Old Lady Movie Night: “Pretty Woman”
Tis I! The resident Old Lady (I KNOW 27 ISN’T OLD – IT’S A JOKE ABOUT THE SWEATERS, TEA AND STRONG OPINIONS I HAVE) who has returned from a week of humidity and hell-like heat to land blissfully in front of her computer on a cool June night so she can watch Pretty Woman with you.
The catch? I was in Ontario THE WHOLE TIME. Just terrible at organization, and instead of watching movies with all y’all, I typed other things while cursing how big my hair was getting and eating a lot of Popsicles. See, I hate the summer (I HATE IT), and when it’s that type of hot where even standing outside for a minute makes you want to transport to the arctic, I turn into a pile of dust who complains a lot and eats freakish amounts of avocado, all while being not fun.
BUT THIS WEEK I AM FUN (I hope?), and I will work hard to be fun despite the weather I know will ultimately be responsible for my emotional undoing. (And I keep finding spiders everywhere, guys. One was in the shower this morning. I’ll you what I’m not prepared for nor will be, ever: being undressed and shampoo’d while also next to a living thing with eight legs. Or, well, dead thing. Now. Because, well… circle of life, you guys. Let’s move on.) I will never abandon you. Even when you ask me to leave. Because, frankly, there are many movies to watch, and here is one of them:
Now, there are feelings to be had about Pretty Woman such as: what is up with the shaming she underwent, and also: Edward is actually a pretty big creep. So I’m excited to watch it from this angle, and not the one I originally saw it from at age 14 when my friends and I glorified Edward and blamed Vivian for certain things. NOT COOL, TEEN ME. (You guys are much more socially aware than I was.) So without further adieu…
Pretty Woman: A Critique
1. Chapter one: Rich people are the WORST
Not rich people as in “people who have worked very hard and are very socially aware and do good in the world,” I mean the rich people in this movie who make condescending jokes about wives, and, well, are Richard Geere and George Costanza. This party! Yikes! You just know everyone’s running around saying, “Money, money, money” and clinking glasses and cheers-ing to money who money’d all the lovely money. Money! Rich people! But the awful kind! All in the very first two minutes of this fil-im.
2. EW, I hate this beck and call thing
I HATE IT SO MUCH. So Edward thinks his girlfriend is at his beck and call, but she dumps him, so he hires Vivian to be at his beck and call. Right off the bat we see that Edward thinks women aren’t to be treated like real people. I mean, when he sees his ex at the party, and she says “your secretary was one of my bridesmaids” that could’ve been his a-ha! moment. And no, this movie wouldn’t have been the same, but it probably would’ve been better because he’d learn you can’t buy love, Ed. YOU JUST CANNOT.
And also, women are human beings.
3. But this soundtrack is amazing, and how dare any of us ever argue with that
Did you guys ever hear songs that made you think “this is what being an adult is like”? My friend Hannah and I were talking about this, and basically every song featured in Pretty Woman reminds me of thinking I knew what being a grown-up was like. YOU KNOW? Richard’s driving this car, and “The King of Wishful Thinking” is on, and it’s night, and it’s Hollywood, and just… ADULTHOOD. I don’t even know what that means. I do know that as an adult, my life is not like that (which is I think more than okay). But every time I hear that, “Wild One” or Roxette I think, “Adults!” Or, to return to point one, “Rich adults!”
4. By the way, I was not (NOT) allowed to watch this movie when it came out
Well, I mean, I think I was four or six. I was born in 1985, so… whatever that added up to. And now that I’m watching the opening credits, I GET IT. Did you know you see drug exchanges going down? I just saw movie cocaine! How did I not catch that when I was 14? Did I legitimately not know? Probably. I probably did not. Is it weird I still think this is what L.A. is? But only at night? And in the ’80s? Probably. It probably is. Is anyone else unhealthily influenced by pop culture? Am I digging myself into some weird pop culture-y hole now? Probably? Terrific.
5. Edward, why would you take George Costanza’s car when you can’t drive stick
That makes zero sense. It makes none. You could’ve called a cab. You could’ve gotten people to move their cars. You could’ve taken another car. But NooooOOOoooOOO you want to show off. Or something. Well maybe I want to show off too, and maybe we’re going to see just how many George Costanza references I can make while writing about Pretty Woman. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, RICHARD GERE.
Also, oh my god, Garry Marshall was the guy going through the trash bins when Edward asks for directions, but all I can think about is Paul F. Tompkins as Garry Marshall on Comedy Bang Bang! because that impression has brought me new meanings of joy.
