Movies + TV

Through Thick and Thin

Movies and TV shows about never not being together.

broad cityBroad City (2014–present, Comedy Central)
Some of the most affecting High Cultural Artistic Television expands your worldview—it makes you aware of perspectives and narratives and ways of being that are not your own. I’m all for that, but I recently discovered a show that’s rad in just the opposite way: I actually become myself more fully when I watch Broad City. Never have I ever seen such a joyous, open portrait of a friendship between two girls as this one of Abbi and Ilana, the show’s sloppy/perfect heroines, both of whom I want to befriend/marry/take some kind of weird spit-oath of everlasting partnership with. What other TV best-girlfriends would music-video-dance to Drake (while one inexplicably wears a Missy Elliott costume) to celebrate a paycheck; wear super-excellent sluts’ garb to a tony rich-people restaurant; or understand the agony of hooking up with skeezer DJs or hot dudes in terrible improv troupes? Broad City is like no show I’ve ever seen because it’s like watching scenes from my own best-friendships unfold—and, until now, I thought that a space-cadet life like mine was decidedly NOT suitable for television. This show makes me feel OK about the fact that I am consistently unaware of flashing the entire subway (and that I don’t care when I’m apprised), don’t know how to pronounce aubergine, am currently crushed out on a guy with a goatee and Transitions sunglasses, and haven’t changed a lightbulb in my apartment since 2013. (I’m writing this from the grim shadows of my living room, in fact.) This show is the real goddamn deal. Abbi and Ilana for life. *spits in palm, proffers it to their faces on my laptop screen* —Amy Rose

squarepegsSquare Pegs (1982–1983, CBS)
Most people would say Carrie Bradshaw was Sarah Jessica Parker’s definitive television character, but for me, it has always been Patty Greene, the high school student she played on this EXCELLENT ’80s TV show. As Greene, Parker was a brainy freshman with curly hair and horn-rimmed glasses. Along with her best friend, Lauren Hutchinson, she embarks on a single-minded mission to become POPULAR. This is slightly difficult for both of them because they are pretty nerdy, and the harder they try to garner favor with the cool kids, the nerdier they seem. But Square Pegs‘s true plot involves the friendship between Patty and Lauren, who stay thick as thieves through every bumbling boy-chat and awkward lunch-table interaction. It’s such a sweet and funny show, and a pretty realistic portrayal of teen life, especially for network television. The soundtrack is also killer, with a theme song by the Waitresses and music by then-new bands like the B-52s and the Clash. Bonus: cameos by the likes of Devo and Bill Murray! The suits at CBS, sadly, didn’t get the show, and canceled it after one season. But you can still watch episodes on the internet! —Julianne

mister lonelyMister Lonely (2007)
Mister Lonely deals with one of the most interesting questions in life: How do you find your own identity while also trying to fit in with the rest the world? The movie follows two parallel stories: In the first, a lonely Michael Jackson impersonator meets a Marilyn Monroe lookalike in Paris, and they retreat together to a commune for celebrity impersonators. The other storyline is about a group of nuns who come to believe that their faith in God protects them from death when they jump out of planes. The overriding concept is that there is beauty in creating a world for yourself, rather than try to fit neatly within the confines of a larger society. I think that is the glorious message in most of the director Harmony Korine’s work—that you should create your own community and just forget about everyone else. —Eleanor

love at twentyLove at Twenty (1962)
Love at Twenty is a five-part series of short films by the directors François Truffaut, Andrzej Wajda, Renzo Rossellini, Shintaro Ishihara, and Marcel Ophüls. My favorite segment, Antoine et Colette, was directed by the king of my heart, Truffaut. It barely crosses the half-hour mark, but it wrapped me up completely. It follows Antoine, a teenager living on his own in 1960s Paris. He goes to the youth orchestra and falls in love-at-first-sight with one of the musicians. He returns every day, hoping to see the girl again, and a mess of a crush ensues. It gave me a subtly achey heart, and a crush of my own on Jean-Pierre Léaud, the dreamboat of all dreamboats who plays Antoine. The other four films in the series are equally tender. —Allyssa

badlandsBadlands (1973)
Sometimes a really close relationship—maybe platonic, but more often than not romantic—has its own moral code. You feel like you and the other person are on a different wavelength from the rest of the universe. You have a private language or secret hideaway, or play by different rules. You might also be more willing to turn a blind eye when the other person does something you would, under all other circumstances, consider unforgivable or really, really fucked up. That’s the sort of relationship 15-year-old Holly and 25-year-old Kit have in Badlands. The trailer gives it away, so it’s not really ruining anything to say that, together, they kill a lot of people. One of the things that makes this movie a masterpiece (though after the first time I saw it, I didn’t want to talk to anyone about anything else for at least a week) is that it makes you feel so much a part of their world—a terrible but tender, naïve, and sometimes beautiful place—that you constantly forgive and fall in love with them. —Lena

