Old Lady Movie Night: “The Virgin Suicides”
Do you know when you finally watch something that everyone’s been obsessed with for years already, and you a) love it, but b) feel like an absolute idiot for waiting so long to watch whatever it is/was/why don’t I understand how tenses work?
Well, yes. And obviously that happened with me and The Virgin Suicides because I like to make things difficult for both me and those I love. I only saw this movie about six years ago, which is, frankly, a disgrace. Thus, here we are today, mourning my ridiculousness for not writing about it sooner, BUT ISN’T THAT ALWAYS THE WAY. I mean, technically, isn’t that what happened with The Parent Trap and Girl, Interrupted too? (Yes.) And just wait until we finally make it to Richie Rich — because you don’t even KNOW regret until I type-weep about taking over a year and a half to watch Macaulay Culkin rule the cinema.
So let’s do this. First, let’s all promise to listen to the soundtrack for days on end after we’re done talking about what a good movie this is, and also, to never ground our children indefinitely over a school dance.
1. But seriously, and I know I said this when we watched Girl, Interrupted but if you need help, get help
I KNOW I KNOW I KNOW I’m being that naggy babysitter/aunt/mom-person, but look. We watch movies about depression and mental disorders and in this case actual suicide, so the condition upon writing about them is that I am absolutely going to extend the “if you need to talk,” talk. Seriously. You can even talk to me! Or a person you know and trust. Just don’t sit on self-destructive thoughts and hope they’ll go away because they tend to do the opposite. But I promise if you talk about it, things get better. And I know you know that, but if I don’t tell you, I will feel like the worst Old Lady on earth. So word to the wise: the hardest part about getting help is saying you need help. And again, I know you know that, but I am telling you anyway.
2. Meanwhile, the soundtrack to this movie is perfect, and it also looks beautiful
Two things! We’ve got lots of Air making music, and we’ve got Sofia Coppola knowing how to make LOVELY GORGEOUS MOVING PICTURES. I mean, my god. Am I right? Do you not want to just photograph this movie and put it in a frame? Absolutely you do. We all do! IT’S JUST FILMED SO MAJESTICALLY.
3. Ugh, but this is so indicative of the way neighbours/other people gossip
Am I right? KEEP YOUR OPINIONS ON THE LISBON GIRLS TO YOURSELF, NEIGHBOURS. Or, as Salt-n-Pepa would say it: IT AIN’T NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Though I will say that there is someone from high school moving in next door to me, and I am TERRIFIED because I just don’t want anyone I know up in my grill. Even though my life is writing and/or going to see friends, it’s just TOO CLOSE. I should just copy and paste the above sentiment and tape it to the mailbox juuuuust in case. Or just a picture of Salt-n-Pepa.
4. Kathleen Turner, I love you, but you will always be Chandler’s dad
Just always. And that’s a compliment because Chandler’s dad was the greatest dad this side of the TV. (Or is it that side of the TV?) EITHER WAY. Gold and triumph. Also, the best voice in town coupled with WHAT AN ACTRESS. Though in this movie, I would really love to help her hair. (But I’m sure she knows that because she is an actress and this is a movie and she was in costume, and also when this movie came out I was 13 and I legitimately kind of looked like Leonardo DiCaprio.) (My eyebrows. It was just… there was just a lot going on.)
5. And remember how awkward Peter is?
Though obviously even though I was (calculates age) 21 when I saw this movie for the first time, I could still appreciate the babe factor that is Peter. HOWEVER, let’s have a moment to talk about how awkward this dinner is!
THIS DINNER IS REALLY REALLY AWKWARD. Also, why would you invite him over? Also again, why would he come over? Also, one last time, remember when he smells Lux’s lipstick and then just leaves? Peter. Work with us here: what what what are you doing?
6. House parties! Remember those? They did not look like this in my world
The house parties of my youth all looked like the scene in Mean Girls when Cady throws up on Aaron Samuels. But can we be real? I would’ve LOVED a party like this. A proper boy-girl party where we didn’t just drink too much and I didn’t make out with that guy Brad under the stairs (who then made fun of me for months following, thank you very much) (Brad, who I am addressing right now). Even now I wouldn’t TOTALLY hate a party like this. But then also it wouldn’t be a “boy-girl” party, it’d just be a “party.” And also, we’re adults, so we’d just stand around talking like people who know each other, since we do. And our parents wouldn’t be there. But maybe James Woods would be — because a girl can dream.
7. Cecilia, no. No no no
As if an emoticon is going to do this scene justice and/or the feelings we all have. I think I mentioned this before, but for some reason, the older I get the more these types of scenes really upset me? Like I just feel really sad and want to hug her and be like IT WILL BE FINE. But when I saw this even when I was 21, it was an ENTIRELY different thing. Am I alone here? Anyone? God, this book/movie is heartbreaking. (HAVE I MADE A MISTAKE?)
8. Okay, but the priest just came into the house and is still wearing his shoes
Is this a Canadian thing where we take our shoes off? I swear everyone does it. REGARDLESS, the priest here should maybe do that. And by “maybe” I mean “definitely” because come on, man. The house is COVERED in wall-to-wall carpeting, and we have no idea what you’ve stepped on by accident or even just walked over or walked PAST. Get it together, sir.
9. But on a more serious note, I love the narrator and friends’ understanding (or attempt to) of the Lisbon girls
I’m at the part where they’re reading Cecilia’s diary, and they just GET IT: how complicated it is to be a teenage girl (or a woman in general), and how much work it is, and how many thoughts we have, and it just sounds so good — and this is coming from a 27-year-old Old Lady (I know I’m not really old, I just drink a lot of tea) — to hear guys say they can’t really fathom what it’s like to be us. RIGHT? This movie does such a good job of that, and of showing just how complicated it is to be young and to be figuring things out, and ahhhh Virgin Suicides, you are a movie worth a lot of words and thoughts.
