Do you ever pause, realize you’ve been sitting at the computer for over two hours and think, ‘what am I doing with my life?’ This might be one of those times. Alas, alack.
I was going to write a post reflecting on pregnancy and motherhood, now that I’m just two weeks out from my due date. Instead, I bring you the next instalment of ‘style icons’ in which we look at wardrobe through the lens of Adventures in Babysitting, aka the best movie of 1987.
Elisabeth Shue plays Chris Parker, the reluctant babysitter, and still to this day I think she’s one of the most beautiful women around. Back then, I wanted to be her. Now, I want to update her outfit of casual basics with versions in luxe fabrics and cooler cuts. Because frankly Chris, you deserve better.
Don’t f*ck with the babysitter.
1. Colorblock Streetcar Coat, Madewell. The oversized camel coat gets a modern makeover in this menswear-inspired two-tone number. Want.
I’ve found myself starting to compile a list of fictional characters whose style I’m pretty into, but am trying to veer away from the more predictable choices. Nobody needs another Annie Hall-inspired wardrobe post. Now Annie, on the other hand…
First up in this series: Miss Hannigan from 1982’s classic kid’s flick, Annie. God I loved this movie. At the time of course I had no true sense of the hilarity and brilliance that was Carol Burnett in the role as the queen of mean orphanage head, swanning around in her 1930s boudoir-esque outfits.
Now if only they would create an updated version of Miss Hannigan… oh wait, they did. Gah. I’m sorry but Cameron Diaz is just chewing scenery here. This is how I’d play it today:
1.Storm Vision dress by Samantha Pleet, via Bona Drag. Purple and flowy is the key… click the link so you can really see this baby in all its glory. It’s my new dream dress! Thanks in advance, Santa.
2. Miss H. was never without a long necklace; this updated version would bring a little more delicacy to the proceedings. Braid Lariat Necklace by Heather Hawkins, via Shopbop.
3. For when those orphans are working your last nerve: stainless steel purse flask, via Red Envelope. It’s probably too hard to read in the collage above but this one says, “may you never go to hell but always be on your way.” Works for me.
4.Braided Sky High sandals in antique gold, Swedish Hasbeens. I actually can’t recall what type of shoes ol’ H. wore but these seem appropriate – deco-inspired and fabulous, but still with the slightest hint of tacky.
Now repeat after me: “WE LOVE YOU, MISS HANNIGAN.”
ps. Thanks to everybody for your kind words re: my last post. We’ve received so many nice messages via the blog and Facebook and even on that last-century thing known as voicemail. It’s been much appreciated.
I’ll admit to feeling somewhat ambivalent about the whole Star Wars phenomenon (although I did see Return of the Jedi with my parents at the drive-in when I was about five, and it remains one of my more memorable movie-going experiences), yet I was instantly taken by Rodarte‘s elegant, weird, and fun Star Wars-inspired pieces from their Fall 2014 collection. Now Paper mag has put together a photo shoot of the dresses, shot at George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch with some of the film’s characters. And, it’s too awesome not to share…
I may have just turned to the dark side. You can see the rest of the editorial here on Paper Mag’s website. Photos by Todd Cole, fashion by Rodarte, courtesy of Paper mag.
I’ve been looking through the documentaries section on Netflix lately (on a side note, I’ve become convinced that the time we all spend Netflix-browsing amounts to no less, and possibly way more, than the many, many torturous hours we racked up in our ‘old,’ pre-internet-streaming lives, circling the crammed shelves in the video store on a Friday evening, trying to figure out what to rent – it’s just become that bad. But I digress…) and it compelled me to mentally catalogue the films I’ve watched over the years that have really managed to stick with me.
I tend to gravitate towards biographical accounts of creative people (no real surprise there) so this short list is pretty heavy on that front. I can just as easily get sucked into docs about crime or politics or all the poisonous food we consume, but then I spend the aftermath obsessing about whether or not it was ‘true’ or horribly biased or what have you.
This is one of the first contemporary art-related documentaries I was shown as a young adult, in my undergrad Visual Studies class. It focuses on then-21-year-old Yale architecture student Maya Lin, who won the design competition for the Vietnam Veteran’s War Memorial in the early ’80s. She weathered a ton of backlash and controversy and I remember it seemed so overwhelming to imagine someone just a little older than I was at the time, dealing with these harsh critics and making art on such a large, public scale. Lin seemed so brave. And, everyone ate their words – when it was finally completed, the memorial was considered hugely successful, and still stands as one of the most introspective and emotional public art tributes in the USA.
The story of a doctor in the 1960s who left his job, packed up his wife and nine kids (yes, nine), and went to surf and live out of an RV. Sometimes their nomadic existence seemed idyllic, sometimes borderline abusive. The family’s nonconformist lifestyle was both really inspiring and… also pretty f*cked up. This was one of those engrossing films that I finished watching and immediately burst into confused yet oddly cathartic tears. I do that sometimes. You should see this.
Once upon a time there was a girl who pretty much worshipped at the altar of Wilco, and who somehow managed to fly to their hometown of Chicago over the weekend where they not only performed but also premiered the film, and it was like, the most ridiculously awesome thing ever. And I she still loves watching this documentary. True story.
God, this one’s an actual heartbreaker. Daniel Johnston, cult musician and artist, has been called the “greatest singer-songwriter alive today.” He also suffers from mental illness and lives at home with his parents, where he obsesses over demonic possession and a former childhood sweetheart. This doc could have been an exploitative mess, but manages to be respectful and tender, yet unflinching.