me and you and everyone we knowMe and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
The first four or so minutes of Me and You and Everyone We Know constitute one of my favorite opening scenes of any movie ever. You see a close-up of a photo of a man and a woman facing a sunset, while Miranda July’s character recites an imaginary conversation between them, beginning with: “If you really love me, then let’s make a vow, right here, together, right now. OK?” Then we go to a house where a real man and woman are packing up their stuff as they prepare to separate. The man suddenly runs into the front yard and sets his hand on fire in front of his kids. The scenario sits somewhere between profoundly heartbreaking and strangely amusing, which is a place where July (who wrote, directed, and stars in the movie) shines. Watching all of this unfold, I barely understood what this movie could be about, but I felt immediate and deep empathy for all of the characters. Me and You and Everyone We Know finds togetherness in loneliness. It follows people of widely different ages and social strata, and their private moments of embarrassment and discovery lead to beautiful and very real-seeming connections that show how lives can interweave in mundane but magical ways. —Eleanor

togetherTogether (2000)
When I saw Together, I was completely alone. I had just moved to a new city for college and didn’t know a soul. I picked it up at the school library because I liked the cover, which promised ABBA would be in the soundtrack. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the story, but it turns out neither do its young protagonists. It’s set in 1975, when Eva and Stefan’s mother moves the three of them to her brother’s ramshackle commune in the suburbs of Stockholm, Sweden, to escape her abusive husband. At the commune, the three of them are completely pulled out of their comfort zones. Their mom thrives, but Eva and Stefan struggle to fit in with the very different lifestyles and unfamiliar ideals of their new roommates. When I watched it, I related to both sides—part of me wanted to commit to my new habitat, but another was hesitant about succumbing to the unknown. Like the characters in the movie, I eventually realized that a little love and togetherness could eventually help me feel at home. —Cynthia

to wong fooTo Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)
This was my favorite movie when I was four, and as an adult I still find myself wishing Noxeema, Vida, and (my favorite) Chi-Chi—drag queens played by Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo, respectively—will come brighten up my day, or at least take me on a road trip. The story starts with Vida and Noxeema, the older, more seasoned queens, winning a trip to Hollywood. They take the younger “princess” Chi-Chi under their wing and cash in their free plane tickets to get a convertible big enough to transport the three of them across the country from New York, but it only makes it as far as a small town called Snydersville before it breaks down. While learning to accept and respect one another, the queens and the princess forge some unforgettable bonds with the people of Snydersville. It’s a heartwarming film, and it will always be a staple of my movie nights. —Brittany

onceOnce (2006)
This musical love story is about a guy known only as Guy. He makes his living busking on the streets of Dublin, when he isn’t fixing vacuums in his dad’s shop. Guy meets a Czech immigrant known as Girl when she brings in a busted vacuum cleaner. Eventually she reveals that she’s a musician, too, and Guy teaches her to play “Falling Slowly.” Girl helps Guy write and record a demo, and an intense musical partnership, fraught with romantic tension, blossoms. Their songs, which are on the movie’s excellent acoustic soundtrack, tell stories of romance gone wrong, and make sappy ol’ me long for Girl and Guy to get together (I won’t say whether they do). Once made me cry a few times, but not in a bad way—it just put relationships into a new perspective. —Stephanie ♦

10 Comments

  • frannomanno May 15th, 2014 11:15 PM

    this post is giving me life! together, broad city, and badlands all on one page????? I THINK YES

  • Me_Magalloway May 15th, 2014 11:32 PM

    I loved “Once” when I saw it a few years ago, and I still listen to its soundtrack.

    I’ll have to check out the rest of them now!

    http://navigating-fairyland.blogspot.com/

  • rosiee May 16th, 2014 12:01 AM

    to wong foo is the best!! i always hear vida boheme in my head when i put on (or forget to put on) moisturizer

  • Vasia May 16th, 2014 5:47 AM

    I cannot wait to watch Badlands! It seems disturbing (which means I’m gonna love it!)!!!

    Btw, you haven’t posted a Just Wondering in a while and I really miss it! I hope it will be back soon!

  • izzybee May 16th, 2014 10:19 AM

    broad city is amazing !!

  • Tyknos93 May 16th, 2014 3:35 PM

    Christ, TILSAMMANS (Together) is on here oh yes!!!
    I remember the first time I saw that in like the 9th grade at my aunt’s house for the weekend, because she had a premium cable package. There was this party going on and I was feeling all moody and black sheep-ish, and I couldn’t stand to be around my family. So I isolated myself with the TV and this movie just so happened to be on and within minutes I was crying and laughing (until I cried). It made me feel alot better about not having a perfect family even though I didn’t know the language the characters spoke and even though the movie was set in a different era and the characters didn’t look remotely like my family it felt so familiar. I’ve checked the movie out from my library like a dozen times since then.
    Sorry for the long ass post. I just really love this movie, and if any of you have the chance to see it DO IT!

  • Ozma May 16th, 2014 8:00 PM

    Me and You and Everyone We Know is so fantastic! Totally one of my favorite movies!

  • Alexandra93 May 16th, 2014 9:43 PM

    Mister Lonely and Once are two of my favourite things! <3

  • honorarygilmoregal May 17th, 2014 4:50 AM

    Broad City! <3

    Square Pegs is so rad.

  • cactiqueen May 18th, 2014 9:16 PM

    Yes! If you are having a bad day, watch Broad City! Ilana Glazer is my girl crush.