Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quentin the Minutes

Quentin Tarantino is starting to look weird. Maybe like he's a had a bit of the old nip-and-tuck done, facially speaking. Perhaps he's had himself plasticized, like those Body World folks. Maybe he's just aging really strangely. Q.T. has always struck me as one of those people who started off dorky and, as the sand goes through his hourglass, will morph into someone actively unattractive.

But no matter. I'm not here to rag on Tarantino for being ugly. I'm sure his face, voice (grating!) and personality (spastic!) send some women in paroxysms of romantic passion. I'm hoping one of those people isn't Uma Thurman, because she's awesome: sexy and tough, with the added bonus of having ditched that weasel Ethan Hawke. (I know the man's supposed to be pretty, but dammit, he looks like a simp.) Tarantino gets to work with hot babes all the time: Uma, Diane Kruger, Darryl Hannah, Pam Grier, and the entire cast of Death Proof. He just doesn't really get to, like...marry them.

While he's now cavorting around Cannes, pimping his new "masterpiece" Inglourious Basterds, I have to admit, despite being kind of tweaked out by his personality, I really, really dig his movies. Quentin seems to have a knack for isolating and fetishizing aesthetic elements that don't usually get props. The eyepatch, for instance. The theme restaurant. His method of combining hacky imagery from Bygone Eras (the 1970s, mostly, especially low-buget heist movies and anything-goes Hong Kong brawlers) with modern, intelligent dialogue, usually means he's filming with an eye to something grander. After all, this guy won the Palme D'or on his sophomore flick. That's unusual.

The charge that's most often brought forward re: Tarantino is that he's a total theiving bastard, which, to be fair, isn't totally false. He's a consummate collage artist, and his movies, instead of 100% original, are mostly re-imaginings of template-heavy film genres. Which isn't to say they're not good. They're very good. In fact, the very fact that Tarantino chooses to focus on the grimy, dirty, low-brow genres instead of some twee Merchant-Ivory pap is kind of revolutionary.

It took me about five years to realize that I actually really like Q. Repeated death marches through both "volumes" of Kill Bill at the hands of an ex-boyfriend left me with the impression that I didn't care from Mr. T's ouevre, but that's a fallacy. Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, while gory and strange, are gems, and even the Kill Bills have a glossy sheen that's hard to ignore. I'm torn about the upcoming film: like his life partner, Brad Pitt was more interesting when he was Fight Club-crazy instead of a glorified genetic bank. And I'm not so interested in war movies. But whatever - I'll probably see it. Just like other things I once hated and have since grown to love (sweatpants, for one), Quentin Taratino has a certain grows-on-you charm. Like mold!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cooper v. Lodge

He finally did it. He finally chose. Archie Andrews, America's oldest teenager, lovelorn and nostalgically coiffed, has finally taken a bride. I AM SO BUMMED. Granted, this is some post-college Archie with whom I have no truck, but still. Archie? Married? Might as well speak of liver and tube sock pie. The mind boggles.

Look, I wasn't holding out for Archie. I know he's flaky - he's always booking dates with two girls on the same night, his jalopy is constantly in repair, and his bowtie is deeply, deeply uncool. I was always more of a Jughead girl myself. How can I resist that charming chapeau and those perennially closed eyed? But Archie Andrews is what holds the Riverdale of my youth together, and if his constant battle with his own affections (rich vixen or girl-next-door? Glam goddess or girl mechanic? Blonde or brunette? How can he choose?) has come to an end, well, then....what happens next?

I grew up with Archie and the gang, courtesy of an uncle who would drop of stacks of back issues to my childhood cottage. My brother practically learned how to read on them, and my sister and I, to this day, will go to our parents' house and find stacks of mid-1980s Archie comics. Much of my slang comes from Archie's world - stupid people are dimbulbs and crazy folks are loony. Embarassingly, my fashion sense also comes from vintage Betty and Veronica, especially my fascination with insane bathing suit designs that I suspect comes from some anonymous penciller's non-PG-13 sex dream.

So Archie, moronic anti-drug spokesman and erstwhile Christian, has finalized his special-lady plans. As far as I'm concerned, this is a total stunt, like that time Superman died. They can't take the delicious debate away from future generations: when Cher Horowitz refered to her girlfriends as "total Betties," that was a compliment! God! The timeless showdown: one man...torn between two friends...classic. It's a soap opera! According to the pop psycologists over at the Globe, my disappointment in Monsieur Andrew's decision points to my belief that, even though she's a bit of a pushover, Betty's sweetness should win out over Veronica's cash money. Clearly, in today's economy, this is a mite sentimental.

In any case, it's the end of an era. I found out this morning, when my sister called me - early! - to ask breathlessly if I can heard the bad news. (Hilarious.) From the tone of her voice, I wondered if someone had died. I know was only my childhood. Sniff.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Crossroads (Uni, not Britney)

I think I'm depressed.

I'm not, like, DSM-IV depressed. I'm just blue because I'm in this weird mid-twenties no-man's-land of things to do, and each decision seems like it'll send me down some irreversible path, including questions like, "should I shower today?" or "should I leave the house?" or "how many hours of DVD television can I watch without busting a blood vessel in my eye?" Job hunting seems insurmountable: what if I pick the wrong job, and instead of working as a writer/muse/mover/shaker, I end up waiting tables at Kelsey's for the next decade, slowly getting fatter and reading only romance novels? Hmm? It could happen.

I used to be all "pfft" towards people who didn't go to school, because it seemed like such a cop-out. I mean, university isn't for everyone, and not for the usual factors of lazy and/or stupid. Both of my Category A ex-boyfriends skipped school; one opted for chef's school instead, which rendered him ungodly attractive to a girl who likes to eat nice food. He wouldn't have needed a MA in something to make him happy or employable. He needed a spatula and hours in the kitchen. That's a type of bad-ass that I, even though I've busted my hump for last few years in a respectable (ish) school, can't duplicate.

In any case, the freakish and totally expected post-school letdown is only compounded by the fact that grad school is still flitting around my head like a butterfly. Some days, I can totally see myself capturing the rare and elusive Master's Degree, and sometimes, it flies away. Grad school seems like One Of Those Things these days: everyone's gunning for it. Most of my friends talk about "when the go back to school," which makes me feel both included and desperately freaked out by all other options. (Work, mostly. I'm freaked out by jobs.) (Oh, and spiders.)

Here's the rub: I'm smart. I'm a good writer, I'm verbal, I'm a good critical and creative thinker, and I'm decently organized. I like to work, especially at interesting and busy tasks. I have a wide array of passions and interests from which to choose when searching for my perfect job. To top it off, usually I'm fearless when it comes to trying anything else: new food, flirting with strangers, travelling. So why does the professional world (and spiders) leave me skittery?

In any case, the fact that John Mayer has remarked on this very moment in my life leaves me to belive that my friends and I aren't alone. But, while he went out and wrote songs about it, became filthy rich, and eventually dated Jennifer Aniston, I've been less productive with my time.

I think a lot of us - me, my friends, other recent and neargrads - need more time. I'm certainly not going to hit my stride until a couple years from now; I'm basically an overgrown high-school senior. How the hell am I supposed to know what do with my life? I'm comfortable with the idea that I might be in the 30s or 40s by the time I really get my job-life together. It'll give me time to learn how to bake. Staring at the ceiling fan, though less remunerative, is far less stressful on my soul. Besides, someone has to try on all my clothes every day...and I'm already there, so why not?