She’s a Brick
When I was in high school, I took a creative writing class with a wonderful teacher who nurtured his students and took the time to help them write their best stuff. One day, he asked the class to write a short story using as many clichés as they could. He would select the best stories and read them out loud to the class.
I made many attempts with tired clichés, but I couldn’t make anything work as a cohesive story. Until I thought about writing a story about a detective, like one of those old movies. At that time I’d never heard the term noir. I just remembered movies like Casablanca and Maltese Falcon and the atmosphere in those films. So I wrote my little detective story, used every clichéd scrap of language I could make up or remember, and turned it in.
The day came when he was reading out the stories, and I remember feeling slightly disappointed mine didn’t make it. Towards the end of class, he shut the lights off and turned the projector on in the back so it made a makeshift spotlight up front. Then he left the room. We were all quite puzzled and fidgety. When he came back in, he was wearing a fedora, a trenchcoat over a rumpled suit, and a lit cigarette. He walked to his desk at the front, leaned back in his chair and put his feet up.
Then he began to read my story. He read it while the smoke from his cig curled up around him. He spoke like Bogey. It was the most awesome moment in my high school career, and to this day, remains one of my best memories from those days, and began my appreciation for noir.
So when I saw the movie “Brick” I was blown away.
I absolutely loved this movie. The anachronistic use of noir-speak in a modern setting of high school was incredible. A loner kid tries to help his tragic ex-girlfriend who’s in trouble. He still loves her you see. Then she ends up dead and it becomes his mission to solve her murder. The movie’s got gangsters, thugs, dangerous dames, and beautiful tragedy. It was dark, it was funny, it was highly detailed and intricate.
See this movie. It’s fantastic.