This is my last week at Appen Media this summer. I’ve spent two summers here, gaining experience, meeting great people and getting my own podcast (check out The Re-readables!)

Some of my favorite memories here are the times when our office would break from the news to talk about other stuff, especially movies.

My coworkers enjoyed giving me older movie suggestions, because I was the youngest person in the office. We even had a week where Pat Fox, our managing editor, Carson Cook, our Johns Creek reporter, and I spent an unnecessary amount of time making lists of our favorite movies.  

So, here are my three favorite recommendations from each of my cinephile coworkers, and what they told me about these people and me. 


Daniel Milana: “Dazed and Confused”

Daniel, our podcast producer, recommended I watch “Dazed and Confused,” which we agree is one of the best high school movies ever made. It’s a movie set in the ’70s, made in the ’90s that speaks to Daniel, almost 30, and me, not yet 21. 

There are a lot of high school movies for every generation, but few that can feel personal to all those different generations.

Even though “Dazed” is set in 1976, it felt like one of the more modern depictions of how different groups of students interact in high school. Everyone knows everyone in this small Texas town, Matthew McConaughey is hanging around everywhere and cliques aren’t strictly demarcated.

It creates a type of nostalgia for a time when the next day didn’t matter. I’ll never drive a station wagon with wood paneling, but it makes me miss a time when every event felt bigger and more impactful than the last, even the ones I’ve already forgotten. 

It binds generations, because high schoolers will never stop being anxious about their futures, while living only for the present and being lost in reminiscing last weekend’s adventures. 


Pat Fox: “The French Connection”

When I told Pat that I had finally watched this Gene Hackman classic, the first thing he said to me was basically, “That is a freaking crazy movie,” with the biggest smile I saw on his face all summer. The visceral reaction that both Pat and I get from watching Hackman blare his horn and chase down a train for 10 minutes straight on screen brought us closer together. 

In that moment, I understood Pat a little better. Pat doesn’t really like “Star Wars” or John Williams or things made in the 21st century. He talks affectionately about the transformation of actors over the course of a movie, lengthy World War II dramas, under-appreciated slow-burns. But we both enjoy “The French Connection” on the same level as a 12-year-old boy watching stuff blow up in space, which is, “Wow, Hackman is a lunatic in this movie, and I’m here for every second of it.”

Carson Cook: “Roman Holiday”

Carson probably gives me the hardest time of anyone in the office, particularly about how I watch movies and which ones I choose to watch. She’s ribbed me for my fascination with a few foreign films this summer and my inability to match her poptimism at the movies. I was also bad at taking her suggestions, forcing her to lend me her DVD of “Roman Holiday.”

“Roman Holiday” is quite good, better than I expected. It’s a classic Hollywood romantic comedy, and the couple doesn’t even live happily ever after. 

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck just have a brief interlude together, interrupting her life as royalty and his life as a reporter. Of course, he falls in love, and, maybe, so does she, but they still have to resume their lives.

More than anything, it’s a charming movie, and most of Carson’s favorites list was filled with self-described charm. And, perhaps what “Roman Holiday” showed me is that I undervalue charm. My obsession with how movies and music are received critically often causes Carson to jokingly label me an “elitist” or a “snob.

I feel these titles are unfair, but her point stands that perhaps sometimes I don’t hold in high enough regard the films that just make me feel warm and accepted and full.


This summer, I was filled with high school nostalgia and thrilled by car chases and ultimately won over by these movies and by these people.

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