Summer is a time for doing things. It’s unavoidable. There are plenty of days in the year on which to do things, three hundred and sixty-five of them in fact, but it always seems as if the people who create these things to be done like for them to be in the summer. I don’t entirely blame them. It’s nice out, people are freer. It’s left over from school, I think. People feel as if they have more free time in the summer, even if they’ve long left the days of school and college behind and joined the real world where work doesn’t stop because the summer warms everything up a bit. So between the festivals, beach days, celebrations, fairs, parties, and endless patio happy hours and then the most hated job it leaves little time for writing things down.
Of course my brain doesn’t stop, it’s still there ticking away new ideas and endlessly annoying analyzations (I am fairly sure I just made up that word but I’ll leave it anyway, in fact; it’s just joined my vocabulary). But it’s a long way from my head onto this blog. Here are a few things I did manage to write down.
What Sort of Party is This?
This year at work it seems we did particularly well with inventory. With a negative one point one percent in shrinkage (insert immature and obvious ‘that’s what she said’ joke here) we were promised several things. 1) A twenty-five dollar gift certificate to the store where I work, 2) two green polo shirts emblazoned with the store logo (I assure you, I’m far more excited for this one than is natural; but hey, dark green doesn’t get sweat stained quite as easily as white does) and 3) that age old motivator, the pizza party.
As a generation we’ve been promised pizza parties as rewards for everything from birthdays to selling the most Girl Scout Cookies. We’ve competed in raising hundreds of dollars just for the promise of a pizza party that should cost somewhere around fifteen bucks.
And what exactly is a pizza party? I always have such a grand time imagining it. There’s pizza, of course, but there’s always other stuff. Cake maybe, drinks (of the liters of soda variety) definitely. Balloons adorn the room and everyone is in a generally jovial mood. However, the reality of the pizza party is usually rather more… not depressing really… we’ll go with unexciting.
The dank reality of the pizza party is this: A couple lukewarm pizzas thrown on a table for everyone to grab whenever they like until it gets cold and congeals to the bottom of the box leaving behind nothing more than grease stains and crust crumbs.
So what about this is a party? Quite honestly, I don’t know. It’s as if everyone secretly decided to add the “party” bit behind the “pizza” because it makes it more festive. They did the same thing to the words “ice cream” and “social”. And somehow it still works. It doesn’t matter how many sub par pizza parties we’ve been to in our lives, the promise of one is still, well, sort of exciting.
The main reason I wanted to see this film was because Emma Caulfield was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and everyone who was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer gets an automatic assure that I’ll most likely see everything they’re in. Also, it seemed like an fairly interesting premise and was the opening selection of the Cleveland International Film Festival, which I wasn’t able to go to since I didn’t have a hundred bucks hanging around unused.
So, in case you, humble reader, don’t know the premise (and are too lazy to look it up) it’s this: Everyone has these TiMERs implanted in their wrists that count down to the moment they meet their One. That is providing the One also has a TiMER, until then it remains blank. So, Oona (Caulfield) is approaching thirty and her TiMER hasn’t begun ticking yet.
I would hate to live in this world. I think most people would. Oh, sure, it wouldn’t be so bad having some sort of knowledge or guarantee that the one you want is the one you’re supposed to have. That you won’t miraculously fall out of love or be fallen out of love with. It might be sort of nice, but the negatives far outweigh the positives as far as I’m concerned, because having that knowledge completely precludes ever having any sort of meaningful relationship with anyone else. It seems like it would only breed a bunch of people as socially awkward and terrible at relationships as I am. There’s no point in getting attached to someone when you know it won’t last, there’s nothing really to do except wait and carry on with either celibacy or meaningless one night stands. And then of course there’s the awkwardness when you meet someone for the first time and you’re instantly informed that they are the One. It sort of feels like that would be terrifying.
It takes away from life, because even though getting hurt royally blows, it’s an essential part of life. You learn things from other people, both about yourself and about the world around you, things that (even when it ends) you still keep and use and nurture because it’s now become a part of you. The world of TiMER feels like it couldn’t be anything other that stagnant. You never throw yourself into the wrong person, so you never get hurt, you never get divorced, you never learn from mistakes and regrets, and you don’t grow. And it’s not as if the film shies away from these issues, which is why I found it largely successful. But I’m not hear to judge the film, I’m here to judge the universe it creates; and it seems as if it would be more painful than getting your heart broken could ever be.
Which may be funny. I’ve, throughout my life, cut people off and kept them at arms length because I’m not keen on being hurt. If you don’t let anyone in you never have to watch them go out. I’ve never like the philosophy. I don’t think my heart is any more fragile than anyone else’s but sometimes it feels like it is. Still, I wouldn’t want to know. I wouldn’t care if my TiMER told me two days from now or eight years, I don’t care, I don’t want to know. Even if I lived in their world, I’d still do it the old fashioned way.
So, the Cleveland Cinematheque is doing this Marx Brothers retrospective type thing. Every week, for two months, they’re showing one of their films starting with The Cocoanuts all the way to A Day at the Races. I nearly exploded with the awesome. I like a lot of funny things. I enjoy laughing. I think most people enjoy laughing, but I think I may enjoy it a bit more than most. I look for things to laugh at and I can find them in a lot of things that most people just don’t find all that funny. I’m easily amused, as my best friend, K, used to say. But the things that I find the funniest are usually old. And often slapstick and/or screwball comedy. Also; wit. I think Charlie Chaplin’s the funniest thing known to man, but the Marx Brothers are a really, really close second (Duck Soup is my second funniest movie ever, right after Modern Times, and A Night at the Opera is third). I’m also very lucky, because J shares my humor. K, however, does not, well not all the time. I enjoy British humor too. That dry, witty, deadpan stuff that you either love or hate? I’m on the love side. So is J.
