Ramblings · TV and Movies

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

perks

“I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive.” – Charlie

On Sunday evening, I finally watched the film adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I meant to go see it while it was in theaters, and as much as I enjoy seeing movies by myself, I always found a way to talk myself out of spending $12. The reviews I had read were all extremely positive, along with many “I was sobbing in the theater” comments. I already know I’m overly empathetic, and maybe I let loose more since I was home alone, but that movie rocked me. Unlike writing about Take This Waltz, which I felt compelled to write about immediately, my thoughts on this movie needed time to fully form. I liked this movie so much I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch it again for a long time unless I’m ready for another emotional undoing.

Last year when I heard about the movie development I pulled out my copy of the book and reread it. It held up really well, I felt, and I had even forgotten about the big twist ending. Not that the twist is as important as the journey. I don’t have a troubled past the way Charlie did, but I lived my life feeling a lot like him, even through college. Charlie feels way too deeply, can’t stop observing people and tries to do what is best for everyone to ensure his spot remains stable. It didn’t matter if it wasn’t what he actually wanted — he just didn’t want to ruffle any feathers. Finding a place to belong is always hard, and when you think you’ve found something good you try not to screw it up.

It’s not uncommon for authors to be involved in movie adaptations, but somehow Stephen Chbosky got it so right. Maybe it helped that he wrote the screenplay and directed, but translating a book that exists so deeply inside someone’s head to the screen had to have been challenging. The flow works though, with the right moments being shown or told through letter voiceovers. The book is set in the 90s, and so is the movie, and yet the fact that they’re exchanging mix tapes and using huge cordless home phones doesn’t detract the story. I feel that if anyone else had been heading this project, they would have been tempted to make it modern, which would have been extremely disappointing.

The most beautiful, heartbreaking moments in the film are the most quiet. Sam making a milkshake while Charlie offhandedly talks about his best friend killing himself without leaving a note; the blackout of Charlie punching out the jocks after they were destroying Patrick; the cutting shots of Charlie slowly losing control. The whispering between characters are real whispers that only reveal as much as you should hear, and more that you can infer. And the movie ends with the voiceover of Charlie’s last letter, as he embraces a single moment that signifies moving forward and choosing to participate and to be present.

The quote above was the part of his letter that resonated with me the most. I think most of the time in life we’re all trying to have that feeling more than we have doubt or sadness. Or maybe that’s just me. The moments that make you feel alive, and loved, and part of something, are what keep you going and keep you motivated through all the ups and downs.

Ramblings · TV and Movies

You seem restless. Not just now…in a kind of permanent way.

takethiswaltz

Take This Waltz is a pretty great movie. I rarely sit on my couch watching movies or TV shows without being distracted on my phone or iPad or just walking away to do something. I just have a bad attention span. But this movie, wow. There was so much I could relate to in the story, from many different angles. I’ve had that awkward quiet dinner out where you try to talk but the other person doesn’t have anything to say, because you live together so you’re “not out to catch up.” Watching the silly moments of a couple so perfectly in sync made me smile, and I miss that. And I’ve experienced that feeling where there’s some sort of pull to someone that you can’t control or explain despite being problematic. I dealt with it differently than these characters, but sometimes I think my excessive self restraint or self preservation bites me in the ass. This movie is great at showing the realities of relationships, including the good, bad, and messy. But most importantly, it played out in the end with a poignant message. I doubt I’m spoiling much by saying that the main point is that you have to be happy with yourself without using other people to mask what should be personal growth, and as someone in the movie says, “new things get old.” Also, I absolutely love Michelle Williams’ short hair. I may be tempted to try it out next summer.

“I remember when my niece, Toni, was a newborn, I’d babysit her and sometimes she’d cry, like babies do. Nine times out of ten I could solve the problem, I could figure it out, but… Sometimes when I’m walking along the street and a shaft of sunlight falls in a certain way across the pavement and I just want to cry. And a second later, it’s over. And I decide, because I’m an adult, to not succumb to the momentary melancholy and I had that sometimes with Toni. She just had a moment like that. A moment of not knowing how, or why, and she just let herself go into it. And there was nothing anyone could do to make it any better — it was just her, and the fact of being alive, colliding.” –Margot

Ramblings · TV and Movies

Half Measures

“The moral of the story is, I chose a half measure, when I should have gone all the way. I’ll never make that mistake again. No more half measures, Walter.” — Mike, Breaking Bad

This isn’t really a new concept, but I feel like I read more about it lately and as a confused twenty-something I think about it a ton. Social media and texting have given us great benefits. The glaring drawback? Allowing people to maintain a certain amount of distance while appearing connected. I’m guilty of this too at times, but now that I’m working to change my ways I’m relentlessly annoyed by people doing this. Or hey, maybe it’s just me. I’ve had it suggested — somewhat rightfully — that if so many people react to me or treat me a certain way, maybe it’s something to do with me that I haven’t picked up on yet.

