That's a wrap on 2017...FINALLY

                2017 was a rough year. I’m not going to sit here and list all the reasons why because we all know why. Even if you only pay a little attention to the news, you know this country and other countries took major hits this year. There’s no need to rehash them all. There’s only one I want to comment on and it’s in a positive light.

                To the women of the #MeToo movement: Thank you. Thank you to the women who started it, the women bringing awareness to it, and the women taking part in it. To the women who are still speaking up every single day, you are braver than you realize. To the women who are still suffering in silence, we support you, we love you, and whenever you’re ready, we’ll be there for you. Being a woman in this world is not easy. Speaking up about a time when you felt violated, terrified, and useless is one of the hardest things you can do. I commend every single woman who has gone through it and I stand with you no matter what.

                I’m terrible at transitions so I’m going to keep going without one. Personally, 2017 wasn’t too bad. For the first time in 2-3 years, my family didn’t lose a loved one. I didn’t have to put on black clothes and say goodbye to someone and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

                This year I saw a decent amount of movies. Dunkirk, Beauty and the Beast, and Titanic (released in theaters again for the 20th anniversary) were my favorites.  I also went to three concerts this year. Ed Sheeran- Holy shit. The way this guy can command a stage with only a guitar is astonishing to watch. I’ve never seen anything like it and I can’t wait to see him again next September at the Linc.

                Harry Styles- Such an interesting concert going experience, I’ve already written about it if you want to check it out. His music is beautiful and interesting and his fans are also beautiful and interesting. He pushes people to act with kindness and love. Maybe I’ve softened in my old age but a part of me really thinks this world needs more of this and less hate and bitterness. What? But Veronica, you love bitterness, it fuels you! Yes, I know. I’m growing up. How weird.

                Niall Horan- Or as I call him “My Irish Love”. The lyrics on Niall’s first solo album made me feel connected to music more than I have in years. A few songs I highly recommend: Fire Away, Since We’re Alone, and Mirrors. Actually, no, listen to the whole album. It’s worth it, I swear. I saw Niall at The Fillmore and his opening act was another Irish fella, Gavin James. Both were lovely and a lot of fun to watch. I’m so glad I was able to take part in all three of these concerts because they were different in their music and in the experience itself.

                Twitter highlights (no one is going to care besides me about these but oh well): Rainbow Rowell, one of my favorite authors, favorited a tweet of mine (this is the second time, by the way). Noel Fielding, a hilarious and completely odd British comedian, replied to a tweet of mine. Jonathan Tucker, an actor I adore so much, favorited a tweet of mine. I’m twitter famous! No, not really. These people only liked and replied to my tweets because I mentioned them. I’ve had the same 88 followers on twitter (ahem, @valtimari, hint hint) for two years and I don’t even know 80 of them. Still, it makes me smile.

                I was promoted this year too. The reason this is a big deal is because I can begin my search for a house. Some place I can finally feel settled. One final thing happened this year, it actually took place in the car on my way to work this morning. I had a new book idea. I haven’t had one of those in I don’t know how long. Who knows if it’ll stick or if it’ll be any good but for the first time in a very long time, I was excited about the prospect of writing.

                I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions. I think if you’re someone like me, who puts way too much pressure on themselves, resolutions are set up to make you feel like a failure if you don’t accomplish them. I never set anything in stone. However… I compiled a list of things that look an awful lot like resolutions. Oh well. They’re more like wishes. Yes, let’s go with that. They’re wishes for 2018.

1.       Buy a house

2.       Cut people more slack

3.       Don’t be so hard on myself

4.       Go to more concerts

5.       Go to more movies

6.       Go on vacation

7.       Write more

8.       Try not to lock myself away as much

9.       Let go of dumb shit

10.   Do everything I can do to make sure 2018 isn’t as much as a disaster as 2017

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year!