And also, may I mention again JUST AESTHETICALLY BEAUTIFUL.
10. And on an even MORE serious note (just so many serious things!)…
How great does this movie deal with, well, death? First, Mr. Lisbon and the neighbour boys keep seeing Cecilia (proving how tragedy will always haunt you), and when the girls finally go back to school, one of the classmates says “death” then apologizes profusely. We’ve all been there, one side or another, where it’s like “oh my god — I mentioned funerals, and I know you just went to one I AM SO SORRY OH MY GOD are you okay!?” and/or “ugh you can say “funerals,” it’s fine, I don’t care.” HOW DID I NOT NOTICE ALL OF THIS A YOUNGER PERSON? Every scene used as social commentary, I just want to shout “NAILED IT!” about because seriously, right? It has actually been nailed.
11. TRIP FONTAINE THOUGH SWOON
Trip! Font! Aine! Three syllables for a three syllable-worth character. Well, no. I mean, his character is actually the worst. But let’s be honest with ourselves: Josh Harnett was, as Guy Fieri says, THE BOMB DOT COM.
“That. Hair.” – Lucille Bluth talking about Trip Fontaine
12. The hand holding scene
All of it. From the nervous super-slow move to someone TOTALLY ruining it with a horrible sound, in some capacity, we have all been there. All of us. In some way. To the point of me watching this right now and getting butterflies because AHHH there is nothing like that, “I have a crush on this person but like, what do I do with my feelings and/or my hands and/or my arms because whaaaaat…? Adult choices? I DON’T GET IT.”
Basically what I’m saying is that we turn into Alec Baldwin on 30 Rock when he holds two coffee cups. But with our emotions.
13. But then Trip steps up!
And by “it” I most certainly don’t mean “it/it” I mean, he asks her out and goes to her house, and seriously? I WOULD BE IMPRESSED. Who are we kidding: I AM impressed. Because frankly, being approached (in a non-threatening way) and asked out as opposed to trying to sell yourself as a reasonable date always trumps, well, trying to sell yourself (like your personality, etc.) as a reasonable date. I REFUSE now, actually, to do that anymore. Approach or GTFO! So Trip and I? We’d work in some sort of context! Minus being abandoned by him on the football field after a beautiful evening. #Spoiler #Alert
14. AND THEN HEART COMES ON AND THE CAR AND THE KISSING
Instead of me saying anything of my own, just imagine I’m playing Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” over and over and nodding in approval.
15. But I liked their homecoming dresses!
Buddy the Narrator did not, but I do, and we can all just deal with that. Do they really look like “four identical sacks?” Am I weird because I would buy those very sacs at a vintage store? Am I weirder still for just having a bought a dress that looked like those FROM a vintage store? I THINK YOU LOOKED NICE, LISBON SISTERS.
16. School dances were a freaking treat
If you didn’t have a date. Which I did not have because WHO NEEDS THEM (no one wanted to go with me). But you know what? THANK GOODNESS. Because then you’re tied to them the whole time, what if you wanted to dance to “No Diggity” with your best pals and maybe that cute gent visiting from that other high school? WHAT THEN? Clearly I’m telling you here that I did not go to prom with anybody or to homecoming because it didn’t exist. Though I DID go with best pals to prom, and this guy Mike (to his prom), and it was much more fun because we just ran around acting a fool. That’s right, you read it right: acting. a. fool.
PS. Trip WHY WOULD YOU LEAVE LUX THERE WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU I MEAN COME ON.
17. James Woods, though, come on
QUIT TUGGING AT MY HEART STRINGS. Do you not just want to cradle him and tell him he’s the best dad ever and that he tried his best and it’s okay and we love him? BECAUSE I DO want to say those things. He tried and it’s so sad, and he was SO PROUD of Lux when he saw her crowned homecoming queen. I just want to give him the biggest hug in the world.
18. But Mrs. Lisbon, please calm down
Just a lot of overreaction on her part, and at first I thought it was because of Cecilia, but then I remembered: she also wanted Lux to wear a cardigan over her top at dinner. So clearly, nobody’s lying here when we say she’s got some serious rules in place. And then she reacts by BURNING THEIR RECORDS AND LOCKING THEM IN THE HOUSE. No school?! WHAT THE HELL. Like, I get grounding for sure. And I get being scolded. But why do ANYTHING OTHER THAN THAT. We need counselling and an intervention and stat. And that includes us watching, because it’s all just so terrible.
19. Also keeping them in the house like that is actually insane
As in Mrs. Lisbon has gone insane, and being locked in the house for A YEAR (???) (well, weeks) will also drive someone insane — especially teen girls. Especially anyone! IT MAKES ME SO SAD. All of it. From the boys playing records for the girls, to everything after that. This movie is beautiful and completely and totally heart-wrenching. CAN WE ALL ADMIT THAT WE’RE CRYING YET.
20. So let’s end on this note: as if the debutante event was not the most creepy, ever
Because it is. The creepiest. I get that it was in tribute to the swamp and the morbidness, but imagine after a year like that someone you knew was like “Say! I have an idea: let’s capitalize on the sorrow!” You would freak. YOU WOULD FREAK. As I would. And everyone else should. But no — this is the weirdest (and probably, sadly, a very common) town in the whole wide world.
And on that note, The Virgin Suicides, I love you — even though you make me so sad and make me want to ask each and every person reading this if she/he is okay and if I can help them. So in the meantime, I will listen to Air, and put on Marie Antoinette.