The Rise of Riz Ahmed

Every once in a while, an actor comes on the scene and their personality, professional work and general persona is so unique it feels like spotting a unicorn. This time around, we’ve found it in Riz Ahmed.

The 34-year-old  star has been in the business for years, but it wasn’t really until last year when he blew up on the scene with blockbuster movies and hit TV shows. It’s also worth noting he’s British Pakistani, so it goes without saying: #RepresentationIsImportant. And those are just a couple of reasons why Time magazine just named him one of the 100 most influential people of the year, with a love letter written by his American twin, Lin-Manuel Miranda. His side hustle as a rapper and activism for those without voices are the cherries on top of this perfect Riz Ahmed sundae, but let’s go back a little and see how he climbed his way to the top and into our hearts.

The son of immigrants, Riz grew up in London and started acting in high school literally to stay out of trouble. There was a prominent racist problem that coincided with Asian gang culture, and he became v unruly and disruptive in class. it wasn’t until a teacher told him, “If you can muck about on stage, you get a clap for it, not a suspension.” And that’s what started it.

He went on to Oxford University, where he graduated with a degree in PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics). He’s said the dramatics scene in Oxford was very white and classical, which was totally what he was used to.

“I felt massively like a fish out of water. First person I met there, they laughed in my face and told me I reminded them of Ali G. So I kind of stuck out there, in terms of where I was coming from, the way that I spoke, the way I dressed. The place that you feel like you stick out the most is the place where you should stick it out and stay. Because that’s where you can contrubute somethingnew and fresh. it’s going to be hard and sometimes really lonely. and it was. but i was able to offer something different.”

However, he did continue to pursue his acting career by attending the Central School of Speech and Drama and he eventually got a break with his first film called The Road to Guantanamo. The docudrama told the true story of three British men who were detained in Guantanamo as enemy combatants, and they were kept there for two years before they were eventually released.

Riz played one of the young men, and ironically, four of the actors from the movie were detained in London’s Luton Airport after they returned from the film’s premiere in Berlin. Riz alleged that during questioning, police asked him pointed questions, inquiring if he had become an actor to further the Islamic cause, what he thought about the Iraq war, verbally abused him and denied him access to a phone. The police maintain that none of the actors were arrested, and just detained under the Terrorism Act (which lets them question people that are acting suspicious). Basically, Riz had practice for The Night Of.

At the same time, he was also working on his music career as Riz MC, and released his first single, Post 9/11 Blues, which was controversial, as the title can suggest. But even though his intentions were more satirical than anything, the track was banned from the airwaves by the British government.

“It is about how the contours of our society have been distorted since 9/11, and how that affects every area of our lives,” Riz told The Guardian at the time. “But it’s not a rant from an angry young Muslim, it’s funny, and the music is quite poppy and radio-friendly. It’s a shame that a satirical song like this is seen as a threat.”

Like an arguably better Will Smith, Riz carried on with both his acting and music careers concurrently, and receiving acclaim for both. Most of his screen work was British-based on TV and on the big screen, earning multiple British Film Independent Award nominations. And as a rapper, he released EPs and performed at Glastonbury, and with his hip-hop duo Swet Shop Boys, most recently took the stage at Coachella. Did we mention he’s even on The Hamilton Mixtape??

By 2014, he had enough cred to break out of the British cinema bubble, garnering even more acclaim for his role opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. He served as Jake’s right hand camera man and his performance caught the eyes of several decisionmakers in Hollywood. In 2016, he had four movies come out, including Jason Bourne and Rogue One, two non-blockbusters, obviously.

On TV, he appeared in Netflix’s OA, had a short yet v important recurring role in Girls, and of course, maybe his career defining role in The Night Of. True story, I just finished watching this – seven episodes in one day and I could’ve gone on to watch the finale, but I decided it was better to not be a crazy person and saved the eighth and final episode for the next day. But that’s a testament to not only how powerful the performances are, but that the story itself is one that needs to be told.

For those who don’t know, Riz stars as Nasir Kahn, a Pakistani-American college student who couldn’t be more of an average guy. He’s pretty timid, family oriented and even tutors basketball players so they can stay on the team. One night, he takes his dad’s taxi to go to a party in downtown New York City, but a girl gets in the cab thinking he’s a real taxi driver. He agrees to drive her, but that decision changed his entire life. He goes back to her place, she offers him drugs, they have sex, and in the morning, he wakes up and finds her dead after being stabbed multiple times. But he didn’t do it. Or at least he didn’t remember what happened.

