPHA, and one worth watching.

Cal is unquestionably a BETA, with more problems than just his clothes. He is passive-aggressive, sad, and hopeless with women, including his wife. Despite this he is likable and I wanted him to succeed in his efforts to change. Cal's transformation is mostly portrayed through his change in wardrobe, which is fairly dramatic. It drives home the fact that a change in clothes has a significant effect on how attractive a guy is. But it also shows him working out, and though Jacob's lessons, changing the way he thinks about women. It all comes together when Cal begins approaching women in the bar. At first his attempts are awkward, but after some stumbling he begins to have a great deal of success. I appreciated the nod toward realism as Cal's success admits that game works to attract women. When he finally talks to his wife again he gives her this small speech about how he should have fought for her that the divorce was partly his fault because he became complacent and boring. At this point I was seriously wondering if the script writer had read Athol's blog.

Sadly the movie quickly loses ground. After the speech the movie turns into a sitcom. It stayed funny throughout but I was disappointed to see that the work Cal had done not mean much in the second half of the movie. The connection between his change and his attempts to get his wife back were weak and not convincing. In the end the movie devolves into praise of BETA traits and soul-mates. I was left thinking that the movie was far from over. Cal did some things right but at the end he still had a long way to go. He still needed to stop saying passive aggresive things. He needed to start gaming his wife. Really he needed to continue on the same track that Jacob sets him on in the first half of the movie, but this time with an eye to getting his wife back.

This is not to say that the movie is bad. It is quite good and very funny. It would be a great date movie. But while this movie comes closer to understanding game, I am still waiting for one that gets it completely. I can dream, right?


Badger said...

I've been excited to see this movie for Steve Carrell and Emma Stone, but I am not surprised to hear it went rom-com beta in the second half. Based on previews it also seems to mirror The Switch, which also features slick single guy showing the ropes to beaten-down husband.

(Another recent mirroring took place with no less than three movies about casual sex gone wrong coming out in the past year.)

Rusty said...

I think rom-coms, even the ones which seem to nail game on the head, are always going to wind up with the male lead realising the error of his ways and going beta for his one-true-love. After all, their target audience is women, and women generally don't like the idea that game is successful. They ,do seem to love the idea of 'bad' men changing their ways for that one true princess they just somehow can't get with their manipulative game tactics. I'm sure it taps into that part of them that seems to insist on trying to 'change' the men they're with, or the hope of being so special that a real alpha will give up everyone and everything else for them.

I saw 'Ghosts of Girlfriends Past' a while back. Again, the main character is a real player (but was taught to be so by a relative, so is essentially a PUA) - but the woman he REALLY loves (and has since childhood, no less) sees through all that, and he only gets her when he can drop it all and admit his weakness, vulnerability and fear in the idea of being with her. Cue all the ladies going 'aaahhh'.

It's a formula that seems to really work, judging by the audiences and money these films bring in, so I can't really fault them for using it. Yes, all a little predictable, but that's Hollywood for you.

Anonymous said...

He tries to get his wife back, the one that slept with someone else?

Thats definitely not Alpha behavior.

Anonymous said...

Swingers is one movie that gets it. It's required viewing in our house.

Anonymous said...

Swingers is good.
Limitless is another good recent one, to see how framing and game can affect a person (along with some pharmaceutical help).

Doom said...

Why the heck are you watching anything out of Hollywood? Go get laid and shut up already. Yeah, your a Christian? Then get married, then get laid. But... shut up!

Vagabond said...

The movie seems to send a message that by making superficial changes, like dressing, working and "acquiring game" will help you get your life back.

While these techniques definitely helpful, personal transformation (i.e becoming alpha) is much more than quick fix in personality. It takes a lot of courage - along with persistent and sustained effort. True "alpha" requires a maturity that is a blend of courage and consideration. It comes with experience. When you achieve that, the world is at your feet. Go too much in one direction, and you get burned.

LP2021 Bank of LP Work in Progress said...

Hilarious profile pic Doom.

Nice work RM.

Anonymous said...

On Roissy's blog a while back, maybe a year ago he did a long review of the movie " Blue Valentine". That in my mind is the best movie I have ever seen on the failures of beta behavior. You should all check it out. No happy endings, no comedy, just the accurate painful portrayal of an alpha who turns beta.

rycamor said...

Blue Valentine was a portrayal of a decent, personable Beta male who becomes a Gamma. It's not about the failure of Beta behavior, but the total lack of substance behind the guy. Being married (and raising another man's child) takes all the wind out of his sails. The girl's former promiscuity is a significant factor, though.

The movie was extremely well-written, for all its relationship angst. Definitely not a feel-good chick flick. I think I might make my son watch it when he is 18. Points to take away:

1. Personality (i.e. Game) can get you the girl, but you need character, resolve and a real identity to keep a relationship working. Be who you should be regardless of the relationship. Changing yourself for the better during a relationship is one thing, but don't let the relationship itself change you like a leaf on the wind.

2. Beware of damaged goods. Usually you can't fix them. A girl who has had sex with more than 25 guys in her teens is not a great prospect for marriage (an ugly truth to some, but there it is). And for girls, picking a man who has no plan in life is just begging for disaster.

Come to think of it, I will make my daughter watch this movie too.

Anonymous said...

I wrote about this a little while back, before The Switch came out, where I predicted these endings. The simple reason you'll never see game leading to happiness in the movies is this: The writers are all sackless betas. They've all been brainwashed by feminists and years of "sexual revolution" to believe that betaness is happiness.