6. So we’re really going to avoid the addiction situation Kit has, I guess
Why is this not explored further? Or is it, closer to? Kit’s obviously addicted to drugs since she’s blowing rent money on them, yet we’re supposed to kind of laugh it off because she’s the best friend? Does this eventually get sorted out? It’s been a long time, guys, so I forget but will obviously remember over the next hour and 45 minutes. But we’ve got other fish to fry — Julia Roberts, meet Richard Geere.
7. Okay, nope. NO THANKS, RICHARD GEERE
Listen, pal. I get that you’re staying at the Beverly Wilshire, but are you seriously so embarrassed over Julia Roberts’ outfit that you’re going to make her wear your coat? And what’s up with everyone acting a fool just because she’s dressed scantily clad? SO MUCH SHAMING UP IN HERE. She could be a broker! A lawyer! A teacher! Someone who has an affinity for lycra! But right away they assume she’s a sex worker and treat her badly because of it. Get out of here, everyone. Also you, Richard Geere, because you’re perpetuating it what with your shushes and embarrassed looks. YOU SHOULD BE SO LUCKY TO HAVE JULIA ROBERTS HANG OUT WITH YOU. (In real life, I know you are lovely, Mr. Geere, and also a Buddhist, so please know I am only referring to your real name here because it’s more fun than “Edward.”)
8. Remember how awkward it is for Richard Geere, though, because he makes it awkward?
Remember that part? How he’s acting positively SHOCKED she has so many condoms? Like, CAN YOU IMAGINE a sex worker or an escort or a prostitute carrying CONDOMS? For the SEX? Good grief! But here’s the thing: he obviously just likes her. Like, wants-to-ask-her-on-a-date likes her. So that’s what he should’ve done! Asked her on a date! Been a HUMAN. But instead he propositions her, and when she tries to do her job, he’s like “Wait, no, we’re going to watch TV.” And she’s like, “Oh okay…?” And then when she gets comfortable in their new, casual, date-like environment, he changes it up. Again. Just to be confusing, I guess? This is the thing, Richard Geere: either explain the terms of the gig, or let her run the show, or just ask her on a date since you obviously like her to begin with. And for the love of all that is good, stop making digs at her profession, you’re being awful.
9. Hands up if you’re confused about why everyone is upset about the dental floss
MY HANDS ARE UP I’LL TELL YOU THAT MUCH. Why is she hiding it? It’s dental floss! Saying “I practise dental hygiene” isn’t anything to be embarrassed about. And remember when Edward gets SUPER upset and assumes she’s doing drugs because she doesn’t want to show him what’s in her hand? WHAT IF IT WAS A PRESCRIPTION, PAL. What if she had strep throat or something and didn’t want you to know. What if they were prayer beads or like, her Inception-inspired totem. So much drama! Then Vivian acts like she’s dumb because she cares about flossing? But it’s like, GIRL, YOU ARE NOT DUMB. You were made to feel that way by awful people. Now floss! Floss til your heart’s content!
10. Like, could Viv not have finished the episode, Ed?
Just maybe let her finish the scene that was making her laugh out loud, at least? Seriously it’s a 1950s sitcom. It would’ve lasted another minute AT MOST. But instead you interrupt that joy and prompt her to “get to work,” sort to speak. And like, cool, that’s her job, and that’s your agreement, but if it took you THIS long, then maybe wait another three minutes until Lucy and Ethel are done dancing on grapes?
Also, when Edward tells her he also doesn’t kiss on the mouth, don’t you wonder if maybe that’s why he has an ex-wife and an ex-girlfriend? Because he wouldn’t kiss them?
11. I would personally like to state that I would be impressed by a gentleman who ordered me everything on the menu, breakfast-wise
I mean, Edward wouldn’t impress me (or you) because he shames Vivian almost every chance he gets, BUT like, say, you were being treated lovely by a really cool guy, and he ordered you ALL OF THE BREAKFAST. So basically, what I’m saying is, imagine you’re dating Ron Swanson. This is exactly what would happen. (“All the bacon and eggs you have.”) Wouldn’t that be a FREAKING dream.
12. What is UP with those sales clerks!
GET OUT OF HERE, WOMEN. You are wrong and acting terrible. Also, though, we all know that. And SECOND of all, is everyone else just hearing Romy and Michele in their heads right now? “I just love when they finally let her shop.” (SO DO WE, ROMY AND MICHELE. SO DO WE.)
13. BRIDGET, YOU HERO
I freaking love Bridget. That smile! That willingness to help! Her choice to be a wonderful human being! Why is Bridget the only other character I like in this movie other than Vivian? And okay, fine, the hotel guy A BIT, but remember when he tells Vivian she can’t come back into the hotel because she’s basically not good enough? SHE IS A HUMAN BEING, PAL. At least Bridget knows. Bridget gets it. I’m going to assume that Viv and Bridget formed a friendship of epic proportions after this movie ended.
