Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Laments of a Former Film Student

As I've noted in previous entries, this period right after college that I am experiencing is full of confusion and collegiate-withdrawals. Again, I'm not the authority on this realization. Films like The Graduate indicate that certainly post-students have been feeling this ickiness for a while now (watch The Graduate. No, seriously. Watch it).

For me, college was so full of daily enlightenment, friends, Dr. Pepper floats, free t-shirts. I didn't realize it, but I was waking up to some of the most affirming days of my life. I was so in-control of my destiny as a student. If I truly desired, I could go to class, listen to a lecture, take notes, study, and get an A. There was no inevitable sense of rejection around every corner. No sir. Just good old-fashioned hard work that paid off in the end.
This is a real thing that happens at Baylor. An hour of free Dr. Pepper floats.

College trained me to think that if I applied myself, things would surely go my way...that if I could dream it, by God, I could do it.

But here's the thing though. All of that was a bunch of hooey. Yeah, I said it. Hooey.

Because outside of the glorious Truman Show that is Baylor University, rejection follows you like some back-alley cat (No offense, cats. You're still the greatest). Even the weird jobs can escape you. I'm serious about this. I applied to be a bilingual puppeteer and was turned down. Pretty grim, right?

This is a strange time, and I am beyond positive that a lot of us are feeling it. That is actually one of my greatest comforts right now -- I'm not alone in this.

Let me go back to The Graduate for just another second. Actually, let me go back even farther than that for yet another second.

In my undergrad, I was a Film and Digital Media major. Sometimes when I tell people that, they give me a face like I'm either supposed to be super interesting or a total nerd. Both might be true. The department was full of both (and some in-betweens). Now that I am out of college and free from my obligations to the FDM department, I am pleased to admit that I regularly was annoyed with several of my peers.

Here's why:

I could take the tech nerds. I could take the blood-shot eyed guy who did his editing project all night. I could even tolerate the 80% of men in the department who did not regularly shower. But what I could not stand was the pretentious attitudes surrounding film. You were nobody if you hadn't seen The Boondock Saints (seen it. Hate it) or Bladerunner (great movie, but don't wet yourself about it). You might as well be dead if you didn't put Stanley Kubrick on a level with some kind of demigod (2001: A Space Odyssey? More like 2001: A Really Crappy Movie That I Hate). And don't you DARE think about not listing Citizen Kane as one of your all-time favorite films (it actually is for me, but that's not the point).

The Graduate is one of those films that film students love to go nanners over. They claim it as their own and use it to distinguish themselves as Film Elite.

I don't think that's why I like The Graduate (though I'm not beyond being pretentious). I like it because it really meets me where I am right now. It's accessible. For your reference, it's basically about a guy who graduates college and doesn't really know what to do with his life, so he kind of floats around (metaphorically and at one point he does so literally in a pool). He makes some weird, unsatisfying decisions. And that's mostly it. Sound familiar?

Obviously, that description is missing several nuances of the film (as well as the entire Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack that runs throughout it). But I just appreciate that The Graduate seems to know this part of me. I appreciate that about art in general. Art is good when it consoles that gnawing fear that we might actually be alone. There is nothing particularly redeeming about the story-line of the film in particular, but at the very least, it reminds me that someone else has done this. That's what's important. Art is important.

I would love to say that this mere realization solves all of my problems, but we all know that would be a lie. I've talked to many people who have been through this life-stage and it seems like one that tends to stand out in the grand narrative of life. That's exciting in a way. It makes me wonder what the next step is going to be and what movie I'll relate to at that point.

Dustin Hoffman...floating


I will discuss the day this absolutely disgusting picture was taken! It's finally here. O'Shoney Wedding entry! Tell your friends. 


  1. I'm not gonna lie, for a second I thought the still of Dustin Hoffman was Daniel...

  2. I LOVE THAT YOU THOUGHT THAT. Sometimes I think they might look similar. Maybe?

  3. Christy, this entry really met where I am right now! I may be one of two art students in our department who doesn't go nanners over most of the visiting artists and shows people put on. Art is great, and art is so very important, but my artistic intellect and ability is seriously questioned and thrown out the window if I say one word about how the exhibit on (fill with whatever may be grotesque, strange, and poorly executed) was not my taste. I do not seek to satisfy a social identity, but to indulge in my own artistic sentiments. I will not shadow my thoughts and art with worry of rebellion and judgement. Somehow that isn't as accepted as one may think in a realm of such "free and accepting" people. I just don't know why it's so hard to grasp that substantial art is not always revolutionary.

    Man that was a mouthful! Sorry! You really touched on something I've been mulling on for a while. (Seriously, I wrote a paper on it for an English class last year.) Needless to say, I love this post!

  4. As an artist, Nicole, your work seems ultimately joyful. There is definitely a reason someone like you would value that kind of hope in art where someone else might not (you know where true hope and joy come from). In the words of Martha Stewart, that is a very good thing.

    Glad this resonated with you!

  5. Also a really great article conveniently came out in NY Mag related to all of this that I think you should check out http://nymag.com/news/features/my-generation-2011-10/

  6. Christy, another A-plus post. Movies, television, and books got me through some of my rough periods of life. Stephen King and Steven Spielberg helped me traverse adolescence without my dad. Over the years I've had powerful connections with Narnia, Lord of the Rings, LOST, Finding Nemo, and most recently the movie 50/50. As hard as it was to transition out of college, it's been significantly harder to now try to transition to full on adulthood. Are adults allowed to day dream about being a superhero? Are you still supposed to cry while watching ET? Will the longing for adventure, treasure maps, and light sabers ever be replaced by the ability to balance a checkbook or fold a fitted sheet? ugh. If i was rich I'd have a midlife crisis, instead I'll have to settle for the new batman video game.


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