Love,
Veronica

Why I Love the Fall/Winter Seasons

            Oh there are so many reasons to love the Fall/Winter seasons. Here are mine:

            MOVIES- People, let me stress the importance of film between the months of September to December. Studios specifically save their cream of the crop movies for this time of year because they want the Oscar nod. They want the nominations for Golden Globes, SAGs, Critic’s Choice, and the elusive Academy Award. The best of film comes out during these months. This year, I’m looking forward to the following movies (if you’re not a movie watcher, please leave. NO, I’m kidding, just scroll down to my other reasons…and also reevaluate your life):

            Legend- Tom Hardy (two actually, he plays twins!), Christopher Eccleston (the 9th Doctor!), Emily Browning and Chazz Palminteri.

            Release Date: October 2nd

            Plot: Identical twin gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray terrorize London during the 1950s and 1960s.

            Secret in Their Eyes- Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Joe Cole (John from Netflix’s Peaky Blinders (which I also suggest everyone watch)).

            Release Date: November 20th

            Plot: Rising FBI investigators Ray (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Jess (Julia Roberts), along with their district-attorney supervisor, Claire (Nicole Kidman), are suddenly torn apart following the brutal murder of Jess' teenage daughter. Now, 13 years later, after obsessively searching for the elusive killer, Ray uncovers a new lead that he is certain can permanently resolve the case and bring long-desired closure to the team. But no one is prepared for the shocking and unspeakable secret that follows.

            Black Mass- Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton (Warrior, SUCH a good movie, watch it), Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon (!), Adam Scott, Cory Stoll and a whole mess of other awesome people.

            Release Date: September 18th

            Plot: While his brother Bill (Benedict Cumberbatch) remains a powerful leader in the Massachusetts Senate, Irish hoodlum James "Whitey" Bulger (Johnny Depp) continues to pursue a life of crime in 1970s Boston. Approached by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), the lawman convinces Whitey to help the agency fight the Italian mob. As their unholy alliance spirals out of control, Bulger increases his power and evades capture to become one of the most dangerous gangsters in U.S. history.

            The Intern- Robert DeNiro, Anne Hathaway, Adam DeVine, and Rene Russo.

            Release Date: September 25th

            This one isn’t winning any Oscars but it’s going to be funny, I can feel it.

            Plot: Dissatisfied with retirement, a 70-year-old widower (Robert De Niro) takes an internship at an online fashion site and develops a special bond with his young and attractive boss (Anne Hathaway).

             The Martian- Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain (love this woman, look into her movies and watch them ALL), Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels (one of my favorites), Michael Pena, Sean Bean, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

            Release Date: October 2nd (sorry Matt Damon, I have to see Legend first)

            Plot: When astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. Meanwhile, back on Earth, members of NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring him home, while his crew mates hatch their own plan for a daring rescue mission.

           The Martian is based off a book which I plan on reading before I see the movie. Now, even though I’m not a HUGE Matt Damon fan, I think this movie looks brilliant and it has a bunch of other incredible actors in it.

            But LOOK at the lineup, folks! And this is only FIVE out of all the movies coming out this Fall. There’s going to more awesome ones to follow and I can’t wait. So yes, the number one reason I love Fall/Winter is for the movies.

            Second reason I love Fall/Winter: Hoodies! Hoodies, sweaters, hats, gloves, and scarfs. Bundle up in the comfiest clothes ever made. I get to bring out all my thousand hoodies and wear a new one every day. Hoodies have always brought me comfort. Usually oversized ones too.

            Next up: Hot chocolate and pumpkin muffins. Now, I don’t get all obsessed with the pumpkin extravaganza in the Fall like most people. I like my pumpkin muffin and my pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and that’s about it. But the combination of a Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate and pumpkin muffin is my FAVORITE Fall/Winter breakfast.

