People are shocked when they find out I haven't seen their favorite, classic, essential-addition-to-the-pop-cultural-canon film. So I made a list, and am working my way through. Join me as I watch your favorite movie for the first time. 


Stars! The globe!
Oh false alarm: that's the Universal logo.

Tick tock.

This is far too many clocks.

Crispin Glover?? Isn't that a historical person?
(EDIT: Was thinking of the "St Crispin's Day Speech" from Henry V. So while I may be dumb, at least I'm dumb in a literary way.)

Omg I would love an alarm clock that played the radio. I'm alive in 2018 and I don't even have that, just a shattered glass phone square that wakes me up with Marimba. (I'm sure there's an app for that, if I searched.)

Plutonium stolen on the news! Bet that's important.

Angry toast being toasted and re-toasted. Coffee brewing but there's no pot. Where is this person this morning?! Bet we'll find out!

Exposition via Rube Goldberg machine is so satisfying.

Wait - why so much uneaten dog food piled up?!

Oh no where's Einstein the dog. Why hasn't he been eating his food every morning.

At some point someone better say "we're going back... to the future" or I'm demanding my time/money back.

Giant speaker, no further explanation.

Okay, young Michael J Fox is so cute.

NO!! Do not hold onto the back of a truck while riding your skateboard with no helmet!! I vividly remember watching a 9-1-1 reenactment tv episode of a girl pinned under her friend's car, still alive, but with half of her body crushed under a wheel, from doing something like this.

We've got children of the 80s recklessly riding skateboards to school, while us children of the 90s watched after-school specials of y'all smushed, sitting on our couches in the homes we aren't allowed to leave because no one played outside anymore. What happened in the 90s?

Jennifer's helping Marty not get caught with a tardy, so she's obvi a cool girl. Get to class, Jennifer. Date boys who are on time.

... and Mr. Strickland basically says the same thing. As always, I identify with the antagonist principal/authority figures. 

Mr. Strickland is angry Marty is hanging out with Doc. Which is a... valid concern. Why would a kid be hanging with an adult Doctor? Mr. Stickland and I care, Marty.

I also got detention for being late 4 days in a row. You might call me the Marty McFly of small, private Christian academies.

Mr. Strickland says "No McFly ever amounted to anything" - if this plot turns out that a younger Mr. Strickland loved Marty's mom back in the day, but Dad McFly won her, it would explain where they got the plot for Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis' Freaky Friday.

"I'm afraid you're just too darn loud" - is this an oft-quoted line? If not, can we make it one?

Jennifer's nails are out of this world. So long and rounded.

Wait I think I missed something about "tomorrow night". They're going... camping? To have... sex? Or am I being weird and they just really REALLY care about going camping, together, alone?

Shot of Marty's mom specifically pouring vodka in her lemonade glass. Subtle undertone of marital/familial dissatisfaction?

The clock tower was hit by lightning 30 years ago. This seems like a very specific fact I sense we're supposed to keep track of.

Omg that's what's her face in old age makeup! (EDIT: I meant Lea Thompson, and from perusing her IMDB I know her from the very unsuccessful 90's sitcom "Caroline in the City". Again, a child home alone watching lots of tv in the 90s.)

Einstein the dog!!! He's okay!
Oh yeah, and the doctor's here too.

Einstein has his own little doggy seat belt in the cool car!

Wait, don't conduct experiments on your sweet dog!!!!!

88 mph - excuse me, there's A DOG IN THERE.

"Don't worry the molecular structure of Einstein and the car are intact" YEAH BUT I BET HE'S REAL SCARED.

"Einstein's fine, he's completely unaware anything happened" ... Well it's still not nice and I don't like it.

Doc, Christ wasn't born on 12/25/0000. Christmas was attributed to 12/25 cause there was already an established pagan holiday around then. And scholars think Christ was prob born closer to 4 BC.  (That's right, I may have been late frequently but I paid attention at my small private Christian academy.)

Why are the bomb-buyers Libyan? Was something happening in Libya at the time?
(EDIT: Have googled "Libya in the 80s" to discover the US bombed Libya in '86 and am learning a bit about Gaddafi.)

The Libyan guy whose gun jams makes these exasperated noises that sound like foreign words but are not words. (I guess this is before the PA on set could at least frantically google "what language Libya" and "how do you say damn in Arabic" before shooting)

Omg Crispin Glover is the guy who later goes on to be the "tall creepy man" in Charlie's Angels!

George McFly is a peeping Tom!!


Genuinely lol'd at the Calvin Klein joke. Big belly laugh.

"Next Saturday night we're sending you... back to the future!" *Doc looks at camera*

George McFly is terrified of creative and personal rejection too. This is a sort of stunning embodiment of how the sins of the father pass on to the sons. Fear lives in parents, and their children metabolize it in ways they don't even recognize.

Biff is a horrifying assaulter. "Meat hooks" is also an excellent term for a gross guy's grasp.

We're going to spend this whole movie rooting for Lorraine to end up with George McFly, the peeping Tom outside her window, aren't we?

