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TOTN Summer Movie Series: Agony, Ecstasy, Felony -- It Must Be Matrimony

Aug 7, 2008

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Barrie Hardymon

It's sort of embarrassing to me, as a woman and a human, that weddings excite us so much. They're like catnip for our ovaries. Add a big white dress and a tall cake, and we're utterly satisfied. Since I'm planning my own wedding at this moment, I'm looking a little more carefully at all my old favorite Hollywood weddings — mostly for dress ideas — and I have to say, I'm struck by two things. First, the heyday of the wedding movie, complete with the word "wedding" in the titleWedding Singer, My Best Friends Wedding, Monsoon Wedding — seems to be the mid to late '90s... and why not? Prosperity reigned — the Cold War was over, defense spending went down, and private consumption went up, balancing the books. Bridal magazines were thick, and brides were zilla'd. Contrast that with the most recent wedding movie I've seen — Sex and the City. It's strikingly fraught with financial anxiety, albeit slightly masked, (Carrie asking Big if they can afford the apartment, wearing "vintage" to City Hall in the final, "successful" wedding, after an opulent "failed" wedding. Never mind the seven hundred dollar shoes with the "vintage." Sigh.) Do a search on Amazon for wedding books written in the last year (you can also do a cursory search of my coffee table) and you'll find they're all about the DIY Bride or Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot. The economy seems to dictate more about our nuptials then we care to admit

My second point is that the old-school wedding movies (Father of the Bride, We're Not Married, Royal Wedding), have a lot in common with the wedding extravaganzas of the mid-'90's and afterwards. Gender roles haven't really gotten an update, which is — how shall I say it — bulls—tgalling. Marriage — and the wedding as an expression of matrimony — is still represented as the high point of a woman's life. Why would you shoot for any other dream besides Cinderella's? Oh, that's right. Because now, YOU CAN. (Insert for the 300th time — all my bosses are women.)

That doesn't mean you shouldn't have a wedding (thank god — anyone who has experience with JCrew wedding dresses please weigh in), nor does it mean you shouldn't enjoy Cinderella nailing her man. (Nailing the old fashioned way, never fear.) In the spirit of pure fun and wedding catnip — go ahead and soothe your addiction below.*

*At least Cinderella is awake when she meets the Prince! I've always maintained the Snow White is the misogynist's perfect bride — she's shut away with magical dwarves who hold no sexual interest for her, and she's asleep — read: NOT TALKING — when the Prince really falls for her. (I know one special fiance out there who might identify with Snow's Prince, but stands no chance of his chatty bride closing her piehole. Er... ever. Hi honey!)

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