Monday, May 04, 2009

459 - Play It Again #8 - Drive Me Crazy

A walking non sequitur. That's how I described Eric Mohling once, though the description doesn't do him justice. You never do get a good grip on what he's going to say next, but the frequent outlandishness of his speech actually belies an insightful mind that is constantly discovering meaning even when exploring the seemingly mundane and predictable. A graduate student at the University of Northern Iowa, his fiction is wonderfully enjoyable and unique, mainly consisting of stories about offbeat folks whose days are suffused with a casual melancholy. Eric has seen every Woody Allen film at least once, though his favorite changes every time I ask him.

Eric's selection is "Drive Me Crazy," a 1999 teen comedy about finding love in unexpected places.

Usually, the movies I watch over and over again are of a certain brand, both heartfelt and cool, but not too cool for school: "Jerry Maguire," "Dazed and Confused," "Chasing Amy," "Empire Records," "Kicking and Screaming," "Manhattan," "American Splendor," "Drive Me Crazy."

I’ve seen "Drive Me Crazy" more times than there are episodes of Beverly Hills 90210. I’d don’t really know why; it might have something to do with my dual love of the movie and "Sabrina the Teenage Witch." Melissa Joan Hart is Nicole, a popular girl who strikes a deal with her beatnik neighbor Chase (Adrian Grenier): they will date each other to get the people they really like. She wants the basketball star, he wants the punk chick protester who left him because he lost his edge. They are from different worlds, and hang with each others’ groups, mocking, but learning, realizing great things don’t always look like great things, and vice versa.

It all culminates at the Centennial Dance, when Chase decides he loves Nicole, she feels the same, crazy, and he makes an entrance, sliding down the senior gift, the centennial art piece, a Eiffel Tower looking thing, like he was rollerblading. They dance and she asks him who they are now making jealous, he says “Everyone Nicole, Everyone.” We all like to think everything is possible, that those who are superficial aren’t, that love befalls us when we’re trying to get someone else, and that despite our compromises, love conquers all in the end. This movie proves all this. I watch it over and over again, because I’m still waiting for it to happen to me. It cheers me up. - Eric Mohling

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