Love Biff's friend who's always inexplicably in 3D glasses.

LOL at Doc in 1955 not believing Raegan the actor would be president in 1985. If you went back in time and told me Trump would be President I would've been like "the utterly irrelevant reality tv star? There's NO WAY America would be that dumb."

Oh boy, Marty has this plan for how he'll upset his mom by getting fresh with her in his car, but his mom is def gonna be into it. I can already tell. Mama thirsty.

I think a far more interesting choice would be if it didn't magically feel somehow "like kissing my brother" to kiss your son from the future. Would have been more tricky and gnarly and human if Lorraine had totally dug it. Big Oedipal cop-out from the writers there.

Oh no Biff gets in that car with Lorraine! George, it's your cue!!!

Oh my god Biff is legitimately going to rape her. This is so dark. The look on Lorraine's face when she cries out for help - this is horrifying.


Now George saunters off with Lorraine in the moonlight and I have almost all but forgotten he is a pervert peeping Tom?

These boys are a perfect microcosm for this moment's reckoning with sexual inequity. Georges of the world: just because you identify as shy and nerdy, just because you aren't a Biff, doesn't mean you don't violate and dehumanize women. You're on the hook too, bro. 

Wait, if George has learned to be brave now, then won't he be a different dad in the future?

Okay so in this universe, Chuck Barry invents his sound because he heard a white kid from the suburbs? That's some Mad-Men-Don-actually-invented-the-Coke-commercial kinda revisionist history.

Doc is absolutely right not to want info about his future. No one should have that responsibility!

Just go back a minute earlier, dummy.

Okay he figured that out, but needs 10 whole minutes to yell "Move!" and push Doc out of the way?





Won't there be a second DeLorean now?


(K maybe I was wrong about that "no one should have info about their future" in this specific instance. But I still think it's more interesting if death is an inevitability that no man has a right to thwart, even with cool inventions. Give me some of that Appointment in Samarra goodness.)

Oh, Biff is now their servant.
Yeah it's adorable to have the guy who tried to rape you waxing your car out front. A *hilarious* plot ending.

Jennifer's hair is AMAZING. Is that what women of the 80s thought they would get from a perm?? Those BOUNCY WAVES. What a dream girl.

Okay so after going 30 years in the future, Doc returns with a flying car? And those rad sunglasses? Real 2015 must have been such a disappointment for kids of the 80s.

I like how this film is really just a story about family that HAPPENS to have cool time travel. It's not leaning on sci-fi for its meaning and wonder. Reminds me of what I loved about About Time - it's not about time travel, instead its about how time travel makes us question our responsibility for our own actions, makes visible our unseen impact on the lives of others, and asks us which mistakes we would or wouldn't change if actually given the chance.

I remember in 2015 there were a bunch of different days when people excitedly announced on FB "Happy Back to the Future Day!! Today's the exact date they input when they go into future!"  I wonder if anyone ever got to the bottom of that.

This movie is a delight. I don't at all need to see two more, it is exactly perfect as-is and I like it with an open-ended conclusion!


People are shocked when they find out I haven't seen their favorite, classic, essential-addition-to-the-pop-cultural-canon film. So I made a list, and am working my way through. Join me as I watch your favorite movie for the first time. 


To whomsoever put this on my list: I'm hoping you meant "The Apartment" (1960) starring Shirley MacLaine, and not "The Apartment" (1996) a rom-com starring Romane Bohringer. 

"Script Continuity by May Wale" -- I love how in older films you sit through so many credits with an overture. Before you get to enjoy this film, you should know that the script will maintain its continuity, and that's thanks to May Wale. They want you to know that.

Billy Wilder is revealing a lot about his personality with how HUGE the font of his "Produced by/Directed by" title credits.
Who produced th - ?
Directed by who exact - 

And now a long monologue of exposition over black-and-white shots of New York City explaining the workplace and habits of our protagonist named Baxter.

This "Consolidated Life" insurance building looks exactly like Mad Men, which helps me believe it is accurate and real. I understand it is v. backwards of me to think The Apartment checks out because it corresponds to Mad Men, as opposed to realizing Mad Men checks out because it relied on source material like The Apartment.

The "Apartment" in question is described as "nothing special" and is also "half a mile away from Central Park" and is also "$85 a month, but used to be $80"!!!!!!!

EXPOSITION BREAK: As established earlier in the giant monologue of exposition over black-and-white shots of New York City, Baxter makes $100 a week at Consolidated Life. Which means his rent is 21% of his monthly income. That's an insanely low cost of living, isn't it? 

GOOGLE BREAK: According to google, rent should be about 30% of your monthly income.

MATH BREAK: So this means that if one of my friends is paying $1,500 a month for their rent in NY, then they'd need to make around $7,000 a month/$84k a year in order for their rent to be 21% of their life like Baxter's.

