47 Important Movies I Have Never Seen (But Occasionally Told People That I Have)

I am not a movie person. I know that such people exist — my husband is one — but I am not among them.

That’s not to say that I don’t watch movies. I do. Lots of them. But they are not always good. For every amazing Miyazaki film on my hard drive, there are two stinkers from Elizabeth Taylor’s “unfortunate period”. (I have watched The Driver’s Seat more times than I can count.)  I am also a sucker for completely forgettable foreign comedies. Heidi Klum would question my cinematic taste level.

But it’s worse, because I lie. I lie about having seen important films, popular films, the ones that everyone else knows. I’m secretly convinced that everyone else lies about having seen these movies, too, but I can only be certain of my own shame. Pity me.

Here is a list of 47 movies that I could’ve been watching instead of Return of the Killer Tomatoes. Although let the record show: I have no regrets.

  1. Annie Hall
  2. Beaches
  3. American Beauty
  4. Avatar
  5. Back to the Future
  6. Beetlejuice
  7. The Big Lebowski
  8. Braveheart
  9. Casablanca
  10. Chariots of Fire
  11. Chinatown
  12. Dirty Dancing
  13. E.T.
  14. Forrest Gump
  15. The Godfather: Part II (and honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever watched the first from start to finish)
  16. Goodfellas
  17. I Am Curious (Yellow)
  18. Iron Man (any of them)
  19. Jerry McGuire
  20. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
  21. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  22. Nashville
  23. Persona
  24. The Pianist
  25. Pretty Woman
  26. Raging Bull
  27. Rain Man
  28. Reservoir Dogs
  29. Rocky (or the sequels, for that matter)
  30. Saving Private Ryan
  31. Scarface
  32. Seven Samurai
  33. The Shawshank Redemption
  34. Silkwood
  35. The Sixth Sense
  36. Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace
  37. Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones
  38. Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
  39. Sunset Boulevard
  40. Taxi Driver
  41. Terms of Endearment
  42. Toy Story
  43. Tootsie
  44. V for Vendetta
  45. Vertigo
  46. X-Men (any of them)
  47. Zoolander

12 Drag Names I Will Never Use

bewbsI’ve done drag — real drag, with a bra and all — a handful of times. Generally speaking, it was awful.

Sure, I enjoyed the makeup and the false eyelashes and the heels — who wouldn’t? But the wigs were hugely uncomfortable. The wigs and the shaving. I really hate to shave.

Until recently, I thought I could overcome those hangups, and I stockpiled a stellar list of potential drag/stage names for my alter-ego.

Alas, it’s clear that I’m never going to have enough time/patience/Barbasol to use them, so I’m releasing them into the wild. Hopefully, someone with a lighter beard, a softer jawline, and a greater tolerance for polyester wiglets can use them. Maybe you?

As an added bonus, some of them will work as band names, too. You’re welcome.

  1. Nosegay Pantysniffer (Technically this one belongs to Jonno, but the copyright has probably run out.)
  2. Wendy 2000 (She’s dated, not expired.)
  3. Ovarian Thrombosis (This may be something horrible in real life, but the cadence is good.)
  4. Transvaginal Messiah (All those mesh commercials finally got to me.)
  5. Pussy Terwilliger (It’s like poetry.)
  6. Cookiepuss McGruff (If you choose this one, your signature song becomes the best Beastie Boys tune of all time. And you get a signature dessert, too.)
  7. Tundra Thundercunt (The loud, lewd lady from Lapland.)
  8. Estrogenia McGuyver (Oh, what she can do with two bottlecaps and a maxi pad.)
  9. Miss River Bridge (It’s funniest if you live along the Mississippi.)
  10. Maxine Poutine (Girl likes to eat.)
  11. Chanelvis (Which I stole from a co-worker at Lucky Cheng’s)
  12. Chainsaw Guevara (She’s never heard the term “bloodless revolution”.)

