The Cruft of 2021
Sure, it's a series now
Hey, I did this last year (see below). Let’s just do it again, right?
On 8-Syllable Pranksters
There are two guys out there. One is named Tomasso Debenedetti. The other is named Roniah Tuiasosopo. They are both known for falsely claiming that people have died. They both have three syllables in their first name and five in their last. I posit that this isn’t a coincidence, but I have no further insight. I sense the inception of a new 2002-era email forward…
On Crackpot Inventors
They all have breakfast machines—inordinately complicated Rube Goldberg things—just to make you an egg and a sausage. Caractacus Potts in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has one. Doc Brown in Back to the Future has one. Wallace and Gromit and Pee-Wee Herman have them.
It’s a fun project, I guess. Just seems sort of dumb.
You know, if you’d just give me one more chance, baby, you’d never have to make breakfast ever again, I promise…
On Explaining Things
There is a rare pleasure in explaining the plot of a book or movie to a friend who is giving you their undivided attention. The pathways my “thought worm” has to traverse through the folds and crevices of my memory in order to retrieve some small, entertaining detail are deeply enjoyable, every time. Maybe my friends are just being nice and humoring me when they act like they’re interested in what I’m saying. If they are, I thank them deeply. That’s when you know it’s real.
There was a moment last year, around Thanksgiving, when I watched O Brother Where Art Thou? and Zodiac in the same night. On that night, I was struck by two realizations that would change the course of my life: One, you can just watch a movie basically whenever, and two, damn, movies are so good.
Since then, I’ve given up most television in favor of just watching a movie every couple days, and I’m very happy I did so. In 2021, I watched 154 films, which I have to assume is more than the past five years of my life combined. In no particular order, here’s a list of my favorite ones that I saw for the first time in 2021, along with a short description of the movie:
Another Round (2020) — A movie about getting drunk, and how awesome it is.
My Cousin Vinny (1992) — A movie about being funny and having a funny voice that makes me laugh.
Local Hero (1983) — A movie about loving nature and loving life :)
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013) — A movie about ethereal beauty and things beyond comprehension.
Adaptation (2002) — A movie about itself.
Defending Your Life (1991) — A movie about how our defining moments are about fear.
Cloud Atlas (2012) — A movie about connection and struggle.
Calibre (2018) — A movie about making me almost pee myself with tension.
The Piano (1993) — A movie about Harvey Keitel saying “I cannae eat I cannae sleep.”
Rushmore (1998) — A movie about how being the worst is fun, and it’s better than just being nothing.
Licorice Pizza (2021) — A movie about how fun fat teenage boys deserve the world.
West Side Story (2021) — A movie about singing and dancing.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) — A movie about being too good for this world.
Vertigo (1958) — A movie about a large, complicated, thrilling lie.
Paris, Texas (1984) — A movie about Paris, Texas.
Enough Said (2013) — A movie about old people…
Y Tu Mamá También (2001) — Sex!!! 👀👀😏
My ass is still wrapping its dusty cheeks around the concept of ‘cruft’…the dastardly software developers have bamboozled us yet again. As far as I can tell, your appendix is the ‘cruft’ of your body; getting the booster shot is ‘cruft’ and lowkey cringe af.
Here’s a crufty thought I had this year: the way we talk about shitting has changed so much because of phones. Before phones, you had to take a shit without a phone—meaning you had to carefully collect all your thoughts and ramblings about said shit without being able to rapidly text your friends in the moment. Meaning that when you finally emerged, the way you described it was, likely, ever so slightly different than what you would have said had your friends been privy to the shit in real-time. That’s my cruft.