by Judson Cade Pedigo
Well, hello there. I didn’t hear you come in. I’ve just been going over the guest list for my celebration. What am I celebrating? The only thing worth celebrating my friend: movies. I’m putting together the ultimate invite list for my big bash. It’s kind of like a Quinceañera…except with less dancing and more movies. Wait, what? Of course you didn’t get my invitation, you’re not invited. Don’t be like that, nobody that I ACTUALLY know is going. Maybe you misunderstood me. This is just for me and a couple of close friends, my movie friends. You know, movie friends. Let me explain. There are some characters in movies that are so realized in their performance and are so familiar that I feel like I already know them. I’ve probably watched more movies about people having parties than actually going to them and that’s okay. Movie friends are the best. They never let you down and you can always pick up right where you left off. Plus, I never have to worry about having too much to drink and drunk-dialing Jessica Rabbit to tell her how I really feel. Not gonna happen. When I was in high school I remember watching movies like Point Break and thinking about how cool it would be to hang out with those guys, surfing at night, parties on the beach, waxing philosophical while waxing my surf board. Not the crimes so much but peer pressure can be rough. Instead my friends at the time mostly just wanted to huff paint and kick over mailboxes. Total bummer. Bodhi and the Ex-Presidents would never do me like that. Movie friends are for life though. I once ditched a girl I was dating so I could watch the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, by myself. You know why? I’ll tell you, she was a movie talker. She talked. During. Movies. If I couldn’t depend on her to show my movie friends the proper respect in the holiest of sanctuaries (the movie theater) there was no way we could get through an hour of television without something being said. Nope. Instead I declined her offer to come over and instead watched it alone in my room. I was like “Look lady, I’ve been hanging out with these people for seven years and I’ve only known you a few weeks. Sorry, Buffy wins every time. Also, you talk during movies.” (I know you’re probably thinking that this is TV so it shouldn’t count but as far as I’m concerned Buffy was a movie of the week so, movie friends). I’m starting to think that maybe if I’d hung out with more real people in high school I might’ve learned some important things like, oh, I don’t know, social skills. Those might come in handy now that I’m a guy in his thirties but my movie buds were so much better to hang out with and shit generally worked out for those kids. From Pretty in Pink to Some Kind of Wonderful, I ran with the Hughes Crew! It still happens today. I may not say much to the people at work but I totes want to have a slumber party with the kids from It Follows. What a rad group. So off the top of my head, here are a few folks that I’d like to have over to drink Strawberry Quick and play NBA Jam Tournament Edition on Sega Genesis.
Kevin Smith has made a career out of examining male insecurities and as an insecure male I can relate. Sure, it would probably be more fun to hang out with Brodie Bruce and hit the dirt mall but since all of Smith’s early works are just variations on Clerks anyway, I might as well stick with the original templates, Dante and Randal. To be honest, I’ve always just kind of “liked” Clerks in that way that you have to like something because it came first. (Kind of like the original Friday the 13th. Even though you know the really good stuff comes later in the series, you still have to give it it’s propers). It wasn’t until Clerks II that I really fell in love with these guys because as a guy in his twenties who was a bit directionless I could finally relate. Now that I’m closer to 40 than 20 I get it even more. Behind all the vulgarities, snarky attitudes, and donkey shows are just two dudes that are trying to figure out their place in the world. They have the Quick Stop and I have them.
I first discovered Ginger Snaps during my movie and a six pack phase and I loved it so much that when it was over I stumbled down to the all night deli for another sixer and watched it again. You’ve heard of the thumbs up method for grading movies; I gave this one two six packs! In fact, I wrote a review immediately after that second viewing, here are the highlights “It is a shame that the academy ignores films like this. This film was so well made that I will be mad when it is ignored by the academy. Oh well. This is the best movie I’ve seen in awhile and it deserves to be recognized by more than genre fans. I will recommend this movie to everyone I can be vocal about…this is a great movie the best I saw since Donnie Darko which g0t the credit but this movie got half the credibility and I’ve seen it twice it’s directed with a restrained touch of “Dead Alive” which might sound like a bad thing but Cherry Falls was good I thought was good Anyuway Ginger Snaps Is a great movie.” Eloquently put if I do say so myself. Most monster movies use their titular creature to represent some aspect of the male subconscious whether it is violence of sexuality (or both) but here the film uses werewolf lore and the moon cycle as a metaphor for a young woman’s transition to adulthood and it is such a smart concept that I can’t believe it hasn’t been done more often. Werewolves aside, at its heart this movie is all about sisterhood and what that means. The Fitzgerald Sisters are two of my favorite characters, ever. Ginger is brash and temperamental while Bridgette is more insecure and vulnerable but nothing else matters because they have each other. There is a symmetry between their first and last scenes together that is utterly heartbreaking because what happens in between is played so perfectly and is grounded by their dynamic together; you are committed to these two all the way to the end. While Ginger is the one in the title who snaps, Bridgette is the one to pick up the pieces and at the same time figure out how to save her sister. She becomes such a strong character throughout the film that I can’t help but want to hug her every time I watch. Here’s what I wrote in my beerview about her: “The chick that plays Bridgette is Francis McDormand mixed with Jennifer Love Hewitt crossed with Jennifer Connelly. She is that good…I hope that she gets nominated for an Oscar Cuz shr is that good But she won’t Cuz The election sucks What a great movie.” I think that about sums things up.
