You know what everybody hates? Hearing some guy brag about his awesome girlfriend of 8+ years when they’d rather hear him make lame jokes about Whip Hubley. But guess what? She’s not just the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
She’s relevant data.
So, if today’s the day you cry into a heart-shaped box of chocolate-covered bacon and curse everyone on your block who never wakes up alone, maybe skip this one? It’s about to get adorable. Probably. But don’t you want to know how 52 weeks of Top Gun can affect a long-term relationship? Ain’t nobody crunching those numbers for White Chicks. Just saying.
Ladies and gents, because Valentine’s Day is the one day where you’re supposed to get a pass on being lame for talking about your chick, I present the woman who goes in the other room while Berlin serenades me week after week: Ms. Rebecca Bascom.
(Also, I totally forgot to do something for the site for Valentine’s Day, so I interviewed her last night before we both passed out at the end of a long work day. Hence the bed. Not a sex thing. Eww. I promise to have better love crap the rest of the week.)
BILL: We’re here in our own bed right now, talking about Cinema 52 with Rebecca Bascom, girlfriend of the handsomest cinemanaut, Bill, who’s watching Top Gun every week for a year. Rebecca, scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love this Bill character?
BECCA: This Bill character’s pretty high up there. It’s been 8 years, so I guess a good, solid 8 would be good. The number of years we’ve been together.
BILL: On a scale of 1 to 10, you gave me… 8 years. That’s correct?
BECCA: No, an 8 out of 10. So that the 8 represents the 8 years.
BILL: That’s adorable. I guess. Yuck. Okay. Do you enjoy the film Top Gun?
BECCA: Yes, I do.
BILL: How many times do you think you’ve seen the film Top Gun in your life?
BECCA: Well, especially since now you’re watching it and I get the residual watchings, I would have to say a good estimate would be at least 10. At least 10, maybe a dozen, but I don’t want to overshoot and be a liar, so I’ll say around 10.
BILL: Do you think you have a pretty good recall of the movie?
BECCA: Yes, and again, more because of the residual awesomeness of you also watching it frequently. In our apartment.
BILL: Let’s get back to that sexy guy you sleep with. Since the beginning of the year, has his Top Gun watching altered the way you see him?
BECCA: Not really. His obsession with movies is still, you know… obsessive. It hasn’t really changed my view of him.
BILL: Sort of redundant, don’t you think?
BECCA: Yes. Yes.
BILL: Hey, how do you feel about the other members of Cinema 52? What do you think Spider-Man 3 will do to Nancy?
BECCA: I’m not sure, since I haven’t seen Spider-Man 3, though I hear it’s awful, so perhaps she will go crazy or, alternately, she will find a ridiculous appreciation for the movie that no one else is going to have except for her.
BILL: Explain… John.
BECCA: John… is… John? He’s… wise beyond his years, and… interesting. A bit monotone, but in a fun way, and that’s all I’m going to say about John for now, I guess.
BILL: You’ve seen High Fidelity, yes?
BECCA: Yes, I have.
BILL: How do you think that’s going to affect John?
BECCA: I think that’s going to drive him slowly insane, because the character that John Cusack plays in that is a horrible person, and we just can’t get over this, and I think it’s going to become an obsession of: “Wow, that character is awful. Why must I submit myself to this awful character 52 times this year?”
BILL: Ty is the second sexiest member of Cinema 52. When you think Ty, do you think The Truman Show?
BECCA: No, not at all, really. Only because Ty tends to be more of a fan of cheesy bad movies that you can enjoy because they’re so awful, and Truman Show is actually a pretty reasonably good, thought-provoking movie.
BILL: Ty claims High Fidelity is one of his favorite films. How do you respond to that?
BECCA: Sure. I guess I can see that, though I really think it’s more due to, perhaps, Ty’s relationship past and not necessarily that he relates to the dickishness of Cusack’s character.
BILL: Let’s talk more about Bill, the really sexy one. Do you think he’s acting more like any of the characters in Top Gun?
