You know what bothers me? When you, say, bring over Citizen Kane to watch with a bunch of your contemporaries or people younger than you. There’s always one guy, who, 20 minutes in, will declare “yeah, this is a good movie. See the dialogue. See how they made that work?” As though he directed the movie. As though we were all waiting for him to confirm that it met his standards and he will point out that dialogue as though he made it up in his head. At which point my own head always literally explodes, which is why I have to hurtle around the room, blind, trying to find my lips so I can reply “it’s Citizen Kane, you fucking moron. No one needed you to tell them it was good.”
Often, I’m forced to use puppets.
This is irritating for a few reasons. It implies whoever is saying it knows the entire world of movies, and, more, that their opinion is the only one that matters. Moreover, it implies that, up until now, this movie’s goodness was up for debate, but, no more. Now, perhaps you can pull this off if you are Robert Osborne. But often this person is 22, sleeping on futon, and not a filmmaker. And they’re sitting there pontificating, which makes it seem as though history was waiting for futon-kid’s judgement. As though, now, at long last, Orson Welles can finally rest in peace.
This is a problem because, while some people will realize this is insane, other people will take this totally seriously if he says it with enough gravitas. Other people will begin to say “yeah, [futon-kid] really knows a lot about movies.”
Look, I’m bringing up this instance partly because I have got to stop hanging out with liberal arts majors. But partly, also, because this does seem to happen with a great variety of people, and isn’t just a problem if you are going to some very swanky dinner parties in Aspen. This can be a pretty universal problem. And it effects aspects of life much more serious than just being pretentious about books and movies.