EXISTENTIAL BREAK: How are any of my artist friends alive in New York?!?!?!?! Besides the independently wealthy ones??!? I know y'all aren't making that much?!?!? Blink twice if you need me to come rescue you?!?!?!

We meet nosy neighbor of no consequence, but she is walking an ADORABLE small dog in a raincoat who I hope finds a reason to come back on-screen many times.

So the main thing happening at the top here is that we learn the executives at ConLife use Baxter's apartment for their illicit affairs, and in exchange they promote him.

Having an affair seems to very much rely on logistics and planning. Does not seem spontaneous or sexy whatsoever.

Am learning that I do not have the skill-set required to either have a mistress or become a mistress, as it demands detail orientation and a LOT of calling back and forth and confirming second and third locations and coordinating calendars.

(Perhaps this is why so many of these execs have affairs with the secretaries? Their administrative gifts? Do not hold me to that theory, just thinking out loud.)

Baxter sneaking around his neighbors so they don't know he lets others use his apartment for their affairs reminds me of half a dozen clandestine Airbnb hosts who have asked me to be vague if their neighbors ask who I am and why I have so much luggage.

Baxter prepares a frozen dinner, which I think is supposed to be the universal film cipher for a sad and lonely existence, but I am not here to judge. It looks delicious and exactly like this one thing I get from Trader Joe's. 

Man I love this wallpaper. Bring back wallpaper!

Omg the tile in his kitchen!!

His built-in bookshelves!!

Would definitely watch a movie where you just get to hang out with people as they walk around their apartments from prior decades.

Baxter is watching a bunch of classic films on his tv, can I cross those off my list too?

Baxter is getting frustrated by how many commercials play before Grand Hotel, and that feels so quaint and cozy. Remember when we hated commercials, and didn't just assume we would have to watch them in order to participate with every single kind of content or media we like?

Baxter can't say no to his executive coworkers having affairs, and needs to work on boundaries.

Executive coworkers can't say no to their mistresses, and also need to work on boundaries.

One of the Executive Affair guys emerges from the cab with four full cocktails in his hand! What a time to have been alive.

Why did we all stop wearing hats? Was that an important moment in society? What's the sartorial etymology of our hatlessness?

Shirley MacLaine is a BABY. A bright-eyed, beautiful baby. She is so so so lovely.

Her performance reminds me so much of Meg Ryan as Kathleen Kelly in You Got Mail. Maybe it's their cute noses and sort of grown-up, charming baby voices.

Look at this rack for all their hats and their overcoats! Hats were so much a part of businessmen fashion that they had their own racks! Someone figure out what happened to our hats. Make a Netflix doc or, let's be real, a podcast.

Look at that Rolodex!! It is really a shame Carson and Rolodexes didn't cross paths in human history, she would have such a beautifully color-coded one.

Okay so apparently giant open floor plan bull-pen workspaces aren't a millennial startup thing, because that's the set up here at this highly conventional corporation in the 60s.

Wood paneling!  It's all so Mad Men! I'm looking around for a sassy lady Joan, running things behind the scenes.

I love this Executive Affair guy who really, really can't reschedule this Thursday night with his mistress, because he already ordered her birthday cake. How reasonable. You actually can't cancel a birthday cake with less than 24 hour notice, I worked at a bakery and it's not cool.

"Elevator girl" is a lovely occupation that could only exist in the 60s. #jobsofthesixties

It is eery to see an elevator full of people just looking forward or talking. No phones!

We meet head Boss-Man, who has tickets tonight to see the Music Man! How great to see the original Music Man! 

" I looked up your insurance card, I know your height and your weight and your social security number" -- two things:

1) This is supposed to be charming, so did they not have fraud then? Aren't we supposed to be v. protective of our social security numbers?

2) Now that I mention it -- can anyone tell me why we have to be so protective of our social security numbers? I just have been because it seemed like The Thing To Do.

2) This is further evidence that everyone stocked up on/stalked up on information about the person they were interested in even before social media.

GASP. Shirley the elevator girl is having an affair with Boss-Man.

Would be fun to just assume you can order a strawberry daiquiri at a Chinese restaurant/bar in Midtown like it ain't no thang. I so often just panic-order a gin & tonic if I can't get to a proper menu in time. 

Shirley is breaking my heart. BREAKING MY HEART. She has such MOXIE and Boss-Man is sucking the life out of her.

Sneaky secretary catches Shirley and Bossman! SHE'S THE JOAN!! And she has an exceptional leopard hat. 

Guy who hand-paints executives' names on their doors! #jobsofthe60s

All of these coworkers of different power levels are just making out at the company Christmas party. I love love, but I love secure HR policies more.

Baxter shows her Mr. Boss-Man's Christmas card, and I am charmed that people did staged family photo holiday cards back then, too! UTTERLY UN-CHARMED BY MR. BOSS-MAN THOUGH.

"If you're in love with a married man don't wear mascara." What a great line.

The resuscitation of Fran after she takes all those sleeping pills is surprisingly moving. They take their time with this, Dr. Dreyfus and Baxter walking her back and forth across the apartment.

