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Cameron Crowe Ruined My Life

Believe me when I say that it pained me to type out the title to this post.

Cameron Crowe is one of my very favorite filmmakers. To me, a guy who can write teenagers who are real people, really capture the full spectrum of human emotion, and incorporate a great soundtrack into his work is a real genius.

Though it initially made me feel warm, fuzzy, and hopeful, a recent late night viewing of 2005's Elizabethtown ended up making me a little nervous. I realized that Crowe was just like everybody else.

Now, this probably doesn't make sense to those of you who admire his work. As a writer and filmmaker, Crowe definitely has a unique voice and vision that helps his work connect with all kinds of audiences. That's precisely the problem.

Last week I wrote a post about how movies are only a reflection of life and not actually true to life itself. In the post, I mentioned that filmmakers are just one person with one perspective, and that is absolutely true of Crowe. In Crowe's …
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Hashbrown "No Filter": Or, How We All Become Critics

I think we've all met a person at some point in our lives who describes themselves as having "no filter". To tell you the truth, the phrase has always made me roll my eyes. Almost everyone (those who have a medical condition preventing control over what is thought and said excluded) has a "filter". Actually, if you think about it, the way we decide what we say goes through a series of turns in our heads: "Is this socially acceptable?", "Will those I'm speaking to get confused or offended?", "Do I care about the opinions of these individuals?", "Is this a joke my dad would tell?", etc.

The maze is different for everyone, but it exists. I think the metaphor can also apply to how we consume, well, everything. We don't eat certain foods for certain reasons, don't go to certain places for other reasons, and, most prevalent in my mind, won't consume certain media because of the mazes we've created. Our sets …

I'm Still Not Sure

I've tried to start this post several times over the past few weeks. For one thing, it's incredibly difficult to write after not doing so for months (seven, to be exact). It's another thing entirely to admit that I don't know what I'm doing, where I'm going, or who I am.

That being said, I've done it before. Two years ago, I posted a video on YouTube entitled "I'm Not Sure". Now, if you've never seen this before, I completely understand. I just watched it for the first time since I posted it, and it was cringeworthy. This is not only because it's weird to watch 20 year old me go through her YouTube phase, touch her face too much, talk with some strange inflection in her voice. Well, that's certainly part of it. Really, though, it's because nothing's changed.

At the end of the video, I say I'm grateful that I have a year and a half left of college to "figure it all out". That year and a half has passed. I gradu…

Talking to Myself in the Mirror

I think it's a pretty safe bet that a lot of aspiring actors/writers/directors/filmy people practice their future Oscar speech in the mirror as kids. I did. Who am I kidding? I still do. It comes with the territory. My mirror talks go, ahem, went (who am I kidding? go) further.

Sometimes, I do my makeup while talking to Barbara Walters. Other days, brushing my hair turns into a podcast interview. Most of the time, though, I rehearse what I'm going to say to my heroes. These hypothetical moments are incredibly important, and I can't afford to say anything stupid, so car rides, showers, and mornings getting ready are devoted to preparation.

This probably makes me sound crazy. The word "narcissist" may also come to mind. I think one of my heroes would have appreciated both the crazy and the narcissism in this bit of oversharing, though, but we lost her this morning.

One of my first posts on this blog was a tribute to Carrie Fisher. I read it over this afternoon after…

Am I Too Old for This?

When I turned 22 in August, I made the joke that I was scared to go into a Forever 21 for fear of setting off the age limit alarms. It was a bad joke. Still is.

In truth, there are a lot of things I should have outgrown: Disney movies, old cartoons, comic books, procrastination. That's not the end of the list, but those were the only things I could think of off the top of my head. One of the things I never thought would be on the list, though, was teen movies.

As I sat in the theater watching The Edge of Seventeen (fantastic movie, by the way), I realized I was five years older than the protagonist. Granted, that's not a huge age difference, but it was enough to make me realize I'm in a different place in my life than the characters in the movie for the first time in a while.

Teen movies are and have always been one of my very favorite things. I grew up wanting to be like the older characters in teen movies, then relating to the characters when I aged into their stories, a…

Change is a Good Thing

I'm a binge watcher. A product of my time. There are still, however, shows I will watch as they air. Sure, most of them are award shows, but that still counts, right?

American Horror Story falls into the very tiny category of non-awards shows I'll tune into live every week. After hearing a ton of hype, I watched the first couple seasons on Netflix, then started tuning in every Wednesday starting in season three. Even if I hadn't watched the first couple of seasons, I wouldn't have missed anything. Each season is a brand new story, a chance for the showrunners and a troupe of actors to explore something new.

After the third season, though, I felt like something was missing. The cast of characters kept getting bigger, more subplots kept developing, and, to me, the series began to feel scattered and unpolished. In short, it lost its edge. Despite loving the show and the amazing cast, I couldn't finish last season.

I went into this year thinking I was going to skip it a…

Remaking Old Ghosts

I want to talk about what I just saw.

There's been a lot of controversy surrounding Paul Feig's remake of the 1984 film Ghostbusters. Remakes are tricky in general. People, often guided by their nostalgia, worry that a new version of their favorite story just won't live up.

This applies here to an extreme. From the time this movie was announced, people were outraged, saying that a remake of Ghostbusters would ruin their childhood.

Their outrage wasn't just because the movie was being remade, but that Feig was putting four women in the lead roles. Feig has always been a champion of women in his work, from Freaks and Geeks to Bridesmaids and now Ghostbusters. Looking at the original story, there's no reason women can't be Ghostbusters. No. Reason. Well, other than the fact that it could damage fragile male egos everywhere.

Thank goodness that wasn't taken account, because the movie was fantastic. Really, really fantastic. The story and characters were fully d…

You're my Wonderwall: An Ode to Governor's School

I, Mary Abigail Keith, hate goodbyes.

I hate them, hate them, hate them. To me, goodbyes represent uncertainty. Will I ever see this person again? Will I hear from this person? Will I have an experience as good as this...ever? Not knowing makes me feel helpless, and then I start doing the crying and the existential dread and the make-up running down my face. It's really attractive.

The last two days have been full of goodbyes. I just finished working as a film counselor for Tennessee's Governor's School for the Arts, helping exceptional high schoolers learn about film. What doesn't seem fair about my experience, though, is that I feel like each one of the 27 kids taught me more individually than I taught them combined. Okay, that's so cheesy I just threw up in my mouth a little bit, but it's the truth.

Saying goodbye to these kids, as well as those I got to know in other areas of the program and my incredible fellow counselors, was, of course, heartbreaking. I …