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Sometimes, it is hard to make people understand that Sam and I aren’t dating. Part of the problem is that we have before—in high school, for a year or so, on-and-off one too many times. Part of it is that, a la Avril Lavigne, he is a guy and I am a girl, and while we both know how to bitch about heteronormativity and society, we probably don’t do it loudly enough. Probably the biggest issue, though, is that we still love each other. We both feel it. We both know it. And—to the eternal chagrin and confusion of whatever person I’m trying to trick into dating me at the time—we still say it to each other.
I know that it’s weird. We talk about it, sometimes, when it’s just the two of us hanging out, using language we’ve stolen from our combined years of therapy, about emotional labor and reciprocity and so-what-do-you-need-right-now. More often, we joke about it. Or joke around it. I spend a lot of time performing playful hatred for him. Our greetings over text have become, “Hey bitch,” et al. I am constantly making fun of his clothes, his shoes, his experiments in facial hair. I try to especially play it up in front of other people, especially the ones who aren’t quite sure what’s going on—as if to signal, “it’s cool now, it’s funny, it’s chill. We’re chill. Definitely chill.”
I know a good deal about acting chill. For my entire life, I’ve felt like I’ve never been able to get close enough to anyone. I was a chronically insecure kid from the start. I waited on the edges, in the periphery of other people’s lives, first terrified that someone would come up and try to pull me in, and then—after years of feeling alone—just as scared that no one ever would. In that regard, Sam is my opposite. As far as people go, he is almost incomparably warm. He can win any position, breeze through any interview, and endear just about anyone to him. It runs deeper than charisma—he has a unique ability to make everyone feel seen, to treat everyone like they’re valued, even special. When I met him, that was what I needed; we have been close for this long because I clung to that kindness and have yet to let go.
Through the ages, there have been tens of thousands of words written devoted to extolling the virtues of first love, but the romance is the dullest part of this story—even now, just a few years later, the sentimental pull is all but gone. The real love story is about what happened after. The first few awkward weeks of friendship, both of us unsure what the new rules were. The decision, somewhere along the line, to say: Screw it. Trying to keep up with the litany of new girls he immediately fell in love with—one time, wingman-ing for hours at the party of someone I hated so he could shoot his shot. Watching b-movies in his basement. Driving to the beach at one in the morning, just to sit in his car and stare at the water. Going to college a thousand miles away and calling him at midnight to sob. Telling him that I didn’t think that I could make it, that I felt completely alone (again), that I was scared I’d never make another friend like him. (And, for all the progress I’ve made, that stands. I’m still not sure that I ever will.)
I have seen enough romantic comedies to know that this sounds like the part of the story where I’m in deep denial about Sam being the person I'm supposed to be with. It seems unlikely to me—at the moment, he is deeply in love with a wonderful person that I hope he marries—but I would be lying if I said I was never jealous. Not of her, specifically, but of all his new friends. All the new people that he meets, all of whom he will invariably treat like they’re wonderful, some of whom might actually be (and funnier and more interesting and better than me to boot). I do also worry, though, that we are ordained to fall in “real” love—just because that would feel so much lesser than what we have going right now. What we’ve got means the world to me, just as it is. Anything else would be a step down.
Love is strange. But, in whatever form it comes in, I don’t think you can ever have too much of it. It is rare, and it is crucial, and I think you have to take what you to get. Sam is the best friend I always wanted and finally have, and I love him. Saying that might not make sense to anyone else. It might not always make sense to me. But I am grateful that I get to tell him that, and that he’s stuck around to hear it. I hope that he is, too.
Philadelphia is a great city for coffee snobs. As the home of local companies like Rival Bros and nationally renowned (and super strong) retailers La Colombe, the city is a great place to be if you’re picky about your single origin blends, can actually discern the different “notes” in a unique brew, or need everything all–organic, all fair–trade, all–the–time; there are few better places to engage in debate over where to find the best coffee.