Oh, sweet Baxter. Love is hanging up someone's crumpled dress while they're sleeping off a horrible incident. 

Now he's trying to cook for her. Baxter's love language is definitely "acts of service".

Dr. Dreyfus' wife, Mrs. Dreyfus, is the real hero of this film. She has misinformation, but with that misinformation she has she decided to STAGE AN INTERVENTION and EXPLAIN TO THIS FELLA THERE ARE CONSEQUENCES TO HIS ACTIONS and MAKE SOME SOUP for this poor girl. May we all have women in our lives who stage soup-erventions and love us well.

Sassy secretary called Mr. Boss-Man's wife!!! And she looked fly as hell in her skirt-suit while doing so.

This whole sequence of the film where Baxter and Shirley sharing the apartment while she recovers is mesmerizing, it keeps turning in new, lovely directions.

Baxter sharing the time he almost shot himself from a broken heart to make Shirley feel less alone, and also trying to make her laugh -- it's so disarming. I don't know what to do with it. On one hand, I suppose they're kind of accepting or trivializing suicide attempts which is not great. But in another way, they're completely legitimizing what a broken heart will do to a person. A sort of nod, a "yes, of course you feel as though you will die of a broken heart." It's interesting to watch two characters who understand heartbreak to be truly tragic in a practical way, like in Shakespeare or Sophocles, you might die from it.   

I am too engrossed and not taking notes, but these are lines that made me make that involuntary "huh" sound I make when lines are just right for a situation or sit just right on an actor:

"Why do people have to love people anyway."

"That's just the way it crumbles. Cookie-wise."

"Some people take and some people get took. And they know they're getting took but there's nothing they can do about it."

"The doctor said it takes 48 hours to get that stuff out of your system." / "How long does it take to get someone you're stuck on out of your system? If only they'd invent some kind of pump for that."

"Did you hear me Ms. Kubelik? I absolutely adore you." / "Shut up and deal."

Okay so everything worked out in the end! Deep exhale. Loneliness doesn't last forever and good guys can get the girl and girls going through hard times can pick good guys.


(Unless you are one of the off-screen wives of these comedically philandering husbands, but let's not think too hard on that.)

I realize now that I kept wanting to patronize this film, to sort of talk down to it or watch it benevolently, but it just kept disarming or charming or surprising me. How lovely to have that experience!

YOU HAVEN'T SEEN: The Graduate

People are shocked when they find out I haven't seen their favorite, classic, essential-addition-to-the-pop-cultural-cannon film. So I made a list, and am working my way through. Join me as I watch your favorite movie for the first time. 


Look at Lil' Baby Dustin!

This is a plane full of mental patients?

What airport is this that the moving sidewalk goes on for almost the entire length of "Sound of Silence"?

Brief argument between Court and myself as to which is more attractive: young, tan, kind of blank-faced Dustin or old, funny, salt & pepper Dustin.

What a weird shot, his mom's sparkly dress filling the frame.

"IS THAT MR. PHEENY?!" - Court (Update: it totally is)

Can't tell from these opening shots if the tone of despair is setting us up for "Dustin is full of existential ennui because he doesn't know what he wants to be when he grows up" or "Dustin had a mental breakdown and has come back home with a terrible secret"

Young man sighs and stares into goldfish tank.

Enter Mrs. Robinson, making smoking look SO COOL and undoing several decades of 90's D.A.R.E. programming in my mind.

I feel like I've seen an homage to this shot of a man's hand fishing out keys from a fishtank before. (...On the Simpsons maybe??)

"Is... is she trying to seduce him?" - Court

The Robinsons' black and white mid century modern house with pinleg furniture and plants EVERYWHERE is basically all of my friend's current instagrammable home goals. We're all just basically digging through thrift shops and Craig's List to find Mrs. Robinson's original furniture from 1967.

"Mrs. Robinson you're trying to seduce me!" - young Dustin, clearing things up for Court

The "Mrs. Robinson you're trying to seduce me" shot from between her legs was made famous to me via an homage on "The Nanny" starring Fran Drescher. In case you were wondering what I WAS watching in lieu of all this important cinema.

Elaine the daughter's bedroom is basically my dream childhood bedroom, minus the giant portrait? No, let's be honest: including the giant portrait.


Now we are at the scene with his family by the pool and I understand where one gets those tan-lines. Skin cancer hadn't been invented yet in the 60's, right?

Now he is underwater in the pool.

How many film thesis papers have drawn the parallel between Dustin's fish tank and Dustin scuba diving in the pool as if within his own fish tank?

"This is so emo." - Court

How many film thesis papers have mentioned Mrs. Robinson's recurring leopard-spot motif as a representation of the woman as "the animal" or "the hunted becoming the huntress" or "the prototypical cougar"?

I want someone to bring me a phone at a bar a la Mrs. Robinson. That is the only thing I personally find aspirational from this film.