            Fourth reason: HOLIDAYS!!! Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, OH MY! Get pumped, ladies and gentleman because I am like a 12 year old on happiness steroids during this time of year. I love the fact that Christmas music starts playing four seconds after Thanksgiving ends. I love that Hallmark already has Christmas ornaments out. I love helping my Mom make Thanksgiving dinner. I love going to Halloween parties and eating ridiculous amount of Kit Kats (the BEST candy). I love the holidays and I think it’s sad and depressing when people my age or older have lost their love of the holidays and think of them as nothing but an annoyance or inconvenience. Holidays are for seeing your family members several times in a short span of time. Holidays are for smiling and happiness and being cheerful, and playing in the snow regardless of your age and taking walks around the neighborhood with your friends in the cold air. Holidays are amazing and everyone should try to find the joy in them, it’s worth it, I promise.

            Fifth reason: SNOW! I love it, I crave it, I wait for it all year. I know a lot of people who hate the snow. Hate everything about it. Despise it, in fact. They act as if it’s this HUGE inconvenience like it doesn’t come around every single year on the East Coast. I get it, sometimes it only snows one or two inches making it just annoying enough to commute to work. But we live in Philadelphia with about a million different ways of transportation: figure it out. And after you figure it out, stop. Stand there in the snow, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Then open your eyes and look. It’s quiet and clean and pure and lovely. It’s magic. Snow is magic. Take your time this year and appreciate it, please.

            I’m sure I have a dozen more reasons but they’re all really just subsets of the reasons I’ve already stated. I love Fall/Winter and I hope you do too. Or at least, I hope we can all take the time out of our very busy lives and feel grateful and lucky for even experiencing another Fall/Winter season with our families.

First Time Viewing: Jurassic Park

         I just watched Jurassic Park for the first time. Shocking, I know, because I do love Spielberg and his movies. But I have a problem watching movies where the animals turn against the people. It upsets me. In fact, my parents to this day make fun of me because of how terrified I was of the movies Buddy and Mighty Joe Young. I don't even remember what they were about and I remembering EVERYTHING about movies I like. My brain has seriously blocked out those two movies.

    Anyway, while I was watching I would take brief moments to pause and text my friend Bonnie. She recently watched all the Jurassic Park movies last weekend. Then I figured I should stop because it's the 4th of July and she's probably busy. But I remember the last four things I yelled out in my apartment and put those down here too. Maybe some people will find this unintentional commentary funny but in fact, I was scared out of my friggin mind watching this movie. And there's random thunder out tonight and you know what, people? Thunder sounds a hell of a lot like a T-Rex heading for my apartment!

    Here are my texts to Bonnie and random thoughts I yelled out loud in my apartment. By the way, MAJOR SPOILERS BELOW!

I want a baby velicopraptor.

They just started the tour. Duckface from Full House was the kid in the beginning! At least I think it was him. And the old man's grandson is from one of my favorite childhood movies, Radio Flyer.

I PREFER THE T-REX IN TOY STORY OVER THIS MONSTER

The old man is way too fucking calm while his grandkids are running around with loose dinosaurs.

That fucking thing that killed the fat guy (Newman from Seinfeld) scared the shit out of me.

These dinosaurs are disgusting with all the goo they keep spewing.

I love the young girl, she asks the right questions. "Are they meat eaters? Are they meat-a-saurs?

Jeff Goldblum's character is great. When the T-Rex first got out he was like, "I'm tired of being right all the time."

No way, that kid could survive the car going into the tree. All he did was vomit? He should be dead.

THE FUCKING RAPTORS GOT OUT!

My face exactly.

My face exactly.

HOLY SHIT! HOLY SHIT!

JESUS CHRIST!

Did I just see a snake?! Why is a snake in a dinosaur park!?

THE COMPUTERS ARE SO SLOW! WORK FASTER!

I no longer want a velociraptor.

So wait...IT'S OVER?!

WE JUST LET THE T-REX HAVE RUN OF THE PLACE?

