Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.

During my junior year of college, I joined a group of friends for a screening of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby. As was my modus operandi through much of high school and college, I didn’t read the book when assigned to do so. Instead, I skirted by on skimmed chapters and half-read SparkNotes. The difference, of course, between me and my classmates, was that I didn’t meander through the next seven years pretending to have read the book and flaunting it as my favorite thing ever. Still, I willingly attended the screening. Also, I swear I’m going somewhere with this.

My friends all gushed about the movie on the way home, spouting endless praise for the “epic party scenes” and “romantic story.” Yeah, epic party scenes with music by Fergie in the 1920s and a romantic story about how seemingly lavish and luxurious life can feel unexpectedly vapid and tragic. I say that now, but at the time I was less harsh. I thought the movie was fine at best, a waste of time at worst. My ho-hum attitude led my friends to continually press me about my thoughts. “It was fine,” I’d say, “doubt I’ll see it again.” This escalated quickly–“Aw, you hated it.” My hatred for The Great Gatsby began as an aloof indifference, but my fellow moviegoers drove me to complete disdain. I now despise the movie, and I’m angry I ever saw it.

Kicking the Seat

This concept of indifference evolving into regret came to a head during my latest outing with Ian Simmons of For the longest time, with Gatsby as a prime example, I couldn’t ever be glad I saw a movie unless I actually liked it. I wouldn’t register a cultural experience or a simple movie outing with friends as beneficial if the movie sucked or was just meh. But as I watched The Graduate with Ian and never really got into it, I noticed I was still happily enjoying the experience. We finished the movie, and in the week between viewing and recording our episode, I logged our evening in my brainhole as a fun and worthwhile activity even though The Graduate was just okay in my eyes. If a movie can change my perspective on how I enjoy other ones, I consider that a win.

You can listen to more of my thoughts on The Graduate below. Enjoy, and stay tuned for a thankful Late Screening episode next week!

Late Screening: Graduate Degrees