I recently redesigned my website, which was very time consuming but desperately needed to be done. There are a few new features, including a mailing list for updates on my performance schedule. Check it out if you have a chance.
My friend Andy has posed the question of what defines a classic movie--and does a much-loved but questionably-artistic movie like Back to the Future fall into that category? Will future generations look upon this film the same way they do as "Casablanca", "Gone With The Wind" and "Citizen Kane"? Is it a worthy successor to "North by Northwest", "Gaslight" and "It Happened One Night"? Just what is a "classic" movie, anyway?As someone who spent endless hours as a child enthralled by the adventures of Marty McFly and good old Doc Brown (ask my brother; after the seventeenth viewing he begged me to find some other obsession), I have a fondness for the film that goes beyond reason. Which makes it all the more difficult for me to be objective on this question.
I went to Websters for a definition of "classic" for some guidance, and the most relevant entry seems to be: serving as a standard of excellence ; of recognized value.
When I think about movies like Casablanca, The Godfather, and The Wizard of Oz--all typically considered classics--that definition seems to fit perfectly. From story to sets, direction to acting, these films meet a standard of excellence that can be universally acknowledged.
But that all feels very dry to me. Does a film have to be huge in scope or comment on the current social atmosphere to be a classic? Isn't it ultimately the truth and humanity of a film that speaks to people? Can't truth and humanity be achieved in a silly 1980's sci-fi flick about a time-traveling teen?
Is a classic movie defined by how many people love it or simply which people love it? Must it have critical acclaim and is that more relevant than audience acclaim? Should movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Goonies fall into the classic category? Will they be remembered? Will they be loved? Will they withstand the test of time?
Well, this line of thought is inspiring a lot more questions than answers. I think the ultimate test for a classic movie is whether it speaks to a generation of people beyond that for which it was made.
I will forever remember the feeling of my heart racing as Doc attaches the power cables at the last possible second sending Marty back home followed by twin trails of fire. I still laugh to think about Marty's mother calling him "Calvin" because of the name stitched into his underwear, then squirm to remember her sloppy groping (like a 1950s Jocasta) as they sat in the car outside prom. And that sweet sweet moment when Marty returns to find life has changed for the better--to see Biff waxing his father's car, stoop-shouldered and completely cowed. There are a hundred memories from this movie that I cherish.
But can an eight year old girl watch Back to the Future today and see past the dated soundtrack and hairstyles to the story beneath. Will she be moved by it? Will it stay with her? I'm not sure.
But that's the beautiful thing about movies. You don't have to justify your tastes to anyone. One man's classic is another's boring piece of junk (Chinatown was painful to get through and I thought The Maltese Falcon was kinda slow). I don't need a stodgy bunch of critics to tell me Back to the Future doesn't merit the title of "classic." It meets my "standard of excellence" and has oodles of "recognized value"--so for me Back to the Future will always be a classic.
Crystal McFadden was not my first best friend (I’d had a lot of experience with the sacred bond of the BFF before I met her at age seven); she wasn’t my last best friend either (there is a long list of wonderful women I’ve been blessed to have in my life since I met her). She is, however, the woman with whom I’ve had the longest friendship, the only woman still in my life to have seen me through adolescent trials, high school drama, and into adulthood.
She was there to share girly slumber parties, there to celebrate me “becoming a woman!” at age twelve, there to help me pick out suitably “grunge” flannels the summer before 8th grade (the irony of wearing flannels in 100+ heat escaped us), there to giggle after my first awkward kiss, there to share my first pilfered wine cooler in high school, and there, standing next to me as I said my vows.
And now Crystal McFadden, my long-time friend, soon-to-be sister-in-law, has moved into my home.
I met Crystal in the summer of 1987. My stucco home on Fig Court sat at the end of a small cul-de-sac in the suburbs of Las Vegas. There were half a dozen other kids my age that moved into the new development around the same time, Crystal among them. For the first few years I’d see her outside playing and we might join in on the same game of tag or baseball with the neighborhood boys.
It wasn’t until we were being bussed to the same sixth grade center that we really became close. We bonded on those long rides across town, sitting together in the back (when we could muscle our way into those coveted seats) and singing along to the latest top 40 hits blasting from the radio of our bus (“Losing my Religion” and “I Touch Myself” were popular, as I recall).
And soon we became inseparable. We spent summers mixing batches of cookie dough with Crystal’s sister, Billie, never actually baking any cookies before the batch was devoured. We’d play spoons and Super Mario Brothers, then spend the night on her trampoline, shivering and bouncing in our sleeping bags. Late at night we’d make pacts to marry brothers so that we could be real sisters one day.
