Unfairness Ever After- Or ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding Divorce’

Tonight I just saw My Best Friend’s Wedding for the second time ever. The first time was probably back when it was in the theater, or somewhere around then. That was over 15 years ago!

I’m a big Romantic Comedy fan- chick flicks very much included. I enjoy their fluffiness and the guilty pleasure of them. Which is why I found My Best Friend’s Wedding to be very disappointing the first time I saw it. The ending was especially shocking. Spoiler Alert ahead! Stop reading if you want to watch My Best Friend’s Wedding and haven’t seen it for the last 18 years… It’s currently streaming on Netflix ūüôā

Anyway, if you’re still reading, you know the end of the movie (or don’t care if it’s spoiled). Julia Roberts doesn’t get the guy! It doesn’t feel comfortable and fluffy at the end!

Even after THE WHOLE MOVIE is a set up for Julia (Julianne in the movie) to steal the guy (her best friend Michael) away from his sudden fiance (Kimmy- who gets engaged to Michael on a whim right when they first meet), Julia doesn’t get him to be with her! Julia spends the entire film plotting to tear the engaged couple apart and …fails miserably! What??! Even though it seems like¬†Michael likes Julia and is secretly into her throughout the whole movie (there are A LOT of mixed signals from him…which I really noticed this time), at the end, when Julia FINALLY confesses her love to Michael, he’s just not that into her…even after acting like he was the whole time. He simply wants to go ahead with his planned wedding and marry Kimmy.¬†WTF?

And Julia and Michael¬†had been friends for 9 years and promised each other that if they weren’t married by 28 (!! That’s young!!), they’d get married! And they were 28! But he was marrying someone else instead..

I actually looked up “my best friend’s wedding ending” on google tonight and there are a bunch of articles going back and forth about the ending. Some people demanded a sequel where Michael and his ditzy new wife got divorced¬†within ten years…some sequel ideas even called for Julia and Kimmy to become friends and forget about Michael. Approximately no one¬†thought the marriage in My Best Friend’s Wedding was going to last. Michael was 28 and Kimmy was only 20 after all! And she dropped out of school to be with him!

However, both this time and the first time I watched the movie, I liked the ending, even though it felt somewhat unfair in Romantic Comedy world. I think the ending was ahead of its time… it didn’t pull the usual happily ever after story in the traditional sense, but may have set up an even happier life for the protagonist in a totally unforeseen way. This is true in real life. A lot of times the happiest endings come after a lot of heartbreak, are totally unforeseen, and aren’t really endings anyway….cause it’s not over till its over.

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s what I took away from the ending of My Best Friend’s Wedding:

Lesson 1- You don’t always end up with the guy you love. (Or the girl you love).¬†

Sometimes they’re just not that into you. Even though they seemed to be.

Lesson 2- Sometimes you’re pretty sure someone likes you, but they don’t.¬†

Mixed signals suck. Additionally, it sucks to be sure your intuition is right, but then it’s actually wrong.

Lesson 3- Sometimes the one you love goes for the most random little hot ditzy person, instead of the amazing hot you. (Or maybe you’re the amazing hot little ditzy person, and you still end up with love unrequited. Damn.)

Lesson 4. Life is unfair.

Yep. Take a number.

Lesson 5. But maybe, honestly, when the person you love just wasn’t that into you and you ended up without them, you actually dodged a bullet and are ending up on a way better path. That guy (or girl) didn’t see you for the incredible, exceptionally hot person that you are. Your loved one didn’t appreciate you! Life’s too short to pretend to be someone you’re not, so find the person who is super into you. This is a hard lesson…

Lesson 6- “There may not be marriage, and there may not be sex, but by god there will be dancing!”

(Best line of the movie.)

Life’s more than just a search for romance. Enjoy life, enjoy your awesome time here, and everything is so much better. For this moment, there may not be requited love, and there may not be total fairness, but by god there will be dancing!

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Are You Constantly Looking for the Extraordinary? What if You Stopped?

Yesterday I learned that one of my teachers from NYU died. ¬†It happened last week, yet somehow I didn’t know about it. I was talking with my friend Kate from college, and she suddenly said “You know about Peter, right?” When she told me, I stopped in my tracks and couldn’t speak.

I’m a terrible dancer and he was my African Dance teacher. We were forced as drama majors in my school to take African Dance freshman year, and I always dreaded it. It was first thing in the morning and I was always exhausted. And there was so much drumming and jumping…and did I mention I suck at dancing?

Yet Peter, my teacher, always had so much energy. He was smiling and shining every frigging day…just beaming. It was insane how much energy he had and how much he danced in our classes all day. I remember feeling tired just watching him. Yet by the end of the year, I was African Dancing with the rest of the class. I was jumping and throwing my arms and skipping and bobbing my head and moving my back in funny ways. It was far from perfect. It was probably far from even sort of good. But it was.

And I was proud of myself.

So thanks, Peter, for giving me those moments of taking it all in- of forcing myself to do something imperfectly and to find joy anyway. For showing me that I can be terrible at something and still do it imperfectly but proudly. To find pleasure in my own ordinariness.

He posted a quote on his Facebook wall before he died, and it really stuck with me. I think it sums up a lot of what he taught me, and how I feel about those lessons. I’m posting it below.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.‚ÄĚ

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