I adore my wife. And I adore Kate Winslet. (For the record, in that order.) But something happens to my internal organs whenever my lovely turns on The Holiday, a recent cable television staple. It’s simply a film I can’t abide, and I don’t think I can explain my revulsion rationally. I’m actually a great admirer of several of that film’s actors, but even their performances inexplicably make me, well, aggressively irritated. For my wife, however, The Holiday (pictured, left) is comfort viewing. It doesn’t matter which scene is playing when she tunes in, she’s hooked until the closing credits. I imagine it has something to do with the vicarious thrill of living in Cameron Diaz’s spacious L.A. pad or canoodling with Jude Law in an English hamlet. My reaction is quite different, and if I’m unfortunate enough to be around for the scene where Jack Black be-bops a medley of movie soundtracks at the music store, the battle for control of the remote becomes downright physical.
To be fair, my wife experiences a similar reaction whenever Happy Gilmore (pictured, right), a guilty pleasure of mine, trespasses across our television set. Clearly, there are certain movies targeted to one sex at the expense of the other. The good folks over at IMDb.com have accumulated data about this very fragile male/female film fault line within their “ratings” section of each movie listing, and I wasn’t surprised by some of their results. Films like Sex and the City, Now & Then, Dirty Dancing, Twilight, Waiting to Exhale, and Mamma Mia were significantly more popular with females, while movies like Patton, The Wild Bunch, Unforgiven, Dumb & Dumber, Heat, and The Big Lebowski appealed disproportionally to men.
There have been and will always by “chick flicks” and “guy movies,” but it’s the rare film that has the potential to splinter a relationship. I’ve forgiven Kate Winslet for her Holiday indiscretion; I’m still coming to grips with my wife’s affection for such a facile, half-ass romantic-comedy that makes little logical or coherent sense and is clearly more enamored with other more successful romantic-comedies than it is with either real romance or comedy. But I digress.
What’s your deal-breaker movie, the one polarizing film that makes you want to burn the DVD, exorcise your television, and take the batteries out of the remote? Did you know your significant other was addicted to it when you met, and what steps have you taken to get him or her help?