In high school, the student council sponsored an event where you could send your valentine a can of that soda pop called Crush. Show your love for another through a sugary pun, they said. Orange Crush, Grape Crush, and Strawberry Crush. And every year I moseyed on up to the table my friends were working and forked over the money, fifty cents each, for three cans. For myself. I sent three cans to myself. Not to make people think I had a secret admirer, just so I could then drink three cans of Crush at little cost.
"…First, I decided to go to a study lounge at the end of my hall to write. Keep in mind it is after 1 a.m. From up the hall, I see that the room is dark and unoccupied, so I walk down there. I open the door and wait for the automatic lights to come on and they don’t. I then hear a noise. I instantly become really scared. Then I look to my left and see a couple doing God knows what in the dark on a couch in the study lounge. I then say, "Uh, sorry," (exact words, in a slightly weird voice) and walk out.
Also, that “noise” mentioned above was a man’s groan and shifting bodies. Yeah, just soak that in.
Now to my point - somewhere between the unique experience of…”
If those study hall people are somehow reading this today, I would still like to extend my sincerest “uh, sorry” to them.
"I need one for Wolf of Wall Street,” I said, handing over my ID and debit card.
The girl leaned toward her middle-aged male co-worker. “I heard it’s like a straight-up porn movie.”
"What? Really?" he asked.
"Yeah, I guess it’s just really crazy, like non-stop," she said. Then she looked at me, "Theater five to your left."
The rumors are true, everyone. There’s a lot of cursing, nudity, simulated sex, drug use, and all-around crude behavior. Vulture made some nice graphs detailing the curse words and, according to them, our beloved Leonardo DiCaprio curses 332 times in 180 minutes.
But none of that offended me. None of it was glorified. The consequences were shown again and again, and crudes and nudes were basically being condemned. More importantly, here are a few things I WAS offended by.
Would I suggest The Wolf of Wall Street to others? Sure. Obviously not to my grandma. Definitely not to my mom who would label it “filth.” I wouldn’t suggest it to my dad because there’s way too many boobs in it. But I would suggest it to my friends, acquaintances, and siblings. It examines our country’s capacity for greed and exploitation and yeah, at times it’s almost like “a straight up porn movie,” you biotch working the front desk at the theater. But in the end it truly delivers! (That is, it delivers Leo DiCaprio’s bare buttcheeks to the legions of female moviegoers who have been waiting for years to catch a glimpse!)
…wanted to jam out to an instrumental version of Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up? Then consider calling my student loan provider! They can definitely help you with that.
We’ve made it to the boring part of winter - no more holidays but plenty of bitter cold weather. For those nights when a mini-blizzard has made it impossible for you to leave your home, I give you three Netflix Instant suggestions (from a person with a film degree and, fittingly, no promising career or life prospects)!
The Apartment (1960) starring Jack Lemmon & Shirley MacLaine
"A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue." -IMDB
Directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, this is the RomCom that inspired all other RomComs. Honestly, when I watched this movie the first time, it was easily apparent that today’s modern (and often poorly done) romantic comedies are inspired, whether they know it or not, by The Apartment. The witty dialogue, the string of outrageous misunderstandings, the happy ending, and the too-sweet-to-be-true leading man are all at play here. If this movie was made in the 90s, it most certainly would have starred Tom Hanks. It’s in black and white, but it’s a million times better than any romantic comedy you’ve sat through in the last 10 years - that, I can promise you. If you’re in the mood for a darkly funny love story that’s way more realistic than you’d expect from a movie made in 1960, watch The Apartment.
Frances Ha (2012) starring Greta Gerwig & Mickey Sumner
"Follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment) apprenticing for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer) and throwing herself headlong into her dreams (even as their possible reality dwindles)." -IMDB
If you’re in your 20s, you’ll relate to something in this movie. Directed by Noah Baumbach, who’s known (at least to me) for his slow, subtle, indie dramas, this marks his first behind-the-scenes collaboration with girlfriend Greta Gerwig. Both as a co-writer and actor, she brings a lot of life to Baumbach’s work and never really allows for a boring moment in the movie. To sum it up, this is a black and white Indie film, but I watched it repeatedly after first seeing it because it was that good and realistically funny. You kind of feel like you’re hanging out with a friend while following Greta’s character. If you’re in the mood to see an Indie film, but don’t want to be depressed or weirdly reflective afterwards, this is the movie for you.
