April 27, 2004

The elements of a successful movie

All I wanted for my birthday was to go see The Girl Next Door. It includes every good quality of a classic film, including most importantly, the prom. Now, I ask you, is that great filmmaking, or what?

Actually, though, I wouldn't know because I couldn't see he Girl Next Door for my birthday. My so-called friends refused to accompany me. "Leila," they said malevolently, "that looks like the trashiest movie ever made. That looks like it is a movie about a porn star who lives next door to the high school loser."

"The best thing in the world!" I interjected.

"No," they counseled me, using the same tone of voice as when they have to remind me not to wear black pants with navy blue shirts. "We refuse to pander to your shitty taste any longer. Never again shall we stoop to the porn-star-as-prom-date level."

"So for my birthday we'll have to watch, like, art, then?" I said, envisioning an evening of eating popcorn in front of Renoir and every couple of minutes murmuring, "The use of color is absolutelyÂ…colorful."

"No," said Jo, "we're going to watch The Prince And Me."

See, we could pull this off because (take note) The Prince And Me is not trashy. Much of it takes place in a castle, and castles are the epitome of not trashy. Of course, The Prince And Me also does not involve the prom in any major capacity, so it's kind of a mediocre movie. But, it does involve Julia Stiles, and she has aspirations, and there is also a hot foreign boy with a British accent.

This confused us. "I thought he was supposed to be the prince of Denmark," Hoj muttered. "Do they even speak English in Denmark?"

I wasn't sure. My entire knowledge of Denmark comes from Lois Lowry's Number the Stars, so I still imagine it as a Nazi-occupied nation serving as the site for two young girls' escapades. I have this problem with Germany and Austria, too. "It is a good thing Germany makes cars," I often say, "seeing as they have that high inflation rate and often need to pay for a single loaf of bread with wheelbarrows filled with cash." I do not, however, get this confused about America. This is good, because if I woke up every morning expecting to see a pioneer town somewhere along the Oregon Trail, I might be disappointed. "What? No dysentery?"

Speaking of it, when you were little and played Oregon Trail on your black-and-white computer, did you ever name the characters after boys you hated? And then did you let them drown when you forded the river, and did you, say, trade all their extra oxen for clothing? I'm not saying I did this. I'm just wondering if you did. Sicko.

But back to my point, which, in case I didn't mention it earlier, is: spoiling the end of the movie for you. Julia Stiles decides she cannot marry the crown prince of Denmark, not because he doesn't even know what Oregon Trail is, and not because the streets of Denmark are teeming with Hitler Youth from 1940, but rather because she has ambitions.

This plot twist kind of concerned me because my ambitions consist simply of marrying a prince. Also, taking a porn star to my senior prom. I set my sights high, in pursuit of constant disappointment.

Oh, no, that's not entirely true. I recently thought of a mostly attainable life goal, and it has nothing to do with teen romantic comedies. New goal: not severing off key lobes of my brain with a large metal rod.

This actually happened once, back in Oregon Trail-times, to a guy named Phineas Gage. We love Phineas Gage in the Psych Department. Phineas Gage is like our boyfriend. We talk about him absolutely all the time, him and his damaged brain lobes.

Anyway, I just assumed that such injuries were a thing of the past, much like World War II. But then I noticed that every dumpster around our campus has metal rods sticking out of it exactly at head level. One of these days, I am just going to trip sideways, and bam, a dumpster rod is going to ram its way into my brain and then my entire fucking personality will change and I'll use scatological language at inappropriate times.

My friends maintain that, if my entire personality were to change, I might actually develop some taste in art. But I sincerely hope not, because Mean Girls is coming out soon, and I don't want anything mitigating my joy of seeing Lindsey Lohan teaching some slutty rich girls about the "rules of the jungle."