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"What I Did Over Spring Break" - An Essay by 12 ... I mean, 21 year old Jane Sturges

March 30, 2009 at 8:26 am

First of all, I spent Spring Break on campus, working in the Library and living in a friend's room in Myers (only Watson and Myers are used for Spring Break housing).  I hung out with friends, watched movies, read books, and generally relaxed and spent most of my time decompressing in my room.  There are a few different kinds of Spring Breaks:

1. The one you see on MTV - raucous, debaucherous, naked.

2. The trips your friends go on together - maybe not a chaperone, but possibly Cancun - if they're smart, they take precautions, stick together, and all come home in one piece.

3. The family trips - these are great.  Some places my friends' families went are: Maui, Mexico (various places), London, etc.

4. The one where they go home and relax for 10 days.

5. The one where they accomplish something - work on comps, apply to internships, and generally plan their lives.

6. Mine!  I stayed at school and relaxed for 10 days.  I shelved 100s of books - you'd be amazed at how many carts we had lined up in the front of the Libe.  Now I can tell you offhand where a certain book will be, both by floor and area of floor.  This skill has not yet proved more than marginally useful, and reminds me of my knowledge of the Woodlands Barnes and Noble Music and DVD department - rarely useful outside a specific context.

I also read a lot more than I ever do during the term - I read Kai Wright's Drifting Toward Love, Ellen Degeneres' My Point ... And I Do Have One, part of a Joyce Carol Oates compilation, and am currently racing to finish Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov before the term really ramps up.  As for movies, some favorites were:

The Lives of Others - This won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in 2007.  It is a movie about a couple who are artists, one a playwright, one an actress, and the Stasi in the GDR who wiretaps their house and monitors their activities.  As the movie continues, the man monitoring them begins to become interested in them as people, not just subjects of interest for the state.  Excellent movie.

Twelfth Night - An adaptation of Shakespeare's classic comedy starring Helena Bonham Carter and a whole cast of crazy actors.  You should note that I love Helena - she's one of my favorite actresses.  This movie was light, funny, and when it ended, I was amazed that it had taken up 2 whole hours.  I've never read the play, so I don't know how faithful it is, but apparently the director is a Shakespeare expert, so presumably it's pretty good.

The Wings of the Dove - An adaptation of the Henry James story, and another one starring Helena.  However, Helena gets to act what she does best - scheming, manipulative, and delightfully in control.  The story is about Kate Croy, who has been plucked from her poor father to be raised by her rich aunt.  She still loves Linus Roache's character, Merton, a man working at a newspaper.  When she meets an incredibly rich orphan who is rumored to be sick, Helena thinks up a plan to secure her future with Merton.  Very good, lots of character development, an ode to Helena's ability to act manipulation.

Bound - A movie about an ex-con named Corky (Gina Gershon) who meets mafia member Caesar (Joe Pantoliano) and his girlfriend Violet (Jennifer Tilly).  The two women fall in love and plot a way to get out of the mob - stealing $2 million.  This movie has an incredibly well-done sex scene, and is entertaining.  There is some mafia-style torture, so a couple parts are hard to watch, but it is a nice thriller with some twists and nothing ever happens quite as expected.

8 Women - This is a French movie (8 Femmes) in the style of Clue - one dead body, initially 7, later 8 women locked in an abandoned house trying to figure out who did it.  Entertaining, funny, full of sexual tension, familial fighting, and beautiful women, and an occasional musical song.  This is light, funny, and fun to watch.  Catherine Deneuve is the big name, starring as the dead man's wife.

Sin City - This is a graphically intense movie.  There are murders, tortures, and all kinds of stylized violence.  Subjects like child molestation and every kind of violence are brought up.  If you're up for all that, read on.  This movie is hard to summarize in a way that isn't either short and superficial or long and in-depth, but I'll try.  Basin City, or Sin City is a town full of corrupt cops, evil priests, prostitutes, and the mob.  This is an adaptation of the graphic novel by Frank Miller and stars an all-star ensemble cast (I won't name them all).  Ultimately, everyone from the virtuous old cop to the quiet creep with glowing glasses and the stripper at the dive bar are all connected somehow.  Great movie, but not for the faint of heart.  Will also make you afraid of going outside at night.

Diabolique - A classic French tale of murder and deception that will keep you on your toes for the entire time.  There is an abusive husband, his wife, and his mistress - the wife and mistress team up to plan and execute his murder, leaving his body in the pool.  The suspense supposedly inspired Hitchcock's masterful use of music, lighting, shadow, angles, and sound to create the ultimate suspense.  This isn't very gory (the murder is by drowning), so the only question is whether you can handle the paranoia and suspense of a guilty conscience.  Definitely worth a watch!

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - Tom Stoppard's classic play realized by Gary Oldman, Richard Dreyfuss, and Tim Roth.  The story is of course the play of Hamlet, as told by two side characters named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.  This is hilarious, if ultimately a bit sad, and brings a bit of humor to existentialist and absurdist comedy.  Read the play (a quick read) and then watch the film for a laugh.  Highly Reccommended!


  • April 2 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Ohhhhh, I love that rendition of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead! I've always meant to watch it as a double feature with Hamlet.