July 27th, 2004


Ryan O'Neal, the only man capable of bringing the blandness of Al Gore to the big screen.

Love Story was just as silly and slight as I expected it to be. The run up to the film was nice, but the movie itself was dreck. I walked down to 42nd street, we got a decent place on the lawn (after my friend Aaron totally and completely failed to respond to a girl who was flirting with him before they opened the lawn. He's single, there was nothing wrong with her (she was even funny), he just wasn't responsive. I hang out with a lot of dorks.) and waited. It was a huge crowd, we were pressed in on all sides, the kind of crowd that would have made me extremely uncomfortable in the past. I was okay, even sitting there for hours, which I think is indicative of some of the changes I've undergone in the past few years. The conversation was hardly scintillating but it was pleasant enough. I was tired, I'm definitely not getting enough sleep, and I was frustrated by my inability to be as interesting or funny as I am capable of being, because it's just more food for my paranoia about starting to slip. I had a lot of good lines thought up on my way down there, but as usual they slipped my mind before I arrived, or didn't seem as interesting once I was there. I really ought to bring a pad or a small tape recorder on my walks, but I'm hesitant for a few reasons. For one it would interrupt the rythm of my walking and take away from the main purpose, which is exercise. For another, I'm already something of a weirdo out there. A fat guy in ill-fitting clothing (I wear an overshirt, just because I don't feel comfortable without one) walking really fast deep in thought. Add jotting things down on a notepad or muttering into a tape recorder and there's a reasonably good chance that I could end up under psychological examination. I'm just not sure I'm ready to add muttering lines of dialogue and short snippets of thought into a tape recorder to my personal presentation oeuvre.

We had falafels for dinner, which was nice, but it took Aaron and Gabe a year and a half to go get them. Seriously, while they were gone I was actually trying to come up with lyrics to the Gilligan's Island theme song that would fit our situation. "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip, to get some cheap falafels and maybe some chips and dip. The travelers were Aaron and Gabe, both intelligent and impure, but who could know their falafel trip would be a three hour tour, a three hour tour." It went on. This is what happens when you leave me alone with nothing to do, people. Elli was nominally still around, but she had to use the toilet, and whenever women go to the restroom in a public area it always seems like their bathroom is nestled deep in the Himalayas, right past where the old Shaolin monks train in the deep snow and ice. As it turns out, she came back before they did, but not before I'd been holding down the blankets for like 45 minutes on my own, fending off Japanese invaders who wanted to colonize Aaron's miniblanket (It looked like the tarp for a Shriner's car) and trying to grab part of another area that opened up. I thought it might be a practical joke, to come with me to the movie and then abandon me on the lawn, but they did return. With spicy Turkish food. And no drinks. Did I mention they were dorks? While I was defending the area on my own, a tan girl with some nice cleavage sat down behind me in a very thin strip of grassy area that I couldn't defend because I didn't have enough cloth to cover it (she only managed to get in by sitting in a yoga position with her legs folded up beneath her.) This came into play later.

As I said before, the movie was atrocious. Look, I've tried my hand at writing, and I know I'm not great at it yet. I don't claim that I could sit down right now and write even a good movie, although I think I would be able to at least make a respectable go of it. On the other hand, I learned at a very young age that not EVERY SINGLE SCRAP of dialogue has to be exposition. Apparently nobody sent Erich Segal this memo. It's very distressing. The entire movie consists of dialogue that tells, instead of showing. At one point Jenny tells Oliver "I think part of the reason that you love me is because you are rebelling from your parents." Thank you Jenny, as an audience member I was really confused about that point, what with the constant hammering over my head about how OIiver wants to seperate from his father, and how his father doesn't approve of you. This film was apparently written for those people who, during even the simplest movie, constantly ask what's going on and "Wait, why's he doing that? I don't get it."

So, of course, it was a Must Mock situation (as opposed to the Must Mack situation that Aaron blew earlier.) I started out with my planned line:

"What do you say about a girl who was 25 and who died?"
"Nice ass."