So, there’s Little Britain (which has consistently gotten worse for wear as the seasons have gone on, but I digress). K has watched enough of it to find comedy in a few of the sketches, I think, but one sketch that she absolutely can not be amused by is that of Anne. I’m not sure what Anne is, but she (I think) is a woman (again, I think) in some sort of facility where she is cared for by doctors. She says and does nothing but say “Eh, eh, eh” and destroy things, unless she’s talking into her mobile phone, then she’s fully normal. I think it’s hilarious. J seems to think it’s hilarious. K just shakes her head at us. You can judge for yourself here.
And then there are the Marx Brothers. Last August the Cinematheque showed Duck Soup, I missed it cause I was visiting camp for the eightieth reunion, but J took K. She didn’t like it. Well, I’m not sure if didn’t like it entirely accurate but she conceded that she didn’t find it as funny as she should have. I almost divorced her as my best friend. But, after twenty two years I was rather attached. So, anyway, when this retrospective thing came up J and I were rather excited while K was indifferent. After Animal Crackers she explained why.
You know when you see clowns and you laugh at their antics and how ridiculous clowns are, unless of course you’re afraid of them… which I will never understand, but deep down you know that that clown is really sort of depressed and goes home to cry about his miserable existence? Okay, no, me neither, but I can understand it. That’s how K saw the Marx Brothers. I was horrified. Seriously I might be only slightly more upset if someone said they killed my great aunt Beatrice [yeah, I don’t have a great aunt Beatrice]. I got mental images of Harpo cutting himself in his dressing room and Groucho contemplating suicide. J flushed out the picture with him picking up a pistol, holding it to his head, and then deciding he’s just not strong enough, maybe tomorrow.
Needless to say this devastated me. How could anyone, especially my best friend of twenty-three years not appreciate something that I am so enamored of? [I thank my lucky stars that she can appreciate Chaplin due to her childhood, and remaining (is there any doubt), crush on Robert Downey Jr. who of course played the man behind the Little Tramp in the 1992 movie.] Plus, I really didn’t want to think of them like that! Who would? No one wants to know the stuff behind the funny, they just want the funny!
Luckily, thanks to research on the brothers themselves, forced repeated viewings of their movies (thank you Cinematheque) and this face
she’s now a fan. Well, actually, in true K fashion she’s gone and gotten herself a crush on Harpo. And perhaps ridiculously, though not so much if you know either of us away from the recesses of cyberspace, I can’t really blame her. He’s hilarious, and what girl doesn’t want someone who will make her laugh?
I Said Celebrity Crushes Were Rare, Not Non-Existent
So, I recently made the declaration to K that I was on Joseph Gordon-Levitt full time. This doesn’t happen often. I suppose that before him I was on Simon Pegg but this wasn’t the sort of crush that I would describe as “full time”, more… casual. As in “Oh yeah, he’s awesome.” Full time is more the sort of celebrity crush that someone says “Hey, who is your celebrity crush?” and you don’t even have to think about it before answering in a resounding “Joseph Gordon-Levitt”. My go to used to be Johnny Depp, cause… he’s awesome, but he’s also the sort of awesome I would like to keep over there, wherever there may be. Not a platonic crush, for sure, that’s reserved for Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, because I think I’d sort of like to take him home and keep him around but I would rather keep it chaste, but more a distance would never happen crush. Of course it’s not as if I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is going to alight at my doorstep and sweep me off my feet, but I can dream can’t I? Sigh, no one ever said celebrity crushes were uncomplicated.
Anyway, it started with this movie (500) Days of Summer, or not really I guess it started with Brick, cause that movie was completely awesome. But it was sort of one of those instances where I squinted at the screen and thought “Oh hey it’s that guy from 3rd Rock From the Sun, thank god he got a haircut”. But I must have had some sort of reaction cause I then saw that movie The Lookout and it sort of blew. And Mysterious Skin, which was good, but really sort of disturbing, not to mention the fact that I watched it for the second time at my friend’s house and his uptight mother walked in the room right smack at the beginning of a rather graphic rendition of gay rape. So… that was awkward. But anyway, then there was (500) Days of Summer. And I could say, I suppose, like I always do, that it’s not the actor, it’s the character that I like, but in this case it’s not really all that true. It’s the actor, cause from this movie I came to a realization. Actually, several realizations. 1) Joseph Gordon-Levitt is totally my type. 2) He picks really interesting roles, which is always something I admire. And they aren’t huge money earners either, which is even better. But okay serious, let’s take, for example, this photo:
Note the slightly bedraggled look. The shirt that’s been worn too many times and washed just as many, definitely not ironed, tie that’s sloppily tied, sweater vest. Oh sweater vest. I think I had stars in my eyes when I left the movie theatre. K said something like “He’s gotten cute!” and I said “He was wearing sweater vests practically the whole movie.” I don’t know what it is about me and sweater vests, it’s ridiculous, and a little weird, but I love them. I would wear them and all that, but it’s really guys wearing sweater vests that sends me. People at work think I’m crazy. Why? they ask. I don’t freaking know, I get that no one has a sweater vest fetish, but I was never normal. Leave me alone!
He was hot in Inception too, for sure. But he was a bit too polished. I’m not saying I would turn him down or anything, but I think if I was with someone who dressed that well all the time I’d start to feel bad about my jeans and Chuck Taylors ensemble. But really, who am I to be picky?