The miniseries follows Nas’ journey in prison, and how race and economic status play into the criminal justice system. Riz in particular plays Nas in a way that you are rooting for him, and left in awe of the transformation – including a maj physical one – throughout the eight episodes. And again, critics seemed to take notice, as Riz was nominated for both a Golden Globe and SAG Award this year. You’ll get ’em next time, kid.

And to top it all off and becoming the ultimate dream man, he’s continued to have that interest in social issues and politics (putting that Oxford degree to good use), and using his platform as a celebrity to bring attention to various issues, like the Syrian refugee crisis. He even teamed up with his The Night Of co-star John Tuturro to raise money for the Karam Foundation, which provides families with basic needs and delivers education programs for refugee youth. The crowdfunding campaign was a direct response to Trump’s executive order banning the entry of Syrian refugees & immigrants into the U.S. He’s raised over $178,000 and you can still donate here.

So while he’s a relative newcomer to the scene, Riz’s professional and personal work over the past year alone is more than enough reason for him to be named one of the most influential people in the world. Perhaps most importantly, it’s refreshing to see someone have such a positive influence on this generation and generations to come, all because he speaks candidly and openly about things he’s passionate about, and not in a media trained sort of way.

For example, Riz isn’t afraid to break the fourth wall and remind people that fame and celebrity doesn’t make you immune to the harsh reality of the world we live in today.

“It’s been a weird year. I’ve been enjoying the access, but, on the other hand, America and England both shot themselves in the face,” Riz noted at the Elle Style Awards earlier this year. “It was a year where I was getting searched like three time instead of two before I got on a plane, but, when I got on the plane, I was on the cover of the inflight magazine. Weird.”

He’s honest, yet professional. An activist, but not in your face. An undeniable star, but no ego. In short: Riz Ahmed is a unicorn.

Rex Manning Day, Mean Girls Day and More: Essential Pop Culture Holidays

In The Great Gatsby, Daisy always watched for the longest day of the year and then missed it. In the age of tumblr, I always watch for Saturday Detention Day, AKA Breakfast Club Day, and then miss it. I kind of understand how Daisy must feel. In the interest of never missing another movie or TV holiday, we’re compiling them here. Did we miss any? Let us know before we’re late to yet another Aaron Samuels Day.

Galentines Day

Date: February 13
TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning:

Leap Day

Date: February 29, every 4 years
TV Show: 30 Rock
Reasoning: 30 Rock didn’t invent Leap Day, but it did invent Leap Day William, the heart and soul of the holiday

The Day Of The Dude

Date: March 8
Movie: The Big Lebowski (1998)
Reasoning: Anniversary of the Big Lebowski’s Release

Breakfast Club Day AKA Saturday Detention Day

Date: March 24
Movie: The Breakfast Club (1984)
Reasoning:

Winston Smith Day AKA 1984 Day

Date: April 4
Book: 1984, by George Orwell (1949)
Reasoning: The day Winston Smith began his diary.

Rex Manning Day

Date: April 8
Movie: Empire Records (1995)
Reasoning:

The Perfect Date

Date: April 25th
Movie: Miss Congeniality
Reasoning:

N Sync Day

Date: April 30
Song: It’s Gonna Be Me
Reasoning:

The Battle of Hogwarts

Date: May 2
Book and Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Reasoning: Confirmed by J.K. Rowling, who said that Victoire Weasley was born on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, May 2. The year was 1998:

Star Wars Day

Date: May 4
Movies: Many
Reasoning:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Date: June 5
Movie: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
 Reasoning: It’s iffy. That’s the day the audio from the Chicago Bears game they attended came from, but there may have been a few months left in the schoolyear. Also, that parade would have been in the fall. Let’s say that any day you play hooky can be Ferris Bueller Day in your heart.

Best Friends Day

Date: June 8
TV Show: Spongebob Squarepants
Reasoning: There’s no date given for Best Friends Day in the episode where Spongebob and Patrick celebrate it, so it’s usually celebrated on the Facebook-ish holiday of Best Friends Day, June 8

Bloomsday

Date: June 16
Book: Ulysses, by James Joyce (1922)
Reasoning: The events of Ulysses (main character Leopold Bloom) take place on June 16, 1904

Harry Potter’s Birthday

Date: July 31
Books/Movies: The Harry Potter series
Reasoning: Not only is this the date Harry was born in 1980, it’s when JK Rowling was born in 1965. And of course, Neville Longbottom was born the day before Harry if you want to turn it into a two-day event.

