How To Talk About Movies You’ll Never See – By Brian Morton

In my ongoing quest to be more “grown up” and “mature” (my wife’s idea, not mine), I’m trying to watch more “grown up” movies. Now it took a little research to translate the phrase "grown up" from wife into ‘guy’, but the phrase "grown up movies" basically means "chick flicks" or "art movies"…in other words, movies that no guy would ever voluntarily see! So, for those of you, who like myself, would much rather watch Robocop for the fifteenth time than see Titanic once, I’m going to provide a service. No, I’m not actually going to watch these horrible things even I have my limits! What I will do, however, is make up good enough lies so that, if confronted by these heinous movies in any public place, you’ll be able to get yourself out of and away from any bad movie situations that may arise.

First, 1988’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I saw this at the video store, I didn’t actually read the back or anything, but I looked at the picture on the box and here’s what I think it’s about. There’s a picture of a woman in shadows and it looks like she’s supposed to be naked, and there’s a picture of a guy kissing her, so I’m pretty sure this is one of those ‘classy’ sex movies…translation into ‘guy’, total chick flick! Which means no ‘real sex’ only that ‘romantic stuff’. So, there’s really no shame in admitting you never saw it, but to avoid any embarrassment, just tell people you only saw the first part of it because you had to fix the carburetor on your car. Most people at these classy type dinner parties haven’t seen this movie either, and they don’t know what part of the car a carburetor is, so you’ll be safe. Just say, the next time it’s on I’m going to finish watching it, the acting was spectacular and the writing was superb, that’s a safe phrase, you should remember it, "the acting was spectacular and the writing was superb", that can get you out of almost any movie conversation with your dignity intact!

Next up, 1981’s My Dinner With Andre. Now, other than dinner, I’m not sure what this was about either, but I know Wallace Shawn was in it. So, when asked about it, just tell people that you can’t watch Wallace Shawn in anything without thinking about The Princess Bride (which you’ll have to tell them you watched with the kids, even if you don’t have any kids), so you found that very distracting. Yes, you’ll have to explain that Shawn is a spectacular actor, it’s just you! You do know it’s about Wallace having dinner with some guy named Andre, but other than that you don’t really remember, it’s been quite a few years, you saw it when it was originally released at the theatre. This is another good one that you should remember. "I saw it when it was originally released in theatres" can get you out of conversations about old boring movies. Just be careful, if it’s still actually at the theatre, this will just cause more trouble and make you look really dumb, if this happens, here’s your action of last resort…scream at the top of your lungs and run from the room!

Next, 1996’s, The English Patient. Now, I haven’t even seen the box for this one, it’s way too deep in ‘drama’ section for me, I can’t wade that deep into ‘chick flick’ territory, sorry, a man’s got to know his limitations! But, I do remember seeing the trailer, there’s a plane crash and then some kind of cave and that guy from Schindler’s List, Ray Something. So, I’m pretty sure this is one of those girl movies where the foreigner is ‘romantic’ because he’s got an accent and stuff. So, here’s what you say, “That Ray what’s-his-name, is a great actor, did you see him in Schindler’s List?” This will work, unless you haven’t seen Schindler’s List, like me. If that’s the case, go with, “Excuse me, my wife is calling me” or, the old stand-by, run screaming from the room. You’ll find, in most cases, that running screaming from the room will not only get you out of really bad movie conversations, but will stop any further bad conversations of any kind, because you’ll rarely be invited back. This is good for you, but you’ll have to listen to your wife yak on and on about how embarrassing you are and how you have no class, but if you’re like me, you hear that stuff most of the time anyway, so it’s not that big a deal.

Finally, let’s encompass a whole genre of movies…I like that word genre, it just means category, but it makes you sound so much more intelligent than you actually are! Use it a lot and people will think that you’re very intelligent. Being very intelligent will also get you out of many bad conversations, if people think you’re smarter than them, they’ll leave you alone, so a dictionary with many big words is something you can use. Write a bunch of big words on your hand and then you can slip them into conversations at these events and then eventually you’ll find yourself alone at the bar…, which, as a guy, is really where you really want to be anyway, so you win! But, back to the genre we’re covering here, Merchant Ivory Films, these are also called ‘bodice rippers’, now, I’m not exactly sure what a bodice is or why I would want it ripped or to rip it, but that’s what they’re called, trust me.

The first thing to know is that Merchant Ivory doesn’t make movies, they only make films. And, they all have to do with being English and living in the 17 or 1800’s and wear a bodice, again, not sure what that is, but then neither does anyone else so it’s a word you can safely use without anyone asking you about it! Merchant Ivory Films include titles like, Howard’s End, The Remains Of The Day, or Jefferson In Paris, so, again, as a man, there’s really no shame in admitting to never seeing them, but if you just want to get out of the conversation, say, something like, “Other than the costumes, I really don’t enjoy this whole genre of film” or “I really find this genre of film to be very pedestrian and can’t bear to sit through them”. Now, first, if you call something pedestrian, I think it means poor, or bad, because, who among us likes pedestrians, those shambling, bus using class is only slightly above trailer park dwellers or carnival people, so calling something pedestrian will make most people think that you’re way classier than they are and they’ll stop the conversation in it’s tracks. Also, pedestrian is a really big word, so it works in that way too, either way, you win, you’re outta there and on the way to the bar to have that beer.

Remember, these rules are really only a starting off point, use them sparingly! If you run screaming from every party your wife takes you to, you’ll soon find that you’re not welcome anywhere, like me. Word tends to travel about running, screaming from parties…trust me on this. But, if used wisely, you can use these rules to get out of most ‘film conversations’. You can either use these or, if you don’t care what these people think of you…, which is what usually gets me into trouble at home just, say, “No, I didn’t see that. Did you see, Frankenhooker?” That’ll drive those damn snobs away, every time, too!