"I think you're the most attractive of all my parent's friends." - favorite line so far

Another pool scene. Point 1 for Team Young Dumb-faced Dustin Hoffman, Court obstinately continues to root for Older Salt & Pepper Dustin Hoffman.

So is The Graduate to Simon & Garfunkel as Garden State is to The Shins?

The high-waisted shorts. The stylish espadrilles. The blue and white pinstripe shirts. I would describe my summer aesthetic as "The Dad in The Graduate".

Dustin inexplicably takes the Daughter on a date to a strip club?

Now Dustin and the Daughter are at the original Sonic drive-in?

More floating in a pool.

"Aren't we all really just fish contained in society's tank?" - my and everyone else's film thesis papers.

Montage of Dustin stalking Elaine. Literally lurking behind plants.

Montage of Dustin walking around Berkeley fountains. Any SMU film kids ever shoot a remake of this scene? We've got nice fountains.

Daughter emerges from class wearing a raincoat and riding boots, ALSO V. ON TREND for college girls in 2017.

Is 2017 just the aesthetic version of a cover song of the year 1967?

And then they just do a rickety ZOOM OUT like nobody's business in a bunch of these shots. Is that a stylistic choice, or is that just what zoom was like then in 60's cinematography?

We're going to let this blonde woman with fur sit on the bus next to Elaine and NOT talk about how extraordinarily glamorous she is? Glamorous bus lady and Mrs. Robinson are just wearing all of this fur and undoing a decades's worth of P.E.T.A. programming from my y2k-era pop star heroes.


I wake up and there's a blanket on me and I ask "wait what happened?" And court says "he stalks her at college and then gets close to her saying yes she'll marry him but then her dad shows up and knows about the affair with Mrs. Robinson and then they pull her from school and make her marry the guy from the zoo and Dustin goes to the guy's frat house and then uses a phone book to find the church which is funny it's like a phone book and then he runs out of gas and then there's that famous shot of him running and he finds the wedding and then he yells "ELLAAAAAIIINE" and her mom's like "he's too late" and then Elaine goes "BEEEEEEEN" and he grabs a cross off the wall and they start running and they get on a bus."

At this point I am fully awake because nothing gives me energy like having the insufferable insights of a TED Talk and I share how I read that their last expressions in that last shot were after the director called "cut" and their remorseful final faces weren't acting, they thought the shot hadn't been good and the director would yell at them.

Then we watch the final scene in the chapel via YouTube.

How many film thesis papers have examined young Dustin violently waving the parents away in the chapel with a giant gold cross as a symbol for the changing sentiments towards organized religion across generational lines in the 60s/70s?

Also, I don't mean to get all "Janielle and her mis-identification of the hero and attachment to alternate female protagonists" here, but Daughter and Mrs. Robinson are clearly more interesting characters to explore than Dustin, right? For Daughter this is a kind of romantic comedy (haha bad date turned out to be fun!) then psychological thriller (he's stalking me and has a secret with my mom) turned horror (omg he's really stalking me) turned romantic comedy again (interrupts my wedding just in the nick of time). For Mrs. Robinson there's a super interesting antihero angle that humanizes her behavior (in which Dustin serves as a periphery boy-toy) and several decades of a fascinating back-story to explore. Am I crazy?!?

In Conclusion: This film is obviously great and a feast for the eyes and I now understand what every indulgent millennial post-grad boy coming of age film is trying to do. Feels like The Graduate should be the one and only indulgent post-grad boy coming of age film and then the genre should have straight-up retired, but that's none of my business...

I am not sure if I can ethically cross The Graduate off my list if I fell asleep for ~20 minutes of it?


People are shocked when they find out I haven't seen their favorite, classic, essential-addition-to-the-pop-cultural-cannon film. So I made a list, and am working my way through. Join me as I watch your favorite movie for the first time. 


I don't recognize a single actor in this film so far.

This waitress is stunning!! Who is this actress?!

(Update: her name is Piper Perabo and she was in the 2010-2014 tv show "Covert Affairs" and one of her notable quotes on IMDB is the following, confusing statement: "I think that you love who you love, and there are people who you love that people aren't going to understand why, and that sort of doesn't really matter.")

I assume each of the women on this wall of photos of "girls who left this New Jersey diner to move to NYC" promptly ended up as plot lines on Law & Order. This seems to be the implication.

OH I KNOW THIS ACTRESS PLAYING THE BEST FRIEND. I LISTENED TO HER MARC MARON PODCAST. (Update: she is named Melanie Lynske and she's in a particularly great episode of Maron's podcast, he is super compassionate and they have a wonderful shy kind of conversation.)

I recognize the dad! He's Roseanne's husband! Roseanne's husband is not pleased that his beautiful waitress daughter is leaving.

"I put pepper spray in your purse. Even if you're not sure just start spraying." -- that's a great line.

Best friend actress Melanie Lynske is originally from New Zealand, and she has this beautiful lilt to her voice, and here she is dedicating herself harder to this Jersey accent than anyone else.

Whitney the single mom receptionist is my favorite of the unhelpful "this is how NYC works" receptionists so far.

