Disclaimer: I really could have just titled this article, “I Have Terrible Taste in Movies,” so bear with me. That being said, I, like many transplants, was seeing New York City portrayed on film long before I ever lived here…and frankly, those films are bereft with inaccuracies and misrepresentations.
In short, movies lied to me about life in New York City:
Culprits: Friends With Benefits, 27 Dresses
As you might expect, one of the most jarring realizations came in the sobering form of New York City real estate. Sure, everyone knows that an apartment in the City is among the most expensive in the country, however, the reality is that you don’t even get much bang for your considerable buck.
Justin Timberlake’s character in Friends With Benefits takes a job at GQ and is seemingly provided with a fully-furnished palace of an apartment, complete with gourmet kitchen. Condé Nast might have just moved into their sweet new digs at 1 World Trade Center, but I’m pretty sure they aren’t handing out the same to all their employees. Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses is a glorified personal assistant, yet somehow has a charming and spacious one-bedroom apartment, complete with a hall closet big enough to house all those dresses? Doubt it.
Culprits: Maid In Manhattan, Just My Luck, Sweet Home Alabama
Spoiler alert: Attempting to have an intentional accidental encounter with every handsome guy (or pretty lady) you come across while working your crappy service industry job won’t find you love…just bad tips. And that whole “locking eyes from across a crowded room” thing is bull.
But Sweet Home Alabama’s story of a Southerner moving to the North, reinventing herself, and getting engaged to a wealthy man (complete with a Tiffany’s moment)? Well, that letdown hits a little too close to home (though I would like to reiterate that I am NOT from Alabama).
Culprits: Center Stage, The Devil Wears Prada
Contrary to what these movies would have you believe, traipsing through the City on your way to work or school is not a “cute” endeavor. Dancers don’t float on and off the bus, looking distracted yet elegant while they chase their dreams all the way to Lincoln Center.
Commuting is also not the time to showcase your outfit while you listen to a Natasha Bedingfield song and adorably dash between cabs, a la The Devil Wears Prada. Between the rain, snow, crowds of people, haphazard bikers, and general filth, well, let’s just say there’s a reason it’s not uncommon to see women wearing running shoes with their pencil skirts, and carrying their Jimmy Choos to the office. You might wanna rethink that white overcoat, Anne.
Culprits: The Other Woman, That Awkward Moment
The chances of you walking into a bar and finding an empty table or enough seats at the bar? Slim. The chances of getting a drink as soon as you walk up to the bar? Slimmer. The chances of casually strolling into a busy bar that’s crowded — but not too crowded — and finding a place for you and all your friends to sit, while being able to hold a conversation without having to shout at one another over the latest remix of “Fancy?” No. And you can forget trying to flirt. Just go home.
Culprits: Coyote Ugly, Enchanted
Note to self: Dressing room montages are not a thing. There will be no Coyote Ugly saloon door makeover scene. And even if there were, it would be a logistical nightmare. There’s always a line, you can only bring in so many items, and no one has the patience to watch you do funny dance moves in front of the mirror in a funky jacket, kooky sunglasses, and a zany hat. And the 15+ adorable multicolored shopping bags you have draped over your arms as you flounce down the street from store to store? Wrong.
It’s hard enough navigating your way through the crowded sidewalks with a bag from Just Salad…and by “a bag from Just Salad,” I of course mean, “a dollar slice.”
What a web of lies.
If anyone needs me, I’ll be watching Shakespeare in Love.