no. 1: Cinematic Beginnings

in which Sydney discusses how Breakfast at Tiffany's inspired her love of film and where that took her cinematic education.

no. 1: Cinematic Beginnings

What is Thursday Matinee?

Thursday Matinee is your soon-to-be favorite newsletter about film, TV, and whatever is on your screen. Fortnightly on Thursday afternoon, I'll send some ramblings about screen stuff to your inbox. In this first issue, I'm telling you how I became a movie nerd, what I've been watching lately, and what to do on your next screen break

From Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Short Term 12

The first movie I became enamored with was Breakfast at Tiffany's. I was 12 and heard about it when reading Gossip Girl (it was Blair's favorite movie). Later, I came across the film on TV one night. Immediately, I was hooked. I'm not sure what it was, but something about Breakfast at Tiffany's provided me with a perfect sense of serenity.

Since that first viewing, I've watched the movie countless times. When I got my own DVD player, the first thing I bought was Breakfast at Tiffany's—an edition with special features. Loving Breakfast at Tiffany's began my adoration of Audrey Hepburn, a woman whose effortless grace and charm felt so enticing, yet unachievable for me in my younger years. I filled my teenage bedroom with Audrey paraphernalia, including a few canvas prints, a Breakfast at Tiffany's movie poster, and books about her and her films. I bought Roman Holiday, Sabrina, and Funny Face in $5 DVD bins. At one point, the only way I could fall asleep at night was by watching Tiffany's. The film was a permanent fixture in my DVD player; the cadence of the film lulled me into slumber.

My love for Audrey Hepburn's work led me to marathoning films I DVRed on Turner Classic Movies and watching Mad Men (which is one of my all-time favorites). I delighted in my love for Hollywood's Golden Age. Watching these films made me feel like I was part of something bigger, culturally. Though my friends thought it was a bit strange that I liked old movies, it didn't bother me. This love for the old things, though, led me to seek out other films—and not the blockbuster hits.

Jessica Pare is Megan Draper in Mad Men. She is getting her make-up done as she prepares to be an actress in an ad.
Justice for Megan Draper!

My family had a Netflix subscription long before anyone I knew and I spent my days and nights consuming whatever I could find. I started with some Joss Whedon fandom classics: Firefly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dollhouse. This led me to Tumblr's biggest ever fandom: SuperWhoLock (Supernatural, Doctor Who, and Sherlock). In my drive to watch whatever I could find, I ended up with an eclectic taste—I would watch period dramas and indie films, arthouse darlings and 80s classics. I gained a reputation as hipster for my movie preferences, as well as my music taste—I was (and still am) a hardcore Vampire Weekend fan). I would tell my friends what I watched and would be met with scrunched eyebrows and mouths saying "why would you watch that?" This never caused any type of distance between myself and my friends, but as I grew out of my Tumblr phase, I realized that I didn't have people in my circle to talk to about the films I loved.

Brie Larson, John Gallagher Junior, and Rami Malek in Short Term 12.
Seriously… if you haven’t seen Short Term 12, go watch it!

In my first year of college, though, I met two guys that shared my vested in interest in film—we quickly became friends. I told them about Safety Not Guaranteed and Heathers. They told me about Upstream Color and Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind. We started a weekly movie-watching get together—Westside Movie Night—where we squeezed fifteen people into my tiny dorm room and screened double features of our favorites. Our first screening was Short Term 12, which became a group favorite. That year, I realized I didn't have to get excited about film in isolation. We need to talk about it and figure out what it means to us, whether its a dumpster-fire slasher from the 80s or Yorgos Lanthimos's latest offering.

Note on racism in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I understand that Mickey Rooney’s portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is an abhorrent display of racism against Japanese people. If you’re interested in reading more about racism in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I recommend the following article: Racism and Anti-Japanese Imperialist Propaganda in Breakfast At Tiffany’s by Val Rey. Rey provides historical context and discusses discrimination and stereotypes of Japanese people, yellowface, and anti-Asian racism and propganda.

Joel Jackson (James Steed) and Geraldine Hakewill (Peregrine Fisher) in Ms Fishers Modern Murder Mysteries
Murder, fabulous outfits, and lots of sexual tension

Lately I've been on a cozy mystery kick. Last fall, after finishing a rewatch of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, I watched the spinoff series on AcornTV: Ms. Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries. The first season was a series of 90-minute mysteries, beginning when Peregrine finds out her long-lost Aunt Phryne Fisher left her an inheritance. The second season just wrapped up (also on AcornTV). Though it can be a bit silly, I love how the show weaves together murder, romance, social issues, and feminine power. If you've never subscribed and need something fun and lighthearted to watch, I definitely recommend using your free trial to binge the series!

Screen Break

because we all need to take our eyes off the screen every once in a while

I recently finished reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which is a must-read if you're looking for a screen break filled with queer characters and Old Hollywood. Reid's writing is spectacular; she draws you in and keeps you in the world of the story. I never wanted to put it down.