Paranoid Children Have More Fun

trees and cloudsI never played with action figures. I never saw the point. Acting out scenarios with tiny, plastic dolls? I preferred acting with my whole body. At recess, I recruited friends to become fellow jewel thieves or jungle explorers or doctors on desperate missions to halt raging epidemics of cooties.

I was even better at scenarios that played out in my head, scenarios I enacted alone, scenarios I never told anyone about. In one recurring fantasy, I was a cat burglar. (To younger readers: cat burglars were once a thing, though no one speaks of them anymore.) Every time I visited a mall or a department store, I’d note the location of the air vents, service doors, and other ways I could use to break in later — though sadly, later never came, because I was also a massive goody-goody.

In my other favorite scenario, I played a kidnapping victim. When my parents dragged my brothers and me on weekend errands, I’d lie face-up on the Naugahyde back seat of our hulking Oldsmobile station wagon, following the trees, trying to count blocks, and making note of telling scenery. I committed that information to memory so that when I picked the lock on my imaginary handcuffs and found my way to a phone in the kidnappers’ lair, I could tell the police where to find me.

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For No Good Reason, A One Direction Fantasy

One Direction played the Super Dome last night — or as it’s now called, the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome, which makes it sound less like a stadium and more like one of those bubble-topped, science-fictiony concept cars of the 1950s, but that’s neither here nor there.

My seats were in the balcony. The top, top, top balcony. It was as close as I could get to the stage, considering that every seventh-grade girl from Lake Charles to Pascagoula began calling for tickets five days before they went on sale. And still, I paid twice the face value.

An hour into the show, the band performed a rousing mashup of Iron Butterfly’s psychedelic rock anthem “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” and Yaz’s 1982 dance floor smash, “Don’t Go”. (I swear, in the right hands — or right throat — “Don’t Go” could give “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” a run for best Please-Don’t-Leave-Me Ballad of all time.) Despite having some decent pipes, One Direction didn’t imbue either tune with Doug Ingle’s throaty, pre-orgasmic churn or Alison Moyet’s throaty, Pall-Mall-tinged desperation, but it was still damn good.

Like the five young men on stage, One Direction’s core audience hadn’t been born when the original songs came out, so they assumed the band’s elegantly arranged, two-for-one cover was a completely new tune. But the handful of parents who’d managed to score tickets knew differently. People of my generation were on their feet, cheering.

And that’s when it happened. A hundred yards below me, at the downstage right corner of the hulking platform that some nameless production company had erected to support the designer sneakers and slim hips of Harry, Liam, Louis, Niall, and Zayn, a dozen bodies rushed the stage. I thought they might’ve been security personnel, but my lorgnette revealed otherwise. They weren’t in t-shirts or uniforms, they weren’t chunky, beefy bodyguards: they were doughy, white-haired men in off-the-rack suits from Joseph A. Bank.

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10 Things I Am Not (And Am Thankful I Am Not)

blindersIt’s so, so easy to take things for granted when the going is good. I have a hunch that’s what keeps us going, us humans. There’s something deep in our DNA that wants us to wear blinders, wants us to chug along believing that since we’re not sick, not in pain, not desperately sad, not running for our lives, everyone else in the world is fine, too.

That makes sense, I guess. If we dwelled on that too much, we’d never get anything done. We’d die of worry and guilt.

(Side note: it may be part of our DNA, but it’s not innate. It’s something we learn as adults: worry about what’s in front of you, worry about the things you can change. Six-year-olds terrified of atomic bombs or bad guys in the night haven’t perfected this skill.)

So, it’s rare when everything’s going fine — so fine that you can’t imagine a time when things would ever not be fine — that you stop and think: “Now. Right now. I’m very lucky right now. I’m more fortunate than many people on this planet. Possibly most of them”

It happened to me this week, driving home after a long day of work and errands. For some reason — I still don’t know why — I took stock of my life. And I realized how very lucky I am to have a job and a husband and a boyfriend and loving hounds and loving friends. And it’s all because of an accident of birth: American, late 20th century, middle class, male, white.

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