Last night, I had a very insightful conversation with a young lady taking a film class. I was introduced to this student of the cinema at a get together at a friend's place. She was cute in a "I have nothing better going on in my life right now" kind of way, so we spoke for a bit. When she mentioned she was taking some sort of film class, I politely asked how she was enjoying it.
"It's amazing," she said. "The instructor won a BAFTA."
"Cool," I responded.
"You know what a BAFTA is right?," she asked condescendingly.
"A British Oscar."
"Yeah," she responded, having trouble understanding how a mere peasant l like me could possibly know what BAFTA was. "Anyway, I just find the use of visual imagery in film so expressive. I especially like film makers who are able to tap into the zeitgeists of their eras," she continued.
Zeitgeist? Who the fuck uses the word "zeitgeist" in conversation?, I wondered. I felt like Woody Allen in "Annie Hall." I wanted to step aside, look directly into the camera and ask the audience, "Do you believe how pretentious this chick is?...'ZEITGEIST?'... What are you fucking kidding me?" Instead I just nodded, as I listened to her babble on about Kurosawa and Bergman, as if I was supposed to be impressed by the fact that she memorized the names of a couple of famous film makers.
"They were such innovators," she continued.
Her self-indulgent babbling was hitting about a 9 on the 1 to 10 scale of pomposity, so I tried changing the subject when there was a brief lull in the conversation.
"You know what I hate? When you get a bagel with cream cheese and they don't cut the bagel all the way through so that just the top is cut, and you have to rip the bottom part of the bagel with your hands. That happened to me this morning."
She gave me a "what the hell are you talking about, you moron?" look, and continued onto the question and answer portion of the program.
"What's your favorite film?," she asked.
"I can't really narrow it down to one, but Porky's is a definite contender."
"Seriously," I responded with a straight face.
"Oh. Yeah, funny," she said facetiously. "For me it has to be Citizen Kane. The use of visual imagery is just astounding."
Christ! Again with the fuckin visual imagery? Didn't the BAFTA winner teach her any other catch phrases to use at parties?, I thought. At least she didn't say "zeitgeist" this time.
"Have you ever seen it?," she asked in a tone that implied I was too stupid to even have heard of Citizen Kane, let alone have seen it.
"Yes, I have, " I said politely, as I realized she was no longer cute in a "I have nothing better going on in my life right now" kind of way. Now she was just sort of there in a "I have no one else to talk to, and it's too early to leave right now" kind of way.
"And what'd you think?"
"Of Citizen Kane? Wasn't that enamored with it."
"How could you say that? It's a classic," she protested.
"Why is it a classic? Because a bunch of film critics said so?"
"It just is."
"But why specifically? The visual imagery? That's not enough for me. The story has to be interesting too. I had to sit through two hours to find out Rosebud was his sled. Who cares?"
"You completely missed the symbolism."
"That he yearned for the innocence of his childhood? I got it. My five year old niece could have gotten it. It's not that groundbreaking."
Then she looked at me like I insulted HER film...or I told her she was fat, or something. She then rolled her eyes, and walked away.
Almost immediately, my friend came over to me to ask what I could have said to her to piss her off so much.
"We were talking about Citizen Kane. I said I didn't like it, and she acted like Orson Welles is her goddamn grandfather."
"Yeah, she can be a little annoying with that stuff," he said. "Too bad. I thought she might be interested in you. That's why I introduced you."
"If extreme condescension is her way of showing interest, then we should be engaged by next week."
"Yeah, well, doesn't matter. She thinks you're stupid now."
"She called me stupid?"
"Like a 6 year old calls someone a stupid doodie head for disagreeing with them, or stupid as in unintelligent?"
"Why do you invite me to these things? More importantly, why do I come?"
"Because you have nothing better going on in your life right now."