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When I was 11 years old, I rented a VHS of the movie Clockwatchers from a Blockbuster in Nashville, Tennessee. 

In one scene, the cripplingly shy Iris visits a psychic played by the great O-Lan Jones who tells her, "You tiptoe through life. Don't be afraid to make your mark." And thus began my journey to self-actualization via Toni Collette. 

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Haunted by her performance as Iris, I rented Muriel's Wedding, an Australian fever dream tailor-made for gay boys afraid of wearing shorts, and there was simply no turning back.

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My infatuation transformed into the kind of fierce, primal love that can only exist in one's adolescence or in Toni Collette's performance in The Sixth Sense. I wept on the floor of my living room when she lost the Oscar to Angelina Jolie. I named my family's dachshund Muriel. I even made a website for her on Geocities. 

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And then I realized I was gay...with a Toni Collette website. The receipts of my homosexuality were online for all to see. I stopped updating the site. I stopped trying to proselytize my peers. I pretended not to like Connie and Carla. Looking back on it here, I'm not embarrassed by my earnestness or my posturing as a precocious cinephile. I realize I just had great fucking taste. 

– John