This post is not political

1 Dec

As mentioned above, this post is not political. Well I mean… not really.

First I’d like to do a quick review of Morning Glory, which I think everyone should see, and if you are currently broke like me, you should rent it or at least watch it illegally online.

This movie has, supposedly, gotten bad reviews. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t seek them out. I assume that these people who reviewed it were expecting it to fit into a particular mold of the Chick Flick. In an age when Chick Flick means Rom Com, I can understand why people would be confused by Morning Glory. So lets talk about why I loved this movie so much, shall we?

1. Rachel McAdams. I was first introduced to this fantastic Canadian through the equally excellent, though way more problematic, Mean Girls in 2004.  I have followed her string of strong female characters, buying most of the movies she is in, and nursing a serious crush since then. I will admit that, though the preview had me assuming another empowerment through romance movie, I was willing to put up eleven dollars to see Rachel McAdams in a new role.

2. Soundtrack . I’m not a huge music lover, I’m generally happy with the songs on the radio or old pop hits on my phone. That said, this movie’s soundtrack was so incredible, I left hoping the soundtrack was already available now. (It isn’t, but you better believe I’ll be buying it as soon as it comes out.) Along with the previously mentioned track, Strip Me, were tracks by The Weepies (Same Changes), Newton Faulkner (Gone in the Morning), Joss Stone (Free Me), and Colin Hay (Waiting for My Real Life to Begin), and those were just the tracks I could web-stalk my way to titles of.

3. Bechdel Test Pass! For those of you feminist filmies out there, you may already be familiar with this measuring stick of quality filmage. In order to pass, the movie must have (1) two or more women (2) who talk to each other (3) about something other than men. You would be (or, perhaps you wouldn’t be) shocked by how many movies don’t pass this test, especially movies targeted at women consumers. Not only does this movie pass, it passes with flying colors.

I think this would be a good place to segue into the plot (I’ll try not to spoil anything). The preview presents the movie as a work/romance struggle by interspersing shots of McAdams struggling at her job (with Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford, and others) with shots of McAdams with her (assumed) love interest Patrick Wilson (who I fell in love with as Raul in the awful but lovable movie adaptation of Phantom and then again as William Travis in The Alamo). The real meat of the movie, however, is all about McAdams. She never apologizes for being career focused, and when it seems she is being asked to, she refuses. The only time she talks about a man that she is romantically involved with in the entire movie is when she’s yelling at another man (with whom she is not romantically involved). Her conversations with other women are about a vast array of things, but mainly they focus on her career, which most of the plot revolves around. She is a 28 year old woman who is not married nor does she have children, and her character never explicitly or implicitly shows a struggle around this part of her identity. She’s smart, capable, and focused, and she is happy. The other trope the movie teetered on the edge of was that of the career woman/happy life juxtaposition, that by completely focusing her life around her career, she would lose out as a woman. A conversation like this does happen in the movie, but not to shame McAdams, and it doesn’t happen with another female character.

I went into this movie praying to the pop culture gods that it would be all that Post Grad claimed, and then failed, to be. I got so much more than I expected. As a 22 year old graduate student, floating somewhere in the universe of Single, careerless, and unanchored, a movie that created hope around what I assume my future will be was more than welcome. I left the movie feeling buoyed by the writers’ dedication to making a real flick for ‘chicks,’ and a pop-culture induced assurance that somehow my life will make sense of itself.

Like I said, if you haven’t seen it yet, you must! It is feminist, fierce, and just plain entertaining.

Now, on to what I’ve been marinating on the last few weeks. The holidays are a hard time to be away from home, especially when home is 1,609 miles away. Luckily I was able to spend it with friends who are equally displaced, and we made a simultaneous foray into the realm of making thanksgiving turkey with all the fixins. Basically, I’ve been struggling with what is more important in life, to reach and push and go as far as possible, which for me now seems to mean putting roots down in the Northeast, or to really embrace the meat of life as the family and friends that are homegrown? I’m not sure if there is a moderation to be had, because so far this pushing and reaching has me missing both my family thanksgiving and christmas celebrations. I kind of waffle from side to side, and today is no ambiguous exception. I love it here, and I’m trying to be as present as possible. I am slowly coming to the obvious realization that the people here have the possibility to become far more than placemarkers, not that I saw them as such to begin with, but more so that I saw this place as a transient part of my life and therefore unimportant and something to plan to leave. All I know is that, though I’m happy to be here with these new people that I’m growing to love, I can’t wait to sit on the couch next to my pops and watch a Sean Connery bond flick while he reminisces about when I was small.

New pop culture obsession: Veronica Mars. Streaming instantly on Netflix, available in chunks on TheWB.com, and so far all-around awesome. Expect a series recap over the break. I had to stop in the middle of the third, and final, season in order to get some term papers done. (Look how good I’m doing! …not.)

Until next time, marinate on this:

“I’m gonna master all kinds of kung-foo
I’m gonna live inside a tiny zoo
I’m gonna grow myself a giant afro (incredible) whoa
When the alarm goes off i just won’t go.”

In Solidarity and Sisterhood,

me

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