October 5, 2000

Get A Clue, Cornellians

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I am not at all ashamed to admit that I like movies … a lot. Anyone who knows me knows that I never hesitate to pepper my conversations with memorable lines from movies or, while I’m at it, TV shows. Hey, if anything, it adds some humor to the conversation. For example, one night while sitting at dinner enjoying my “Royale with cheese,” I happened to mention that my stomach hurt “not so much here … or here … but riiight here.” But as I laughed my ass off, I was distressed by the blank stares I received from my friends.

In the past, I have had no trouble getting a laugh from those who can effortlessly link my little quote to its movie or TV origin. However, since I have come to Cornell, I have noticed something that both annoys and worries me quite a bit. I was first faced with this problem last year while sitting in my dorm room, listening to some completely random movie sound bytes from Napster. So there we were, laughing at the “fat guy in a little coat” or about how “the price is wrong, bitch,” when my neighbor casually wanders in with this completely blank look on her face, wondering what the heck we’re listening to.

This is not the ten-year old girl wondering why the phrase, “Play it again, Sam,” is so famous; this is someone who is totally unaware of the popular culture that surrounds her everyday. And it’s not just her. This entire school seems to be filled with people who have lived their lives under a rock, with only textbooks for entertainment.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking- There’s just so much crap out there when it comes to movies and TV. I am sorry to say, but sometimes you just have to wade through it all. You should trust your own judgment though. There are some actors whose movies are almost guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings or make you laugh your ass off all the way through.

I’m not saying that everyone should be familiar with the most obscure of indie films, but, for crying out loud, if the movie is a time-tested classic, sit through it.

If it’s something new and a bunch of your friends, or for that matter, people you know are going to see it, take a night off to join them! If nothing else, it will get you out of the house and out of some work.

I realize it can be difficult, especially in times when a major politician, like one Mr. George W. Bush, takes a question about Sex and the City to be an accusation of urban extra-marital escapades, displaying his extreme ignorance of popular culture and alienation from the general public. I could hardly expect everyone I meet to know every memorable line from every movie, but I expect people to put out at least some sort of effort. I mean, start with the Best Picture movies or the TV shows that seem to be surrounded by a general buzz and move out from there.

Chances are, if you are reading this section of the paper, you are not one of these people. But if you know someone like this, a movie-illiterate person, be sure to show them the “quan.” Not enough students around here are able to trace even the simplest reference. Believe me, movie literacy is “not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy, and it is a BIG deal.” So, please, for the sake of the human condition and my own sanity, watch a movie.

Archived article by Ashley Risner