For too long, adult animation has been the domain of a certain cringey kind of humor. Classics like The Simpsons have gone downhill over the years, and shows like Family Guy and South Park now serve as embarrassing reminders of what we thought was funny in middle school; raunchy for the sake of being raunchy, proudly “anti–PC”, filled with gratuitous violence and annoying voices. It’s a hard trap to escape from—even more critically lauded recent shows like Rick and Morty and Bob’s Burgers not only have to establish themselves above these annoying tropes, but also attract some annoying fanbases mired in these mindsets. That’s not to say adult cartoons can’t be good, but for animators, getting their shows taken seriously is an uphill battle.
This year was the 100th anniversary of filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s birth. In his life, he made dozens of films and earned a place as one of the most accomplished filmmakers of all time, and in his honor, the Lightbox Film Center at the International House is holding a month–long series entitled “Autumn Sonata: An Ingmar Bergman Centennial Retrospective,” screening many of his most famous and beloved works on Thursdays and weekends in September. So hurry in before the month ends.
If you’re a Penn student (or Philly resident) who harbors dreams of making your own movie masterpiece, what you might not realize is that you’re living in one of the best cities in the country to make it happen. Time and time again, that was the theme of “Film in Philly 101,” an event put on by the Philadelphia Film Society on September 5 that brought together a diverse group of Philly film creatives to discuss how to get started with film in the City of Brotherly Love. While we might not be known for being a film capital of the world, you don’t have to despair because you’re not in Hollywood—there are a multitude of resources for aspiring filmmakers in and around Philly. Whether you’ve been creating for years, or you’ve just decided you want to get started with pursuing a project, here are the best places to look for advice, inspiration, feedback, and mentorship—straight from the people who know the Philly film scene best.
With its return to TV this week, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia starts its 13th season and further cements its place as one of the longest running sitcoms in television history. The run would be impressive for a beloved old–school family comedy, or even a modern network hit, but for It's Always Sunny—FX’s abnormally profane and occasionally disgusting saga of five deplorable Philadelphians who run a bar and cause trouble all over the greater Philadelphia area—it is a little bit insane. Not only has It's Always Sunny made it this far, it’s still damn good, with guest appearances coming up this season from stars like Mindy Kaling, an incredibly devoted fan base that has been stressing for months over whether or not Dennis (Glenn Howerton) will be back this season, and unprecedented ratings in preceding episodes to boot.
What are two rising Penn seniors to do during their last summer as college students? If you’re Kyle Rosenbluth (E ‘19) and Daniel Fradin (C ‘19), you fly to the Arctic Circle with recording and production gear in tow, and you make a movie. When I sat down with the pair of housemates, friends, and newly minted partners in filmmaking, they recounted their decision to book a one way plane ticket to northern Canada and shoot a documentary about climate change in a remote town casually, with smiles on their faces.
Insatiable, the latest original show that Netflix has regrettably poured money into and is now throwing at all of us each time we open up our loading screens, is painfully bad. It’s billed as a comedy but feels like the writers were forced to watch YouTube tutorials on how to be funny and then locked in a writer’s room with no food and ten years’ worth of Cosmo magazines. I am an avid, guilty watcher of reality shows and other garbage TV, but Insatiable is different—it is the rare show that manages to be trashy without even being slightly enjoyable to watch.
Despite Hollywood ignoring minority contributions to film and, in some cases, actively creating hostile environments to creatives of color, films with racially diverse casts are crushing it right now. The success of recent films like Black Panther, Crazy Rich Asians, and Sorry to Bother You proves that audiences are eager for stories with racial diversity. What the success of these movies also shows is that audiences are willing to engage with another kind of diversity, more present but perhaps even harder to get right—socioeconomic diversity.
Spring is here, and the city of Philadelphia is awash in things that you probably don’t have time for because you’re stressing about finals. Food festivals, concerts, beer gardens, and more—we know you’re hitting “Interested” on Facebook when you have no intention of going. We see you. But if you can spare two hours, consider going to at least one event: SpringFest.
