This past holiday weekend, I had the privilege of spending Thanksgiving with another family. It's always fun to see how other people do the day: what they eat and what they don't eat, how much football is a part of the equation, how the tables are divided up, etc. While Thanksgiving is pretty much the same no matter where in the nation you are, it's fun to see the little idiosyncrasies each family possesses.
This group, for instance, had the excellent tradition of the younger generation going out and seeing a movie all together. If feeling particularly unconversational, they might see two movies. In desperate times, where they just don't want to talk to anyone, they've gone to see three. I call this "putting your money where your mouth isn't."
This Thanksgiving was a two-movie-holiday. So I saw Casino Royale (again) and Stranger Than Fiction (again). I would like to relay the conversation I had with one of the more combative members of the family after the movie, as he explained his feelings about the movie and movies in general.
In order to understand the feel of this exchange, go ahead and imagine the scene like this: there are six of us in a minivan, and I'm the one in the way back where the last row is supposed to be, but is not. The character I'm speaking to is driving the vehicle, and is speaking loudly and with large gestures, often taking both hands off the wheel. Picture all of my lines in a quiet monotone from the back.
For purposes of anonymity, the driver will be referred to as "Neil," even though that's actually his name. I've occasionally added links for reference in case you doubt the veracity of any of either of our statements.
Neil: "See, you were right, the movie wasn't that bad. But it would've been so much better if they'd just cut out all the narration."
Me: [long, long pause as I contemplated the seriousness of the past comment] "Wouldn't that completely destroy the entire point of the movie, since it's a film about a guy who hears a voice narrating his life?"
Neil: "No, because without the narration it would feel so much more like Almost Famous, which is obviously what they were going for. It's pretty much the same movie."
Me: "Well, I guess the tone is sort of simil... wait, how is it the same?"
Neil: "One's about a guy writing about being a rock star, and this movie has writing too. Plus, this movie has Dustin Hoffman as the god-like guy, and Almost Famous had pretty much the same actor, because they had Jack Black."
Me: "Phillip Seymour Hoffman."
Neil: "Right. Hey, what happened to him? His career's totally fallen apart."
Me: "Well, he just won last year's Best Actor Oscar."
Neil: "Yeah, but everybody knows he sucks now. Like Clint Eastwood used to be good, and now everybody knows he sucks."
Me: "He just won Best Picture."
Neil: "Yeah, but nobody saw it because everybody knows that he sucks."
Neil's Girlfriend: "Sweetheart, you're getting too worked up again."
Let's leave this little tableau for an instant and jump right to the end:
Neil: "See? Everything you guys are saying totally agrees with everything I've said! You're wrong, I'm right, I win!"
Neil's Girlfriend: "Sweetheart, it's two in the morning, let's go home."
Ah, Thanksgiving. These are the moments we treasure forever.