BILL: Do you think you and Bill will break up because of this project?
BECCA: Not because of this project.
BILL: What might lead to the break-up?
BECCA: I don’t have anything off the top of my head right now, but it probably won’t relate specifically to Cinema 52.
BILL: Bill goes a-clubbin’ and tries to put his thing down with the ladies. How does that make you feel?
BECCA: I’m totally down with that. We have sort of an open-type relationship, which allows us to pursue other people. We’re totally in the open with each other as well. It’s all about truth, honesty, respect for one another. So he’s more than welcome to put his “thang” down at a club.
BILL: Wow. You sound like pretty much the best couple I’ve ever heard of. Ever. Next question: would you say Bill is egotistical?
BECCA: I think he can be about projects that he enjoys, that he knows he’s done well on, but there’s also a very vulnerable side to Bill.
BILL: Who is the best writer on Cinema 52?
BECCA: I have to say, in terms of grammar and correctness of the English language, it would have to be Bill, but I’m really enjoying Nancy’s style, even though she overdoes parenthetical statements, but she’s at least pretty entertaining. I feel like she’s actually speaking to me. It feels a little bit more colloquial. But in terms of structure and grammar, Bill definitely has the better set.
BILL: Are you saying that because you’re in a bed with me right now?
BECCA: No, it’s because Bill and I share a love of the Oxford comma.
BILL: You double-majored in English and Psychology. Does that make Cinema 52 extra fascinating to you?
BECCA: It’s definitely fascinating, but I’m more interested not in the experiment, but in the social interactions between the cinemanauts. I find that much more interesting. I feel it’s much more applicable to my own life. The results of this experiment will certainly be interesting, but I find the social aspect much more along my line of interest.
BILL: Can you elaborate on what you mean by “social aspect”?
BECCA: You know, Bill can be a bit overbearing and a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to a project of his, so maybe he seems to be a bit of an asshole to the other cinemanauts, when in fact he’s just trying to be perfect and do well at what he does, which is very admirable. So it’s interesting to see how that’s going to affect the other cinemanauts. And you have relationships between the other cinemanauts as well. For example, Nancy and John reside in the same place, so they have to be cinemanauts together within a space. John tends to be more committed to an experiment, and obsessive as well. So he’s pushing Nancy, even though I know Nancy will follow through as well. It’s interesting to see that dynamic. Ty is sort of this satellite… outlier, who has come in to join the cinemanauts, as well, but he also happens to be in PIE [Portland Improv Experience] with Bill and John. So it’s an interesting social dynamic. We’ll see what their friendships are like at the end of the year.
BILL: Are you trying to incite some sort of reality show type of forced drama?
BECCA: No. Not at all. I’m just saying, it’s interesting to watch as a person who is not directly involved in Cinema 52, but can’t seem to escape its influence, either.
BILL: Rough estimate, how many times do you think you’re going to see Top Gun this year?
BECCA: I’m not going to say all 52, because obviously I haven’t seen [Bill’s viewings] all so far, but I’ll say probably at least a dozen more times over the course of the year.
BILL: Final question… what’s a movie you don’t love, but don’t hate, that you think you could try watching 52 times?
BECCA: That’s a difficult one, and I have been thinking about it. I can’t really pick one. I think I would need someone to pick it for me, because I feel very neutral about a lot of movies. Either I do really like it a lot, or I’m very… not liking it. Everything else just sort of falls in the middle… ish. And I would hate to accidentally pick something that I like. So I would definitely lean toward someone else picking it for me, but I wouldn’t want to end up like Nancy with something that’s just ridiculous, like Spider-Man 3.
BILL: Big Trouble in Little China.
BECCA: (sighs) I have a past hatred of that movie, so I don’t know if that would qualify.
BILL: I just picked one. Are you ready for bed?
BILL: Okay. Please don’t turn the heat up too high. I love you.
BECCA: I love you, too.
BILL: Good night.
Eight months later, Becca married a woman whose favorite film is Much Ado About Nothing.