Anyone who knows me has heard me say “I need a new scene” quite a bit in the last month. That’s not to bash my current world, but the obscene cold, the longing for spring and the fact that this is my last semester of college make me want something new. Something different.
This goes for my entertainment life, too. I’m sick of everything I listen to and own. I think I watched “The Dreamers” four times last week. And if I listen to the Panic! At the Disco or new Jenny Lewis albums one more time, I’m going to ruin them forever. So I compiled a list of my guilty pleasures – the entertainment mainstays that are treating my spring fever.
It has Christina Ricci, Paul Rudd, Casey Affleck in eyeliner and a surprisingly coherent Courtney Love. It also has very little plot other than campy ’80s dialogue and a New Year’s party that somehow involves Elvis Costello. Last winter, when the blizzard immobilized campus for one January weekend, my comrades and I decided to have a Paul Rudd movie marathon. “200 Cigarettes” was our saving grace.
On the other side of the happy/sad binary is “Kids,” the 1995 film that left me speechless, disgusted and terrified of AIDS. In the world of film, where people are in control and endings are usually happy, this movie is a breath of fresh air. It’s not the kind of thing you can watch every day. But if you ever feel down or think you are going nowhere, watch “Kids.” And since this film launched Rosario Dawson’s career, know you aren’t completely lost.
An S&M love story? You may scoff at my selection and say “James Spader is creepy” (agreed) or “Maggie Gyllenhaal is hotter than this movie makes her look” (again, agreed), but every time I watch it, I laugh a little more. I don’t think that it’s supposed to be a funny movie, but Gyllenhaal’s Lee is so adorably eager to please, and Spader is so good at being a creepy guy with moments of awkward sexiness, it’s hard to not laugh sometimes. Just don’t expect your parents to feel the same way.
There is something about a pretentious, manipulative, incestuous love story that makes me weak in the knees. Or maybe not. I could never pinpoint why I love this movie so much. It’s terribly sad. And funny. And Selma Blair’s naive Cecile is one of cinema’s most annoying creations. But when I’m feeling bored and in need of sophomore- year-of-high-school nostalgia, “Cruel Intentions” has never done me wrong.
Anyone who saw “Pieces of April” knows it is kind of fun to see Katie Holmes act like a badass. “Go” is her transition piece. She plays the nice girl who is caught up in a drug deal gone wrong, showing a little of her wild side in the process. The ensemble cast that includes Jay Mohr, Scott Wolf and Taye Diggs makes for an aesthetically pleasing movie. And the No Doubt song that rolls with the credits is good for dancing around your room before your roommate gets home from class. Or so I hear.
There is crappy jazz-lite background music, documentary-style cinematography and terrible ’70s costuming. But there is also Angelina Jolie, drugs and mayhem. “Gia” is an HBO movie that is based on the true story of “America’s first supermodel,” Gia Marie Carangi. If it is a true story, then that chick was crazy – and so much fun to watch. The movie is dry at points, and really sad at the end, but it is the best quick fix of insane Angelina I’ve got to offer. And seeing Jolie back to her old, unpredictable self is kind of nice in these glamour and goodwill times.
They may not be critically acclaimed masterpieces, or even movies I put in my Facebook profile, but these films shocked me out of my annual midwinter media rut. Hopefully you will check them out. Or better yet, send us a list of your own.