Roald Dahl Day

Date: September 13
Books: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and many, many more
Reasoning: Roald Dahl was born on this day in 1916. Last year we celebrated with a whole week dedicated to Matilda.

Mean Girls Day AKA Aaron Samuels Day

Date: October 3
Movie: Mean Girls (2004)
Reasoning:

Treat Yo Self Day

Date: October 13
TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning: The ‘treat yo self’ episode aired on this date in 2011

Abed’s Rudolph Day

Date: December 9
TV Show: Community (2009 – 2015)
Reasoning: In the classic 2010 claymation episode Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas, this is the day Abed always watches Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer with his mom. 

Refrigerator Day

Date: December 11
TV Show: Dinosaurs (1991)
Reasoning: The date this classic episode about Refrigerator Day aired:

 

Festivus

Date: December 23
TV Show: Seinfeld  (1989 – 1998)
Reasoning: The day the holiday ‘for the rest of us’ is celebrated with the feats of strength, airing of grievances and Festivus pole.

 

Saturday Spotlight: #YouCanSeeBoth

HERE
  • Sure, you know Tina and Amy, but are you familiar with the comedic greatness of Paula Pell? If you’re a regular around here or are comedy nerds like us, the answer is probably yes. If not, get acquainted with the force behind Sisters – as well as some of your favorite SNL sketches. We love her.
  • We may be comedy nerds, but we’ve never really been sci-fi geeks (not because we have anything against it, we just never got into it?). Traci broke through one of her top Pop Culture Blind Spots and watched the first Star Wars movie. Which is also the fourth Star Wars Movie. Episode IV, A New Hope? And we are proud to say this was not a hate-watch situation – she really enjoyed this movie that you all knew was really good for 38 years.
THERE
  • Single ladies: worry about ISIS. You should be worried about ISIS.

  • Best Unscripted ever:

  • The marriage of Sisters and Star Wars, because you really can have it all:

 

 

Pop Culture Blind Spots: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

ZOMG U GUYS IT’S FINALLY STAR WARS DAY CAN YOU EVEN CONTAIN YOUR EXCITEMENT??????????!!!?ASDFGHJKL;

I can.

Back in 2013 when we started these Internet shenanigans, I talked about Pop Culture Blind Spots for the first time. On that list of movies I’ve never seen was Star Wars. Two years later, we’ve not only expanded our resumes to include some of the most beloved films, but as of about a week ago, I am no longer a Star Wars virgin. That’s right kids, I can actually talk about the franchise without pretending to have seen it. Or least I can with the first movie.

I will say that what’s weird in the moments leading up to me watching this for the first time, I realized I’ve acquired some kind of pride, if you can call it that, in having never seen this mega iconic film in pop culture history. In many ways, this is the most blind I’ve ever been in our Pop Culture Blind Spot series. And somehow, there’s a part of me that wants to stay blind. Like, once I go into the galaxy, there’s no going back. I won’t have that badge of (dis?)honor anymore. But alas, as the kids say these days, “DO IT FOR THE VINE BLOG”.

Here we go. (PS: no trolling pls, star wars fans. i’m a n00b so calling me out on my wrongness is not only dumb but a waste of time. kthx)

  • The moment I press play, I say outloud, “I already hate this.” I’m gonna try real hard not to hate watch this.
  • I will say this score is epic. I almost got goosebumps and I have no emotional ties to this. YET.
  • Is this in Arial? Helvetica?Photo Dec 16, 10 43 07 PM
  • I know this movie starts out this way, but ugh, making me read a brief history of this universe before any action takes place is exhausting.
  • What’s a “Galactic Empire”?
  • Princess Leia is the hero going into this?
  • When is this supposed to be taking place? Like in the future? Is that a dumb question?
  • C-3PO is British?? IS R2-D2 British??
  • Oh shit Storm Troopers!! They already have WAAYY better lazer action than The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and it’s only a year later.
  • Oh hey Darth Vader! But like, how did you get on their ship so easily? He’s rollin in like a BO$$

Photo Dec 16, 10 44 40 PM

  • Did Princess Leia just give the Death Star info to R2-D2???
  • I know that James Earl Jones is the voice of Darth, but he’s not in the costume, right?
  • Whoa, Leia’s such a badass! Shooting Stormies left and right! Oh she got caught.
  • C-3PO is already my favorite character. He’s like the sassy British butler.

