What Early 90s Women Knew
I was surprised to find out, a few weeks ago, that for a lot of people Mystic Pizza exists only so you can spot young Matt Damon in that one dinner scene with his one line. At which I scoff. If you need early Matt Damon, watch School Ties again – that is a movie that is still satisfying (minus Amy Locane).
Anyway, as I drag myself back from my tangents, you think I’m going to talk about Julia Roberts in the video below. And look, I could. There are some spectacular moments, particularly about halfway through, when she says to Lili Taylor, “Look how hot you were – are!”, correcting herself not-very-well. Everyone else is acutely aware that they’re sitting around Julia Roberts, and trying to be cool. Note the face on Annabeth Gish.
I do want to talk about Julia… just not in the way we usually do around here. Regarding the romance between Kat and Tim Travers, Roberts said:
“They would not be able to make out in a movie today.” And isn’t that the truth? Isn’t that the problem? Gish was 16, William R. Moses was 27. It was wonderful, it was terrible. It could never be. It was wrong and felt so right and yet not at all. You know. All the feelings.
Which meant it taught you something about which odds are insurmountable, what romantic fantasies are reasonable and which should just be fantasies, no matter how hot the young dad. These were the messages for teenage girls back in 1988. Two years later, Julia would play a princess who gets rescued by an older man, sure, and I’m not trying to pretend Pretty Woman didn’t vanilla-up the whole process of a call girl and a john falling in love – but at least she knew, when she “rescued him right back” on her fire escape, that he had issues. He wasn’t perfect. She knew what she was signing on for.
I feel like the rash of teenybopper movies and shows and falling in love with members of One Direction is predicated on the idea that these boys are Perfect, and that it’s a Perfect love affair. Until it isn’t, and then you cue Taylor Swift to be outraged that your perfect love isn’t after all. You don’t hear as much, these days, about young girls being attracted to bad boys, and I wonder if this is an actual seismic shift. Have we bred Disney stars more and more sanitarily so that actual flaws are now shocking to young women when they discover them in real life?
90s women knew. A bad boy is one thing – but he’s hiding a little damage underneath. Maybe millenials think that’s messed up but at least there was some depth, you know? What do you learn from version after version of “He was perfect, and then he noticed me”?
Related: Mystic Pizza is not on Canadian Netflix. Or iTunes. Do I actually have to go purchase it somewhere on a DVD like it’s 2007?
(Lainey: look Duana, it’s on blu ray!)