14. Is Edward actually Don Draper?
In that he keeps calling the hotel even though he told her not to pick up the phone? Did you guys see that Mad Men? Because I can’t un-see it. You don’t treat Lindsay Weir that way, Jon Hamm! But also, weird: just like, don’t call if you don’t want her to pick up the phone?
ALSO, remember how Edward acts like he doesn’t recognize Vivian because she’s wearing fancy clothes? WHAT IS UP WITH THAT. She’s always been beautiful! Did it really take a lace dress from the ’80s to cement that? I feel like the moral of this Old Lady Movie Night is that Richard Geere’s character is a fake white knight, and I can’t stop screaming, “She’s just poor (like all of us)! Not stupid!”
Set to Roy Orbison! Glorious! Though for the record, aside from the gorgeousness of her clothes and the 1940s influence, it must be stated that Vivian is beautiful the way she feels most comfortable. And if that was in her blonde wig, you go, girl. And if it’s cocktail dresses, that’s cool too. Basically, YOU DO YOU, GIRL. And that goes for all of us! *sobs* *then stops because there is LEGITIMATELY a Kenny G song playing when Vivian and Richard Geere hook up, and now she can’t stop laughing*
16. Shout-out to the My Fair Lady reference!
AKA the HORSE TRACK. And “Move your bloomin’ ass!” equivalent. But do you know what Henry Higgens did NOT do? He didn’t tell George Costanza that his date was a “hooker.” Like, who even ARE you, Richard Geere? You can just say she works at a freaking store, if you don’t want to get into specifics. Co-stanza (sung). [Insert every other Seinfeld reference here, including the bass notes]
17. WORSE THEN IT GETS WORSE
GEORGE COSTANZA, GO GET YOUR TOUPEE AND GET A CHRISTMAS CARD FROM ELAINE AND GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE. He’s TOUCHING her? He’s propositioning her? Like she’s not a human? Does anyone else want to scoop Vivian up and help her? But then at least Edward apologizes. I mean, he has a long way to go, but it’s a step in the right direction. A bigger step is him punching George Costanza in the face. The biggest step admitting that he needs to educate himself about sexism and rape culture and misogyny. (I assume that’s in the sequel, though.)
18. She’s right though: “The bad stuff is easier to believe”
YOU DID IT, GARRY MARSHALL. That is a real and a good line, and awful in that it is true. Don’t you hate that? Why DO we believe all the bad stufF? We don’t need to do that! We deserve the opposite of that! We deserve only good self esteem, and when someone says “you’re smart” or “you’re beautiful,” we should believe it as opposed to trying to argue otherwise. So damn it, YOU GUYS ARE SMART AND BEAUTIFUL. And also, remember when Richard Geere keeps sitting in places up high because he’s obsessed with being the best? #Esteem #I #Guess #?
19. But can you imagine how confusing this would be for Viv IRL
Honestly, like, she gets to escape this really crummy situation (a.k.a. her roommate, who is addicted to drugs will not get help and is spending her money, but Viv will be homeless without her — like, that’s literally the first problem), and then after that, she gets a week of dealing with, well, I mean, backhanded compliments and being treated still not-so-well (yet still, better than she was being treated before — like, she almost brawled in the alley with some horrible drug dealers), BUT then it has to end? OR it doesn’t have to, but he’s “putting you up” in a condo instead of like, building towards goals with you as a couple/partnership? I don’t know. This would be too much. I would hate this. I would probably just live on an ice floe. Surrounded by polar bears and the narwhal that says to Buddy in Elf, “Bye, Buddy! Hope you find your dad!”
20. But ROXETTE
GET OUT OF HERE, ANY OTHER SONG. This is the song that truly matters. In history. Over time. I don’t even really know what it means, but I can’t 100% make sense of the lyrics, but AHHHH you are a fool if you don’t hear it and want to pump your fist in the air while thinking, “LIFE. SUCESS. ADULTHOOD.” because this is EXACTLY the song for those thoughts.
Also, can we please talk about how Kit and Vivian are TRUE BLUE WONDERFUL FRIENDS? “Take care of you.” If anything, this movie is about two friends who GET IT. Sisters. Friends. Sister-friends. When Kit and Viv say goodbye it is all I can do not to curl up, weep, and quote every line from Now & Then (another perfect movie about friendship). And now Kit’s going to beauty school, and Viv… well, let’s assume she goes into social work and/or psychology and/or something equally great because
*Her life’s goals, obviously. #TeamViv