  • WAIT LEIA IS WORKING AGAINST THE EMPIRE?? SHE’S A SECRET SPY?? HERCULES MULLIGAN?! (#We’reAHamiltonBlogNow)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • I’ve clearly got this all wrong.

“We seem to be made to suffer. It’s our lot in life.” – C-3PO

  • The way C-3PO walks is like he’s constipated.
  • Also, like where does C-3PO think he’s going in the middle of this desert? Who does he think he is, BOWE BERGDAHL?? #currentevents

Photo Dec 16, 10 46 45 PM

  • “That malfunctioning little twerp” C-3PO HAHAHAHAHA
  • Do robots need food or anything? Like do they need recharge their batteries? I know nothing.
  • OMG THESE WOOKIES (?) SHOOTING R2 AND R23 FALLING OVER I’M DEAD

  • Could’ve sworn R2 just yell “What the heckk?? let me goooo” as the wookies take him to their ship or whatever
  • Was this scene the inspiration for WALL-E?

so i’m not the first one to think of this then?

  • “Do you think they’ll melt us down?” C-3PO, asking a legit question. I am concerned as well.
  • Are C3 & R2 being sold as slaves to the rebels?? WHY IS HE LEAVING R2 BEHIND WHAT AN ASS. oh ok he’s saving him nvm.
  • How old is Luke supposed to be? He’s acting like a 12 year old, maturity wise.
  • Leia’s white hooded outfit is very Gaga-esque
  • “What message? The one you’re carrying inside your rusty innards!” C-3PO before hitting R2
  • So Obi-Wan and Darth are maybe friends and Luke’s Aunt & Uncle want to hide their existence from him? I feel like I’m missing a lot of information.
  • What’s with these weird swipes to the next scene, George Lucas?

Photo Dec 16, 10 48 37 PM

  • Luke’s aunt is putting some kind of green vegetable in a steamer where is she getting/planting these things? They live in the desert. Is there a secret greenhouse somewhere?
  • Holy smokes these sandpeople are terrifying

Photo Dec 16, 10 49 10 PM

  • “Ben Kenobi” sounds like the name of the half-Asian, half-Jewish kid from your childhood who went by Benny Kenobi all through high school but wanted to be more “mature” in college and told everyone his name was Ben.
  • I admire Luke’s loyalty to a droid he’s just met.
  • Obi-Wan/Ben Kenobi used to be a Jedi Knight with Luke’s “Dad”.  SPOILER I KNOW WHO YOUR DAD IS.
  • Darth Vader “betrayed and murdered” Luke’s father. So he’s like the Voldemort of Star Wars. Obi Wan is Dumbledore. Leia is Hermione. Chewie is Hedwig. The Light Saber is a wand from Ollivander’s.
  • I’m legit taking notes on plot points, because I’m somehow deeply invested in this. But also because I’m already getting confused. What’s Alderaan?
  • “I can’t get involved I’ve got work to do.” – Luke. WHERE THO?
  • *Weird side swipe transition, take a shot*
  • OH SHIT did Luke’s Aunt and Uncle’s compound just get incinerated??
  • This is the face of a made not to be fux withPhoto Dec 16, 10 50 47 PM (1)
  • *Weird side swipe transition, take a shot*
  • Are we going to find out why Darth sounds like he has asthma?
  • Is Darth about to put Veritaserum in Leia to spill her secret?
  • Obi Wan did a weird Jedi minD TRICK OH MY GOD I JUST GOT THAT REFERENCE LEGITIMATELY
  • Luke and the team are in a bar that looks like it could be a sketch on SNL. The music is Speakeasy-esque

Photo Dec 16, 10 52 43 PM

  • I legit just yelled out, “CHEWIE!”, as if I care about this creature BECAUSE MAYBE I DO NOW. MAYBE I DO.
  • Uh racial discrimination against droids WTF? And some dudes straight up told Luke they don’t like him. Find another bar, y’all. Sidenote: is this the Cantina that Lin-Manuel is writing music for the new movie?
  • I hear, “I’m Han Solo” and immediately look up from writing. What a national treasure, that Harrison Ford.
  • So he’s the captain of the Millennium Falcon? Also he’s pronouncing “Falcon” as “FAWL-cohn”, not “FAL-ken”
  • ($)10,000 what kind of currency do they use here?
  • Han is loungin’ like a mothafucka

