I will miss going to the movies alone.

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On Thursday night, picking up an anti-anxiety prescription at a pillaged Rite-Aid, returning to my apartment to prepare for social distancing, I passed the Vista Theatre, just starting its evening showing of Onward. I walked in, sat three rows away from anyone else, scrubbed down my seat with a Wet One, leaned back, and tried to go someplace else.

I had just moved a couch from Santa Monica to Los Feliz in a torrential downpour. I had felt something of a runny nose form while standing in the rain and kept googling news articles to ensure it wasn’t an early symptom of That Other Thing (it is not). I was getting the same bulletins on my phone as the rest of LA. Friends told me we were days away from an enforced two-week quarantine that had already come for Seattle and will come for New York City. Every project I was working on seemed to stall in front of me, my best friend had flown home indefinitely, I didn’t want to touch any surfaces at the risk of contaminating others with a disease I didn’t know I had. I was disassociating, sifting through Instagram stories that encouraged sending small amounts of money to Wesleyan students who had been stranded because of the virus shutting down the school. …

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Ellar Coltrane in “Boyhood”

I first saw Boyhood with my high school best friend. We reunited after my freshman year at Wesleyan, right before he was about to start at Sarah Lawrence. I had begun to find my place in a theater clique, surrounded by new people I wanted to spend the rest the rest of my life with. Now, I was back in Virginia, with my old friend, at the same Vienna theater we had seen everything at since we were 10. Ready to jump back another 12 years.

One of the first scenes that strikes me is a boy discovering a dead bird in his backyard. Then, he’s inside his home, sitting at the dinner table with his sister and mother. His mother tells them their family is moving to Houston. None of these details paralleled my own life, but it didn’t seem to matter. By cutting out everything between the bird he found and his mother’s news, I got the sense this movie thought of memory the same way I did: drawn from life’s enormous and mundane moments on a whim. …


Russell Goldman

Russell is a writer/director based in Los Angeles.

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