Single mom review of “About a Boy”

Couples aren’t the future. You gotta have back up.

              – Marcus in About a Boy.

I’ve never really liked Hugh Grant. I liked him even less when he cheated on the hotness that is Elizabeth Hurley. I didn’t enjoy Notting Hill. I really enjoyed him getting punched by Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’ Diary. Overall, I never saw the sex appeal. I thought he was a pasty, unattractive Brit, the same way I’m sure Englishmen consider Vin Desiel a real American neanderthal.

So when About a Boywas released 6 years ago, I had no interest. I was too busy watching 8 Mile, Bowling for Columbine and 28 Days Later. I was at Film School and “oh so hip.”

Being a Pisces, I’m going to romanticise a little bit. I’m going to vault into the whole “magic of movies” schpeel, because it was my sad, simplistic truth. I left Durango, Colorado, a wide-eyed, Titanic-loving, child-of-the-Fantasy-Movie-80’s to be 100% engrossed in the magic of movies. I moved to Boston and attended one of the most competitive film schools in the country; a school that did its best to turn the innocent dreamer into a well-oiled machine.

The beauty of movies remains in the story. The longer you live, the more stories you can share, relate and empathize with. Books can be read over and over again, and each time the meaning changes a little. What you experience in life constantly adds flavor and insight to the ideas, messages and stories you absorb.

This is why I was able to return to the movie About a Boy  with renewed interest, despite my blase feelings about its star. Since becoming a single mom, I’m obsessed with seeing how we are presented to the world. What jokes are made about us? What do we look like on film? Are we good parents or bad? Are we heros or villains?

Hugh Grant’s sums up his first date with a single mom by saying, “How come nobody told me about them!?”Of course, he plays a scheming, lackadaisical fashion statement who lazes around the house and spends his daddy’s money, so the audience isn’t meant to take him very seriously. But the single mom in me squealed with delight as he professed his new-found obsession with passionate, sexy, amazing single moms.

After being bitting with the single mom bug, Hugh attends a single parent support group (to pick up women), and after hearing all their sob stories, he professes:

I’ll tell you one thing. Men are bastards. After about ten minutes I wanted to cut my own penis off with a kitchen knife.

Yeah. Me= Dying with laughter at this point. All faith in Hugh Grant restored.

He says dating a single mom is so awesome because compared to the man who abandoned her and her child, he’s like Hercules. I bristled a little bit at the “plenty of ego-stroking” comment, but maybe there was some truth behind it.  If I were dating a man who did so much as open a door for me, I probably would faint. I haven’t even been touched by a man in 6 months. Who knows what kind of spastic reaction I might have at the slightest hint of kindness.

Another great line that’s shot right out of single mom reality is during the scene where two sons of dating single parents are discussing the impending relationship.

The main character, Marcus, says to the other boy, “I think your mom is really keen on my dad.” To which the other boy screams in fury, “She’s NOT keen on him! She’s only keen on ME!”

The overall debate in About a Boyis Hugh’s rejection of the quote “No man is an Island” because he is “F***ing Ibiza!” His unexpected involvement in the single parent world constantly tests and ultimately disproves his philosophy.

Even though the characters in this single parent world are broken, akward, lonely and confused, they are all united. In the final scene, the following people all spend Christmas together:

  • The single mother of the “boy”
  • The boy’s father
  • The father’s girlfriend
  • The father’s girlfriend’s mother
  • The best friend of the single mother
  • The best friend’s daughter
  • Hugh Grant
  • The single mom who is dating Hugh Grant
  • The son of the single mom who is dating Hugh Grant

Talk about a glimpse into the single parent world. I think about my daughter’s Thanksgiving experience at her dad’s house, and it must have looked something like that. If Rooferman and Blondie were friendly enough, I would have been included, adding yet another degree of separation/inclusion.

The point of the movie, as quoted at the top of my post, is that families are changing. They don’t just consist of a mom and a dad and 2.5 children anymore. Hugh Grant confesses that being a part of that random group of people, he felt happy. For the first time he preferred being with people instead of alone on “his island.”

Yeah there were some cringe-worthy Hugh Grant moments in this movie, but for the most part, I really enjoyed the laughs, the honesty and the warm-fuzzy feelings it gave me. Plus its a Christmas movie, so now is a perfect time of year to watch it.

Add it to your Netflix and tell me what you think. As single moms, did you like it? Do you think it was honest?