Photo Dec 16, 10 54 13 PM

  • He also just killed that creature under the table and no one in the bar cared? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • So Jabba the Hut is disgusting, huh?Photo Dec 16, 10 56 23 PM

  • I’d like to reiterate how much better the lazer special effects are in this movie than Rocky Horror. I’m v impressed with the special effects in this in general. It’s not as horrible/hokey as I thought it was going to be.
  • “I forgotten how much I hate space travel” – C-3PO, who is unfortunately in the biggest space-set movie of all time.
  • Wait so Leia is British? Are all the Empire folk British??
  • Obi Wan is feeling something terrible has happened like Dumbledore circa Half Blood Prince
  • Chewie’s look while playing R2 during this weird chess-like game is hilar

Photo Dec 16, 10 57 05 PM

  • How is the Millennium Falcon just cruising into Darth’s planet or whatever.
  • Oh they’ve hidden themselves in a hidden compartment.

Photo Dec 16, 10 58 03 PM

  • “Who’s the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?” Wise words from Obi Wan. Wait is Yoda in this movie??
  • The force will be with you. *And also with you* IS SOMETHING CATHOLICS DON’T SAY ANYMORE.
  • So Han and Luke are constantly at odds and are acting like brothers. Is that a secret twist too?
  • “I can’t see a thing in this helmet” Luke, a space cinnamon roll

  • How is Chewie walking around all unnoticeable. It’s like if Andre the Giant was trying to blend in with Oompa Loompas.
  • After failing to trick one of Stormtroopers, Han shoots the console and says, “Boring conversation anyway,” which is now how I get out of unwanted phone calls.
  • Luke goes to save Leia and there’s obviously a connection there. Also, I honestly thought Luke and Leia were an item but also knew in my subsconscience that they’re siblings (spoiler alert?) so this is a weird feeling.
  • “Somebody has to save our skins!”

LEIA THO

  • “Wonderful girl. Either I’m going to kill her or I’m beginning to like her.” Han hittin us with some foreshadowing.
  • Da Fuq is grabbing Luke in this trash heap?? It’s like a sea monster. This is why I don’t throw myself down garbage chutes.
  • This garbage compact scene is not as stressful as it could be, since I know they all made it to the sequels. This is exactly why I don’t like spoilers. I liked feeling stressed.
  • This entire scene:

  • “It’s them! Blast them!” – Who says that before shooting intruders? Just do it and shut up.
  • Do lazer guns run out of ammo???
  • I hope there’s a scene in the future where C-3Po is revealed and it’s like, Daniel Radcliffe the whole time.
  • I feel like there should have been epic John Williams music during the Darth/Obi showdown, no?

Photo Dec 16, 10 58 38 PM

  • Wait Obi just let Darth kill him after seing Luke??? Is Obi Wan only in this first movie??
  • Leia has a lot of makeup on for someone who has been in space jail

Photo Dec 16, 11 12 56 PM

  • LOLZ at Luke and Han discussing Leia’s love
  • Leia has a few marks on her Gaga outfit after a straight up showdown against the Empire?! That entire thing she have turned black.
  • I will say I like how there’s no trace of 1977 in this movie. Everyone looks like they could be from the future… which is I guess the point of all this.
  • Han’s main characteristic = a little bitch
  • Luke has a friend?? Also the name of the first children’s book in the Star Wars series (I’m assuming). Said friend is concerned for his safety but like where did he come from?
  • Aw precious, C3 is concerned about R2’s safety!

  • Luke hears Obi Wan saying, ‘The force will be with you,’ before he goes out to attack the Death Star, so is he playing the ultimate Jedi mind trick and giving him advice in his mind for the rest of time?
  • I feel like we’re in Top Gun again.

  • Wait where has Leia’s dad been this entire time??
  • Just like Top Gun, Maverick has to save the day, despite her friend dying. Basically what I’m learning here is all the movies and books have stolen from Star Wars.
  • Oh no R2!!! C3 is willing to donate his organs to save R2!!!!!!! THE MOST PRECIOUS.
  • Luke has saved the day and at the celebration ceremony (?) Leia only wears white, Han only has that one vest and Luke had a hidden jacket that he got from Peter from Guardians of the Galaxy.

