Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Junk Food

There were thirty-five questions. I answered thrity-two of them correctly.It was one of those online click-bait quizzes, but I couldn't pass it up. Of the fifteen minutes it took for me to complete the assessment, most of that time was spent waiting for the next question to load. It was a multiple choice test, which seemed like an unfair advantage to me, since for this particular subject I might have preferred an essay question or two. It was about film, and I have always been a fan. I studied film in college. I worked in a video store. I pay obscene amounts of money each month to have dozens of movie channels empty their content into my living room. When I played on a trivia bowl team after I graduated, I was "the movie guy."
Okay. You get the point: Me. Movies. Knowledge.
I have seen films by Stan Brakhage and I can speak with some mild authority on non-narrative celluloid images. From Lumiere to Scorsese, I have made a study of them all. And with this wealth of film knowledge, what movie have I seen so many times that I can still chide myself for missing those three questions? Road House.
Please understand that there are a great many movies that I have committed to memory. Sections of my brain that may have been used at one time for complex calculations or reciting epic poetry are being used to store images and dialogue from all those miles of motion pictures that I have seen. These are the ones I have seen over and over again. I am proud of my recall of the sets and camera angles of Citizen Kane. I wrote papers on the mise en scene and montage of Alfred Hitchcock. I have dreams that recall the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. But I don't think I could do as well with an online quiz about any of those bits as I could with the story of Dalton, the Cooler.
There is an easy comparison to be made between my diet and my choice of movies. I know that eating more kale will make me live longer, but cheeseburgers bring me so much more joy. I know that Bergman was a genius, but I don't get giddy satisfaction reeling off lines from Cries and Whispers. I have Dalton's rules for being a bouncer hanging over my desk. It's not going to help me get a job. Since my retirement from active trivia competition, I won't even get the movie trailer bonus. It's just an absurd chunk of dated knowledge that brings a smile right before I realize that I am just a little embarrassed to admit it.
But not enough not to mention it here.

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