Thursday, October 23, 2008

Movie guilt

As regular readers may have assessed, I'm often a socially awkward, nutty mess. Here's yet another chapter in my struggle to comfortably sail through simple social settings. Thankfully, I've eventually realised that I am not alone in movie recommendation anxiety.

The problem I struggle with is the pressure to ensure the good time of others. In the instance of orchestrating a movie viewing, if their movie viewing is of my urging, then I feel a tremendous pressure for everyone to like it. If they do not, I feel that I have failed them miserably and that my good character and presumably respected taste will be tarnished. The problem with this coniditon is that it prevents ME from having a good time. I'm now wondering why I'm writing this since its a lot like my birthday party blog from 11 months ago. I don't think I repeat myself too often, so fuck it. I shall proceed.

(Oh shit. What if they think I'm boring and out of ideas and stop reading my blog? What if they thought I was cool all this time but this blog evokes the final yawn before they close the door on The Angry Tiki? Why do I write blogs? I'm just asking to be judged and I can't take the heat. Oh shit. Oh shit. Oh shit....)

The first noted instance of movie guilt, and possibly the benchmark for all related nausea ocurred, I believe, in 1996 when I organised for my gang of friends to see the newest Leslie Nielsen movie, Spy Hard. Yeah, I know. It seemed like a good idea at the time. We all liked The Naked Gun films, so it stood to reason this would follow suit, but instead the whole thing was a disaster. There must have been about eight of us who went which was a great responsibility to provide entertainment for. Shortly after it started, my friends were getting up and going outside to smoke, returning, groaning at the movie, shaking their heads at me, then leaving again. Since I had been the champion of this screening, I felt compelled to sit it out and honestly, I didn't think I thought it was so bad. Perhaps I was a late bloomer in my cynicism, but I daresay that today I can out cynic all those fuckers put together any day of the week and twice on Sunday. But not quite yet in this story. I suggested this movie, everyone hated it and my reputation was mud. I copped a lot of shit for that one.

What happened? It says right there that it "Absolutely hilarious" and "Very funny". What gives?

Fast forward to couple of years later. A Clockwork Orange was playing at an arthouse theatre and I had never seen it. My taste had blossomed, obviously as I was seeking out this well regarded film, revered by many of my musical heroes. I knew it was one of those "must see" movies of a certain ilk and so I advised my friend Mark and my sister of this "must see" aspect and advised they come along. I had no idea what to expect and subsequently, my mind was blown by it in a good way. At least I think it was. As much as I thought it was titilating and fascinating, I knew it was nothing like anything us suburban folk usually sought out. So my feelings about the film were completely confused. It was right up my alley, yet I spent the entire film with what felt like a large rock in my stomach and every peculiar and perverse event only made it heavier. "How much longer is it? How much more can they take? They must fucking hate this and me for bringing them to this. God, this is so awesome." I thought to myself.

Alex assaults a woman with a giant penis sculpture. Yeah, I guess that was shocking...the first time I saw it in Gone With The Wind! Sheesh.

Finally, it ended and I was relieved. We walked to car.

Rebecca: That was really good!
Mark: Yeah! I wouldn't mind seeing it again, actually.



You would think that lesson would resonate and be yet another reminder (and there are many) that I should chill the fuck out. It can work if I think about it and self talk myself into relaxing, but then I realise that that only applies to that incident and there could be many more Spy Hards ahead. No, actually. There really couldn't be anything that humiliating ahead of me.

I recently realised that I had accumulated enough of a collection of similar stories from other people to constitute an epidemic, if a total of four can in fact make an epidemic. To those of you who do not suffer from such incredible insecurity and self loathing, I salute you.

Here are some other examples from others:

My friend's mother got it into her head that she wanted to see a Kill Bill because she had heard all about Quentin Tarantino. After much effort to deter her, the mother was set to see the movie and so my friend struggled to relax through all the swearing and violence in the company of her mother. The discomfort wasn't misplaced as I believe the mother got up from the theatre with either no remark or something very vague and polite, not addressing what was just seen.

The blushing Bride in Kill Bill.

My brother-in-law Sam was afraid to go see the Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny with my parents because he thought it would be inappropriate to laugh at the certain things in front of them. He was somewhat forced to attend this family outing as the film featured yours truly in a stellar performance as an extra. Thankfully, my parents were well warned ahead of time and seemed to be able to roll with it and delight in mine and Neil Hamburger's performances.

I'm all over this scene from 1:37 onwards. Check it.

There is one other incident in which the guilt was carried by someone else regarding Gladiator, but since that incident ended in tears (not mine, thankfully), I feel it's best it remain untold, though I will say that I was able to comfort this person with my own movie guilt tales.

Oddly, even after the Tenacious D incident which I was not at, I was more disturbed to learn that my parents went to see Clerks II. I was not there and I did not recommend it to them, but somehow I felt awful by virtue of the fact that liked Kevin Smith movies and quite enjoyed Clerks II myself. My parents had Gold Class movie tickets which were expiring and were desperate to make use of them. For those who don't know, Gold Class are fancy movie tickets where you watch the movie in a special theatre with reclining seats and can order food and beverages to be delivered to your seat. These tickets are often prizes in work places which is how I think they came have them, however no amount of padding and champagne could prepare my poor, innocent mother for excessive planning and final realisation of a scene in which a man has sex with a donkey. I had so much guilt once I heard about that and I had nothing to do with it.

My mother should never have had to see a man doing the vagina thing.

I thought I was the only person to suffer this, but I'm starting to realise that I'm not. I'm hoping that shedding some light on the matter might help to alleviate some of the discomfort.
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