This is a scene from the 2001 movie, Kissing Jessica Stein, which wound up on the cutting room floor. It is one of the vignettes of clueless men dated by the title character, Jessica Stein, played by actress Jennifer Westfeldt, who co-wrote and co-produced the movie with her co-star, Heather Juergensen. Here’s a transcript of the rant to yoga guy on why Jessica disagrees that they have “clicked”:
You don’t appreciate the chaos and absurdity of life on this planet. You don’t understand irony, or ethnicity, or eccentricity, or poetry, or the simple joy of being a regular at the diner on your block. I love that. You don’t drink coffee or alcohol. You don’t over eat. You don’t cry when you’re alone. You don’t understand sarcasm. You plod through life in a neat, colorless, caffeine-free, dairy-free, conflict-free way. I’m bold and angry and tortured and tremendous and I notice when someone has changed their hair part, or when someone is wearing two very distinctly different shades of black or when someone changes the natural timbre of their voice on the phone. I don’t give out empty praise. I’m not complacent or well-adjusted. I can’t spend fifteen minutes breathing and stretching and getting in touch with myself. I can’t spend three minutes finishing an article. I check my answering machine nine times every day and I can’t sleep at night because I feel that there is so much to do and fix and change in the world, and I wonder every day if I am making a difference and if I will ever express the greatness within me, or if I will remain forever paralyzed by muddled madness inside my head. I’ve wept on every birthday I’ve ever had because life is huge and fleeting and I hate certain people and certain shoes and I feel that life is terribly unfair and sometimes beautiful and wonderful and extraordinary but also numbing and horrifying and insurmountable and I hate myself a lot of the time. The rest of the time I adore myself and I adore my life in this city and in this world we live in. This huge and wondrous, bewildering, brilliant, horrible world.
The overall message of the movie is about becoming free of the paralysis of perfectionism in order to be able to have intimacy and fulfill your full, creative potential. After meeting so many men with whom she feels no rapport, Jessica is drawn to answer a personals ad of a woman and they become lovers. My idea of a happy ending is that they would have lived happily ever after together, but they do both live happily ever after. It is a very funny and well-written movie.
The movie also features Tovah Feldshuh WHO IS GORGEOUS AND ADORABLE AND OMG! OMG! OMG! JUST TOTALLY MELTS MY HEART!
Where was I? Oh, right — now that Dixie Carter has passed on, Hollywood needs a new queen of rants and I think this clip proves that Jennifer Westfeldt deserves the title. Also, I think listening to this particular rant will make anyone a better person. Which is, or ought to be, the main purpose of a rant.
So many people try to bully lesbians and gays back into the closet by saying that they don’t care what anybody does in the bedroom, your sex life should be private, yadayadayada. One of the things that Kissing Jessica Stein illustrates — even if unintentionally — is how MUCH people need to know both your sexual orientation AND your relationship status — single, committed, whatever — in order to feel comfortable relating to you. It also shows how much confusion and hurt being closeted can cause — all round, not just to the person in the closet. This is why I keep harping on the point that there is no such thing as privacy about your sexual orientation. Straight people are just not aware of the myriad ways they tell people about their sex life every minute of the day: talking about a date, a spouse, their children — all of those are indicators of your sex life, which you would know if, instead of being able to use them to relate and connect to others and show what a good person you are, that revealing any hint of the role in your life of a loved one lost you your career, job, client, friends, family, home or life. Seriously, there is no such thing as privacy about your sex life.
This scene may have been one of the nine scenes deleted from the movie because the World Trade Center buildings were in the shot. Wikipedia notes (boldfacing mine):
The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival on April 21, 2001, receiving the Audience Award for Best Feature Film and a Critics Special Jury Award.
The film was next shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, with screenings scheduled the day before and the day after the 9/11 attacks. According to the DVD commentary track by Westfeldt and Juergensen, both screenings took place, with the second screening on September 12th producing audible gasps among audience members at the sight of the World Trade Center. The two filmmakers decided to eliminate the nine or ten scenes featuring the Twin Towers because they weren’t integral to the story, and served to distract from it because of the attacks.
I would love to see Kissing Jessica Stein re-edited to restore the scenes with the World Trade Center buildings now that the shock has worn off. For example, the yoga guy was part of a theme in the movie and at the end, Jessica IS doing yoga, even if it she DOES keep peeking at her clock.