Anticlimax

tree of lifeI find that myself thinking less about loan debt the more time goes by. Because it’s not really on me, you see. The costs of education have ballooned to the point where you would have to be either Mitt Romney or a redheaded lesbian Olympic skater in order to get the inheritance or scholarships necessary to get out of college debt-free, so I’m trying not to worry overmuch about the fact that my debt is almost $2,000 larger than it was when I graduated simply due to interest. Seriously, who the fuck has this kind of money? More importantly, who the fuck has this kind of money in their mid-20s? In order to have it all paid off by now, I would have had to spend the last year or so working at least 120 hours a week. And wouldn’t you know it, but good jobs are kind of thin on the ground these days. I have a part-time job that could be a lot worse, but even then, I think my loan providers are going to have to be content with the tiny, tiny amount that I send them each month. At this rate, I’ll have to live to be 200 to pay it all off, so it’s in everyone’s interest to keep me alive that long, right?

It’s funny. I’m not a very happy person, yet I seem happier than my parents these days. They’re mad at me, but they can’t even articulate why. I’ve been looking for an apartment for almost two months now. I’ve been looking for a job since January, although I was filling out about one application every two months in the beginning. So no, I do not get up every morning and respond to every single Craigslist post that even remotely applies to me, but neither do I sit around all day patting myself on the back for taking advantage of my parents’ endless generosity. They seem to think simultaneously that I don’t want to leave and that I’m prickly and unpleasant to live with. Sort of like how Barack Obama is a weak, ineffectual leader and an imperialist tyrant all at the same time. If the only criticism you have for someone is that they could be working harder, you’re wasting time. And I really don’t owe them all that much anyway.

Because I’ve already spent God knows how much time talking about my finances and problems with my family, I’ll switch gears here and talk about movies. Basically everyone is telling me to see Boyhood. Some reviewers are even calling it the greatest American film of the past few years. That’s saying a lot when The Tree of Life is only three years old. (Yeah, I like Malick. Suck it, haters. And in case anyone is wondering what he did in the 20 years between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, read this. Turns out he didn’t disappear or anything; he just had projects in mind that he couldn’t get off the ground. While I’m in parentheses, I think we need to distinguish between being media-shy and a recluse. Thomas Pynchon once quipped that to the media, “recluse” just means “someone who doesn’t like to talk to reporters”. Bill Watterson, from what little I can gather, is basically just a quiet dude who likes oil painting and riding his bike. He’s not a hermit; he just doesn’t care for the spotlight. I respect that.)

Before Sunrise is not actually that great of a movie. Yeah, I said it. I liked Dazed and Confused an awful lot and thought School of Rock was fun, but I think Richard Linklater’s problem is that he tries to make movies where nothing happens like it does in the movies. Alfred Hitchcock once said that movies are life with the boring parts taken out. Our lives are rarely as dramatic as the movies, but the keyword is “rarely”. For example, less than two years ago, I was borderline homeless and got help only when I jokingly threatened to go on a shooting spree and some people took that threat seriously. Less than a year ago, my roommate burst into my room at nine or ten and night and screamed that if I didn’t do what he wanted right now, he would “fucking kill” me. Sound like something you’d see in a movie? I’m still reeling from at least one of those. But Before Sunrise is, to use a decidedly uncritical word, boring. I just don’t give a fuck about these two assholes, which is interesting, since I’m roughly the same age. It’s a will-they-or-won’t-they where it’s obvious from the first five minutes that they will. I like to get that out of the way early on, then see how well we click otherwise.

I’ll probably like Boyhood when I eventually see it; I’m just saying that I don’t really feel the pull. It’s been almost a year since I moved back to California, and the last twelve months have been pretty quiet. I’m really not sure how else to describe them. It’s the longest I’ve ever been out of school, which means that for once, I’m not living according to any predetermined structure. The hard part is finding a way to work within that structure so that the micro is interesting even if the macro is predictable.

If you've seen the movie, you'll get why this is in here.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll get why this is in here.

Because I felt like it, I watched Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem recently. That man…has a vision. If you don’t like horror movies or have a low tolerance for nasty, vile, sadistic shit, avoid this movie at all costs. I once made the mistake of watching Re-Animator with my mother in the next room. That film has a scene in which a severed head goes down on a woman who is tied to a table. My mother told me not to watch “that crap” around her again. If I had watched The Lords of Salem with her in the house, she would probably have disowned me. It’s a moody, atmospheric film that looks great given its budget and is about as good as a film can be while still failing on a storytelling level. It really isn’t bad—on the contrary, it has a sort of campy, intentionally cheesy charm that offsets the balls-out nihilism that marks the last 20 minutes or so. It’s the sort of thing that is so twisted and provocative that it almost crosses back over into just being fun.

Why am I telling you this? Because it’s what’s on my mind these days. There is a lot of worthwhile media out there, and it occurs to me that even if I were working more hours or had a boyfriend or more than two friends, I would probably still spend most of my time doing shit like this. I plan on traveling and learning archery and shit, but I’ll have to make space in my head first. Daniel Radcliffe is amazingly cute.

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