I went to a screening of Frost/Nixon, yesterday. (If you’re not aware of Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s screening series, you should totally sign up.) Good movie, but not half as entertaining as the gaggle of film students sitting next to me.
They were arguing over pointless trivia (“Was Temple of Doom the first PG-13 movie?”) and trying to out-obscure each other by rattling off lists of incomprehensible foreign films they’d seen recently. (I think Babette’s Feast won.)
The best part was the dolt who believed you can’t make a good movie unless it’s rate R, completely disregarding Dark Knight, Ironman, Wall-E, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Cloverfield, Quantum of Solace, among many, many others. Whenever someone mentioned a film R-Man hadn’t seen, he bluffed: “Oh, well, I felt the mise en scène was muddled.”
“But didn’t you love Darius Khondji’s cinematography?”
“Not as much as his… last one. You know the one I mean.”
“…Yes. Of course. That one was great, too.”
Oh, it was awesome. No one wanted to admit that they didn’t know what the other was talking about.
The thing is, I remember doing that, when I was in school. I hadn’t even seen such basics as Casablanca and Citizen Kane when I started (quite frankly, I’m not sure why they let me in). I just faked it, hoping know one would realize I didn’t know anything.
I wonder if I was as transparent as this kid was? Or maybe everyone was bluffing, but we were all too worried about getting caught that we didn’t notice anyone else lying.
As my heroine Pauline Kael says, “One of the surest signs of the Philistine is his reverence for the superior tastes of those who put him down.”
In Hollywood, almost all of us are Philistines. How else do you explain everyone paying attention to a bunch of foreign critics?