    No, but seriously, people. That was the end? It was a great movie but that was the end?! The T-Rex just gets run of island? Is this why there are two other movies? I'm going to have to watch the two other movies, aren't I? 

    Fine, you've convinced me. I'll watch the other two.

My Teen Years Through Film

            I don’t remember exactly when I first watched The Breakfast Club. I’m pretty sure I was 13 or 14 and it was probably the cut up version on TV first then I bought the DVD and saw the uncut version. By the way, only EVER watch the uncut, uncensored version of The Breakfast Club (TBC), otherwise it’ll be two hours of terrible voice overs saying, “Flip you!”

            The Breakfast Club did something for me though. It brought me into the world of the Brat Pack. The world of John Hughes. I still live in those worlds today. I can barely go a month or two without watching a Hughes movie. But TBC will always be my favorite with Some Kind of Wonderful following in as a close second.

            One of the reasons I loved the movie so much was because I identified with it, as I think everyone does at one point or another. Whether you identify with the kids, Vernon or Janitor Carl, there was someone for everyone. I always considered myself a mix of Allison and Brian. The Basket Case and the Brain. The invisible smart one. Except TBC showed me, maybe I’m not invisible.

            A few months ago, they released TBC back in theaters for its anniversary and of course, I bought tickets the second I could and went with Kait. Being in a movie theater has always been one of my favorite parts of life. It’s an experience seeing a new piece of cinema for the first time. But this time was different in a great way.

            Sometimes people look at me oddly because of my enthusiastic passion for a book, movie or TV show. It’s the same as some people feel about art or music. When I walked into the movie theater to watch The Breakfast Club, it was the first time ever knowing everyone inside was there for the same reason. We all share the same love and respect for The Breakfast Club and John Hughes. From teenagers to couples in their 50s and 60s and we were all there because at one point in our lives we were a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess or a criminal. And sometimes we still are these titles. But that night we all sat in detention again and we all laughed and choked back tears and fell in love with brilliant film making all over again.

            My Dad once said to me when I was a teenager watching TBC, “When you’re a kid, you identify with the kids but when you’re an adult, you’ll understand where Vernon is coming from.”

          Let me tell you something, I pray to god that never happens. I never, ever want to lose the piece of me that identifies with those kids. There are people in this world who never really grow up. They never lose the part of themselves that remembers what high school was really like. They never lose “teen speak” and they never forget what it felt like to be a teenager. John Hughes was one of those people. The everlasting teenager. I like to think I’m one of those people too.

           High school wasn’t fun for me, it hurt a lot of the time and you couldn’t pay me enough to go back. But it’s the piece of time I tend to write about in my stories. It’s the section of my life, I reflect on and twist and turn and bring to life in my own writing. Never will we feel so deeply, so completely the way we did in high school when all our senses, our emotions, our hormones were heightened to their fullest extent. In high school, you have your highest highs and lowest lows. It makes it interesting to write about because it’s something we’ll most likely never experience again in such a short period of time (even though those four years feel like a lifetime when you’re there).

         John Hughes has some of the best quotes in his movies. For example TBC:

        Allison: It’s inevitable.

        Claire: What is?

        Allison: When you grow up your heart dies.

        Think about that for a second. I have spent so much time dissecting that line. “When you grow up, your heart dies.” How terrible to believe in such a thing? How terrible must it have been for John Hughes if he at some point in his life believed growing up meant your heart dies? How terrible for me when I was 14 to think, holy shit, it’s so true. I know adults who have lost their hearts…some who never had them in the first place. This line is one of the reasons I hold on to certain things. It’s why I love celebrating birthdays and holidays and Christmas more than anything. It’s why I still love and watch Disney movies and teen movies. I don’t want my heart to die. As much as I love TBC and Allison as a character, I’ll do everything in my power to make sure my heart never dies.

         One of my other favorite John Hughes lines is from Some Kind of Wonderful:

                                                                                                            Okay, several quotes from this one.

