I’ve seen the 30 days of movies/30 days of songs um, thing, on Facebook. And I thought it would be fun to complete the exercise here instead. Because my attention span is not what it used to be (ooh, shiny), I’m going to do both movies and music together in chunks of three. Because I’m a rebel.
So, here we go:
1 – favorite movie / A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
I’m going to have to use kneejerk answers for these categories. I really don’t have a favorite movie. But, for the purposes of the exercise, I’ll use the old standby of A Clockwork Orange. Style, substance, soundtrack. It’s been my go to since 1996. There are other movies I revisit more often, others that have informed my career choices, others I can quote at will. But A Clockwork Orange was my first favorite, chosen at the most impressionable time, in the formative haze between high school and college. Daring, shocking, vile, amusing, all of the thinks I wanted to be at ages 16 through 20. I still love it, perhaps because it can still make me feel what I felt the first dozen times I saw it.
2 – least favorite movie / MAGNOLIA
The only movie I almost walked out on. When in doubt, when you paint yourself in a narrative corner, FROGS. It could have been 3 good stories, but it felt like a horrible mishmash of unfocused ideas. I find Anderson hit or miss anyway. Boogie Nights was fantastic, but I fell asleep on There Will Be Blood and never felt the need to finish. I think I picked Magnolia because of the film brat in me, the person who hates slavish devotion and the notion of a canon above all else. I’ve had more arguments about this movie with people, more accusations of bad filmviewership. No one should have to defend their opinions and their taste. Unless you like this movie. Then you suck.
3 – favorite comedy / A FISH CALLED WANDA
For about a week when I was 15 when I was convinced I would marry Kevin Kline. And then I saw this movie and pledged my allegiance to russian-speaking John Cleese. In college, I had a severe crush on a Slavic Languages and Literature grad student. I blame my afterhours-library-bathroom-fuck fantasies on this movie. Already a Monty Python fan before I could fully understand the irreverence, there was no way I couldn’t love this movie. I still do.
1- favorite song / RIVER MAN: NICK DRAKE
As challenging as it is to isolate a favorite movie, the degree of difficulty is upped tenfold in music. Every favorite song has a deep significance to me, like a bookmark of a particular memory. Like A Clockwork Orange, I chose River Man because it still makes me feel what I felt the first time I heard it in college. I had never heard of Nick Drake before my friend Jeremy and I watched an underrated movie called “Dream with the Fishes.” River Man was on the soundtrack and it was a revelation. I was really into Elliott Smith at the time, and I was excited to hear a “new” artist who I could follow down the rabbit hole of beautiful melancholy. I was shocked to learn that Nick Drake was (a) dead and (b) died in the ’70s. Smith’s Independence Day was an equally important song of this time, but since he died while I was a fan, it’s hard for me to revisit his songs with the same fervor because I know how the story ends. Like How Soon is Now?, another song I heard fresh long after it had been produced (and a runner-up here), I thought River Man was contemporary. It turns out the song is simply eternal.
2 – least favorite song / NOOKIE: LIMP BIZKIT
I don’t think I have to say anything here. Lisa Loeb’s Stay was a runner-up.
3 – a song that makes you happy / ONLY SHALLOW: MY BLOODY VALENTINE
So far, my college years are having a strong showing. Loveless will always be one of my favorite albums, I’ve made peace with what a pretentious fuck that makes me. It made me happy during a string of cold, grey months on the outskirts of Chicago. It was warmth and possibility that I’m still trying to live up to.