Thursday, July 4, 2013

Chancing Upon Coincidence

With the university closed for the patriotic holiday and the temperatures soaring in the 80s, my Freedom and Justice classmates and I decided to venture to the Commons and watch a movie that had been recommended by none other than Professor Kramnick. Our adventure in the Commons had a few marvelous coincidences and I will be returning very soon. 

The trees provided relieving shade from the scorching sun.
After the usual lecture, which continued yesterday's Feminism lesson, my discussion group and I finally had our section in the air conditioned White Hall because the classrooms were not in use. The session was much more comfortable in the cool building, and after the discussion we received the first draft of our papers and did peer editing. At 12PM, the session ended and everyone hurried to the Robert Purcell Community Center for lunch, as it was the only eatery open. Two of my classmates and I came out from a different exit and along our way to Purcell, we ventured down a pathway running parallel to one of Ithaca's many gorges. Unfortunately there was a fence barring our way so we could only observe the waters from afar. We made our way back to the main road and ran into Kevin and Nolan, one of Professor Kramnick's other teacher assistants. Having been accustomed to eating at Trillium, both assistants were unsure of where Purcell was and Kevin asked us if we knew the way; heading there ourselves, we offered to show them away and led them to Purcell while they continued their intellectual conversation on feminism and the unsatisfying chronological order of events. After my friends and I had finished our lunch, we made plans to watch Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, as Professor Kramnick had suggested because it was "about people [our] age." I did not expect the film to tie in so well with the topics we are currently learning about. 

We finished lunch a quarter of an hour before 2PM and after researching show times and the Commons, Gloria, Christian, and I met up at 5PM to go to the Commons for dinner. Because the university was closed, the buses were not running so we decided to call for a cab several of our friends had taken before. We made it to the Commons and our driver kindly dropped us off in the heart of the Commons where the restaurants were. He gave us a few suggestions and we thanked him before leaving. We ate at a Thai restaurant close to where we were dropped off and near the theater, and the food was delicious. 

As we waited for our orders, Gloria and I read the small newspaper we had taken from a stand in the restaurant's doorway. The Ithaca Times as the paper was titled, was surprisingly devoid of political articles, and focused more on local and cultural news. Advertisements for shows and restaurants, and articles of the same topics filled the pages and there were only two short pages of classifieds. The Ithaca Times seemed like the newspaper of a little close-knit community, and surveying the town scenery only reinforces the image of a homely little mini-town that revolves around culture and entertainment. 

We finished our late afternoon meal before 7PM, 30 minutes before the film started. Along our way to Cinemapolis, the retro movie theater, we took a wrong turn and ended up on the doorstep of an intriguing shop named American Crafts by Robby Dein. Saying that I was captivated when I entered the store is a gross understatement. I was infatuated. I have always had a fondness of shiny trinkets, but this shop had two levels of marvelous wonders my friends and I had too little time to explore. Thus I will return to the shop soon so that I may explore its marvels and blog about it in more depth. 

A wall decorated with images of famous films.
Cinemapolis is located at the end of an alley from the restaurant section of the commons, and its interior is decorated with vintage-like posters and plaques dedicated to certain stars. I was glad to see that Johnny Depp, one of my favorite actors, was among one of the honored performers.

Theater 5, where The Bling Ring was shown, was smaller than most theaters I had been to, but it was also much cleaner than other theaters I had been to, less stuffy, and its seats were far more comfortable than I had ever thought movie theater seats could be. Including us, eight people were watching the movie, and the cool air conditioning was more than sufficient. It was a pleasant movie-going experience and made the movie all the more enjoyable. The movie itself was well-made and coincided remarkably with Professor Kramnick's recent lectures on socialization and the effects of images. 

The hall was lined with dedication posters and stars with performers' names engraved in.

Based on actual events, The Bling Ring follows the exploits of a group of Los Angeles students who sneak into insecure celebrity homes and steal for pleasure. Affected by the fame-obsessed society, these teenagers were riveted on the glamorous life of famous icons such as Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, and Rachel Bilson. The film's dialogue is dominated by obscene curse words which were once rare in youth but now spew casually from the mouths of elementary school students and high school students alike; the excessive swearing, partying, and drugging of the adolescent characters reflect contemporary views of teenagers which is not entirely false. Due to recent discussions in class, I was also able to identify examples of irony in the film's gender roles with that of previous eras. While in previous times men were usually portrayed as leading the women while the latter followed obediently, the film's group leader is in fact a female and she orders around the only male member of the group throughout the film. The latter comes off in the film as a more passive character, following the girls to clubs and celebrity homes. Overall it was a satisfying film filled with many themes and bursts of humor. 

A plaque dedicated to Johnny Depp!
Tomorrow I will be journeying to Niagara Falls with the Cornell cohort!

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