And continued from there. The comments ranged from lewd "Apparently she left her breasts in her other coat" to slightly esoteric "Your wife is sick. She's going to die. Just keep her comfortable, and I think you should talk to a Hematologist." I added "Not because he can help her, but they're just really fun people to spend time with. At med school if you got an invite to a hematologist party, it was the highlight of your month." It was a lot of fun, there was some bad stuff, some good stuff, but how can you get tired of making fun of Ryan O'Neal? Anyway, there were some nearby people who were displeased by the heckling, but I was being quiet and frankly I had announced my intentions loudly before the movie started. Normally I don't like talking during movies, but this is sort of a free-movie get together picnicy thing and the same rules don't apply, plus the movie being shown was god awful. I don't know if there are any Love Story fans reading this, but if there are then you like a terrible movie. That's fine, it doesn't make you a bad person, we all have bad movies that we enjoy. On the other hand, I don't think you can expect people to treat it with the reverence and care they would a film that is of a reasonably high quality. The movie's about two frightfully self involved people who's list of interests include "Being their stereotyped selves," "Being in love with one another," and as far as I could tell absolutely nothing else. It's silly and slight and other than reasonably good camera work for a film from 1970 doesn't have much to recomend it except camp. Yet a few people in front were shushing (I tried to quiet it down) and the tan girl with the nice cleavage apparently spent most of the film fuming at me and my friends (Gabe later said that she'd been muttering under her breath) and finally decided to shhh very loudly at the very end of the film, when I accused Jenny's father of thinking "I can't believe I'm losing my daughter, she had such a nice ass." I feel sort of bad if I ruined her film going experience, I'm trying to be less of an asshole, but LOVE STORY? She kind of had it coming.

After the film I took the subway up to 96th street and then walked home from there, listening to the crickets. It was really nice, and I was reminded of how much I like spending time alone and outside. That's one of the main reasons I want to move out of the city, I would like to be able to take midnight walks in the woods with no fear of being mugged. Having friends is great, and I've made a real effort to get out there more and not be isolated so much, but ultimately I need and really value my solitary time, always have. Maybe it's because of the fact that I've never been popular, or because I don't have any experience with intimate relationships, or maybe it's just my natural temperment. I don't know. I do really crave and enjoy that alonetime, though, and frankly that walk through the park at night gave me more raw pleasure than the whole 6 hours I spent with my friends at the movie.

In my continuing series of little things that bug me, the most recent advertisement for the Manchurian Candidate says "Roger Ebert raves "The twist at the end will keep you guessing." That's not really raving so much as it is describing. It's a positive description for a movie, but raving implies that he's using superlatives and really pushing the film. From what the ad suggests he might have said "The first 2/3rds of the movie are mediocre at best, but on the upside the twist at the end will keep you guessing." That's not a rave. THAT'S NOT A RAVE. Advertisements in general have been irritating to me recently. Citibank has these "Live Well" ads that try to gloss over the fact that it's been involved in all sorts of recent corporate scandals, and clearly cares a lot more about its own money than it does about its customers. I tend to pay attention to advertisements (in a skeptical way) becuase they can very easily corrupt your thinking without your even being aware that they're wriggling their way into your brain. Also because it's the career that my SATs suggested I pursue (No, ha ha, I did not score a 750. More than double that, actually.) Truth be told, if I didn't hate what advertising does it would be something I might pursue. There is a creative side to it, and being a junior copywriter involves a lot more thought and use of one's brain than being a temp in some legal office. If I do go to film school (Which I think I will, but probably not until 2006 at this rate) I'll probably end up making a commercial or two...thousand. I'd just prefer they not be so dishonest and focused on spinning falsehood without saying anything that's legally actionable.

At least there's one movie that's honest in its advertisements. For AVP the tagline is "Whoever wins, we lose." That might not seem particularly honest, but the we clearly stands for ticketbuyers.
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