Let’s begin with a question: is there any way to top Sixteen Candles? Of course not. But we’re going to try, and we’re going to tell ourselves there is, and we’re going to continue our journey through the vault of DVDs I still do own to this day.
Granted, I no longer own How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days because during a particularly . . . um, frugal (?) year, I had to pawn things I owned so I could buy Christmas gifts. DVDs and CDs were among them, and sadly, Kate and Matt didn’t make the cut. (The upside: I now officially have a Christmas story that involves selling my worldly goods, and also, I haven’t had to do that in five years, so bless.)
The first time I saw How to Lose a Guy, I was 18 and excited for two very important reasons: 1) at the time, Kate Hudson was still Penny Lane to me, and 2) I loved a good rom-com. And why shouldn’t I?! Look at that poster. Look at that McConaughey lean. Look at that current Academy Award winner. Time is a flat circle, you guys. And that’s why this week we’re going to watch a movie about a bet, a guy, a girl, and not a pizza place (I wish).
Here’s what I learned from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
1. This is not what journalism/a writing career looks like
At least not anymore. I wasn’t a journalist or writer in 2003, but part of me wonders if somebody who wrote a monthly how-to guide would have such a sweet deal since, well, she could’ve worked from home? But look. We were all kids then. So let’s just focus on what we do know: if this movie was set in 2014, Andie Anderson (her parents hated her, I think) would work from home, and write for 4,924,284 different places. Which is cool! I do that! Or, she would work in the magazine office and write many other things. And she certainly wouldn’t be able to abscond with so many free clothing samples, I don’t think? But also: hello, I write from home, so what do I know.
The above image, actually, is what a writing career looks like.
2. Andie’s always-heartbroken friend would’ve been fired IRL
I have learned this very important lesson as an adult: nobody cares. I mean, your friends and family care about the things that happen to you, but your boss? Nope. They do not care if you’ve been dumped. They will say, “I’m sorry to hear that!” and they absolutely will be (maybe), but you’re their employee, and you have to go to work. Can you imagine calling in sick because a guy you dated for a week ended things? No, of course not! YOU’D BE UNEMPLOYED.
In real life, Andie and her other friend would have to say, “Dude, you are legitimately going to be fired if you do this—do you understand that?” And they would be saying this via text on their cell phones from the office because that’s what going to work involves.
3. Bets like this are horrible?
4. I don’t think this is how love works, though
Now I’m no expert BUT! I will say that you will usually not fall in love with somebody who a) has lied to you every day for the week that you’ve known each other, b) used you to further their career, c) never showed you their real side because they were lying to you to further their career. I just don’t think it works. I mean, if you’re both babes, you may want to see how a casual something-something goes, but no. Then you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Who have I become?” And you move, to Washington, like Andie, to start life anew—preferably in Olivia Pope’s firm in Scandal.
5. “Love fern” is always funny, and please don’t forget it
Actually, the whole poker scene is funny because Kate Hudson is funny, and we all knew that, but I just had to talk about how hard I laughed when I first watched her yell-announce, “PEEK-A-BOO!” and why I still do it to this day.
See also: Andie’s friend as a therapist, with glasses I would actually kill for now.
6. This movie DOES do a good job of proving that women aren’t “crazy”
HEAR ME OUT. First, yes, Andie does act like an insane person, but so does McC. They’re both equally out of their minds. These characters? Guys: they are arguably sociopaths. How do I know? Do you watch House of Cards? Of course you do, because Kevin Spacey is our #1 celebrity crush always and forever.
Well, when you’re watching How to Lose a Guy, ask yourself this: would Frank Underwood do any of what we’re seeing? And the answer is yes. He would. He absolutely would. He would date somebody for a bet just to land the “frosting diamond” campaign. So thesis: this is movie about what people do. Not just women.
7. The Judys who bet McC in the first place deserve their own movie
And that movie would answer the following important questions: Who are they? How did they get so ruthless? What did McC do to them to make them hate him? What can they teach us about masterminding insane plans? Because I’m going to be honest here: these characters are my favorites in the whole movie. GENIUSES. They are GENIUSES. When and how did they become this way? Because for the record, they are by no means villains, they are heroes, and they deserve a movie, TV show, and guide-book called, “Doing what I want: Getting ours.”
8. No boss would ever make someone con another person just for a top 10 list
Okay, well, I don’t know if that’s actually true. BUT I know a GOOD boss wouldn’t do that. Like, when Andie’s all “Lana, I really like this guy” and Lana’s like “YOU WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT, DIDN’T YOU?” and despite this having nothing to do with politics, Andie’s stuck with the assignment. Granted, she could’ve probably just said, “Well I’m not doing it, so I quit, and I hate this place anyway,” but she did not, and that was her call. What I’m saying here, is that if someone is excited over you playing somebody for a top 10 list, that person is actually Kevin Spacey in another sociopathic role, and it’s time to leave. (ILY, KEVIN.)
9. Don’t move to Washington for just an interview
I mean, yes. It worked out for Andie after she finally quits Composure (that’s the magazine, right?), and honestly good for her, but never—EVER—move to a place if you’re only going for an interview. An interview! Do you guys know how many interviews I’ve had? One time, in high school, I interviewed for a job at Old Navy and swore in the middle of it and did not end up getting hired. Imagine if I had MOVED for Old Navy? Or any place? Like Kristen Johnston once said: “Never go to L.A. without a written invitation.” And in this case, that means Washington D.C. because Andie has never written about politics before and it’s probably going to take a few internships to get her in the pocket of a major newspaper.
10. Wait. . .WAIT! DO move to Washington if that is really what you want to do, though
Because REMEMBER WHEN MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY TELLS HER TO MOVE BACK TO NYC SO SHE DOES? What?! WHAT?! No! Not only that, he doesn’t even have a chat with her, it’s just, “Hey, driver (not even ANDIE): bring her stuff back home.” Hey, WHO EVEN ARE YOU, STRANGE MAN. But nope! No it’s fine, THE MAN SAID. And then, no resolve: they kiss on a bridge. No conversation about being on a bridge, or why one might want to move to Washington or how to make their two careers work. Just . . . that.
Now look. I love rom-coms and I love everyone involved in this one, but I just need to tell you that . . . no. No one’s lives should look like this. Dudes should not decide where and when you’re moving and for what, regardless of whether or not you can write about politics in New York. Conversations have to happen, and important “where should everyone live?” chats, and oh great, now Andie is NOT going to the interview so she has burned a professional bridge which will probably end up being pretty important.
So what I’m saying here is this: I have learned that How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a funny nostalgic movie of our youths. But it’s also basically a guide for how NOT to do things. Let’s not do anything we just saw. Let’s just admire Kate Hudson’s comedic talent, and suggest she and McC team up for True Detective season two.