Tag Archives: matt damon

East Coast Adventure: Cambridge

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The first day of our East Coast trip was a busy one. After a few hours in Boston, we took the train to Cambridge, where we were met by Katie’s sister. I wasn’t going to Cambridge without seeing the Harvard campus, and luckily we had an expert guide. It was a struggle keeping my Good Will Hunting and Gilmore Girls references to a minimum, but I think I succeeded. That being said, here’s a picture of me in front of Matt Damon’s freshman dorm!

Matt Damon's freshman dorm Annenberg Hall, Harvard

Harvard feels unified with almost all its buildings in red brick. Above is Annenberg Hall, a dining hall with stained glass windows that looks more like an ornate church. I didn’t want to embarrass our tour guide with my enthusiasm, but apparently it’s normal to walk around Harvard taking pictures. She even offered to take this one of me on the steps of one of the many libraries on campus. (I remember Rory Gilmore being very excited about the number of libraries…)

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When a place is as famous and revered as Harvard, it’s refreshing to see that it’s just a place. An impressive place, certainly, but not another world. A place where young people have many of the same college experiences that I did (and probably some that I’m thankful not to have had). And as it happens, not the last Ivy League campus on my trip.

Tomorrow we travel to Providence!

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Gettin’ Romantic with Matt Damon

Here I am, back at my neighborhood coffee shop. It’s very pleasant being here in the evening. There are fewer people than on Friday afternoon, so I feel a stronger bond with the other girl on her laptop, the girl sitting outside stealing wi-fi for her phone, even the seemingly surly worker who was surprisingly kind to a chatty older woman. And I can feel this warm and fuzzy about going to a coffee shop for internet because our apartment will have wireless installed on Saturday. Still a few days away, but a foreseeable ending makes a big difference in my outlook.

Thankfully I haven’t been completely without entertainment in the apartment. Besides reading one book and starting another, I’ve had some quality time with my DVD collection. On Friday night I even had the pleasure of a new movie, courtesy of the fine folks at Netflix. It was The Adjustment Bureau, starring the ever-hunky Matt Damon.

As of yet on this blog, I haven’t really gushed about a celebrity crush. Well, that is about to change, because I love love love Matt Damon. It all started in high school when I discovered that I enjoyed the Bourne movies. My mom has long accused me of only liking them for the sake of Matt, but that is absolutely not true. I think they’re about as intelligent as action movies get. And sure, in a film with minimal dialogue, a little eye candy never hurt anyone. Have you ever thought about what those scripts must look like?

Jason Bourne walks down a gritty European street. Frenetic techno music plays. He looks over his shoulder, then darts down the nearest subway entrance. Wide shot of the crowd, a sea of black and gray, with a quick zoom to Bourne. Looking over his shoulder again, he steps onto the nearest train. And repeat. (I say this will all my love.)

After True Grit just a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of another Matt Damon performance in The Adjustment Bureau. This film was written and directed by the writer of The Bourne Ultimatum (George Nolfi, apparently), and it shows. Imagine a style similar to the Bourne movies with a more central love story and a more affable hero for Damon to play. Perhaps not his most challenging role to date, but he embodied an impulsive politician with ease. The buzz that I read about this movie related mostly to the chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. The linked article points out that Damon has never done a romantic comedy, but the sexy flirtations between he and Blunt suggest that he might be good at it.

I’ve never been one to turn up my nose at a romantic comedy, provided I find the actors or the premise interesting enough, but here I must cry foul. Matt Damon doesn’t need a quippy script and hot-starlet-of-the-moment costar to be sexy. Just watch the way his Good Will Hunting performance oscillates between broody and sweet with a killer smile. To me that’s more romantic than anything I’ve seen in a rom-com.

I mean, girls love broody guys, right? As long as they’re secret geniuses?

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They Told Me You Had Grit

Until very recently, I wouldn’t have had much interest in seeing a Western. I’ve channel-surfed past many an orange-tinted desert shootout in my day. Then I took Intro to CAMS. As it turns out, the Western is one of the most basic genres in cinema. Like any genre, I suppose, it has its good and bad examples, and I was finally exposed to the good ones. The films we watched were Stagecoach (1939) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), early and late works of director John Ford. Now I’m by no means a Western fanatic, but I’m a definite appreciator of the genre.

Thanks to my Western enlightenment, I was excited for the Coen Brothers version of True Grit. Having not yet seen the original, I could happily approach the movie with a clean slate. It had many points in its favor, with Oscar-nominated performances and the Coen Brothers at the helm. But this is more than just Oscar-bait — it’s a straight-up great film.

Carol Donelan, my CAMS professor, told us that if we wanted to learn how to tell stories, look at the works of John Ford. A good Western is so much more than an excuse for the actors to look tough and sling guns. That’s what True Grit has in common with those classic Westerns. It employs memorable characters and dialogue in the act of telling a meaningful story. The characters rarely use contractions when they speak, which some people might find off-putting, but I thought it gave the dialogue a charming formality. Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon are perfect foils as the gritty U.S. Marshall and by-the-book Texas Ranger. Matt Damon so often plays the strong leading man, but here he isn’t above playing the fool.

Really, though, the film belongs to Hailee Steinfeld. Bravo to the Coens for casting an actual 14-year-old in the role of Mattie Ross. That way she had to truly project determination and maturity beyond her years, winning over the audience at the same time that she wins over Bridges and Damon. I felt bad when the men would refer to her as unattractive because in actuality she is, of course, a beautiful girl. It’s a testament to the way that she puts all vanity aside and embodies a no-nonsense female character. As it turns out, the person with “true grit” is actually her.

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