In my humble opinion, The Girl Next Door is probably one of the greatest movies of all times. Before you judge me and shake your head and think to yourself “dumbass poser”… hear me out. Yes, it’s from 2004 making it questionable to take it seriously as a legitimate “film” instead of just a silly “movie,” but it’s more than that. Okay, I’ll admit it, the film (yes I’m calling it a film for all you pretentious film critics to sign in an exasperated manner at) has a more or less silly plot line. Beautiful porn star moves in next door to high school over achiever which happens to be extremely good looking and they fall in love. But aside from the pretty much unbelievable plot line, it also packs in some pretty serious life lessons/messages. As well as has the best movie kiss maybe ever. Especially because it’s set to David Gray’s “This Year’s Love.” Me a romantic? Nah.
On the subject of friendship-
Eli: Okay, you know what the three of us are? We’re a tripod.
Klitz: A tripod?
Eli: Yes, a tripod. Which means that if you knock out one of our legs, WE-ALL-FALL!
Friendship is a huge part of not only The Girl Next Door (TGND) but life as well. Or at least to me it is. Matthew (main character), Eli and Klitz are best friends, or in their terms a tripod. They stick together and always have each other’s backs and always tell each other the truth. That’s what friendship is all about. People you care about and love enough that if one falls, you all fall and have to count on each other to get back up. Luckily, I have really great people in my life to act as my tripod. I also have a variety of different tripods. And I also frequently find myself being the third wheel. I guess groups of three are a “thing” in my life right now. Regardless, TGND teaches us the value and importance of friendship. It doesn’t matter how cool or not cool you are, it’s the people that fall down with you when your legs get knocked out from under you.
On moral fiber-
Matthews: Moral fiber. So, what is moral fiber? It’s funny, I used to think it was always telling the truth, doing good deeds, basically being a fucking boy scout. But lately I’ve been seeing it differently. Now I think moral fiber’s about finding that one thing you really care about. That one special thing that means more to you than anything else in the world. And when you find her, you fight for her. You risk it all, you put her in front of everything, your life, all of it. And maybe the stuff you do to help her isn’t so clean. You know what? It doesn’t matter. Because in your heart you know, that the juice is worth the squeeze. That’s what moral fiber’s all about.
People, the juice is always worth the squeeze. Even if it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to or thought it would, it’s still a hell of a lot better than dealing with regret. So quit being a pansy and risk whatever or fight for whatever because life is too short and regret sucks. And this doesn’t necessarily have to deal with a guy or a girl. It can really be anything. I don’t remember who said it but “nothing in life worth having ever comes easy.” Juice is worth the squeeze, squeeze is worth the juice, whatever. It’s always just worth it. I think we’re all guilty of giving up on things because we’re scared or don’t want to work at it. I struggle with this a lot. I’d usually rather just let it go then have to put myself in a situation where I have to work or fight for something because there’s always the chance that I could lose the fight and look like an idiot. But that’s what makes moral fiber and I think I need a little bit more of it in my life.
On choosing the people in your life-
Matthew: I just wanna let you know, I know who you really are, and you’re better than this.
Basically, you want the people that you hold closest and nearest and dearest to be people who know who you reall are. Because, well, obviously. It’s way more fun and relaxing (usually) to be around people who know you and know who you are as person. The people that you can say or do whatever you want to in front of and they accept it because it’s who you are. You also need to have people who know when you’re not being your best and call you out on your shit. We all mess up and we all make mistakes and we all need people to intervene and set us straight.
On cherishing each moment-
Matthew: As for me? I’m just goin’ with it.
AND Danielle: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done lately?
The movie begins with Matthew being your typically (as portrayed in film) high school overachiever. President, valedictorianish, two nerdy best friends, no experience with girls, etc. etc. etc. He also has never done anything on a whim or anything supposedly “crazy” ever which makes it difficult when he’s trying to fill out his yearbook memories section with memorable memories because, well, he doesn’t really have any. When he meets Danielle (the porn star) however, things change. He begins to actually enjoy life and see that there are more important things in the world than grades and school. He begins to just go with it. Let things happen as they happen and enjoy the ride. I’ve found myself struggling a lot with this lately. Instead of enjoying where I am right now, I focus more on where I’m not which results in me not being as happy as I could be. Luckily, I know people who refuse to let me get a less than stellar view on life, so I’m working on it (thank you). I think we all need a Danielle in our lives to come in and shake things up and get us to view and enjoy life differently.
So aside from the genius lessons I’ve pointed out from this fabulous piece of cinematography (don’t knock it ’till you try it), it also has a really great soundtrack. And when I say really great, I mean the best songs from the early part of the 2000s and then some. Seriously, it’s awesome. And you should listen to it and if you haven’t seen the movie you should also check it out. I don’t really know why I love TGND as much as I do. It could be the life lessons, the soundtrack or the fact that I may or may not be in love with Emile Hirsch. Regardless, it’s my comfort movie and I think that if you open your mind and heart and eyes and whatever else it could become a valuable part of your DVD collection.