  • R2 IS ALL BETTER NOW THANK WOOKIE HES’ OK IT’S ALL I REALLY CARE ABOUT

Final thoughts:

After viewing this, I literally thought, ‘I need to watch the next two movies so I’m not spoiled.’ HELLO. So many feelings. If you’ve gotten this far, you can tell I go INTO it. I luckily didn’t have to hate watch it because I’m pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed watching it. Like I mentioned in my very first Pop Culture Blind Spot post, Star Wars wasn’t a thing I grew up with. I know a lot of folks were introduced by family members, but my immigrant parents weren’t into this stuff, so I had no connection to it. Two years ago I said I had no interest in watching it, and TBH, IDK if I would’ve seen it if it weren’t for this post. Eventually, I guess I would’ve forced myself. Anyways, the point is, people change. I, like Han, discovered a cold heart can warm up to strangers after they’ve gone through war together. I’ve gone through my personal Star Wars, and in all honesty – I would go through the war all over again.

 

ICYMI: When I Met Harry and Sally

It’s hard to believe, but this week marked 25 years since When Harry Met Sally was first released in the theaters. And only one month since the first time I ever watched it…

Pros & Cons of Watching When Harry Meets Sally 25 Years Too Late

Last month, I went to an outdoor screening of When Harry Met Sally. And believe it or not – it was my first time EVER seeing the movie. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

So going into my first viewing of WHMS, I had an inkling I would like it – I just didn’t realize I would like it THAT much. I couldn’t stop talking about it and thinking about it. I even looked up how much it would be on Amazon that same night. There are so many reasons why I enjoyed it, but I finally realized after viewing it why it had become such an important film in movie history – the story is timeless. At its core, WHMS is a movie questioning whether or not men and women can stay friends and never turn into lovers. That wasn’t just a problem in the 1980s, but it’s obviously still a question that’s asked today. And despite the fact WHMS is timeless, it’s not entirely “timeless”, as in, it’s been 25 years (to this day) since it was released, and there are still things that change over time. So here’s a few pros and cons I noted while watching this iconic movie for the very first time.

PRO: A youthful Meg Ryan

I think the first movie I ever saw Meg Ryan in was Sleepless in Seattle, which was made only four years after WHMS. But I don’t remember her ever looking as young as she did in this movie. I mean look at the youth! Look at the glow! She’s practically a baby acting out adult themes! It’s amazing that we can forever look back at this movie and seen the exact moment when she became a bonafide movie star.

CON: Meg Ryan’s face now

meg-ryan-billy-crystal-when-harry-met-sally-rftr

Well. Here she is. This picture was taken in April. Now 53, Meg is…  still sporting a cute blonde ‘do.

PRO: Still feeling hopeful for a love that lasts a lifetime

But how cute are these couples. Fun fact: they’re all real couples telling their real stories. Director Rob Reiner got the idea when he was talking to his producing friend’s dad and said, “Mr. Horn, how did you meet your wife?” Mr. Horn lit up and told Rob his story. And Mr. Horn is actually the very first guy featured in the set of interviews alongside his wife. *swoon*

CON: Wondering where the old couples are now

Okay sorry to be the downer here, but like, this movie was made 25 years ago, right? And these cute couples are old. Like they had already been married for about 50 years, old. I’m not (completely) delusional to realize that some of these folks might not be with us anymore and that makes me really sad.


Seeing When Harry Met Sally checks a movie off my ‘Movies to watch in my lifetime’ list. But there are some that I’ve never seen and never want to. Here are some classic movies that I’ve never seen and are my pop culture blind spots.


I’m Just Not That Into You: Pop Culture Blind Spots

One of my favorite pop culture sites, Vulture, recently posted an article about their staff’s “Pop Culture Blind Spots.” Basically, this is a term coined for people who usually tout their knowledge of entertainment, but have those few shameful gaping holes that the rest of the world has been privy to – except you.

Here is my list of blind spots, that I fully own up to, and will probably never rectify any time soon.

Star Wars

I feel like for most people, correct me if I’m wrong, the Star Wars franchise was something they grew up with, a movie tradition passed down generation to generation. But I grew up as a first generation offspring of Filipino immigrants. I think they were stuck somewhere in the 1950s/60s because I remember watching The Lawrence Welk Show every weekend and listening to the Oldies station on the radio. Needless to say, I was never ‘shown’ Star Wars. But in all honesty, I have no interest. Like most of the things on the list, I can tell you the main characters, perhaps a plot point or two, but if you start talking to me about death stars and the force or something, I will most definitely tune you out.

