Sunday, September 7, 2014

Three Beautiful Things 09/06/14: Viewing *Rich Hill*, Strolling the Campus, Oktoberfest Pleasure

Note:  My first post in this list gives away things that happen in two movies, Rich Hill and Boyhood.  Suffice it say that I saw Rich Hill and it was a movie portraying teen age life and family life in a way that is about 100%  the opposite of Boyhood.  If you want to know more, read on.  Otherwise, skip to #2.

1.  I took the train to Foggy Bottom and watched the movie Rich Hill at the West End Cinema.  It's a documentary, looking at chunks of the daily lives of three teen/almost teen aged boys and their families in the rural town of Rich Hill, Missouri.  If you are ever feeling optimistic about life in rural America and are thinking that anyone can do whatever s/he wants to and that we live in a country where everyone stands on equal footing in the pursuit of a meaningful life or of material success, watch this movie and it will help remind you that that's not true.  For me, it was a painful, dispiriting movie that Sartre could have written the title for:  No Exit.  (By the way, along with me, I know several of you enjoyed the movie Boyhood.  This movie is about three boyhoods and if the movie Boyhood left you feeling pretty good about as it ends with Mason, nicely numbed, under a gathering sunset at Big Bend Ranch State Park, by a pot brownie, philosophizing with woman, a college mate he's just met when she says, “You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment?” and he answers,“I don’t know, I’m kind of thinking it’s the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us” -- well, nothing that sweet, nothing that hopeful, nothing that precious occurs in Rich Hill.) I left the movie relieved that none of the families were addicted to meth. 

2.  As you might already know, Foggy Bottom is home to the urban campus of George Washington University.  It's a private university and, after I saw the movie, Rich Hill, I walked up and down the streets of Foggy Bottom -- which meant I walked all through campus -- letting the movie settle in, sharing the sidewalk with scores of slender, athletic, perfectly dressed and coiffed students, students from multiple countries, of different races, all walking with the assurance that comes with knowing one's life can be meaningful and one's material success will continue.  I could have never afforded George Washington University and I would have felt like a wart at this school, but there are urban campuses where I would have felt at home -- Portland State University springs to mind -- and I often think that if I had it to do over again, I would have gone to a non-private urban university for graduate school.  But, I didn't and it's fine, but I enjoy thinking such thoughts as I walk through a campus marked by city traffic, public buses, shops, places to eat and drink, noise, and the other details of city life.  North Idaho College, Whitworth College, and the University of Oregon were all pastoral by contrast, were set apart from the town or the city.  I enjoyed retreating into the pine trees of Whitworth, the old Douglas Firs of the U. of O, and the grounds of Ft. Sherman, but it's studying in the midst of a city that feeds my fantasies.

3.  After walking the streets of George Washington University, I ducked into the Foggy Bottom Whole Foods store, knowing I would find a good beer on tap and I was right.  I had a serviceable Italian meat hoagie.  That was okay.  But the Great Lakes Brewing Companies Oktoberfest beer was nearly perfect, especially with its toasted nut taste, a taste I love when I can find it in a beer. 

No comments: