B+ or: How I Learned to Start Drinking and Name the Blog
What’s in a name?
Well, ‘in a name’ is part of the first sentence of this post. I wasn’t trying to trick you.
You know how most people have some really cute blog title that’s based on some sort of literary reference and how that appropriately reflects their goal in some symbolic way?
Yeah, this isn’t really anything like that. Mine’s based on a pun and liquor. It’s also an accurate representation of a lot of things in my life, but, you know, whatever.
After those first three posts, one might think the title of this blog is nothing more than a pun. And you’d be mostly right. Except there’s some left to it. Let me explain:
B+ (which will no doubt be the name of my production company if I ever have one), is, first and foremost a play on words. The B Movie – a staple of cinema.
Studios would release their A pictures (I’m talking like, studio system. Back before the 60s. You know, when a lot of movies were mainly targeted at the teenage audience and 3D was a big fad? Oh…), and those would take up like 80% of their budget for the year. But, they would also only be like 20% of their release schedule. Everything else was the B movie. The programmer. The quickie.
It’s one of those movies that’s clearly not artistic enough (in concept. Sometimes in execution they were better than the A Pictures) to be an arthouse movie but also not graphic enough to be porn. Think something in between the exploitation movie and the genre picture. See where the joke is?
The B+ movie is the one that’s not quite Gangs of New York and not quite Grindhouse (And definitely not Girls Gone Wild). It’s a little bit country, it’s a little bit rock and roll. The one that can be classy, but also does enough stuff to where you’re like, “This is why we can’t have nice things. Did you really have to make that joke?” And it’s also lowbrow, but it also occasionally delves into sophisticated speak, to where the lowbrow audience members are like, “Cinema-what? Is that like geography?”
It’s very appropriate for me. So where does it come from, my use of the phrase?
It comes from the grade I would consistently get in film classes (or any classes for that matter). No matter how much work, effort, or time I would put into these classes, I always managed to get a B+ as the final grade. Keep in mind, the word effort is relative, as throughout my entire college career, not once did I pull an all-nighter. At least, a work-related all-nighter. And very rarely was a paper actually written over more than two days (in fact, one can say I never spent more than five or six actual man hours on anything I wrote that I received a grade on). Also, I pretty much ignored most (if not all) of the reading that was assigned for class. Class reading is useless (unless you’re in the sciences). Scholarly bullshit. (Though admittedly, a lot of the film readings were interesting. But the point is I never read them for class. I always read them on my own, after the class was over.) However, back when I was a young and naïve freshman, I did actually put some effort into my work. Things were read and done on time, and I at least tried to do well. Then I got the B+s. I got A-’s and shit too, but the effort never changed. It got to a point where I’d know from the moment I received the syllabus what grade I would get in the class. The only time I was ever wrong was when I’d do better than I expected.
Essentially I bought into the whole, “Why Try Harder” philosophy. It was appropriate, because if you look at the correlation between the amount of effort I put into college and the amount of effort those around me put into it, and the difference between our grades, ultimately I was the one that came out ahead. They stayed in, didn’t see people, did reading, were always catching up on work, whereas I was in my room, door open, entertaining people, watching movies, playing video games, and drinking. I hosted parties in my room too. For that, I’ll take the B+.
I must say, however, this trend later proved to be false, because, after sophomore year, I pretty much gave up on work altogether and said “fuck it.” I did so little work it got to the point where people would comment on the fact that my door would be open from the time I woke to the time I went to bed, and not one person could lay claim to actually seeing me doing work. I would turn in a paper after only starting it at midnight the night before it was due and writing it in my room while a party was going on around me (anyone remember that?), telling people, “Don’t worry, I’ll still get a B+.” Well, sure enough, I would get the B+. But more often than not, I got A’s. A-‘s. I did better when I put less effort into my work. And it pissed people off, too. That tickled my fancy to no end. I’d be doing almost as well as they were with less than a quarter of the effort. My $50 million film was grossing $80 million while their $100 million film was grossing $97 million. Why try harder?
But by that point, the B+ had stuck. It was a running joke that I’d be getting a B+ regardless, so I figured I’d just enjoy it. It became the name of my house drink. For those interested, the B+ contains my alcoholic beverage of choice, whiskey, and my choice of nonalcoholic beverage, the Arnold Palmer (half iced tea, half lemonade, whole greatness). It’s like a Whiskey Sweet & Sour. But with a better name. I was drinking those fuckers forever until people caught on. I must have converted at least six people to them that I can think of. Actually, I kind of want one right now.
So, that’s where the title of the blog comes from. Movies and liquor, and it also serves as a nice metaphor for what seems to be a constant thread throughout my life. Not quite A, not quite B. Honestly, what more would you expect out of me?