OBJECTIVE: Watch a popular or critically acclaimed film we’ve never seen to the halfway point. Pause it. Work together to predict the ending.
PRETTY WOMAN (1990)
THE LAST THING WE SAW: We paused at 00:59:30, after the slippery escargot business dinner and follow-up penthouse conversation, right on this fucking awesome shot of the elevator operator that looks like Nicolas Cage and talks like McLovin.
And now… discuss!
Phil: Before I launch into my predictions, I gotta say, I’m enjoying this movie a lot more than I thought.
Ben: I’m right there with you. This is the one I thought I’d hate the most, but it’s the one I love to hate the least. When Vivian says, “You’ve got that sharp, useless look about you,” it’s like she’s talking about my cynicism!
Phil: Yeah! I’m actually enjoying her in this. I’ve never been a big Julia Roberts fan, but here she’s vibrant, funny, and cute. I can kind of see what the fuss about her was back in 1990, having now seen this (well, half, anyway).
Ben: I’m equally charmed. It definitely makes sense that she launched her career from this in a big way. In fairness, it also makes sense that anyone who has not seen Pretty Woman would say, “Julia Roberts? What’s the big deal? I don’t get the hype.”
Phil: Anyway, first prediction: they’re going to fall in love. (So certain am I that I ought to have written SPOILER ALERT!)
Ben: If they don’t, then this whole set-up has been an elaborate jerk-off. I like the way it has been a v-e-r-y gradual ramp-up thus far. I foresee the amount of time he needs her for, or the tasks he needs her to do, to increase by degrees. And then WHAM! Hooker love.
Phil: Well, I think they are both going to deny it to each other for a long time. They both have discussed how they keep emotion out of business, and, technically, they both are still merely business associates. But the fact that their business is going out on dates, their similarities and natural chemistry will emerge all the more—but they will still deny it for almost the entirety of the movie.
Ben: Exactly. At this juncture, this is purely a business transaction. It’s also becoming more and more apparent to others that they’re not “uncle and niece” or whatever. Not that Edward ever wanted a cover; he knows that the management will cover up all but his most egregious indiscretions. Speaking of which, what do you think about Edward’s cutthroat and/or shady business deals?
Phil: In addition to emotion, Edward certainly lacks compassion and perhaps even ethics in his dealings. However, he may act like Mr. Potter, but he is pure George Bailey deep down. (She even says, “You like Mr. Morse.”) I definitely think that Vivian will bring this out in him and teach him to have compassion in his work.
Ben: My prediction was that she would convince Edward, directly or otherwise, to back off of the Morse naval yard deal and allow the likeable Morses to keep their adorable little toy boats. Especially now that Edward is thinking about his departed dad. I can also see her love/hate relationship with the hotel manager swinging more into the love zone. She has a warming effect, similar to the lube she probably employs.
Phil: Okay, first, ew, and second, I think it’ll go one step further than that. He will buy the business, but he will keep the integrity that Old Man Morse has built up and not sell it off. But yes, this will all be due to her positive influence that will get him to change his tune.
Ben: Also possible. And while we’re talking about shady business, it made me uncomfortable to see Phil’s (movie Phil/Jason Alexander’s) name under Edward’s on the Lewis Industries sign. Your attorney’s name is not typically below yours on anything but sexual harassment documents for new employees. We were also made to laugh when Phil’s car was being misused & damaged. Between this and his boardroom discomfort, I expect some sort of mischief from him down the pike.
Phil: I hadn’t thought about Phil’s role in this. Perhaps whatever hijinks ensue will be what spurs him to head out on his own and create Vandelay Industries.
Ben: He’s gonna import or export conflict!
Phil: Anyway, for the rest of the film, Edward’s and Vivian’s love will be kindling and growing, all the while they will be denying it to each other and to themselves. Finally, around that “Golden Mean” moment, one of them (I’ll guess Vivian) will muster up the courage to express it.
Ben: You’re spoiling my opportunity for a golden mean reference? You scoundrel!
Phil: However, Edward will either a) outright balk, talking about keeping emotion out of business and that this is purely professional, or, b) more likely, appearances will be such that she infers that he does not return her love. My guess it will be a poorly timed entrance, accidentally seeing Edward talking with his ex, and Julia will think it’ll be along the lines of, “Of course I haven’t fallen in love with a lady of the night, snookums,” when it is in reality more of, “I’m breaking up with you, snookums, for that quirky manic pixie dream girl prostitute!”
Ben: While Edward doesn’t have a current love interest to protect, a lingering moment with an ex or Edward flirting with a new woman (a pretty one, of course) could certainly set off a jealous or possessive reaction from Hooker-Boots McFishFace. (Truthfully, I tried, but I can’t knock Roberts’ attractiveness in this flick. She resembles a lithe Cindy Crawford, which as we all know, was the quintessential nineties hottie.)
Phil: And by the end of the movie, I think such a jealous reaction will be warranted: by that point, their feelings of love will have manifested themselves, and although Edward and Vivian may not have outwardly acknowledged them to each other yet, they are still clearly present.
So anyway, she’ll catch him talking to his ex and she’ll run away crying. He’ll discover the miscommunication, drive up in that fancy car of Phil’s, and wipe away her tears. They’ll express their love to each other, she’ll teach him to drive a stick, and they’ll zoom off into the Californian sunset.
Oh, and Vivian’s roommate (ex-roommate, now) will stay at home with the dollar bill they’ve stashed in the toilet.
Ben: The character we’ve affectionately been calling Toilet Dollar.
Phil: Her meteoric rise out of her situation will not be explored until the long anticipated sequel.
Ben: Pretty Woman II: Comely Lass!
Phil: Coming to theaters this never.
AND NOW, WE FINISH THE MOVIE:
Phil Hobby can be heard alongside Alfred “Doc Ock” Molina in The Starling Project, an audio drama you can listen to right here. Ben Katz can be contacted at (207) 797-3400 if you’re looking for work in the Portland, ME area.