5.7 Up series(dir. Michael Apted, 1964-2012 and ongoing, Granada Television)
“Give me a boy until he is 7 and I will give you the man.” An attempt to succinctly describe this documentary series while still doing it justice feels like an exercise in futility, as I’m sure there have been full-blown academic theses written about it over the last 40 years. In 1964, 14 seven year olds from different upbringings in London were chosen to participate in interviews where they were asked about school, their families, and what they wanted to do when they grew up. The experiment was predicated on the assumption that social class basically pre-destined all their futures, but the series has become so much more than that.
The children were charming, arrogant, shy, and funny. Seven years later, at age 14, they were interviewed again — and so on, every seven years, up until the latest instalment at age 56. It’s absolutely fascinating to get glimpses of these people and how they’ve grown up and changed; from childhood through adolescence, careers, marriage and their own kids, divorce, aging, and also self-awareness about their participation (or lack thereof) in the ongoing films. Masterful, compelling, the whole thing. Great binge-watching material.
My friend Kristin had me watch this (she’s always sending me interesting and amusing fashion sites and video links, including this classic) and although I tended to be somewhat neutral on Tom Ford the brand, I became really intrigued by Tom Ford the man. He’s exacting, obsessive, obviously hugely talented and creative, surprisingly (?) self-reflexive, and he bathes about three times a day, sometimes five. Tom Ford, you have seduced me.
There are SO many great biographical documentaries out there — do you have any to recommend?
Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago, but I spent four years during my mid-twenties in New York City – attending art school, working odd jobs, eating way too many bagels and korean noodles, walking everywhere, crying over boys, and cementing some pretty incredible friendships. I even hung out at the Cafe Grumpy in Greenpoint before it became a chain and went all Girls.
It was one of those formative experiences that will always be a part of me, and lately I’ve really found myself missing the city and its unique energy. Good thing I’m heading to NYC, oh, ah… TODAY.
In honour of my visit, I’ve compiled a personal top 6 list of evocative films set in the Big Apple. Major caveats: it’s in no real order, and doesn’t adhere to any particular aesthetic criteria or even represent my opinion of the ‘best’ movies to take place in NYC. Let’s just say that these picks all conjure some kind of specific sense of the city for me, whether accurate or imagined.
Taxi Driver. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Manhattan. If you’re expecting these, you’ve come to the wrong list, my friends.
Image above: “I’m so embarrassed, I’m not a real person yet.”
1.Frances Ha (2012) Present-day NYC through the eyes of the struggling 20-something creative, shot in beautiful black and white. At the film’s most exhilarating, the “undate-able” Frances runs through the streets to the soundtrack of David Bowie’s “Modern Love” (in homage to a scene from Leos Carax’s Mauvais Sang, in case that sort of thing matters to you). At its mostmundane, she lounges on her fire escape and chats with her best friend. It’s pretty much perfect, really.
“Can you dig it?”
2. The Warriors (1979) I’m fairly sure I never in a million years would have watched this movie, if not for my dad insisting when I was in junior high. A cult classic about fictional NY gangs, the Warriors are framed for murder and over the course of a night they must traverse the city, make it past the many other hostile gangs and the police, and return to their home base of Coney Island. It depicts NYC at its most campily inhospitable and, from a kid’s perspective, I assumed the city was just one giant mess of graffiti, dangerous subway platforms, and creepy men in leather vests. Image from Pyxurz.
“I’m staying! You hear that, New York? THE FROG IS STAYING!”
3.The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984) Broadway dreams, showbiz clichés, low-paying luncheonette gigs, purse snatching in Central Park, lunch at Sardi’s with Liza Minnelli, Mad Men as enacted by frog puppets… it is all here, and it is hilarious.
“We didn’t miss it. This IS it.”
4.Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (2008). A long night spent traipsing around NYC, accompanied by a great soundtrack (Chris Bell, Band of Horses, Bishop Allen), culminating in a kiss at sunrise in Penn Station, is a night well-spent. The sense of possibility, excitement, sweetness, and (mostly) innocent adventure just feels quintessentially New York, to me, in the way that I once experienced it.
“Don’t you know tricks are for kids?”
5.Kids (1995) Ick. To this day I’ve not seen this movie in its entirety, but if ever you needed a skin-crawling cautionary tale involving unsupervised, amoral urban teenagers, this is it (basically the polar opposite of #4). It may very well be the reason I never did drugs, didn’t lose my virginity til I was 19, and was kind of afraid of New York City til I actually moved there. Feels like it deserves a spot on the list, though, for its ability to elicit all these strong responses, even now.
“You see, that’s the funny thing – I can’t have a baby because I have a 12:30 lunch meeting.”
6.Baby Boom (1987) Shout-out to Sarah Stringer — girl, you know what I’m talking about. Diane Keaton might justifiably be mortified were she to realize that children of the ’80s view this as her iconic NYC film character moment. Sorry, Annie Hall, but we have an eternal soft spot for J.C. Wiatt.
Work-aholic female business exec is faced with caring for an unexpected child, loses her job and leaves Manhattan for small-town Vermont, then launches her own empire making organic baby food. So, it’s basically the story of my life. Just kidding. All the “Big City” tropes of the late 1980s are here – power-lunches, city apartments full of black leather and chrome, big shoulder-pads, and tiger moms with even bigger hair, hanging at the playground while discussing their toddler’s resumé submission to the coveted Upper East Side pre-schools. But will J.C. give it all up for a slower pace? Lean in, ladies – this one’s practically a classic.
Is there any other city on earth that’s been the source of such a wealth of cinematic inspiration? What NYC films have resonated with you? (and don’t let my avoidance of the high-brow stop you from going there)