Noah Baumbach, It’s time for Oberlin to shine

Dear Noah Baumbach,

So I’ve noticed you have a thing for including the small liberal arts college in your films. But, something is missing, and by something, I mean some place. That place is: Oberlin College. You’ve spotlighted Vassar, which makes sense as it’s your alma mater. But Bard and Sarah Lawrence? What do they have that we don’t? Sure, they have proximity to New York City, but that’s not a good enough explanation. You’ve even shot at Occidental….another good ol’ O college, but it ain’t us! I’m not saying Frances Ha or The Meyerowitz Stories should’ve taken place in Oberlin, I’m just saying consider us. Give Oberlin a chance. To make it a little easier for you, I’ve come up with some wonderful film concepts that would be just perfect to shoot on our little campus. No need to credit me, I know how you auteurs are….gotta do it all! 

My first idea…get this: a prequel to Kicking and Screaming. See, it follows a random side character, maybe an extra or something, or some kid who had one line, in the original Kicking and Screaming who transfers to Oberlin from Vassar. Because Oberlin is filled with Vassar rejects, I’m sure it’ll make some good building tension as our protagonist tries to fit in at their new school but can’t shake that Vassar image. 

I think my next idea is a real winner. Marriage Story: The Origin Story. What a catchy name, I’m sure you’re intrigued already! Who cares about continuity from Marriage Story, let’s write a movie about how Charlie and Nicole met at Oberlin College and they were an iconic freshman couple who met during orientation and lived in the same Kahn hall. They had their ups and downs. They broke up, they got back together, opened up their relationship…yada yada 20 years later: Marriage Story. Don’t like that, well just make a movie about a college couple who happens to go to a liberal arts college in Northeast Ohio called Oberlin. There are plenty of great locations to shoot date scenes, too; a coffee shop, the arb, another coffee shop, a different part of the arb, a coffee shop but one that also doubles as a bakery! Oh, I just swoon at the thought, Noah.

Two pitches are for Bard-Sarah Lawrence-Vassar-Occidental students. We Oberlin students are more of a three pitch type of people. So, here is my third pitch to you: Yeobie, ah!

Yeobie is a 27-year-old human sized albino squirrel who lives in New York City with her best friend from college, Sophie. Her life is upended when Sophie tells her she plans to relocate from Brooklyn to Tribeca, which Sophie considers her dream neighborhood. Yeobie, a struggling would-be dancer working as an apprentice at a dance company, is unable to afford the move and is forced to find someplace else to live.

She moves to Chinatown and shares an apartment with her friends Lev and Benji for a brief period. Sophie and Yeobie’s relationship struggles as Sophie and her boyfriend, Patch, grow closer. Yeobie learns that the dance company does not need her to work their Christmas show, which means Yeobie can no longer afford the apartment. She visits her hometown of Sacramento for Christmas where she sees her family and reconnects with high school friends.

Rachel, a fellow dancer in the company, lets Yeobie stay with her for a few weeks. During dinner with Rachel’s family, Yeobie discovers that Sophie has quit her job at Random House and is moving to Tokyo with Patch. Yeobie, on a whim, decides to spend an uneventful couple of days in Paris that she pays for with a credit card. She returns to Oberlin, her alma mater, to work as a waitress and summer resident assistant. Overworked and not allowed to take classes, Yeobie reads Sophie’s blog of her life in Tokyo, Japan.

One night, Sophie and Patch are at an alumni auction Yeobie is waitressing for, where she learns they are engaged and witnesses the couple get into a fight. She lets a drunk Sophie stay with her in the dorm room she’s been given, where Sophie reveals that she suffered a miscarriage while in Japan and is unhappy in her relationship. Sophie goes back to New York City the next morning; she leaves a note for Yeobie. Some time later, Yeobie returns to Washington Heights in Manhattan. She laments her dire financial situation, her poor prospects as a professional dancer, and her increasingly strained relationship with Sophie.

Yeobie eventually reconciles with Sophie and enjoys a modest but satisfying existence as a fledgling choreographer, teaching dance to young children, and as a bookkeeper for her former dance company. She starts exploring a potential relationship with Benji and rents her own apartment. Upon moving in, Yeobie writes her name down onto a slip of paper in order to mark her new mailbox. Her full last name does not fit, so she folds the paper to read: “Yeobie, Ah!.”

So I know what you’re thinking, that’s just the wikipedia plot summary of 2012’s hit film Frances Ha. Exactly. Hardly any work needs to be done. Just reshoot a couple scenes and we can key Yeobie in, in post. Think of it like The Irishman but instead of de-aging technology it just turns Greta Gerwig into an Albino Squirrel. I think it would be an absolute masterpiece. 

So Noah do we have a deal or what! Let’s make a movie, shall we?

Best,

Sam Blieden