Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forgetting Europe; forgetting the States; forgetting Sarah Marshall

Trying to learn how to Forget Sarah Marshall yesterday night, I found myself learning something else: how a particularly funny film quote can tell us a lot about stereotypes and human perception of the world. Naturally, Jason Seagel is very successful at writing and delivering sarcastic lines, and naturally, you cannot go on and on analysing the best ones, cause they are a tad too many (I found somebody who gave it a try, being picky, though).

So, I will not bother commenting on the funniness of the film, the real life impact it has and it gives, the bright performances and all that, I will just ponder on America's perception of Europe, or to be more precise, on U.S.A.'s perception of it. I should not generalise either, but, let's see what triggered my thoughts, first:

Peter Bretter: I can see why Sarah likes you.
Aldous Snow: No accounting for taste, I suppose, in her case, anyway.
Peter Bretter: Well, she was with me for five years, so there you go.
Aldous Snow: Yeah, you got four on me then, mate.
Peter Bretter: You slept with Sarah a year ago?
Aldous Snow: I thought you knew! Peter, please, don't take it seriously.
Peter Bretter: What the fuck, man! You...
Aldous Snow: Don't get offended by that.
Peter Bretter: You can't be so casual about this! This isn't Europe, okay? There are rules here!

It's a funny dialogue and the lead character, music composer Peter, is being unimaginably classy and witty, dealing with his girlfriend's new love, a superstar and cool with the ladies Aldous Snow, especially on the very moment he's learning that she cheated on him with the aforementioned. The aforementioned, is not American; he comes from Great Britain, where hooligans, punks and dandies were born and raised, where order became disorder and vice-versa.

Europe with its past wars and military governments, its inept and power/sex-driven politicians, its unstable Eurozone, its Balkans, its temperamental tribes, its Laclos' Dangerous Liaisons, is no place for rules to be kept. And, apparently, the States are. That was probably a widespread idea the writer is making fun of on 2008, when the film was produced; US were still the land of plenty, a place were the inadequacies of the system were filmed by Michael Moore, and then forgotten, a place were the law could bust you all right, even if you were a household name: Paris for drinking and driving, Naomi for assaulting every other housemaid was brave enough to serve her, George Michael for cruising in public toilets.

In the 21st century, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the general restless mood, makes the idea of the States as a place of Law and Order a bit more shaky, I suppose. Rules do exist for Europe, the States and all the continents alike, and we are all trying hard to keep them, except for those who are trying hard to deviate from them. It's just a matter of who is better at handling (read hiding) his deviations with care. Like Sarah Marshall was doing herself.


costas said...

that's an outstanding non-review!

Anonymous said...

Bravo! :)