Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Movie Review: Outside Providence

"FROM THE MAKERS OF THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY COMES OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE!!!"

Ah yes, another case of poor advertising. Though not as horribly misguided as the ads for The Iron Giant, the trailers touting Outside Providence as a film in the style of the Farrelly brothers' There's Something About Mary are pretty bad. Sure, the film has a couple of colorful, gross-out gags, but for the most part, Outside Providence is a sweet coming-of-age story about Tim, an aimless pot-smoking teen from Pawtucket, RI, who is sent to a prep school for his senior year in high school by his gruff but caring father. So that's the set-up, and, if this were like Mary, hilarity would now ensue. It does, but for this movie, the laughs come more from the heart than from the gut. At prep school, Tim makes new friends (including Jizz, a nerdish guy who earned his nickname his freshman year in a horrendously embarrassing flashback) and meets Jane, an attractive, popular and intelligent girl bound for Brown ("Hey, they got one of those in Providence!") University.

Of course, Tim butts heads with the evil dorm master, and grows up a little and all that stuff that coming-of-age movies are made of. Now, I'm not the biggest Alec Baldwin fan - in fact, I often avoid movies he's in - so it's no small compliment to say that he is a riot in this movie as Tim's father (who calls his son "Dildo"). The story is nothing new, but the writing is fresh and the characters have depth and heart, which more than makes up for that. And, yes, there are some gross gags. See it, and bring a date.

A Day in the Life of a Grad Student

6:30 Wake up and lie awake in bed.
6:31 Realize you spent $18 on last night's dinner, means no eating out for the next 6 weeks.
7:00 Wake up suddenly with heart in mouth when you realize you didn't hit the snooze button--you turned it off.
7:01 Fall asleep again.
7:44 Wake up with heart in mouth again.
7:45 Ready to go to school, will shave tommorrow, will eat early brunch at (Denny's/Penny's/Lenny's/Dinko's whatever cafeteria).
8:03 Arrive at school. Realize your foreign officemate arrived arrived earlier today and must have got more work done.
8:04 Pass by Advisor's office, chat with Secretary to find out if he is coming in today. He is, darn. Need to start work on the draft due this afternoon.
8:15 Read electronic mail.
8:20 Delete mail from students taking CMPSC201 regarding questions about the class. Hate your TA job. Depression: too much work to do today.
9:00 For jumpstart: go to Pepsi machine.
9:05 Kick Pepsi machine; promise yourself to call up the company and ask for your money back. Wonder why they would believe you.
9:33 Start printing out loads of stuff that may be vaguely related to your work.
9:41 Early morning stupefaction. Mutter racist comments to yourself about your officemate.
9:43 Curse your officemate in a low tone he would not comprehend. Feel good about him not grasping English well.
9:58 Finger everyone in the department and most people half way around the world (using the "finger" command, of course)
10:19 Feel sleepy, should not have stayed late playing tetris last night.
10:31 Momentary panic attack!!!!!!!!!!!!
10:43 Edit .plan file. write a shell program to edit .plan more easily.
10:59 Drop in at advisor's office and borrow something you don't need & and kinda make him aware you are working hard on your project.
11:05 Perverted daydreams
11:11 Read electronic news. Mid-morning yawn time.
11:34 Start typing junk at a very high key-in rate to pretend you are working hard as your advisor passes by from outside.
11:35 Press the BackSpace key for one and a half minutes until all the garbage you typed in is erased. Realize that you can type more than 256 characters per half minute.
11:41 Flirt with the new girl in the department.
11:45 Print out some slides for afternoon's draft + presentation.
11:47 Print them again, you forgot to change the date from last presentation.
11:49 Print another copy in case this one gets lost.
11:51 Completely forget about sueing the coffee machine company.
12:15 Hunger pangs: 12:20 BigMac/Fries time. Drink a not-so-cold generic can of cola from your desk. Ch-Ching, you just saved 35 cents by buying bulk cola.
1:00 Group Meeting with advisor.
1:14 Sudden awareness of one's shallowness resentment towards foriegn officemate for sucking up to your advisor. Get reminded by your advisor that you need to do some more work for your literature survey.
1:51 Advisor hands you the reddened copy of your draft for corrections.
1:51:02 The 49 second urge to murder advisor begins!!
1:51:52 Realize that he controls your assistantship/grade/ graduation possiblity/graduation date/all job opportunities and the rest of your life.
1:52:53 Thank him
1:52:54 Thank yourself for not saying something stupid to your advisor 1:53:00 splitting headache #1 1:59 Check electronic mail, don't reply though, you are too busy to do that.
2:06 More generic cola.
2:17 Oh No, it is my turn to cook tonite :-(
2:30 Sit through the class you were told to sit through.
2:39 Look outside the window make unrealistic plans to quit this degree program and take up a job. Wonder why blonde girls are so pretty.
2:48 More perverted day-dreams. Close office door and open a few .gif files. Sharpen pencil.
3:06 Worry about never graduating. Time to write a letter--NOT! No time for that. Rearrange desk. Call up bank, see if you have any money. Fear of losing aid next Fall. Read latex manuals manuals to figure out how to put &$%&% in %$^% format.
3:43 Watch the clock. Make plans to do a all-nighter tonite. Vow to watch only 2 TV programs.
4:58 Notice advisor leave.
4:58:01 Sudden sense of freedom. Go home for quick, short dinner break.
9:00 Come into the office
9:01 The hard working grad student you are, you have to come to the office late at night to "get the work done."
9:03 Check electronic mail. Decide it would be a good time to attack those ftp sites since network won't be loaded. Run into "since network won't be loaded" traffic and get the pictures into your machine. Compress all the unwanted research/class directories to make space. Back up all your pictures.
10:11 Admire pictures. Begin work; Realize you need references. Realize its too late today to go to the library. Sudden feeling of having wasted the day.
10:49 Sudden feeling of possibly having to waste the night, decide to turn in early and come back very early tommorrow morning. Decide to play a Tetris on the system to put yourself in a good mood.
11:15 Play game after game after game to improve your score and get on the scoreboard. Realize that your officemate is still at number 6, two notches above you on the scoreboard.
12:20 Play until you beat your officemate into the 7th place. A sense of achievment!! Yes, today was not wasted!! Return home to find your roommate watching David Letterman reruns on NBC. Tell him about the "hard working grad student day you had." Discuss philosophy with roommate.
1:09am Think about becoming a philosopher and dining with 4 others. (The Dining Philosophers problem, hee hee :-) (Comp Sci joke) Argue with him about politics, why people prefer Japanese cars and whether it is better to set the heat to "hot" or "cold" to defrost the windshields faster.
1:49 Realize neither of you have bought milk today. Get reminded of the "too much milk problem."
2:04 Forget about getting up early. Turn the phone ringer off and go to sleep.