Whatever you think of when you hear the word “documentary,” it probably isn’t “sexy,” or “terrifying,” or even “interesting.” People have been making documentaries for as long as they’ve been making feature films, but the documentary film has been co–opted by lazy high–school teachers and studio executives, and we now think of documentaries as slow, squeaky clean, and full of pretty pictures. There’s a time and place for that—Street loves Planet Earth, don’t get us wrong—but documentaries are much more diverse than that. Whatever spicy, weird stuff you’re into, we can almost guarantee you someone has made a doc on it, so here are some of our favorites:
How do we end up enabling the bad behaviors of the people we love the most? This is the central question behind 6 Balloons—a new Netflix original movie, starring Dave Franco and Abbi Jacobson (of Broad City), that explores the devastating effects that one man’s heroin addiction has on his sister.
Nestled away on Broad Street in South Philly is CineMug. The café, which blends coffee, movie rentals, and community, is one of the city’s hidden treasures. If you’re sick of Starbucks or the Van Pelt basement and want a new place to study outside of the Penn bubble, you would be hard–pressed to find a more inviting and artsy space.
Roseanne, a much–beloved sitcom that ran from the late ‘80s to the late ‘90s, is back on air. Maybe you already knew this because you’re a devout follower of ABC Family's comedy lineup (which has produced hits like Black–ish and Fresh Off The Boat). If your life in this American political hellscape is anything like mine though, you probably found out that Roseanne is back because of the Internet outrage that’s been brewing since the show premiered.
The 2018 Oscars were a couple of weeks ago, but the film industry is still talking about one memorable moment from the night. If you watched the awards show, you probably remember Frances McDormand’s badass acceptance speech for Best Actress, which included her having all of the female nominees in the room stand up to receive applause—but the words that producers, directors, and actors are hung up on came at the end. “I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen,” she said: “Inclusion. Rider.”
Three theaters, scattered around Society Hill and Old City, offer a unique and diverse cinematic selection focusing mostly on indie and art films. If you still haven’t seen The Shape of Water or Call Me By Your Name, you can catch them at a Ritz theater. But if you already have (or just don’t care to) and you’re looking for something different, the chain still has plenty to offer. While you might not have noticed them in your Facebook events feed, the special events and programming at Ritz theaters provide the chance to get a different kind of movie experience. Here’s Street’s guide to some of the most exciting upcoming events.
Hang in there, Quakers. While it might not feel like it judging by the weather outside, summer vacation is only a couple of weeks away. As you begin to struggle through projects and finals, you might already feel like you need a respite from school. Consider putting off your work to watch one of these movies that could provide you with some much–needed escape.
Some people live to watch camera confessionals, wine throwing, and rich people crying; and some can’t stand it at all. However, if you’ve ever wanted a happy medium between “reality” television and real life, look no further. Terrace House, a Japanese gem of reality TV hidden away on Netflix, is the kind of show that both sides of the divide might be able to get behind.
It can be hard to find good shows to watch in languages that aren’t English. While the movie world has robust foreign film industries to compete with Hollywood, and even the Oscars honor foreign language films, there are less television shows that bring stories in other languages to life with the same amount of worldwide reach.
In the theatrical release of A Wrinkle In Time, before the first shot, there is a filmed message from director Ava DuVernay, who offers a warm, confident explanation for why she chose to take on the adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved 1962 science fiction novel. The decision to break the fourth wall before the movie even begins comes off as strange, but sitting down to watch it—or, just pulling up reviews—clarifies the purpose of the segment: A Wrinkle In Time is, in many ways, a movie that demands an explanation. Why is DuVernay, an acclaimed director who helmed projects such as 13th and Selma, directing a children’s movie? Why is it flopping at the box office compared to Disney’s other recent release, Black Panther, despite its diverse cast that includes stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, and Mindy Kaling?