I watched 'Herbie: Fully Loaded' last night.
Why you ask? Was it my secret 'I want to be just like her despite the partying and lack of morals' platonic Lindsay Lohan crush? Ok, kind of. But not mainly...was it my secret fondness for Dean Jones of the original Herbie movies? ok, kind of. And Buddy Hackett is amazing. But not mainly...MAINLY it was my secret love crush on this kid in the picture. Justin Long. I will watch anything he's in. Yeah, yeah...he's the kid from the Mac vs PC commercials. I say kid because he's younger than me, but he's 28 which puts him in my 'totally acceptable from my father's standpoint' range...which is 25-55, just in case you're wondering.
But despite the drooling over Justin, and the G-rated boring nature of the movie, I was surprised to find that I was smiling throughout. It was love, pure and simple, and I got it. It's hard to explain, but somehow it brought back memories of very simple feelings, those feelings of hope and happiness...something I rarely get from romantic movies anymore. I can compare 'Herbie' to 'Under the Tuscan Sun' which I also just saw...a romantic movie about burned hearts, healing and starting over. Romance for women. A chick flick, if you will. Also with a cute guy in the end, but somehow it missed the target of romance for me. It made me sad to think of someone I used to love, yes, and how he hurt me, but despite the realistic Diane Lane character having a broken heart, I look at someone falling in love in rural Tuscany and think 'yeah right' and just don't see it happening. Dean Martin, Fellini, all types of romance represented in that film that make me say 'eh...whatever.' If you ask me if I believe in love like that...well, I just don't. It's too unreal to imagine.
However, put me into a magical '63 VW bug, and suddenly I buy it. Somehow love is possible during a repair montage, and Herbie bounces us so that we fall on each other and have that 'wow - I could love you' moment. When getting each other soaked while washing cars is the epitome of romance, and 'Walking on Sunshine' by Katrina and the Waves is the soundtrack! (see car wash shot below.) When a 28 year old geeky mechanic is far more appealing than a 38 year old hot writer. It's magic! And magical love makes sense to me! It must be the Disney brainwashing I received as a child, but I can believe in that kind of romance. I can see how Herbie is love.
But really, have I been set up for the impossible? The 'guy who's always been in love with you, you just didn't see it' cliche? Does that 'win the race, kiss, and realize it's an 'I love you' kiss' moment ever happen to anyone in real life? It seems like a setup. A Disney setup. Where the handsome men are always evil, and it's the geeky kid from your past who ends up with your heart. It's unrealistic, and yet seems more plausible than anything else I've seen or could consider. It seems more plausible than the cliche of love, and romance. Herbie door-kicking the shy guy into an embrace with the woman he's always loved, just couldn't say it...that's magic. That's true love.
So how is it that I can buy magic, just not the romance? I can buy the kiss, but not the 'love affair'? Maybe it's a broken heart gone bad...I long for the days when romance was just palling around with your best bud washing a car, and it ends in a kiss. Once heartache damages you, you can't go back to those days, and they become more important than any sort of real relationship you might have. Or maybe it's because love only appears when we forget ourselves. When we get out of the drudgery and into the magic. Love becomes a dream, a Disney dream of simplicity. Maybe that's not love to anyone but me, but I don't think all those Disney movies can be wrong. Can they?
I'm going to call Justin so we can wash our cars together, and we'll just see how things go...