Now their goal, in their sad, sexless life, is to convince the rest of us that they're right and that they're truly happy. Naturally the "morality lesson" they will cram down our throats is that endless nights of passion with a plethora of beautiful women will never make you happy, and that the only way to really be happy is to surrender your nutsack to an empowered, curvy, "Real woman."

I overheard a guy talking at the bar the other night and he said - exact quote - "I'm not a man who thinks these young, tight-body college 'hotties' are attractive - no no. You know whats really attractive? Oprah. A woman who is self-made and empowered! Now that's sexy!"

I literally shouted, "FAG."

He's the prime example of the castrated man - taken in by the popular lie and exploited into being a submissive loser.

^ He is Hollywood's endgame.

Jenny said...

The last post here is almost humorously offensive with some of its comments. Half-expecting the guy to continue by saying fake games and cockiness are the ways to a happy life. This is why I despise the mindsets of those who idolize game as though it's an airtight formula that works like a spell over all grounds: men and women are simplified and the behavior of jackasses covers everything. This movie was brilliant because it showed that while self-confidence (the top gem of Game) is vital for a man, more is needed as well. Most gamers are interested solely in loose sex, while marriage obviously takes a hell of a lot more "sacks" than they've got; this explains the terrible unhappiness of the character Jacob. Yet, his assertiveness and self-assurance in and of themselves were good, weren't they? They got his future fiance's attention, and he didn't break down or cry or anything silly like that when he opened himself to her; in fact, he spoke pretty matter-of-factly. Come to think of it, Cal never wept or anything so emotional when he was at his most honest with his wife, either. Quite the contrary: he didn't mind telling her he was not happy with her behavior either.

"their target audience is women, and women generally don't like the idea that game is successful"

What we don't like is the idea that shallow strutting, ass slaps and smooth talking bullsh*t will fix a marriage. Cal didn't need to play any games with his wife; he needed self-confidence and he got it, including telling her off for cutting him down and fighting for his marriage (if this is what the OP meant by Cal needing to "game his wife", then I agree). And yes, like it or not, you have to be vulnerable in a marriage; cock-strutting and feather fluffing doesn't cut it in the long haul. This is what I despise about the gamers, the fact that so many have grossly compartmentalized and simplistically labeled men and every move they make. Claiming that Cal "decreased" to beta-hood by actually putting some effort into getting his wife back instead of continuing to flirt with others in front of her is typical shallow simplification. But then, the outskirts of game that's needed to bed a woman without any kind of commitment is pretty simplified; I guess it makes sense then.

"they just somehow can't get with their manipulative game tactics"

If they are being manipulative by playing games, instead of simply being assertive and dominant of their chosen spheres, smart and aware women will see through the bullsh*t and know there's nothing there for a lifetime.

Markku said...

"Very true. Just sayin', Jesus never quite said the actually humorous things that Paul said."

"The last post here is almost humorously offensive with some of its comments."


Shaming language hint: It works better if you vary it a bit.

Jenny said...

Duly noted, thanks.

Pete said...

"like it or not, you have to be vulnerable in a marriage"

Bzzzt, wrong. Vulnerable means weak, and why would a woman stick with a weak man?

Show vulnerability one too many times and she's on the prowl for an alpha who will be her strong protector, not a weepy vulnerable metrosexual.

Jenny said...

LOL I'm talking about the reality of the everyday. Sooner or later, there will be vulnerability; it's just part of the package.

Anonymous said...

I pity you for being a slave of the game. If you're happy on what you're doing and you're getting what you want, it doesn't matter if its being alpha or beta. You don't wanna spend the rest of your life analyzing everything that you're doing.
How can you live a free life if you're acting like what those "gurus" say is being alpha.
Ryan Gosling's character is a real alpha. He defines his own rules. He doesn't care if he's alpha or beta based on other people's standards.

Anonymous said...

I think it was sort of good because whenever you watch Romance movies it is so cute and this is very cute!!!!! It is Amazing!!!!

Klitchko said...

Game is pretentious.

Looking at Gosling portray a "pua" is ridiculous. He seriously looks homosexual in that movie. The term pua itself is a beta label because it denotes a man who defines his worth by his capabilities to pick up women. That itself is the wrong frame.

You approach a girl because you want to approach her. You get rejected by a girl because you are not good enough for her, not because you used the wrong "techniques." A man would not lie to himself to protect his ego.

You deal with it, you approach again. If you approach enough times, you will realize internally you don't give a shit one girl says because she is just one woman. You want what you want and you will get what you want. You live with the pain without acting like an immature kid and crying about every single wound you get.

Don't be a pua, be a man.

Anonymous said...

Recently found this blog, so I'm about a year late, but Shakespeare Retold - The Taming of the Shrew is I think the quintessential game movie. No sappy BETA ending, just pure ALPHA all the way through.

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Prof. Spudd said...

So we see movies like Hitch, where the titular character shows well developed ALPHA traits in the first half of the movie, and in the second half he tosses out everything he knows because he has seen the light and realizes that everything he believes does not work. His enlightenment is accompanied by a reversion to his previous state as a BETA. While the formula is not necessarily completely inaccurate, after all, if a guy decides he wants a LTR he does have to show some interest in commitment, most of the time the behavior that gets the girl's interest in the first place is rejected in favor of some nonsense about true love or soul mates.

Two other examples: The 40-year-old Virgin with Steve Carell, and What Women Want with Mel Gibson.

The former is particularly facepalmy because it's a case of BETA turning ALPHA, but then folding in the end and accepting a marriage with a grandmother.

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