In high school, the stress of puberty, boys, and changing identities alternately drove us apart and back together again. By the time I hit college I knew that Crystal was one of those people who I might only see once a year, but whose friendship would last a lifetime.
When Crystal took a trip to Europe after graduating from college, she looked up an old mutual friend who was living in Germany, Kevin Doyle (Thom’s brother and my old high school boyfriend—but that’s a story for another time, my dears). The Deutschland proved a more romantic place than one would imagine and Crystal soon found herself in a budding relationship with her old pal.
Almost four years later Kevin popped the question and shortly after found a new job here in Cambridge. So here they are, bunking in our spare room, starting a new life, and making our days a whole lot more interesting.
Crystal and Kevin have found a new home that they’ll move into in March. It happens to be right around the corner from our place, about the same distance Crystal’s house was from mine on Fig Court all those years ago. By the end of the year we’ll be sisters, living just down the street from each other.
I sometimes find it difficult wrapping my brain around this course of events. It seems too unbelievable that our lives would intertwine in this surreal way. But I guess I don’t have to understand it to appreciate it.
There is a strange magic in the friendship of young girls, and I can’t wait to see what the next twenty years under its spell will bring.
Last night I questioned Kevin's ability to gauge whether the nachos baking in the oven were "done." That's right, I was afraid his frail little man-brain couldn't handle the difficult concept of melted cheese.
Maybe I was frustrated that no amount of whining throughout the day thwarted the boys' desire to watch the Superbowl. Granted, they were more interested in the commercials than the actual game (the nerdy, sensitive, girly-men they are--and I mean that in the most affectionate way possible), yet that didn't change the fact that I was subjected to hours of what is to me the visual equivalent of nails on a chalkboard.
So I questioned Kevin's cooking abilities, or rather, his removing-a-pan-from-the-oven abilities. It could be explained by my afore-mentioned football resentment or a brain fart, but I'm afraid that the real answer is that I'm turning into a control freak.
My domestic gene is kicking in pretty heavy lately--acting as chef, maid, and social coordinator for two men seems to have amplified my care-taker instincts to insane proportions. To help you understand, here's what goes through my brain during a typical day:
Shit! We've run out of breadcrumbs! What if I need to cook something breaded for dinner tonight?
Dishes to wash...
I wonder if they'll want goat cheese or cheddar in their omelets?
I just did three loads of laundry, but our towels and sheets really need to be done too...
If we don't go to Will and Ellen's today, our entire social lives for the past week will have consisted of playing cards and watching TV together.
More dishes to wash...
I wonder if they give refunds for bulk beer-bottle recycling?
Where the hell is that vacuum filter I ordered a week ago? I need to VACUUM, damn it!
Now I'm not saying that I do everything--Kevin's been great about picking up the house and emptying the dishwasher (my least favorite job), and Thom often takes care of dinner and cleaning bathrooms. The point is, whether I do everything or not, this stuff is always on my mind. My brain is now controlled by The Care Taker Beast--a fluffy pink monster with Martha Stewart's voice, Swifter feet, and fast-scrubbing-action claws. To the Care Taker Beast in my head it's perfectly reasonable to expect that all household decisions be filtered through me.
Thus, the Nacho-Nazi emerges.
This wouldn't be such a problem if I didn't have an occupation outside of Domestic Goddess. I like taking care of people--I seem to be good at it and I certainly have more time available to do it than Thom. But if I don't start to loosen the grip of the Care Taker Beast, I will be consumed by it. And that way lies the crazy.
In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Bush said that we are a "nation addicted to oil." He’s right. Unfortunately, it appears the President is fueling that addiction, by threatening to veto a bill that would tax the record profits being reaped by oil companies – profits that come at the expense of consumers and the environment.
The day before the President’s speech, the world’s largest oil company, ExxonMobil, announced that it made $36.13 billion in 2005. That is the largest profit ever recorded in the history of American capitalism.
Since President Bush is working to keep those profits high, it’s up to citizens to step up and hold ExxonMobil accountable for the damage they’re doing to the environment and your wallet. Towards this end, the ExxposeExxon.com campaign has created a short, funny video in Exxon’s honor:Exxon Song
I'm a work from home mom with endless sources of inspiration (including my husband and two kids).
The Wyrd Sisters chronicles my life, kids, and random thoughts. LittleSage is my design blog. Hope you'll check them both out.