Overheard at Target between a twentysomething guy and a girl.
“”I don’t know. “˜Click’ might be worth buying,” the guy says.
“”Did you see it?”
“”No,” the guy responds.
“”Maybe we should buy “˜Babel’ instead,” the girl suggests.
“”No. I saw that. I liked it, but it isn’t worth buying.”
“”I don’t know. I didn’t see it, but it’s about a guy with a remote control that does things. The cover looks funny, too.”
Overheard at Border’s. An older man and woman.
“”Look at this,” the man says with genuine surprise. “”The DVD of “˜World Trade Center.'”
“”What is it about?” the woman asks.
“”I imagine that whole thing,” the man answers as he turns the DVD box around to read the back.
“”The critics seem to like it,” the woman points out.
“”Yeah, but it’s widescreen.” The man puts it back on the shelf. “”Oh, wait! Here’s another one.”
“”It’s a two-disc special edition,” the woman says.
“”Why do they need two discs?”
“”Maybe people talk about it on the other one.”
The man snorts. “”And that’s worth ten dollars more?”
At a video store. I was renting “”Sid and Nancy.” (I’d later steal it and “”Freaks” from the same store.)
“”Why do you want to watch this crap?” the clerk, a man in his fifties, asks.
“”I like the story.”
“”The story? What do you mean?”
“”It’s based on a true story. Sid Vicious. Nancy Spungen.”
“”It’s a movie,” he says as he takes my money.
“”Yeah, based on a true story.”
“”I don’t know where you read that, but it’s not a documentary.”
A man in a wheelchair has cornered the clerk at my local Suncoast store, which has since gone out of business on the direct orders of God. No big loss there.
“”I want something new and good,” the pushy, handicapable man tells the female clerk. “”Not old black and white crap.”
“”Well,” she tells him, “”these are our new films, and they’re on sale.”
“”How new are they?”
“”They came out Tuesday.”
It was Saturday.
“”Do you have “˜Hitch’? I want “˜Hitch.'”
The girl smiles. “”That’s still in the theatres.”
“”No it’s not. K-Mart has it.”
“”I’m pretty sure it’s still in the theatres.” The girl is right. In fact, it’s only been out a week.
“”Nope. I saw a commercial for it on TV. It’s out now.”
I would’ve taken the guy by the chair and wheeled him right out. The clerk, who obviously had an interest in keeping her job, did no such thing. Instead, she offered to see if she could order it for the man.
“”Why would I want to order it from you when I can go to K-Mart and get it?”
“”I don’t think it’s out, sir.”
“”I’ll just take my money to a store that wants to sell me movies.”
I don’t like most people to begin with, but I get downright vicious when it comes to people who don’t know their a***s from their mouths trying to get into a serious discussion about the merits of “”Click” based solely on a DVD cover. Or what about when someone spies the DVD of a current movie called “”World Trade Center” and wonders aloud, where any stranger can hear, what it is about. Do they think it’s a f*****g comedy? It hasn’t been ten years yet! The Wayans Brothers laughfest, “”3,000 Dead Suckas,” can’t come out until all the wounds have healed. Don’t people know any better?
The point of all this? As long as people like these folks exist, films like “”Norbit” will be slipped loose on the moviegoing public without any traces of irony. It’s that simple … and that scary. As long as there are people who think movies advertised on television are automatically available on DVD, we’ll be subjected to reports on the box office take of “”Stomp the Yard,” which will be covered with the same amount of seriousness as a report on a cure for cancer.
My advice to the young filmgoers reading this? Look around you. Take in the conversations. These people are in positions of power and prestige. Do you feel secure knowing that? Neither do I, but it provides clarity for a poll number I saw. The poll, which had a margin of error of plus or minus nine percent, was conducted by Widgery and Associates in 1994 for the year-end special of “”TV Nation” (then airing on NBC with all kinds of ironic traces). Thirty-four percent of all Americans who voted in the last election (at that time) believed “”Forrest Gump” was a documentary. If that doesn’t put it into perspective, nothing will.