Skyfall (2012) starring Daniel Craig & Judi Dench
"Bond’s loyalty to M is tested when her past comes back to haunt her. Whilst MI6 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost." -IMDB
Maybe you read the description above and thought, “I have no clue what that means, I don’t watch James Bond movies, and that’s why I didn’t see this one, either.” I’m here to tell you that you should watch it anyway. The story isn’t that hard to catch onto and the action sequences are uniquely plotted and filmed. That’s because Oscar winning director (and Kate Winslet’s ex-husband) Sam Mendes helmed this film and that’s what you get when the guy who directed American Beauty and Road to Perdition is allowed to direct an action film. Javier Bardem is the bad guy and let me tell you, he’s very creepy. He dyed his hair blonde and for some reason that makes him absolutely terrifying. More terrifying than that haircut he had when he played that other scary guy in No Country For Old Men. If you’re in the mood for a quality action movie and to hear Adele’s beautiful theme song, watch Skyfall.
Those are my unsolicited movie suggestions. Let me know if you watch any! Please!! Make me feel like my college degree means something!!!
…to free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves—there lies the great, the singular power of self-respect. Without it, one eventually discovers the final turn of the screw: one runs away to find oneself, and finds no one at home.Joan Didion
A few weeks ago, I stopped by my local Walgreens to pick up some cough drops and Vick’s VapoRub. No, I wasn’t shopping for my great aunt. I was getting over a cold and wanted nothing more than to go home and lay in bed. I practically ran to the check-out counter, but there was a woman in front of me and I could tell it was going to take a while. She was just one of those people. Then an old man walked up behind me. He knew the woman and the cashier, so he spoke to both of them with familiarity. While he did so, he slyly ambled his way in front of me. I monitored the situation with a watchful eye and a (probably) snarled expression until it became clear that the old man had, in fact, cut me in line.
I adjusted my attitude by reminding myself that when I’m old, if I’m so lucky, I will undoubtedly behave like a true maniac. Because when you live on this wretched earth long enough, you deserve certain cultural exceptions that include but are not limited to: farting in public, cutting in line, walking slowly, talking slowly, and always eating dessert. Truthfully, I already do most of those things and I’m just shy of 23 years old. If I can accidentally fart on an aisle of birthday cards, this old guy can cut me in line.
He was a jokester and a WWII veteran. He looked through the pictures he had developed one-by-one at the counter before paying for them. He picked through his change and pocket lint before handing over his payment. He was a classic man of his generation, charming and smooth. Kind of like a Gene Kelly movie character, except a little less nimble and light on his feet because he’s at least, what? 85?
When he finally paid the cashier his change was one cent. She handed it to him and he turned to me. Stretching his arm out in front of him, he said, “Did you see that?! I gave her a hundred and all she gave me back was one little penny. You’re a witness to a crime!” And with that, I decided to adopt the old man.
But let’s admit it. Our interaction had a rough start. Him, with his line cutting. Me, with my natural response of inner-hate and a snarled face. But by the end, I was fond of him. I thought about how so many old people I meet are outgoing, honest, charming, and humorous.
I wish more people my age were that way, but I guess we’re all products of our generations. He probably used to hang men’s hats at a pool hall for tips like my grandpa, which could be why he’s great at conversation and joking around. Baby Boomers right on down to Millennials get their world and political news from a repeatedly-shared Facebook post with hundreds of typos, which says something about us too depressing for me to think about for any fraction of time. So instead, I’m going to slather my chest in Vick’s VapoRub just for old time’s sake and decide whether or not that old man’s name was Frank.
How are we supposed to wait until March for this?