Why I Identify with WALL•E’s Awkwardness

My wife and I recently had a discussion about two movies we own and how I like to watch them over and over again. The two movies are Dan in Real Life and WALL•E. What I find appealing about these two films in particular is the awkward way in which the protagonist in each engages his love interest.

In Dan in Real Life, Steve Carell is a widower with three girls, who meets a woman and hits it off with her while on a weekend in Rhode Island only to discover she is his brother’s new girlfriend- a fact he would have learned if he didn’t do all the talking. Throughout the movie, Carell shines, in all his comic glory, as his character deals with the complicated situation, fighting off (to no avail) falling in love with a woman who is in a relationship.

In WALL•E, the protagonist is a robot, whose name is an acronym (“Waste Allocation Load Lifter- Earth Class”). He appears to be the last moving thing on a waste-covered Earth- other than a cockroach. When a spaceship lands and deploys EVE (“Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator”), a female robot and love interest to WALL•E, he becomes smitten. The montage sequence when he tries to get close to and woo her is classic.

My whole point in blogging about this is I was an awkward mess when I first became “smitten” with my wife. I was twenty years old and she was nineteen when we met; I had zero skills except being my strange self. Bumbling and stumbling, that was my game. I have to admit, there are those gents who seem to be suave and los capitanes de amor, but they still are awkward in their own right. As far as courtship goes, I think God made men to be generally awkward at first in order to humble the proud and give game to the humble.  The guy who can laugh at his own eccentricities can work with his opposite-of-suaveness. The fellow who thinks he’s a balling vaquero will sooner or later become the former… or die lonely and macho.

 

[Postscript: Me and my E.V.E. have been married for over seven years and have  four children with one due in February. Awkwardness is good.]

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