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Feminist Agenda // Taylor Kirby

My revulsion concerning small towns is largely sourced from the years I spent driving an hour and a half from Buena Vista, Colo. to get to the nearest movie theater.

Having lived in that cultural wasteland for most of their lives, many of my friends were happy to wait for DVD releases; I was newly transplanted and full of bitter discontent. Instead of being patient, I would make the haul to Silverthorne to catch the 12:01 a.m. premiere of The Amazing Spider-Man or The Hunger Games, get back home at 4 a.m., and wake up for school two hours later. The payoff was minimal with films like that, but it was the principle of the thing: I wasn’t going to let rural life get me down. So deprived was I that a Regal Cinemas marquis made frequent cameos in my city life daydreams.

Denver has been my home for five years, and the one thing I haven’t learned to take for granted is living within walking distance of a movie theater. Two weeks ago, I caught a matinee after work and returned eight hours later for a viewing of Split; in 2014, I saw Winter Soldier three times within 48 hours. Going to a movie is still an experience for me. It doesn’t matter if I’m about to watch a story I waited a decade for, like Captain America: Civil War, or if I’m sitting down to see a little-known film called Moonlight: ticket stubs never fail to give me butterflies.

Here’s where I arrive at the stereotypical “The Oscars are my Super Bowl” line. This year’s Best Picture nominees made up for half a decade of overwhelming mediocrity. Films as evocative and viscerally beautiful as Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and Arrival don’t come along often, but they made it to the top together, and they cultivated one hell of a ceremony of their own right.

Then the end happened.

I heckled our Managing Editor’s television set when La La Land was announced for the big win; I had an out of body experience when the mistake was revealed and the Moonlight crew ascended to their rightful places on stage. It was the fuck up heard around the world, and my euphoria clung to me for days (literally: my throat was sore from screaming). We won’t get another moment like that in our lifetimes, but we also won’t get another Moonlight. Let us be thankful for both.

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