I was watching Trading Places on the train ride into the office this morning. The on-screen chemistry between Dan Aykroyd and Jamie Lee Curtis was phenomenal. It reminded me of another film in which they had really good on-screen chemistry. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: the My Girl film.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across the film during its run on HBO in 1992. Macaulay Culkin was in it and I was a big Kevin McCallister fan from the Home Alone film. So I watched it.
What it meant to me then? I actually liked the film. It was your typical coming-of-age flick about 2 kids on their summer adventure. I liked the brazenness of Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) but I loved the way Culkin’s Thomas J character complemented it. He was the perfect friend for her…always willing to tag along with the plan, even if he knew it wouldn’t be to their advantage. When he was killed by the bees, I was legitimately saddened. I cried when they showed him in his casket with the bee stings on his face.
What it means to me now? Before writing this post, I re-watched the film…my first time doing so in maybe 15 years or so. There were a lot of things that I noticed as a 32-year-old that I didn’t notice as a 7-year-old. For instance, I now think: (1) it was incredibly terrible of Vada to steal the money out of Shelly’s (Curtis) camper for the poetry class, (2) it was weird that she, as an 11-year-old, was allowed to enroll and participate in an adult poetry class, and (3) the “blood brothers” scene was unhealthy. Having become a regular at BINGO Night during my time as Osan Air Base, it was also f***ed up when Thomas J called that false BINGO. In watching this film as an adult, I gained a much deeper appreciation for Thomas J. He was a true friend to Vada…and he rode hard for her, even until death. He definitely has his place secured in the pantheon of all-time best friends. While I didn’t cry when they showed him in the casket, I did cry when she had the moment with Mrs. Sennett, whom I felt really bad for. My Girl makes me appreciate my friendship with Lisandra Jones even more.