Has this ever happened to you? You’re at party, really hitting it off with a fine specimen of whatever gender(s) you’re into. You two are comparing notes on personal dreams, favorite bands, influential bands, politics, religion, the works and all signs are pointing toward get married and commence the aggressive manufacture of children. I mean, Yente the Matchmaker couldn’t have found you a better man/woman/she-male/he-lady/entity in a giant animal costume. All you have to do is nail down this beautiful creature’s tastes in cinema and you’ll have all the confirmation you need that this who you’re going to spend the rest of you life with. So you start talking movies. Turns out you both share a deep love of the Coen Brothers. Turns out you both favor “Raising Arizona” out of all of Joel & Ethan’s myriad works. Turns out you both are particularly fond of the scene where Nic Cage attempts to rob a convenience store of it’s cash and one package of Huggies diapers, triggering a hilarious multi-car chase through a sleepy neighborhood in Tempe.
You both burst into peels of laughter. You’re gonna get a phone number. It’s official.
And then, this third wheel, this complete dork shows up and harshes your game.
You know who I’m talking about. He’s the second cousin of the guy who’s throwing this party. Nobody’s talked to him for more than a minute all night. He’s 26, but he’s already going bald in a really weird way and he looks like he hasn’t seen the sunshine since who knows when. He heard you talking about movies. It was blood in the water.
All of a sudden he’s standing in between you and your newfound beloved, doing the most god awful British accent you’ve ever heard. He jumps from side to side, applying different octaves to this horrible voice, garbling something about flesh wounds. It feels familiar. He finally finishes with a short bow. Nobody utters a peep. It’s crickets. And then he stands up and points at you.
“What’s THAT from?” But not like he legitimately doesn’t know the source of this charade. Like a quiz.
This has been happening since movies were invented.
He’s that guy. He’s the guy who doesn’t know how to converse like a sane, functioning member of society and therefore decides to act out half of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” before anyone who will listen. He’s as awkward as the loneliest clown at the Renaissance Fair.
Before you can even answer, he digs deep into his repertoire and pulls out something really obscure. This weird patch of dialogue between two or possibly three fictional people doesn’t sound like any film you’ve ever seen, and so it just looks like you’re staring at an extreme case of Dissociative Identity Disorder and this is the battle royale.
“What’s THAT from?” he asks again.
And this is why Movie Trivia Guy sucks – this is why nobody likes him:
Because it’s either super obvious and you’re presumptuous for assuming I haven’t seen the blockbuster that everyone and their dog saw last summer or you’re pretentious and you want to show me you’ve seen some film I’ve never even heard of, as if anyone cares. Either you say “E.T. phone home!” and ask me what movie that’s from, or you do an impression of Klaus Kinski from “Aguirre, The Wrath of God” in the original German and ask me what’s that from.
Because nobody asked you. Nobody asked you to be the moderator on some impromptu quiz show. Nobody asked you to perform. We were all having a pleasant time before you delved loudly into a bad Graham Chapman impression. At least we think it’s supposed to be Graham Chapman.
Because relentless recitals from the catalogue of American and British cinema do not a discourse make. No one’s getting to know anyone any better because you’ve got half of “A Fish Called Wanda” memorized. That’s conversational fodder if you’re 11 years old, when nothing of real significance has really occurred in your life. If the government considers you an adult, then act like one. Read an article. Find an area of expertise to occasionally discuss if the talk flows in that direction. Ask some questions, for crying out loud.
Besides “What’s that from?”
By John-Ross Boyce – Opinions Editor