Another pair that I immediately clicked with were Enid and Becky from Ghost World. I would love to hang out with those two except I’d probably be on the receiving end of their trademark snark but that’s okay. I get it, Enid. I don’t want to grow up and I wouldn’t sell Goofy Gus to some asshole with a soul patch either. I get my movie friends and they get me.
So far I’ve only picked from the anti-social end of the spectrum but when I want to liven things up I choose Henry Chinaski from Barfly. The thing I love about Chinaski is that he ends the film the same way he starts it, fighting Frank Stallone in an alley. Most movies that deal with alcoholism usually end up showing the downside of addiction and take a moral stance but not Barfly; if anything it glorifies drinking which, from a movie written by Charles Bukowski makes sense. There is no catharsis or moment of clarity. Chinaski drinks, fights, and makes one bad decision after another and doesn’t learn a damn thing. It’s great. It’s like Chinaski says, “Anybody can be a non-drunk. It takes a special talent to be a drunk. It takes endurance. Endurance is more important than truth.” Not exactly a great role model, but Chinaski makes for a great drinking buddy.
I had watched Chuck & Buck years ago but aside from one shockeroo of a line (if you’ve seen it you know what I’m talking about) I didn’t really remember much about it. I rewatched it recently and I realized that I was a total Buck. I didn’t notice it the first time around because it was in the middle of my being Buck, but yeah, total Buck. Chuck and Buck were boyhood best friends but while Chuck moved away and moved on Buck was stuck in a kind of arrested development, unhealthily obsessing about Chuck and all the fun they used to have as kids. Now the hows and whys are slowly uncovered throughout the film but we’ve all been in that situation where someone we loved has moved on and we just can’t. Some of us are able to while others make collages about Chuck and stalk him relentlessly. Now I never took my longing to the extreme like Buck but there were times where I definitely felt like I had Bucked up. Things worked out for me and I ended up marrying my “Chuck” and now we can laugh about all the times I called her at four in the morning to tell her that I still loved her and why didn’t she love me and if she would just give me another chance we’d both be happy and no I haven’t been drinking and what do you mean to stop calling you? Oh man, good times. Yeah, I was a total Buck.
Helen from Wetlands is relatively new to my movie crew but I can’t get enough of her. She is one of the most exciting, original, and fearless characters I’ve seen in years. She is also one of the grossest. There is no judgement here. We don’t judge our friends even when they do things that we may not necessarily understand like trading tampons with their best friend, going on a drug bender with stolen drugs, or sharing stories of depraved pizzerias. We accept them for all the things they are and all they will be. Helen, I love you but you are gross (in a good way).
I mentioned it before but I would love to join the It Follows kids’ little Scooby gang. The hype kind of preceded this movie in a big bad way so I went in expecting a taut thriller but what I wasn’t expecting was how much I liked these guys. It made me wish that nothing was following so I could just spend time with these cool kids just sitting around being cool. Is that what kids are like these days? Is this what I’m missing? Sitting around watching black and white movies and drinking ginger ale? I want to do that so bad now. I honestly couldn’t concentrate the first time I watched it because the whole time I was thinking about how cool they were and why can’t I be that cool and where can I hang out with cool kids like that and maybe I can get all my friends together and secretly try to get us all to be more like the It Follows kids. That’s what I was thinking about the entire time they were getting followed. The point is, I would hang out with these guys anytime and they can even bring scary pissy pants lady with them, I won’t care.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention one of my oldest and dearest movie friends, Dawn Weiner. Dawn, patron saint of Solondz, guidepost for the lonely, the poorly dressed, and the awkward masses, sole shining star of the seventh level of seventh grade hell, my little Weiner dog.
Look, I’m the kind of guy that if I see anybody I remotely know at the grocery store I do that thing where I pretend not to see them, turn to another aisle real quick-like and sprint out of there just leaving my groceries on the off chance I might have to engage in actual conversation. Just thinking about getting invited to a barbecue or any other social situation gives me anxiety all over but when I watch John C. Reilly and Marky Mark flipping burgers at a porno pool party in Boogie Nights I think, that looks like a fun time. Maybe I should look into that but I think I’d rather watch some videos instead. Friends come and go but movie friends are forever. The list goes on and on. The guys in Mystery Team make the cut for being naively positive in a negative world. I’d totally chill with Billy, Kate and Gizmo in their New York digs (the Futtermans can come to). Charley Brewster and Peter Vincent are good hangs every day and every (Fright) night. Happy Harry Hard-On can Pump up the Jam for all the Repo Men and Salt Lake City Punks. The Evil Dead, the Dead Alive, and The Living Dead are the life of the party. I don’t mind living in a flat situation to find out What We Do in the Shadows and every Wet Hot American Summer I like to Attack the Block. You can never have too many friends. To everyone, everywhere in the dark about to press play, let’s raise a toast “To all my friends…”