Who is this Australian leading man? He's SO handsome. What happened to this actor?! (Update: his name is Adam Garcia and he was Fiyero in Wicked! So he did alright.)

Turns out Australian guy is not in fact a club music promoter, but is instead a fry cook in the kitchen. Girlfriend, he may not be able to advance your song-writing career but he has an endless supply of burgers and fries which is ALSO AWESOME AND HELPFUL when you're a starving artist.

Following women you don't know as they walk home is not a good technique, Australian guy. WOMEN DO NOT ENJOY THIS. Men, do not try this at home.

Alternate title for this movie: Montages of Unhelpful Receptionists in New York

1 million dollars that Australian Leading Man sees Violet at an open mic night and falls in love with her.

So far the plot is: beautiful girl goes to new town, has fairly chaste capers all night with first guy she meets in town, he becomes her boyfriend. Essentially, Coyote Ugly is a PG-13 version of every Mary Kate & Ashley movie.

Aww, God bless the waiter who gives Violet a free piece of pie when he sees she only has $2. That warms my heart. This is my version of The Christmas Shoes.



Tyra had no eyebrows in the 90s

AND now we're at the Coyote Ugly.

Do not drink a loose shot off of a bar as part of your dance routine, Coyote girls! You can light the bar-top on fire, that's fine, but drinking anonymous unsupervised alcohol is way more dangerous.

"HELL NO H2O" is the opposite of my life philosophy. Hydration all the way.

You can't just say "forgive me father for I have sinned" into your mirror, that's not how confession works.

Well I guess for Protestants we're cool with confessing/praying anywhere, even into your bedroom mirror.

What a theologically challenging film.

"I don't want to sing my own songs. I want to write songs for other people to sing." -- is this the most practical dream ever for a wish-fulfillment Cinderella film ever?

OH NO VIOLET SPRAYED THE FIRE MARSHAL. We have tricky dynamics with the fire marshal these days too. RELEVANT FILM.

WAIT, her answer to fix the chaos and violence of a mass brawl at the bar is to sing One Way or Another? There are way more dynamic songs. I would sing "Imagine" by John Lennon and a hush would fall over the crowd.

Alternate solution: remove all the violent men trying to destroy the bar.

Because the man with a bucket hat jamming alone in his apartment is playing hip-hop, Violet completely transforms her song from a Jewel ballad to a rocking pop hit. Man with a bucket hat jamming alone is the true hero of Coyote Ugly.

This is the most abrupt and confusing seduction I have ever seen in a film. With the cutest Britney Spears Y2K-era pastel lingerie set ever.

Don't light an unsupervised post-coital candle! You JUST got the Fire Marshal okay with things.

Now for the zoom-in on Australian guys face while he falls in love with her because he's listening to her singing. I assume everyone's face looks like this while they watch my problematic feminist plays, it's just that the lights are too dark in the theatre.

Look at that Macintosh computer!!!! It is HUGE.

Dad sees daughter at work: "I am ashamed you dance on bar tops."

Dad has near-death experience: "You need to follow your dreams and dance on bar tops. It's what your mother would have wanted."

Violet you also can't have all these open candles on your rooftop. FOR SURE. (I have officially become one with the fire marshal. I understand him so well now. Be looking for my new series: Films Through the Eyes of a Fire Marshal. We'll start with the Lord of the Rings series. How many hobbits should be allowed to assemble in one of those teeny hobbit-homes?)

"How does she afford all these candles? Where does she plug in her amp?" - Aliciana re: Violet's rooftop studio

OH NO. Remember when you couldn't reach people when they were out and if you didn't get to the phone in time you'd miss them?

I would love an origin-story prequel of the woman who owns Coyote Ugly. She's so interesting. And she MAKES THINGS HAPPEN instead of being reactionary. She is my true protagonist.

If my love life depended on being home at the right time to accept phone calls/hear voicemails and having coins on hand to make calls on pay-phones I would definitely die alone. 

A lot of things are happening v. quickly, but Violet now works at a classy bar and she's been accepted to a song-writer's night at an important venue. Montage of her getting her life together. (How I wish I had the authority to summon those montages for myself and others.)

Songwriter night!



I didn't know that song was from this movie!!!


How likely is it that this film was an elaborate means of releasing Leann Rimes' new single?

This has been very fun in a time-capsuley way.

Credits have alerted me that there's such a thing as a "Dance Double" and I would like one of those for my own life. I get tired at weddings now.

YOU HAVEN'T SEEN: When Harry Met Sally

People get angry when they find out I haven't seen their favorite, classic, essential-addition-to-the-pop-cultural-cannon film. Really angry. So I made a list, and am working my way through. Join me as I watch your favorite movie for the first time. 

Edit: This was originally posted in November of 2015!


Old people telling their love story!! I love elderly people stories! Ahhhh!


