Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Movie Guy

I met an individual today who must be the most annoying individual on the face of the earth. Someone so aggravating that merely just writing about him is making my blood boil *. I’d be more inclined to discuss Middle Eastern politics with someone throwing puppies into a wood chipper than this moron.

I dread going into ‘Blockbuster Entertainment’. I’m convinced it is the epicenter from which all stupidity on this God-forsaken rock we call a home radiates. You don’t have to be a Sam figure out the odds of bumping into some poor dipshit, with the IQ of a hood ornament, is pretty fucking good. But unfortunately, it’s the only video rental store in the entire area that carries anything more than the latest Adam Sandler train wreck.

For the past year or so that I’ve been visiting this particular ‘Blockbuster Entertainment’, I’ve avoided one particular clerk like I would avoid steeping road kill. The contemptible ‘Movie Guy’.

I’m convinced that every video store has one of these dipshits lurking in its aisles ready to jump out at you to make a recommendation, or browbeat you with a detailed cinematic breakdown of the latest foreign film release.

These type of movie know-it-all’s bother really me.

True – I’m no Gene Siskel, but I like to think I still know the basics to making any good video rental choice. Adam Sandler is evil, the third installment in any movie series is bound to be absolutely unwatchable (even sequels have a 60/40 chance of being complete shit); and anything with Gary Busey or Brian Dennehy is likely to induce seizures. I’m confident that I am capable of finding something that won’t wilt my brain. But every now and again, I space out on the titles of the actual movies I want to see. It’s an old Frosh Week injury.

And so it happened today.

And, uh-oh, there was you-know-who laying in wait behind the counter grinning like a retarded chimpanzee.

I almost (and should have) walked out right there. But in the second it took to contemplate my options, Movie Guy locked onto my position. Either he smelled my fear, or recognized the confusion in my eye…but like a shark zeroing in on the scent of blood, he began to race towards me.

Now I know how a wounded and crippled porpoise feels.

“Hey. What’cha looking for?” he called out.

I know now that I should have lied. But, being the outwardly mindless simpleton that I am, I instead replied: “I can’t remember.”

“Was it ‘Crash’? ‘Cause that’s a totally awesome movie! If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should! The cinematograph…”

“No, it’s not ‘Crash’”, I interrupted desperately. I last thing I wanted to do was engage Moviezilla here in a deep artsy discussion on cinema-anything.

“Do you have a movie guide I could use by chance?” I asked hopefully. Maybe if there was a written store guide of some sort, I stood a chance of shaking Movie Guy loose.

But, of course, it was to no avail. Movie Guy wasn’t going to let me get away so easily. He had his teeth squarely in my ass.

“Who stars in it?” he continued.

Oh God. Here we go.

“Umm, that guy – the brother; not the brother with the funny nose, or any of the Baldwins brothers or Wayans. You know, the pouty one whose brother went tits up in his condominium earlier this year.” It was the best I could come up with.

“Sean Penn?” he smirked.

“Yeah, that’s him. The movie was named after some valley, or mountain pass, or body of water, or something” I added.

“Mystic River!” Movie Guy responded triumphantly. He looked as if he had just laid down a victorious trump euchre hand in his high school cafeteria.

That’s the one. Than…” I begrudgingly answered.

He immediately cut me off… he was on a roll now.

“It’s in the Drama section, third row over, second from the top. It’s got a blue cover with a bunch of guys standing upside-down on it. Directed by Clint Eastwood, it was up for Academy Awards in 2006 for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay…” he continued cockily.

Christ, make him stop already!

I ashamedly walked off towards the drama section to retrieve my film – but Movie Guy just stuck with me in hot pursuit rambling off his informational tidbits about the movie. Other customers in the store gawked at me sympathetically as they quickly rounded corners to avoid coming between me and Rainman here.

“It's a great murder story involving three interconnected central characters and an investigation that will dig up the neighborhood's scarred history,” Movie Guy happily chirped three feet behind me as I retrieved my flick from the third row, second from the top.

“If you like that then you’ll like ‘The Usual Suspects’. Have you seen ‘The Usual Suspects’? Now that’s an awesome movie! If you haven’t seen that yet, I’d recommend renting that instead.”

This clown wasn’t going to give up.

“Yeah, thanks”, I mumbled under my breath and began trudging back to the counter to check out my evenings movie de jour.

“How about ‘Requiem for a Dream’? Have you seen that? Now THAT’S a kick ass movie! I’d get that for sure! Whatabout ‘Forgiven’, huh? Clint Eastwood directed that movie too and it’s way better than ‘Mystic River’. Can I get that for you? It’s another two rows over, half way down, bottom shelf.”

I was ready to paralyze this guy with a flying head scissors right there in the middle of the store. Instead, I just mumbled “No. Thanks for the help.”

And here was the big moment; the moment he’d clearly been waiting for since the moment I first walked into the store:

“That’s, okay. That’s what I do…(wait for it)…I’m “The Movie Guy”. His face beamed like an Alter boy at a strip parlor.

I almost lost it.

That fact that this guy exists is the biggest travesty of injustice against mankind since Eddie Murphy was cast as Dr. Doolittle. Does this genetic grab bag of party favors really think I give two shits about his movie trivia skills? He’s lucky I didn’t leave him with a Schiavo-style feeding tube the moment he forced himself on me like a newly released sex offender.

“The Movie Guy”? Yeah, and I’m Batman - whatever jerk face.

So what is he so proud of anyway? That he’s wasted eons of his life in front of the boob tube watching movie, after movie, after movie, until his brain is overloaded with important movie information? He’s a walking, talking movie reference guide. That’s sure some bastion of achievement. It’s a good thing he saw that ad in the paper that they were hiring a minimum wage position at ‘Blockbuster Entertainment’, otherwise his gift to the world may have gone unrecognized! And that’s not a world I think any of us can imagine living in. How would we ever choose what movie to watch on Friday nights, or find out the title of the latest Pauly Shore straight-to-video release?

Imagine the chaos.

He can probably rhyme off the complete supporting cast to ‘The Bridges of Madison County”, but for all other aspects of life, this guy couldn’t outsmart a gardening tool.

Brav-fucking-o, douchebag!

After I had returned, he scuttled around behind the counter again to check out my movie for me. My chances of making a quiet getaway were lost for good.

“So, do you rent movies often? ‘Cause I can recommend lots of movies. I’m the Movie Guy you know”, he continued.

“No. Almost never”, I lied. If I didn’t get out of the store immediately I was going to go all Kaiser Soze on his ass.

“That’s funny. I thought I’ve seen you in here before”, he prodded.

I just looked up at him blankly, picked up my video and put it under my arm, and paused to bid him my fond adieu. The one-liners hurtled through my brain:

“Maybe. I pick them up for somebody else. I think movies are for pussies.”
“Nah, this is my first one. Real men watch porn.”
“Hey, do you date the Tooth Fairy?”

Instead, I said:

“Those guys on the cover aren’t standing upside down. That’s supposed to be their reflections cast in the river to mirror the shadowy duality of their characters. Everybody knows that. That’s what I do…”

And then the coup de tat:

“I’m the Asshole Guy.”

And I finally walked out.

* Given the hot temperatures outside these days, this is no major feat I agree. But consider that I’m currently sitting in a nice air-conditioned apartment with two fans running, it’s still pretty impressive.


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