From the productivity bin
Your choices for movies that get it right. Keep them coming!
Circle of Friends got my love life "spot on." Benny, the chubby, amorous, overlooked gem of a girl--who partly knows she deserves the perfect, blue-eyed golden boy and partly can't believe her luck--possesses a familiar blend of amiability, humor, confidence, and self-loathing. In the end, Mr. Perfect dumps the affectionate, intelligent, marriage-material Benny for the spoiled, lustful, hot best friend, but later realizes what he's done and crawls back. I confess that I prefer the book, but the movie still rings true.
Laurel Canyon was the movie that best captured being a graduate student for me. Not the situation that the movie depicts, per se, but the attitudes of the grad student, Alex, who's writing her dissertation on genomics, and her dialogue when she discusses her dissertation and research.
(Great Christian Bale performance, too. Way before he donned his Batman suit.)
"First-time Caller" says:
You're wise to pick Mean Girls as your rhetorical gambit for the ideal high school movie. Because it was. When I read a lot of the positive reviews for it, they always added the caveat that its charm came from "the film's complete absurdity." The sad thing is, when I watched it with a pal from my awful little corner of teenage hell, we recognized way, way, way more moments of uncomfortably hilarious verisimilitude than of whimsy, including a 30-minute conversation where we pegged each "plastic" to a girl we knew, and recounted our uh, glory days on the debate team (mathletes much?). But my other pick is the only other thing I know well -- collegiate angst. For that, I nominate a quartet -- Kicking and Screaming, Metropolitan, The Last Days of Disco and The Rules of Attraction. On the latter, I loathe Bret Easton Ellis as much as the next biped, but he captures the desperation, the debauchery, and the completely inhuman (which is not to say inhumane) social relations in that strange world, the East Coast liberal arts college. To qualify though, the movie still sucks. The other three are of course either Whit Stillman movies, or in the case of Kicking, someone who gets compared to Stillman a lot. Kicking absolutely nails lonely, post-grad angst, with a great deal of kindness, and very little sentimentality. Metropolitan and Last Days are perfect urban portraits. Both do what I find funniest, echo uncomfortable, yet now hilarious moments in my life -- the former reminded me a bit too much of Thanksgiving spent with an ex's very Park Avenue family, and lower-school pals; the latter, a vicious frenemy I worked with at my campus paper, and my own experiences social climbing.
Corporate Monkey sends this note about her enviably fun job:
About 5 months out of college, I discovered that cubicle farm micromanagement is NOT for me. You mentioned ad agencies as likely culprits, but I beg to differ. An ad agency is actually my refuge from the hell of Office Space.The secret is to work for an "interactive" (read: Internet) agency. Everyone here is so young that havoc rules. When clients are about to visit, we get emails to "cage the monkeys" -- literally the flying monkey slingshots that zoom around in our developers' area. After 6 months, I still find myself daily dumbfounded by what is allowed around here. At first, it was the freedom of expression everyone was allowed with their work spaces -- one gay coworker displays a Ken doll wearing a wedding dress, others make beaded curtains out of discarded computer mice or sculptures out of prototype soda cans. Today I find myself amazed at the jokes, both verbal and practical, considered kosher here. While a manager is away on vacation, we've been slowly covering his entire cubicle with post-it notes. Most office pranksters would use blank ones, but people here can't resist the challenge of putting a joke on every single one. No trait of this beloved coworker is sacred -- his vegetarianism, his lazy eye, his wife, his choice of suburb... all are fair game. I'm sure some of the others in this building are every bit as hellish as Initech. Even in Dallas, though, there's a tiny little haven where we all get big corporation benefits but behave more like a big family. It gives me faith in the idea that there are cool people (and maybe even cool jobs) to be found everywhere, if you're looking.