August 29, 2007

Ferris Bueller, You're My Hero

[ring ring]

LIBBY: Hello?

ME: I should be at work right now. Instead, I’m staring at Campbell Scott’s naked torso. I feel a little dirty, yet awesome.

LIBBY: What are you watching?

ME: I love how everyone in this movie is wearing plaid. So we know it’s Seattle in the 90s.

LIBBY: Um, why are you watching Singles?

ME: In the last three scenes, Bridget Fonda has worn three different flannels. And one of those had cutaways where Matt Dillon was wearing a different flannel in each 3-second flashback. Except for that one where he was shirtless, but I’m repressing that one.

LIBBY: Ew, Matt Dillon.

ME: Apparently it takes a Denise Richards movie to get him to the gym. And Bridget Fonda is wearing flannel, but her hair is perfect. And clean.

LIBBY: She’s only grunge by association.

ME: I dunno if I’m qualified to say this, seeing as I was… [counts on fingers] eleven when this movie came out…

LIBBY: …but it’s trying to be all serious about coming of age in the 90s and ends up embarrassing itself?

ME: Right. It’s a snapshot of a very particular place and time, but I feel that’s just helping me not take it seriously. I feel the same way about Reality Bites, though. Maybe post-high-school movies are just crappier than in-high-school movies.

LIBBY: Because if the latter suck, they can still be good.

ME: Clueless, Napoleon Dynamite.

LIBBY: Highlights of a genre that once was good, but has now gone all Lindsay Lohan.

ME: And while they’re not knocking The Breakfast Club off the rental shelf, they at least earn a space on the shelf.

LIBBY: Breakfast Club is a classic, though, because it’s so quotable. Ditto Ferris Bueller.

ME: Yeah, the best high school movies are the ones where the “teens” are actually in their late twenties. Except for this movie, where they’re all “twenty-three” and socially awkward with closets full of Pa Kettle’s knitwear.

LIBBY: So why are you watching it, again?

ME: Because that Campbell Scott is one hot train-obsessed yuppie.

LIBBY: Except for when he smiles, then he looks like his dad.

ME: Who’s his dad?

LIBBY: Um, George C. Scott?

ME: No. You’re… no. Not really, right?

LIBBY: Wait for him to smile.

ME: He’s kind of a whiner, so it could take a wh—Oh my god!

LIBBY: Toldja.

ME: Is that his and Marilla’s kid?

LIBBY: OK, you do know that her name is not really Marilla, right?

ME: She’s Marilla to me.

LIBBY: Her name

ME: Listen: I’m sure she’s a fantastic actress and has played many roles, but she’s Marilla. I love her as Marilla and will always see her as such.

LIBBY: This is why Star Trek roles are career suicide.

ME: Although I did see her as Murphy Brown’s Mom, but that didn’t break down any illusions, because she basically played Marilla in a pantsuit. I want my own Marilla; she’s awesome. Made a cute kid, too.

LIBBY: He looks more like his Dad, though. Are you sure she’s his Mom?

ME: Lemme check… [pause] Yes, he is their child. And? How cute is that couple.

LIBBY: Adorable. They’re both so loveably crotchety.

ME: Patton and Marilla.

LIBBY: Why wasn’t that a sitcom?

ME: Dude, they married each other two different times.

LIBBY: That is a sitcom. Are you coming to work, or spending the day IMDb-ing famous couples?

ME: Is that really a question? Oh… Cameron Crowe did this movie. That makes sense.

LIBBY: Why?

ME: He also did Elizabethtown, Vanilla Sky, Almost Famous, Jerry Maguire

LIBBY: UGH.

ME: I see a pattern emerging… Oh, and Say Anything. [sings] One of these things is not like the others…

LIBBY: I never actually saw Say Anything.

ME: I only recently have, and I really liked it. Hence the exception to the simultaneously-bizarre-and-boring rule.

LIBBY: I’ve caught parts on cable, it looks boring.

ME: It’s not; it’s just less campy than Better Off Dead. And again, insanely quotable: “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen?” Awesome. It’s hard to believe he went on to write this movie.

LIBBY: I hate the song, though.

ME: IIIIIN YOUR EYES…

LIBBY: Uch—HATE IT.

ME: But the light, the heat.

LIBBY: Euch. You know who had that as his ringtone?

ME: Oh, that figures.

LIBBY: Yeah, for when shheee called… it was “their song.”

ME: I bet it was really just his song, and then he tried to make it their song. Like on Seinfeld when Elaine tried to make Desperado ‘their song’ and the dude was having none of it—

LIBBY: Since when do you watch Seinfeld?

ME: I never watched it, but you can’t not know the most memorable episodes, because the references are everywhere. Like Friends, but without stuff happening.

LIBBY: I can watch Friends, but I can’t stand Seinfeld.

ME: I prefer Friends. I used to hate Seinfeld, which aggravated my snooty friends—

LIBBY: You had friends snootier than you?

ME: YES. And all of them watched Seinfeld, because Friends was the preppy show, and Seinfeld was funnier because it was intellectual and deep.

LIBBY: No it wasn’t.

ME: I know. They’re both funny, they both have a golden acting-to-writing ratio, but I prefer it when stuff actually happens. Yeah, the Friends are marrying each other, divorcing each other, and having each other’s babies—still, it’s a plot. People watch soaps for years with those same storylines.

LIBBY: I don’t think Jerry and Kramer ever got married.

ME: See, but if they did, they’d be divorced by the end of the episode. It’s like a comic book; every episode starts with the same set of circumstances, a blank square one. You can watch them all out of order and it doesn’t matter… much like a Cameron Crowe movie.

LIBBY: Similarly, neither seem to have an actual point.

ME: Yeah, but Seinfeld makes no bones about that, which: fine, it’s funny and it’s a half-hour. If you’re making a movie, you can’t throw some barely-compelling shit up on the screen like you want people to care, and if they don’t, well, whatever; it never meant anything anyway. Which then ironically becomes the point.

LIBBY: “I’m trying to say something about the human condition by showing you everything in life but the interesting parts, and make your own point, because I can’t be bothered.” Like it’s a Choose Your Own Adventure.

ME: Like all those really bad sci-fi short stories I wrote in high school where you couldn’t really tell what was happening, and at the end I left it all but what really happened? so whatever my teacher thought, I could still get an A.

LIBBY: That’s not a bad technique, but Cameron doesn’t really get it done. He tries, I think, but instead of Napoleon Dynamite, you get—

ME: Almost Famous?

LIBBY: I was going to say ‘a fat waste of time,’ but…

ME: Yeah. And it makes me wonder what happened, because they’re the same limp storylines, but without all the “I’m Lloyd Dobler” and “You must chill! You must chill!” that made it good.

LIBBY: …that must be from Say Anything.

ME: OK, you really need to see that movie.

LIBBY: I can’t handle the song.

ME: It’s one scene. That you can fast forward.

LIBBY: I really hate the—

ME: But the movie is good!

LIBBY: I don’t ca—

ME: In youuur eyes…

LIBBY: GAH!

ME: [echo] your eyes…

LIBBY: FINE. Are you coming over this weekend? And, you know, to work, ever?

ME: Aw, you miss me. That makes me feel like sing—

LIBBY: BYE.

ME: Hee.

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