Paperwork

There was the usual drama with Rooferman yesterday.I took his mom out to see a movie while LB was gone yesterday, and she asked me to return his cell phone that he left at Home Depot. I figured I might win some serious brownie points, and maybe at least get a “thank you” out of Rooferman for the favor, but hell would have frozen over before that happened.

Blondie snatched the phone from my hand and demanded, “Why do you have it?”

I told them that Grandma Ruby and I went to a movie together and she asked me to drop off the phone when I picked LB up. Rooferman just glared at me. No one said anything. WTF? You would think I was delivering a bucket of Herpes to them instead of doing them a favor.

Maybe they’re just pissed because Grandma Ruby loves me so damn much.

So its Monday. Back to work. Turned in my test. Filling out more paperwork for possible financial assistance on my outstanding bill from the ER visit this summer. $400 for flogging Orthopedic boot! Next time I get hurt I’m just going to suck it up until I can make an appointment with my primary care doctor. The ER is SO NOT WORTH IT. I was denied for heating assistance this winter.

Christ, I feel like all I do is fill out paperwork.

Bitterness

Hey everyone. I woke up every day this week thinking it was Sunday, so now that I’m actually facing returning to work tomorrow, I finally feel normal*.

*Indication number one that you have no life.

There are three posts I really want to write. Obviously, since this has become my new obsession, they will be on some Single Parent media representations I absorbed myself in this week.

  1. A single mom on an Episode of Intervention (yes, I’ve been staying up late watching Youtube again).
  2. The humorous, only slightly offensive, realistic depiction of single parents in the movie About a Boy (which I finally got around to watching, 6 years later).
  3. The extremely complicated, shocking, emotional and right-on performance of Maggie Gyllenhaal as an estranged single mom in SherryBaby.I’ve wanted to write this post for a long time, but the movie is just so damn important to me that I keep f***ing up every attempt to write it.

I also completed my Admin Assistant test for this new job. Did I mention if I get hired I can take one college class a semester for…..well…..free? If I stayed long enough, I could chisel a Master’s Degree out of thin air.

I don’t wanna blog about Rooferman today. As my friend Elly commented, I should try not to be bitter. Even though it feels so good to be bitter. Its like picking a scab. Its dark, its disgusting, what’s not to like?

During my Junior year of college, I lived with Elly’s ex boyfriend, where Henry Rollins  was the God of his idolatry. I forget the quote exactly, but it went something about locking yourself in your room and being the King of Misery and Depression. When someone asks you to go out, you say “Noo!! I can’t! I’m too busy being the everlasting, Almighty Lord of Darkness!” 

  What about that quote from White Oleander?  Where Single Mom Michelle Pfeiffer says “Love humiliates you. Hatred cradles you.”

Yeah, that’s pretty much as bitter as you can get.

I’ll see you all in December.

Tearjerkers

As I was sitting through disc 3 of Planet Earth, I started thinking about Jenn3’s post about how she hardly ever cries. Then I started thinking about what a sap I used to be. If it was a Disney movie, I would cry. If it was a traumatic animal story, I would cry. I used to cry during Milo and Otis for Christ’s sake. When i was pregnant, I cried at the local news.

Since I’m totally fine with public humiliation at this point, why not expose my dirty laundry for the world to see?

 Movies that made me cry the first time:

  • Steel Magnolias
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven (I was 10 I think)
  • Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (Jiji has never let me live this one down)
  • The Lion King

Movies that made me cry the first seven times:

  •  Titanic (I was 16 when it came out, so give me a break, ok?)
  • White Fang (they showed it during my 2nd grade class, and I was the only one who cried)
  • Dances With Wolves (Now I just laugh at Kevin Costner’s white ass)
  • Selena (sometimes I still cry, actually)
  • Requiem for a Dream (I didn’t think I could ever get through this one without puking or crying, but I did eventually)
  • Bowling for Columbine
  • Fahrenheit 9/11

Movies that still make me cry:

  • Friday Night Lights (even guys cry during this movie)
  • Fried Green Tomatoes (BUDDYYY!!!)
  • The Land Before Time (yeah, I know)
  • Moulin Rouge (watching Ewan McGreggor cry still gets me)
  • The English Patient
  • Sicko
  • Boys Don’t Cry
  • The Joy Luck Club (um what mother didn’t cry when she drowned her baby?)
  • A Little Princess
  • Whale Rider

Ok. Maybe I’m still a sap. Maybe I’m just a Pisces.

What movies used to make you cry when you were a kid? What movies still make you cry?