I’ve chosen to move around a lot. I’ve put myself in situations where I’ve had to make new friends and it’s hard. I’ve been suddenly single and trying to date or have fun or find something serious. I’ve been living a half measure for a while because I didn’t know what I wanted well enough to commit to just about anything. But now I’m formulating full measures. I have more concrete ideas about what I want from life. I work harder to make and hold on to friends. I work harder to tell people how I feel and what I want. I weigh what is worth the effort and what isn’t. Sometimes, still, I get burned. It’s personal growth, for sure, but it’s also a product of games people play through the detachment of their communication, whether they know it or not.

My mind is probably in a more distraught place than usual because of the horrible tragedy in Newtown, CT, and I haven’t been able to pull out yet. Following that coverage from the first report with hope to complete and total despair when the reality came to light hours later has been so disheartening. I’ve already been in constant self reflection because of some turning-point decisions in my life, and this just shifted everything even more into focus.

TV and Movies

On Repeat: Music Edition

A significant portion of my music collection has come directly from TV shows over the last 5 or 6 years. Ever since I got into Scrubs (thanks, Christine!) I’ve noticed to power of music cues in episodes. I’m now in the habit of searching for songs in episodes all the time, from Scrubs to Community to Cougar Town and more.

Say what you want about Cougar Town – it’s not what you think, but it’s probably still not for everyone – but the music cues are fantastic. Christa Miller (Jordan on Scrubs, Ellie on CT) was responsible for a lot of the music on Scrubs (along with Zach Braff) and is the music supervisor on Cougar Town. And I can’t get enough of this Katie Herzig song since seeing the season finale. And it’s helping me ignore the scary nagging pain in my hip that seems to whisper stress fracture. Praying for the hypochrondraic in me to be wrong this time. Penny caaaan!

/TV nerd out!

TV and Movies

Give me some rope, Tie me to dream…

I wish the end of this amazing season didn’t make me so sad, given Dan Harmon’s unceremonious removal. But I sure do love this ending montage, ala The Wire. And I was waiting for someone to post it online. Not only has this show been an amazing experience to watch, but thanks to the commentaries, outtakes (watch this video, it really might be my favorite outtake reel, which says a lot because there’s one on every disc), show runner and writer Twitter accounts, and the over analyzing recaps through discovering TV havens like HitFix and the AV Club, I’ve really fallen in the deep end of TV obsession. It’s fun, except when everyone in your real life thinks you’re crazy for over doing the referential comments and quotes. Sometimes it even tempts me to move back to LA to indulge the crazy… except not. But almost.

Ramblings · TV and Movies

Cleaning up loose ends

Three episodes to end the third season of Community last night. This 8bit episode was beyond amazing. And the end of the finale, since at the time they didn’t know if they were coming back, plays out beautifully. Definitely a nod to The Wire season enders. So much love. And now for the rambles.

1.  Something that is very near and dear to my heart is family. Maybe I’ve become a super sap because I haven’t been home for so long, but considering all I’ve been through and the crazy choices I’ve made, I’ve always had amazing support from my family.

2.  Warm weather (or just about anything) is good cause to celebrate.

3.  The most fun I ever had was, well, I’m sure there will be more to come… and I don’t think I can narrow it down, because I love a lot of ridiculous moments. So… most fun recently was chopping off my hair yesterday. I’m still reeling from the shock a little, but it was fun.

4.  True friends are the kind of people you know you can say anything to, no matter what. And the best friends (as someone who moves a lot) are the kind of people who you can always pick up with where you left off, no matter how much time has passed when life gets busy.

5. Something that makes me terribly happy is going on adventures with friends. Car dancing to silly pop music. The ocean.

6. A good way to spend a sunny day is  day drinking or road tripping.

7.  My favorite celebratory food is sushi. Or cookies.