                                                                                                            Okay, several quotes from this one.

         Keith’s Dad: You’re only 18 years old, for Christ’s sake!

         Keith:  Then I’m 19 then I’m 20! When does my life belong to me?!

         This was a big one for me growing up. I’ve always been a pretty independent person. I don’t like being told what to do or where my life should be heading or how to handle a situation. I don’t like being asked incessant questions about my life. I’m a very open person so if I want you to know something, I’ll gladly volunteer the information. When I was 19, 20, 21 and still living at home I couldn’t stand the questions, “Where’d you go? Who’d you see? What did you do? When are you coming back?” I swear to god, I used to yell, “SHUUUUUUUT UP!” in my head constantly. One of the many reasons I think people should move out of their parents’ houses faster because having too many adults in one house can cause terrible discourse. So I always used to think when does my life belong to me? When can I stop catering to everyone around me? When can I stop going to school? When can I stop doing jobs I have to do and do something I WANT to do? When can I live on my own and do what I want when I want and how I want it. I finally reached that level three years ago when I became an editor at my old company and finally moved out of my parents’ house. Here it is. This is the life that finally belongs to me and me alone and it’s phenomenal.

        And of course, there’s this beauty from Ferris Bueller:

        Ferris: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

        I saw something on the internet the other day, it said something like, “We all wanted to be Ferris but I’m pretty sure we all turned into Camerons”. So, so true. Ferris has a point though. I’m going to be 26 in a couple months. TWENTY SIX. I couldn’t even fathom being twenty six when I was a teenager. I wished for it, prayed for it but couldn’t really picture it. And honestly, me at 26 isn’t all that different from 16 year old me. Still have the same taste in movies and books. Still have the same best friends. I live alone now and have a better job and tend to have way less drama and way more wedding invitations coming my way.

       I’m not saying 26 is old, it’s not. I’m not naïve enough to say I’m getting old. But then I’ll read something in the news about someone my age dying from a heart attack or cancer or something equally as terrible and that’s when Ferris comes back to me. We have no clue when our time is up on this planet. And I have no clue what happens after we die which is why when my friends suggest we do something new or different, I’m hesitant but I’ll do it. I want to jump out of plane and go zip lining and see other parts of the world. I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to be 50, 60, 70 or 80 and look back and think I never saw anything in this world. Never did anything. It would break my heart.  

       So basically what I’m saying is, I live my life off of the advice from fictional 80s movie characters. I’m pretty okay with it actually. Fictional role models tend to be better than some real life ones. This post was originally just supposed to be about The Breakfast Club and how it changed my life. And it did change my life, in the best possible way. It gave me the 80s. A decade I missed out on by being born at the tail end of 1989. I love 80s music and film and pretty much everything originating from the 80s except maybe the hair styles.

        These 80s movies helped shape and form who I am. They gave me an outlet when I desperately needed one. They gave me friends when all of mine were out drinking on the weekends and I rather be at home. They gave me brilliant film making and beautifully written scripts. They gave me actors whose careers I have followed my whole life. I’m no longer a teenager and my love of these movies comes from a different place in my heart. When I was younger, I loved them because they showed me I wasn’t alone and life wouldn’t always be like high school.

         Now, I watch them because sometimes I need to be reminded of those times to be able to appreciate my life now.

        Well that and because Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, and Eric Stoltz were incredibly attractive in the 80s.

         My point is, ladies and gentleman, movies, books, art and music, they all shape our lives in some way or another. John Hughes and The Brat Pack have my teen years. Maybe next time I’ll go into what shaped my childhood or young adulthood: Disney movies and the gangster genre. Or I’ll talk about the summer when I went through all the movies on the top shelf of the bookcase I was “too young” to watch but did anyway. What a great summer.

         In the meantime, I urge you all to go back to your favorite teen movies and watch them. Whether they were John Hughes movies or something else, have yourself a very nostalgic weekend.

Happy 4th of July!