So You Think You’re an Expert?
I encountered a familiar feeling while on the first day of my new job yesterday. The first two weeks require (some intense) training and with eight new hires that training becomes a mock classroom for the time being. Having finished college in June I thought I was done with the toilet paper icebreaker game that still somehow catches one unsuspecting member of the group off guard.
While we didn’t literally break out a toilet paper roll it was requested of the group to share a bit about ourselves. This blog needs a bit of promotion (wink wink) and one of the questions asked was what we would be doing if we didn’t have to work for the rest of our lives. I could probably have said travel or that I’d attempt to be a really good stay at home mom……probably not, but instead I said I’d probably just spend my time watching, writing about and enjoying movies. I figured I’d get the blog name out there and let the cat of the bag that I kinda sorta love movies.
The first question everybody asks after they find out this little piece of information about me is of course “Well then, what’s your favorite movie?” Here is where I’ll probably lose some of you because you wonder why in the world I would feel as much pressure as I do. However, I can NEVER answer this question, there is just too much resting (mostly in my head) on my answer.
There are so many great movies out there and I’d rather just hand over an Excel spreadsheet of my DVD collection. I always want to ask them if we can expand the question to a top five and if I could get a few seconds to check my “likes” section on Facebook and then move on to my Letterboxd account. Do any of my fellow movie lovers out there feel the same way? After I couldn’t answer that question my teacher, a lovely young lady, then decided to break things down by genre, more specifically romantic comedies…
Again people I have a rule. I don’t talk shit unless I’ve seen it! That being said, my most recent brush with the so-called “romantic comedy” genre was A Little Bit of Heaven where Kate Hudson proved yet again that she has zero talent both inside and outside this brand of film. (However I have heard that she is quite impressive on Glee. Is this true?) I can freely say that A Little Bit of Heaven was horrendous and it saddens me that Gael García Bernal subjected himself to such a travesty. But even with that pile of poop so fresh in my head when I was asked the question all I could think about was how I suddenly forgot the title of any movie I had ever seen.
It’s the same reaction you have when you’re in an argument with someone where you tell them how they constantly do something that annoys the crap out of you. When they fire back and need an example suddenly you’re on the spot and your mind goes blank. You had all the answers five minutes ago when you weren’t thrown on stage from behind the curtain but now….nothing. What is the deal with this strange behavior? And why do I care so much? As if anybody in that room was going to judge me based on my movie selection, the only one that would do the judging is myself.
Another equally strange reaction I have that I know isn’t just my own weird issues rearing their ugly head (because my brother has the same problem so it must be more family related issues) is overhearing clueless people discuss movies. Look, it’s true I haven’t seen every movie and my “shame” list has plenty of movies that could bring into question my love of cinema but I still know more than the average human being.
I used to work in a fine dining restaurant and I would constantly overhear people butchering actor’s names, movie titles, directors etc. A large number of “You know the guy from that one movie where that girl likes him but that other guy wants to be with her.” Here is where my problem rests. It became incredibly difficult not to just jump in and give them the proper answer. This became even more frustrating around Oscar season with situations like Gran Torino being talked about as if it were a masterpiece because the once great Clint Eastwood was behind it. Did we forget about that singing? Clearly.
While the urge to butt in was strong I didn’t want to be like the person that is the last problem I shall discuss. I’m talking about the asshole that has to feel they know everything when in reality they skim the top of multiple sources to form what they think sounds like an original opinion. To the average listener this person sounds wise and knowledgeable but to an individual such as myself who has read and not just browsed articles or listened to full interviews they sound like moochers. Stop doing this. It’s okay not to know everything about a specific topic.
This idea doesn’t just go for people and movies but rather everything in life. I think we all know somebody like this. The types that know about a wide range of things, but when you do a little more research it turns out they only know surface level information. This false impression of an intelligent person can be incredibly disappointing and annoying, particularly when you challenge them on a specific topic. This behavior becomes extremely dicey at a party-like event where they seek to impress everybody standing around with a cocktail in hand.
This same type of person won’t even give you a second to think of an actors name before they condescendingly blurt it out and fire off with the last five entries in their filmography that they recently memorized from IMDB. I have witnessed an individual do this more than three times in a row and as I watched and listened I realized they were wrong about a handful of things but nobody said anything, including myself. And this is why even when I know things I don’t speak up very often mainly because I don’t want to look like or even remotely give off the vibes these people do. The few times I have interjected suddenly somebody becomes aggravated and announces I’m “the old expert over here” and I’m expected to have all the answers because I had one.
Note to all you movie lovers out there that have this same on the spot problem I do. Don’t mention movies “are your thing” (and also don’t use that phrase) if you know Scene It? or Trivial Pursuit is hiding in the closet. All the eyes will fall on you and that same turd who thinks they know everything will wait for your first moment of failure just to be the first to yell, “Well I thought you were the expert!”
Throughout this entire article I’ve written and ultimately deleted many sentences describing the aforementioned annoying people as males. It didn’t seem entirely fair to reduce all this criticism to one gender but just a side note I must express that it really is only males I’ve encountered that act this way. I can’t remember the last time I interacted with a female that felt the need to endlessly quote The Hangover, Anchorman or Borat. Females are often under the umbrella of claiming that Valentines Day was their favorite movie of 2010 without realizing it’s just a poorly made movie. But shit, now I sound like a dick. What to do, what to do. Maybe I’m the only one that has encountered this many dickish people in my life and you think I’m insane. But I do feel these ideas reach further out into different areas such as people who know about gaming or sports. It’s great to have something in your life that you love enough to take the time to become informed but it then becomes unbearable to hear it destroyed in the careless words of others.