Movie Review: Silver Linings Playbook


This movie breaks down fairly simply into the Hopeless Romantic versus Cynic dichotomy. Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, is the hopeless romantic, trying to overcome his bipolar disorder in order to win back his estranged wife. Tiffany, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is the cynic who was recently widowed and is trying to overcome her current sex addiction.

Personally, I like Pat’s character – he has no filter between his brain and his mouth – saying whatever comes to mind. (He actually reminds me of Larry David’s character from Curb Your Enthusiasm.) When Pat first meets Tiffany, she’s not immediately put off by this too-honest, in-your-face conversation. They are able to overcome their usual difficulties relating to people and start to spend time together.

Their relationship works because it started off as a friendship and didn’t automatically devolve into a mutual dependency – which would be very easy for these two characters to do. (I’m looking at you, main characters of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.) Instead, they leverage their friendship to help each other – Pat eventually agreeing to train and compete in a couple’s dance competition with Tiffany if she helps deliver a letter to Pat’s estranged wife. (In fact, the plot reminds me a lot of The Cutting Edge.)

As Pat and Tiffany practice together, they become emotionally committed to the competition, and to each other. It takes a bit of time for Pat to realize this, though, still being hung up on his estranged wife and all. But he eventually figures things out. And there’s a bit of drama at the end involving some lying, but the silver lining shines through. “You let me lie to you for a week!?” “I was trying to be romantic.”

All in all, Hopeful Romantic Approved.

4 out of 5 Hopeful Hearts

Music: The Hopeful Romantic Mixtape


A few years ago for Valentine’s Day, I compiled a Hopeful Romantic Mixtape – songs from my favorite artists that correspond with each chapter. Well, with the advent of this new website and the streaming availability of Spotify, I thought it was worthwhile to repost. Here’s a link to the Spotify playlist, as well as a chapter and track listing:

Chapter 1 – Being Happy
Heartless Bastards – Be So Happy

Chapter 2 – Knowing What You Want
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Oregon Girl

Chapter 3 – First Contact
Eli “Paperboy” Reed & The True Loves – Am I Wasting My Time

Chapter 4 – First Date, First Kiss
Flight of the Concords – A Kiss Is Not A Contract

Chapter 5 – Differences
Wilco – Pick Up The Change

Chapter 6 – Growing In Love, Then Falling In Love
Ben Kweller – Falling

Chapter 7 – Dead End Relationships
Feist – Inside And Out

Chapter 8 – The Art of the Breakup
Loretta Lynn – Mrs. Leroy Brown

Chapter 9 – Recovery
Limbeck – Honk + Wave

Chapter 10 – Is This Person the One?
Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position

Chapter 11 – Appreciation + Compromise
Golden Shoulders – Patience Darling, Patience

Chapter 12 – Being Happy Together
Jens Lekman – Someone to Share My Life With

That last song was Melissa and I’s first dance at our wedding!

I’ll try to update this playlist every Valentine’s Day. So look for a new one next February!

Photo via Flickr user le vent le cri

Movie Review: High Fidelity


We meet Laura and Rob as they are at the end of their seemingly dead end relationship. Laura recognizes the stagnation and decides to end things. Good for her. The Hopeful Romantic doesn’t wait around hoping things will magically get better someday. When the other person refuses to change/grow, it’s time to get out.

Rob, though, can’t seem to get over Laura. He falls into the Recovery stage, and in trying to figure out what went wrong with Laura, other than being an asshole, he realizes he never figured out why his other previous relationships didn’t work out. So he reaches out to all of his old girlfriends to find out.

And he made some classic mistakes:

·         He broke up with someone because she wouldn’t get physical with him right away, missing an opportunity with her because of it.

·         He went after someone (Charlie) way about his status/looks. “You’ve got to learn to fight your weight” rings true. Don’t shoot too high.

·         After that breakup, he got into a relationship with Sarah, who also just went through a breakup, just so they wouldn’t be alone. This is to be avoided. Follow Rainer Maria Rilke’s advice instead – “We know little, but that we must trust in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.”

Once he figured out what an asshole he had been, when Laura needed him back in her life after her dad died, Rob was ready to step up and commit.

In true Hopeful Romantic fashion, she then helps open Rob’s eyes to see how happy he should be as owner of a record store. She encourages him to start DJing again. He even starts his own record label.

And the biggest sign of growth is when he realizes he shouldn’t be making a mix tape for a girl that isn’t Laura.

Rob finally grows up and becomes a Hopeful Romantic.

[images from Music Snobbery with copyright likely belonging to Touchstone Pictures. Used under fair use.] 

Time Off After A Relationship


When relationships end, someone is usually more heartbroken than the other. This is due to the uneven growth of love in the relationship. If you are the one more heavily affected by the breakup, you’ll need some time off from dating. A good rule of thumb is take one week off for every month you were in the relationship.

This time off is necessary to get over the last person. When you finally start dating again, you want to focus on the new person. If you start dating too soon, your mind will still be on the old person. Your conversations will then gravitate to your ex. And believe me, the last thing you want to hear on a first date is all about the other person’s ex.

Take some time off from dating. Get your footing until you are ready to stand on your own two feet and start to move forward on your own.

Photo by Flickr user wwarby