When people ask me, (and they do, constantly, interrupting my shopping and sleep and coffee-sipping with their inquisitive inquiring) "Hey, Marianne, what's your favorite movie of ALL TIME?" I am able to answer with quick, precision accuracy: "Hey, Inquisitor, it's 1967's 'The Graduate,' starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and Katharine Ross, with the screenplay co-written by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham from the 1963 novel by Charles Webb, and directed by Mike Nichols, who won an Oscar for it. DUH!" Then people respond with something like, "Huh," or "Oh," or "Yeah, that's a really good movie."

HELL YES, it's a good movie! It's a great movie, one of the greatest ever, and that's not even including my tiny opinion. Even The Library of Congress has chosen "The Graduate" for historic preservation for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Lots of people more schooled in the art of film criticism can tell you in many thousands of words and down to the tiniest detail just why this film is so excellent, and have done so already (the film is oft-chosen in schools across the country for analysis). For me, the most wonderful thing about the movie is its breadth and balance; a remarkable symmetry that succeeds like no other film I can think of. It somehow manages to be hilarious and deeply sad, pointed and sympathetic, romantic and jaded, of its time and of all time, all at once. There are good guys and bad guys, but each one of them receives nuance that makes them richer, more interesting, more real. The film is immensely entertaining, beautifully shot, masterfully acted, and has kept me thinking about it and its meanings since I first saw it when I was a kid. (Should I have seen it when I was a kid? Well, not really. But THANKS ANYWAY, LAX PARENTING!)

Anyway, the whole point of this and telling film-fans something they know ANYWAY is to make sure that you get a chance to see this cute little short by the wonderful AV Club for their "Pop Pilgrims" series. The climactic scene in "The Graduate" takes place at the United Methodist Church in La Verne, California, and as we can see here, it still stands, looking almost exactly as it did in 1967. It's very cool to get a little glimpse of it now, and hear a little history from the church's present-day pastor (and a very hairy old-time congregation member).

I would love to be able to personally visit the church someday, even though I am not at all god-following. It's a beautiful place, and I promise if I were there that I wouldn't all of a sudden yell out, "BEN!!!!!!!!!!"