Lord of the Rings

Gay Gandalf FTW

In 6th grade, we were required to read The Hobbit. That is the closest I’ve ever gotten to Lord of the Rings. I don’t remember being really into Frodo and his gang then, and I certainly am not as an adult. But like, Sir Ian McKellen played like a gay Dumbledore-like guy, right?

Pirates of the Caribbean

One time at a party in my high school years, I remember that one of the movies was playing (I was really cool back then). It’s not like everyone was forced to watch it, it was one of those things that it was on in the background while everyone mingled and ate cool ranch Doritos. I tried focusing my attention on it for like 10 minutes but lost interest. Sorry Johnny Depp. I’m just not that into you. The ride at Disneyland is pretty dope though, I’ll give you that.

Godfather/Scarface/etc.

I’d consider watching Scarface if he attacked people with a banjo

In the same vein as Star Wars being a tradition thing, I also did not see any of those gangster type movies. This blind spot also has a lot to do with the fact that I hate anything with a lot of violence in it, so it bodes well that I haven’t seen these.

Tarantino films

oh my god what is happening here

Continuing with the theme of ‘Traci hates gruesome violence,’ I have never seen any of Quentin Tarantino’s films except Inglorious Basterds. I thought I’d give that a try because a couple of my friends loved it, and Brad Pitt AND BJ Novak were both in it. I watched it on a Saturday and it literally took me all day because I either couldn’t bear to watch it, walked away, or fell asleep. The violence and brutality was wayyy too much for me, and just confirmed the fact that I am not the target demographic for any of his films.

What are some of your pop culture blind spots?

 

I’m Just Not That Into You: Pop Culture Blind Spots

One of my favorite pop culture sites, Vulture, recently posted an article about their staff’s “Pop Culture Blind Spots.” Basically, this is a term coined for people who usually tout their knowledge of entertainment, but have those few shameful gaping holes that the rest of the world has been privy to – except you.

Here is my list of blind spots, that I fully own up to, and will probably never rectify any time soon.

Star Wars

I feel like for most people, correct me if I’m wrong, the Star Wars franchise was something they grew up with, a movie tradition passed down generation to generation. But I grew up as a first generation offspring of Filipino immigrants. I think they were stuck somewhere in the 1950s/60s because I remember watching The Lawrence Welk Show every weekend and listening to the Oldies station on the radio. Needless to say, I was never ‘shown’ Star Wars. But in all honesty, I have no interest. Like most of the things on the list, I can tell you the main characters, perhaps a plot point or two, but if you start talking to me about death stars and the force or something, I will most definitely tune you out.

Lord of the Rings

Gay Gandalf FTW

In 6th grade, we were required to read The Hobbit. That is the closest I’ve ever gotten to Lord of the Rings. I don’t remember being really into Frodo and his gang then, and I certainly am not as an adult. But like, Sir Ian McKellen played like a gay Dumbledore-like guy, right?

Pirates of the Caribbean

One time at a party in my high school years, I remember that one of the movies was playing (I was really cool back then). It’s not like everyone was forced to watch it, it was one of those things that it was on in the background while everyone mingled and ate cool ranch Doritos. I tried focusing my attention on it for like 10 minutes but lost interest. Sorry Johnny Depp. I’m just not that into you. The ride at Disneyland is pretty dope though, I’ll give you that.

Godfather/Scarface/etc.

I’d consider watching Scarface if he attacked people with a banjo

In the same vein as Star Wars being a tradition thing, I also did not see any of those gangster type movies. This blind spot also has a lot to do with the fact that I hate anything with a lot of violence in it, so it bodes well that I haven’t seen these.

Tarantino films

oh my god what is happening here

Continuing with the theme of ‘Traci hates gruesome violence,’ I have never seen any of Quentin Tarantino’s films except Inglorious Basterds. I thought I’d give that a try because a couple of my friends loved it, and Brad Pitt AND BJ Novak were both in it. I watched it on a Saturday and it literally took me all day because I either couldn’t bear to watch it, walked away, or fell asleep. The violence and brutality was wayyy too much for me, and just confirmed the fact that I am not the target demographic for any of his films.

What are some of your pop culture blind spots?