My Bad Memory: New York Movies Edition



Author’s Note: I relied solely on memory for this piece. Many facts may be incorrect.



Raging Bull:

I remember thinking, oh, so this is where the line I coulda been a contender originally comes from.


On the Waterfront:

I remember thinking, oh, so this is where the line I coulda been a contender originally comes from. Also: I remembered the title as All Along the Waterfront, confusing it with similarly titled Bob Dylan song. Also, I remember pigeons on a roof, and Marlon Brando, like, loving the pigeons or something, and then I think someone kills the pigeons.



I remember Rick Moranis saying, I am the keymaster, and Sigourney Weaver saying, I am the gatekeeper. And then I think they have sex, and Bill Murray gets jealous but it’s okay because it isn’t really Sigourney Weaver having sex with Rick Moranis, but only an evil spirit using her body as a shell, and then a giant marshmallow named Zool destroys New York.


Ghostbusters II:

I remember thinking, poor Sigourney Weaver, every building she moves into is haunted by ghosts!



I remember being really prepared to be be both awed and—no pun intended—shamed by Michael Fassbender’s penis, but then being disappointed because the penis makes like, one, two-second appearance, and it doesn’t even seem that huge, though I saw it on a laptop, so maybe if I’d seen it on the big screen it would have seemed really fucking huge.


Home Alone 2: Lost In New York:

I remember it being like Home Alone 1, but in New York.


The Warriors:

I remember thinking it would be fun to dress as the Warriors for Halloween, and then a few years later my friend James Yeh dressing as one of the Warriors and not many people at the party really getting it, because by that point a lot of hipsters were sort of dressing like the Warriors anyway so it didn’t really stand out.


Mean Streets:

I remember telling people this was my favorite movie of all time. I remember nothing from the movie itself.



I remember thinking, why would you slice the garlic so thin? Won’t it burn in the pan?


The Godfather:

I remember a gun in a bathroom.


The Godfather II:

I remember Robert DeNiro or maybe Al Pacino in harsh sunlight, possibly in Italy. I remember telling people that this is the best Godfather movie. I remember watching it in the media lab at college for a class, and maybe only watching the first half because it wasn’t gonna be on the test.


The Godfather III:

I remember telling people not to bother watching it because it’s an embarrassment to the Godfather franchise. I remember that I’ve never seen it. I Gave it two stars on Netflix because it seemed like two stars wouldn’t fuck up my recommendation algorithm—if i gave it one star netflix might think I no longer enjoy cerebral violent auteur-style films from the 1970s and/or 1980s.


Igby Goes Down:

I remember being very impressed with Jeff Goldblum in this movie for playing a rich WASP who is fucking Amanda Peet, which is every young Jewish boy’s dream.


Do The Right Thing:

I remember thinking this movie was maybe racist against white people, and then feeling guilty about thinking that, because white people deserve it. I think I watched this for a class and the class thought the white people deserved it.


King of Comedy:

I remember thinking it was basically the same movie as Celtic Pride starring Daniel Stern.


Brother From Another Planet:

This is a great movie about a black alien who lands in Harlem in the 80s and learns a valuable lesson about racism. I remember when he’s on the A train, and a guy doing magic on the train says, “And now for my next trick I will make all the white people disappear,” and then the train stops at 59th before going express to 125th and all the white people get off and the alien is blown away by the magic trick. I was living on 125th St. at the time, and I remember feeling cool for living on a street that no white people would have gone to 25 years ago, even though lots of white people went there now.


The Game:

I remember it all being part of the Game.


Jungle Fever:

I remember Annabella Sciorra and Wesley Snipes going to a restaurant and people looking at them funny because he’s black and she’s white. I think Wesley Snipes is supposed to be an architect.


Party Monster:

I feel like Wilmer Valderamma was in it, and that maybe he is gay with Macauley Culkin. This could also just be a dream I had once.



I remember Claire Forlani is Basquiat’s girlfriend for about five minutes until he draws on her favorite dress because he wants to turn it into art and she gets mad.


Breakfast at Tiffany’s:

I remember Audrey Hepburn in a bedroom and there’s a lot of sexual innuendo, and maybe this guy climbs in her window in a kind of rapey but cute-rapey way, if there is such a thing? I think it’s Carey Grant.


Roger Dodger:

I remember Jesse Eisenberg comes to New York to visit his cool older cousin Campbell Scott because he wants to lose his virginity, and then Jessie Spano from Saved by the Bell flirting with him, but then she doesn’t sleep with Jesse Eisenberg after all, and then Campbell Scott takes Jesse Eisenberg to a whore house, but Jesse Eisenberg pussies out because he doesn’t want his first time to “be with a prostitute”—what a little bitch.


25th Hour:

I remember Rosario Dawson wearing a silver dress, and Edward Norton being like, shit, I have to go to jail instead of staying home and having sex with Rosario Dawson, man, that really sucks, guess I should have thought of that of that before committing whatever crime I committed.


Dark Days:

This is a documentary about people who live in the subway. I rememember being like, people live in the subway? They don’t even pay rent? That’s so cool. Fuckin’ Giuliani, man.


Tiny Furniture:

I don’t remember anything because I didn’t know Lena Dunham was gonna become famous so I didn’t pay attention.


Royal Tenenbaums:

I remember thinking, what the fuck, they’re called the Tenenbaums, but clearly Ben Stiller is the only Jewish one.



I remember thinking this was set in New York.


Night on Earth:

I remember this being a fairly accurate portrayal of how shitty taxi drivers are at driving taxis.



I remember the rich people mocking the not-as-rich person because he walked instead of taking a cab.


Last Days of Disco:

I remember being glad that those were the last days of disco.


Requiem for a Dream:

I remember watching the this movie with my mom in our living room, and how it wasn’t awkward at all during the double-ended dildo scene.


Kissing Jessica Stein:

I remember my mom saying something like, why can’t you meet a nice girl like that Jessica Stein, which is ridiculous on so many levels, the main one being that this is a movie about Jessica Stein coming out as a lesbian.


American Psycho:

I remember getting a semi while watching Christian Bale shower, and then thinking, shit, am I gay? Maybe this is what my mom was trying to imply when she made that comment about Kissing Jessica Stein.



For some reason I remember this movie being set in Baltimore, but that can’t be right, can it? I remember seeing this on TV as a kid and it being the first time I ever saw people doing those kind of ballet stretches where they put their leg up on the bar, and I remember thinking, Jesus, some people are mad flexible and shit.



I remember this being the first time I realized that Zooey Deschanel is actually kind of the worst.


The Fabulous Baker Boys:

Jeff Bridges and Beau Bridges are brothers! Shut the fuck up!


Husbands and Wives:

I remember thinking one day I would live in New York and have a destructive relationship with another writer-type intellectual, and we would get into hyper-articulate arguments about one thing when we were really fighting about another thing, and then we would tell our therapists about it, and maybe have sex with our therapists.


Glengarry Glen Ross:

I remember that you should always be closing, and if you’re not, that’s bad.


Midnight Cowboy:

I remember thinking, man, Dustin Hoffman seems to have a really bad cold. I hope he doesn’t die.



I remember almost every word of this movie because I’ve seen it like one hundred times, but I’d like to take this opportunity to say that I thought the Broadway version was total bullshit. Everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves.


Rumpus original art by Liam Golden.

Adam Wilson is the author of two books, Flatscreen: A Novel, and What's Important Is Feeling: Stories. A recipient of The Paris Review's Terry Southern Prize for Humor, he was recently named to Brooklyn Magazine's list of 50 Funniest People In Brooklyn. More from this author →