TBH: I know I’m looking at Meg Ryan speaking but all I hear is Anastasia. #90skid

TBH: I know I'm supposed to be looking at Billy Crystal as a young, off-beat romantic lead but all I hear is Mike Wazowski from Monster's Inc. #90skid



“Women are very practical, even Ingrid Bergman, which is why she gets on the plane at the end of the movie.” - YES YES YES

Just saw her mom pants.

Just saw her knee socks.

They just sat down at a table. This must be the salad dressing on the side scene!

(Oil and vinegar scene apparently, I stand corrected.)

“They don’t make Sunday. Because of God.” - I’m betting this ends up being my favorite line of this whole movie.

Sally is the opposite of the manic-pixie-dream-girl and I love her for that. Manic-color-coded-high-functioning-dream-girl.


I hate the come on that is a guy flirting about how he’s not coming on to you. It’s like painting a girl in a corner while talking about how you’re not even painting, you’re just demonstrating painting - and all she can do is wait patiently for the paint to dry because you’ve trapped her with your attraction. It’s so unfair.

I don’t trust early 80’s Aryan boyfriend.

There’s no way a guy on an airplane would volunteer to give up the aisle seat to take the middle seat, even to let Harry sit by Sally.

I would love having a rolodex to carry to fancy lunches.

Bearded Billy Crystal is a significantly more handsome Billy Crystal. Am I attracted to Billy Crystal? How did you do that, Nora?

“What’s the statute of limitations on apologies?” Nora your lines are just the best.

Shots of ice skaters! Manhattan! New York looks so stunning and lovely and sparkly and magical in this movie, even more so than in You Got Mail. I had the same magical feeling with the cinematography in Hannah and Her Sisters. Was New York a more hopeful, optimistic, lovely place then? Or were filmmakers just less cynical during that era? Or was New York cleaner? Or were film lenses just fuzzier, ergo the city looked more squinty and lovely?

WHOAH his apartment! I wouldn’t mind being lonely and sad if it meant being lonely and sad in that apartment.


“Low maintenance” is a badge men hand out to women which I have no interest in earning. It’s just the OG manifestation of “cool girl” which is just another way to shame and then reward girls out of having a voice and opinions and preferences and an active participation in their own lives. Cheers to all my high maintenance ladies. *clinks glasses with Meg Ryan*

“I’ll have what she’s having” is from this movie!! Well delivered, Diner Lady #3.

The older couple that interrupt each other and tell their story simultaneously (The “he rode 9 extra flights on the elevator” couple) is genius. I couldn’t stop laughing a completely un-ironic laugh!
(Related: Is this the perfect movie?)

Oh it’s New Years and they’re spinning and they are feeling. They're gonna kiss!

I’m so bummed they didn’t kiss.

There’s a chance this is in fact the perfect movie.

Meg Ryan permed hair is my aspirational hair.

Ugh. HELEN. Who needs Helen. Everyone has a person-who-would-make-your-guts-freeze-if-you-ran-into-them-at-a-home-goods-store and GO AWAY HELEN.

Oh when they fight and then Harry says “Can I just say one thing” and his one thing is “I’m sorry” I just melted. I didn’t expect to love or root for Billy Crystal even a little bit, but here I am. Again: how’d you do that, Nora?

There is this very specific kissing style that I only see in older rom coms and also Sam and Diane from Cheers, this sort of guppy, neck crinkling kiss. I’m excited for you guys but also, there’s just a lot of facial smearing.

The one perk of being supporting-best-friends-who-get-married characters is the His and Hers landlines.

Did everyone actually think these giant 90s wedding dresses were beautiful at the time? Or were they just pretending, like I was pretending to like the mullet dresses of 2013 that were way higher in the front than the back?

“I am, I am the dog.”

I too would have caved at the karaoke voicemail. How can you resist a karaoke voicemail? I would have called even Bogey back if he had left a karaoke voicemail.

For those following along, it's New Years a year later and I'm too involved to comment, shhhh.

Lesson from WHMS: When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you start running.

Lesson from WHMS: You should archive a series of really specific traits or annoying habits about the person you love to recall in an instant in case they don't believe you love them.

In summation: This is the perfect romantic comedy. [I hear you all saying “DUH, you're late to the party!" Be gracious, I'd like to dance at the party too now, even thought you're all tearing down and cleaning up] I always knew Nora Ephron was a genius in theory, but now I have tasted and seen that the rom-com is good. Instantly a top 10 favorite.

YOU HAVEN'T SEEN: Casablanca

People get angry when they find out I haven't seen their favorite, classic, essential-addition-to-the-pop-cultural-cannon film. Really angry. So I made a list, and am working my way through. Join me as I watch your favorite movie for the first time. 

Edit: This was originally posted in October of 2015!

Thoughts and Discoveries Upon Watching the CASABLANCA for the First Time as an Adult:

There's an opening credit for "Gowns"!! This gives me high hopes for the pageantry!! There are not enough gowns in the world!!

They're really bending over backwards here to talk about how badly everyone wants to get out of Casablanca and how horribly stranded they all are, but then they make it look like a delightful Gatsby-meets-Moroccan-France party. Pick a lane you guys.


