Stories for Coffee blog BLOG
A good friend of mine, Alexandra, does monthly wrap ups over on her website, Twirling Pages, and it inspired me to do the same for every month in 2020! Not only is it a fun way to catch everyone up with what I’ve been reading, watching, and doing each month, but it’s also a great way to reflect, savor the big moments and the small, and remind myself that each month is meaningful and filled with wonderful discoveries.
For years I’ve had a fear of seeing a film, alone, in theatres. I had this grand assumption that films should be a collective experience, and it would be foolish and risky to see one in my own company.
What if someone creepy sits beside you? What will others think when you walk into the theatre alone? Movies are supposed to be watched among friends and loved ones, not by yourself. My anxiety always told me it wasn’t safe or good to see movies alone, in public. Something, anything could go wrong.
But, one day, I went out on my own, bought a ticket to a Marvel film, sat by myself, and watched a film.
And, oh, it changed me in a way I can’t properly describe.
When you watch a film alone, surrounded by strangers, you lose yourself in the story unfurling before your eyes. You react differently– openly and rawly. You lose your inhibitions and need to perform certain reactions when you’re watching a film alone.
Watching a movie alone is a deeply personal experience, despite being enclosed in the company of a few hundred nameless faces. There you are able to laugh openly, weep unabashedly, and immerse yourself entirely for two hours without having to pause to hear a friend’s whispered commentary or miss a line when a companion opens a crinkled wrapped candy offered your way.
Movies are meant to be experienced, not just watched. It’s only when I discovered how open I could be with my emotions, during a film, did I learn to appreciate seeing them by myself.
A movie can be experienced in countless ways, which ultimately influences your enjoyment of it. Some movies are meant to be watched in the company of friends and family, like horror movies. There’s nothing more entertaining than seeing your friends jump and grab ahold of your arm as a jump scare pops out from around a corner.
But I believe that every movie can be experienced alone.
If one hasn’t tried going to the movies by oneself, I encourage you to do so. It’s daunting to take yourself out on a movie date because our minds immediately wonder if strangers will notice if we’re unaccompanied. We feel vulnerable when we’re in a crowd of people we don’t know, but once you jump over the hurdle of that self-doubt and self-consciousness, going to the theatre alone is a wonderful way to spend time with oneself and explore the various emotions a movie can evoke.
I never feel more at home than I do in a crowded theatre where I can let reality fall away for two hours and all I have to focus on is a story that I can openly cry at, laugh with, or smile to myself as certain scenes unfold.
Movies are meant to be an experience, and there’s no greater adventure than seeing a movie by yourself.
I hope you enjoyed this little musing that I wrote to myself as I sat in a parking lot for an hour by myself.
I actually created a Letterboxd list of all the movies I’ve seen by myself, if you want to check that out or add me on Letterboxd:
R — 110 minutes — Drama, War, Historical Fiction
Release Date: Jan. 10, 2020
Directed by: Sam Mendes
Starring: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman
“1917” is an explosive, innovative, ground-breaking film that still courses through my mind, long after leaving the theatre and, I believe, will be in my Top Five Movies of 2020 list by the end of the year. Set during WWI, it follows Schofield who tags along with fellow soldier and friend, Blake, as they try to deliver a crucial message to halt a dangerous attack that can put thousands of soldiers– including Blake’s brother– at risk.
People may read the synopsis and assume it’s another tired war movie that will glorify The Cause and send a message that war is necessary to achieve peace, but “1917” is everything but that. Instead, what we get is a cinematic masterpiece that is edited and shot to look like one continuous shot, free of any cuts, transitions, or any other jarring editing techniques that wartime movies love to use. More
PG — 108 minutes — Drama
Release Date: Nov. 22, 2019
Directed by: Marielle Heller
“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” first hits you with nostalgia when Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) walks into his home and begins singing the famous theme song to “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, transporting us back into our childhoods when his soothing voice would teach us important life lessons. We see Tom Hanks wonderfully embody the role of Mr. Rogers as he speaks to the audience and introduces us to Lloyd (Matthew Rhys) whose life is melancholic, mundane, and isn’t filled with any real joy or happiness.
PG-13 — 130 minutes — Drama, Mystery, Suspense
Release Date: Nov. 27, 2019
Directed by: Rian Johnson
In this latest Whodunnit movie, “Knives Out” follows a detective (Daniel Craig) who gets mysteriously called to an extravagant mansion where a best-selling murder-mystery author, Harlan Thrombey, (Christopher Plummer) has been murdered. One-by-one, Harlan’s family and staff are interviewed to see where they were before the crime was committed on the night of Harlan’s birthday. And so begins the utter madness and quirkiness of this movie that was a mixture of “Clue” meets Agatha Christie. More
Throughout this year, I’ve really learned how to master being productive and making the most out of my days. And, because this is one of my most frequently asked questions online, I wanted to share some tips and tricks on how I maintain my productivity.
*Keep in mind these are things I do to maintain my productivity, but these tips might not match up with your own lifestyle*
Publication Date: November 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Adult Fiction
Summary: Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.
Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
Publication Date: October 2019
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Summary: No novel in recent memory has spoken more movingly to contemporary readers about the nature of love than André Aciman’s haunting Call Me by Your Name. First published in 2007, it was hailed as “a love letter, an invocation . . . an exceptionally beautiful book” (Stacey D’Erasmo, The New York Times Book Review). Nearly three quarters of a million copies have been sold, and the book became a much-loved, Academy Award–winning film starring Timothée Chalamet as the young Elio and Armie Hammer as Oliver, the graduate student with whom he falls in love.
In Find Me, Aciman shows us Elio’s father, Samuel, on a trip from Florence to Rome to visit Elio, who has become a gifted classical pianist. A chance encounter on the train with a beautiful young woman upends Sami’s plans and changes his life forever.
Elio soon moves to Paris, where he, too, has a consequential affair, while Oliver, now a New England college professor with a family, suddenly finds himself contemplating a return trip across the Atlantic.
Aciman is a master of sensibility, of the intimate details and the emotional nuances that are the substance of passion. Find Me brings us back inside the magic circle of one of our greatest contemporary romances to ask if, in fact, true love ever dies.
Publication Date: October 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
Summary: Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming guise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of a Texas oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.
Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love, repercussions of war, and the hidden violence of silence–inspired by the true post-war struggles of Spain. More
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Summary: A deft and dark Orwellian novel about the terrors of state surveillance, from the acclaimed author of The Housekeeper and the Professor.
On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, things are disappearing. First, animals and flowers. Then objects–ribbons, bells, photographs. Then, body parts. Most of the island’s inhabitants fail to notice these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the mysterious “memory police,” who are committed to ensuring that the disappeared remain forgotten. When a young novelist realizes that more than her career is in danger, she hides her editor beneath her floorboards, and together, as fear and loss close in around them, they cling to literature as the last way of preserving the past. Part allegory, part literary thriller, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language.