pants wetting & other signs of aging

A Real Life Conversation About Movies with a Man Named Joe

This is the perfect 1970's Hirschfeld drawing. Carol Channing! Can you find the NINA?

Carol Channing is the perfect 1970’s Hirschfeld drawing subject

I’ve always loved the movies. I remember as a girl diving into the Arts & Leisure section of the New York Times and trying to find the Hirschfeld NINAs. Later, I would impress older cousins with my ability to spew multiple lines from movies I’d seen years earlier. I even used to record “movie reviews” each week on my answering machine.

I still love watching movies. But now I can’t make the synapses fire when I try to talk about them. There are no more full scenes recalled from memory. No yelling, “Oh! That was directed by the same woman who did Desperately Seeking Susan!” No more movie titles at my fingertips. Instead, it’s a game of spiraling references, trying to GET to the actor, director or title.

What are spiraling references? (I’m trademarking this term, like threepeat!) Here’s a real example, taken from a conversation with my friend Joe.

ME: I like streaming on Netflix. We’ve found so many sweet, quirky, funny independent movies.

JOE: Which ones did you like?

ME: Did you see The Extra Man?

JOE: No. Who’s in it?

ME: That guy…Michael…he was in Jagged Edge. He’s married to that woman who used to do the cell phone ads……

JOE: Michale Douglas?

ME: Yes! That was a really sweet, quirky, funny movie.  Have you seen Tenure?

JOE: No, what’s that one?

ME: It stars………………….(lots of ellipse dots mean really long CBW pauses for thought. Here’s a funny blog about the need for Superellipsises and other new & necessary punctuation.)…………..it has…….you know the two brothers…………….one is blonde, the other is brunette…………….I think they’re from Texas…

JOE: Luke and Owen Wilson? (It should be noted here that to remember Joe’s response, I had to search on the terms “tenure movie” and then again on “luke wilson’s brother.”)

ME: Yes! It stars Luke Wilson. It’s a really sweet, funny, cool, quirky comedy.

JOE: Any others? (Joe was a much more interesting conversationalist than I’m portraying him here.)

ME: Oh! That one with………………………………Jeff Daniels………the movie has the wrong name (If I can’t remember the title of a movie, I now declare that it has “the wrong name.” I also do this WITH PEOPLE’S NAMES, as in: Me: You know that girl Stephanie? Husband: Stephanie’s the mom. Me: That kid has the wrong name.)……………………..it stars Jeff Daniels…he plays a haughty professor….

JOE: The Squid and the Whale?

ME: No….not that one………his back goes out and he has to crawl to the chiropractor’s office…….

JOE: Oh, I saw that one! With <actress’s name> who was in <other movie name>. (It’s 2am and I don’t feel like searching for those two references. But look how fast Joe was! This is because he has not birthed babies.)

ME: But my favorite movie last year was……….the one that was filmed entirely in Rhode Island……by that quirky director……Luke Wilson (!) was often in his movies…kingdom something…

JOE: Moonrise Kingdom? That was a great movie. I didn’t know it was filmed in Rhode Island.

ME: Yeah! Wasn’t it such a sweet, quirky independent comedy?

I’m adding Joe to my movie group.

8 replies »

  1. I’m like you. I was talking to someone about SO I MARRIED AN AX MURDERER and neither of us could remember the lead actress’s name. “She had one of those skinny 80’s faces,” said my friend. I was like, “Yeah.”

    But I am worried about something in this post. The part about: “trying to find the Hirschfield NINA.” This makes me think young CBW didn’t know there were always many Ninas hidden in the drawing, and the number of Ninas you were supposed to find was indicated by Hirschfield’s signature. E.g. HIRSCHFIELD8. So I guess what I’m saying is, I’m worried that little CBW was too quick to congratulate herself on solving the puzzle. I’d like to go back in time and make sure she knew finding ONE Nina did not make her a success.

  2. I was NEVER able to do this…so so so so so glad that you are like this now and WERE able to at one time…(sorry for taking relief in your mom brain!) also reminds me of the great feeling i had when I was describing the halftime band at the superbowl by saying it was a band that was around the same time and similar to Maroon 5 AND KATY GOT IT (Matchbox 20 which i don’t think ever actually opened after all that) as IF i had actually adequately described it! Thankfully for us all that we all have each other!HA!

  3. Nancy Travis, I think (the actress Katy couldn’t remember). Please note it was once my paid employment to know such things, before the internets.

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