When all these people went to Casblanca to try and flee Nazi occupation, were they like "We must flee! Quickly! In the night! Pack my most beautiful dresses and hats, I must look fly as hell!"

I think I'm a bit too blindly loyal and ‪#‎rideordie‬ to all forlorn women. When the lovely despondent lady in the sparkly jacket was all "Why don't you love me anymore, Humphrey Bogart?!?!" and he was like "Get her a cab, she's had too much and see that she makes it home" -- was that supposed to make us like him? I wasn't impressed with his character's responsibility, I was like "YOU DIDN'T ANSWER THE LADY'S QUESTION, BOGEY"

This whole thing is a bit too Nazi-friendly. Everyone's just cool with the fact that the Nazis are OCCUPYING everything and ordering "champagne cocktails" with them?

Okay so turns out there are in fact underground movements and MOST people aren't cool with the Nazis, but tonally it definitely feels like the Senior Nazis are bad but the more Junior Nazis are chill guys everyone likes to invite to the party. Not cool. And Bogart just looks mildly disdainful towards them, which doesn't even count because he looks mildly disdainful towards EVERYTHING.


Okay, so Bergman's Czech husband is a concentration camp survivor, war hero, her true love from childhood, super handsome, and the ONLY person who is actually not cool with accepting drinks from Nazis. AND he selflessly offers to let her flee back to America without him! Alternatively, Bogart is a kind of handsome grumpy guy with good entrepreneurial business sense. Am I in any way supposed to be rooting for Bogart? I am not. Czech husband + Ingrid = OTP.

This shop owner cuts the price of lace down by 80% when he finds out Ingrid knows Bogey. Humphrey Bogart: Do not hope he gets the girl, would love to go shopping with.

"Here's looking at you, kid" is from Casablanca!!

WAIT, they met in Paris. Is "We'll always have Paris" coming up too??

[And then we had to pause it because it was getting late, ending TBD!!]

Characters so far:

Bogey: MEH
Ingrid: QUEEN
Czech Husband: HERO
Everyone else: Cool outfits, poor decisions

[Unpaused. Ready for the last 1/4!]

Ingrid looks fly in this conquistador-themed blouse and cummerbund.

Pretty sweet Bulgarian girl!! Why are you crying? I want to hold you in my arms and make the world a better place for you!!

NOOOOO. Renault makes women sleep with him to ensure safe passage?!? FEMINIST ROAR.

Czech husband is having them play the French song to drown out the Nazi song and I am sure this has sealed his fate. Drowning out a Nazi song is heroic and all, but I'd rather he lay low for a second and then escape and then actually defeat Nazis. This is a prime example of winning a battle and losing a war. Priorities, Czech husband!

This is like Pete's Dueling Piano Bar when they go back and forth accepting tips to play rival college fight songs.

"I go any way the wind goes." Again, the whole a-political non-partisan stance is only noble when the wind isn't blowing you TOWARDS NAZIS. Not okay.

NO CZECH HUSBAND. For future reference, if your devastatingly beautiful and noble wife asks you to stay home from any kind of night-time underground controversial meeting, DO NOT GO. Ingrid Bergman and Portia and Eliza Schuyler have taught us this!


"What, is keeping your Nazi fighting war hero alive for the cause that important?" - Humphrey Bogart, man with the least amount of context EVER

I wanted her to shoot him.

Is Bogey supposed to be a Snape-like character, in that you hate him but at the end he's like "Always" and you're like "OMG WHAT?" and cry because he was misunderstood? I just hate him.

The thing is that ladies don't like brooding guys who want to punish them after the breakup. If Bogey had played it like "Take these visas, go with your Czech husband, the cause is more important!" She'd be all "Omg he was so mature, maybe I made a mistake and should be with him." That advice is for free, menfolk. Imitate the behaviors of a kind, mature person and then she'll think dumping you was a mistake. Under no circumstances should you deny your ex girlfriend a life-saving visa. Feel like that last part should go without saying.

I wish you didn't love him so much too, Ingrid.

Okay so there's a big evil plan and Bogey is the worst.

Okay so the big evil plan was a double-plan and Bogey is actually good.‪#‎snape‬

Ingrid could look a little less upset with the idea of getting on a plane to go to America WITH HER NOBLE AND GOOD HUSBAND.

"We'll always have Paris!" IS from Casablanca!

It's too foggy. Czech husband is going to be shot through the fog!

Alright fine, we'll let rapey Captain Renault have his heroic moment. Gross.

I don't think I took a breath till that plane was actually in the air. BIG CZECH SIGH OF RELIEF.

Oh good, Captain Renault throws away Nazi water bottles, BIG HEROIC STANCE LOUIE.

"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" is from Casablanca TOO!!!!

In Conclusion: What a wonderful film, the last 10 minutes are the most incredible, Ingrid is my queen, would prefer if everyone could have been a little more confidently anti-Nazi, Bogart is whatever.