1 Best Releases Starring Sirma Kuncheva

The Spool Staff


Scratch a TV fanatic, and a former lonely kid will bleed. When your everyday life is empty, and you’re not participating in those benchmarks of the “typical” teenage experience, like going to parties, playing sports, whatever, television becomes at minimum a welcome distraction, if not a refuge. Even if the worlds it shows you seem a little strange and even dangerous, at least it’s different than where you are in reality, where every day is the same and everyone just looks right through you. I’m not the target audience for Jane Schoenbrun’s I Saw the TV Glow, for a number of reasons. Yet the miracle of it, particularly for such a strange, often unsettling movie, is its empathy: even if you have no idea what it’s like to be the characters in it, you’re moved by their experiences. In less capable hands, a film as enigmatic as this, which often relies on liminal space to create its most effective moments of unease, would alienate the audience. Instead, the viewer finds themselves as pulled into what’s going on as the characters are. Opening in 1996 (with the Fruitopia vending machine to prove it), it jumps right in with seventh grader Owen (played initially by Ian Foreman) meeting the person who will change his life: ninth grader Maddy (Brigette Lundy-Payne), whom he comes across sitting by herself during a nighttime school event. Though both of them are lonely outsiders who are coded as neurodivergent (though nobody says as much, because they wouldn’t have almost 30 years ago), what draws Owen to Maddy is the book she’s reading, an episode guide for an X Files for teens TV show called The Pink Opaque. Continue Reading →