The other night, my best friend Karl dragged me to a movie. Well, I use the word ‘movie’ loosely in the sense that it was shown in a cinema, it was projected up on a screen, and there were people in it.
But in every other respect, it was like being beaten to death with a soft pillow, because nothing happened in this movie. This is a sample scene:
INTERIOR OF A TRAIN. IT’S ZOOMING THROUGH THE FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE. CUT TO INTERIOR. A YOUNG WOMAN IN HER 30s SITS BY THE WINDOW. SHE STARES OUT. THE MAN SITTING OPPOSITE HER LOOKS AT HER. THE CAMERA CUTS BACK TO THE WOMAN. SHE IS STILL STARING OUT THE WINDOW. THEN, BACK TO THE MAN. THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN FOR A CLOSE UP OF HIS FACE. HE HAS NO EMOTION. THEN BACK TO THE WOMAN.
Nobody said a word. And that was pretty much it for five minutes. I know it was five minutes because I peeked at my watch at the beginning of the scene and after what felt like an hour of the camera cutting back and forth, I looked again and saw that only five minutes had passed.
Anyway, eventually, the scene cut to the interior of a car. The woman from the train was driving, and the man was sitting next to her staring out the window. Nobody said anything for what felt like hours. Eventually, the woman spoke up and this is the entire dialogue.
Woman: I want a divorce.
WOMAN KEEPS DRIVING.
That was basically the entire movie. From beginning to end. I’m so bored even typing all this out. The ending was the woman stepping out of her house and then slowly walking down the driveway, out onto the street and then down a long row of houses.
As the cinema lights went up, I turned to Karl. “What the hell was that?”
His eyes were shining. “That was amazing! So incredibly moving! I want to see it again!”
In a classic case of life imitating art, I didn’t speak to him and walked away. My boredom had slowly simmered into rage. But even my rage felt bored.
It didn’t help that Saffy and Amanda had gone to watch ‘Prometheus’ in 3D. When I got home, they were on the couch squealing and nattering on about blood and gore, exploding spaceships, and eight-foot tall albino aliens.
“What about that abortion scene?” Amanda said.
Saffy’s bosom inflated in actual 3D. “Oh my God, how scary was that? And that bit where that alien ripped off the robot’s head?”
“Oh my God, I know! I so want to see it again!”
Saffy turned to me. “How was your movie, Jason?”
I said I’d just lost two hours of my life. “It was so incredibly boring! Nothing happened! Literally! People just sat in a train, in a car, in a lounge room, in a café, and they didn’t talk to each other. Or they stared into space. Or they stared at someone who stared into space!”
“I hate art-house movies!” Amanda sniffed. “They try to be so meaningful and special. Don’t waste my time or my money!”
Saffy said that if she was going to spend her hard-earned salary on a movie, it had better have big budget special effects, lots of explosions, ear-crunching noise and enormous amounts of blood. “If I wanted to see dysfunctional families being boring and not speaking to each other, I would just look at my own life. No need to spend ten bucks on that,” she said firmly.
Amanda says that art-house movies should rename themselves as boring-ass movies.
I said Karl had loved the movie and that he wanted to see it again.
“He would,” Saffy puffed. “That’s what happens when you marry that hideous woman, Marsha. You become lobotomized!”
“What’s the point of going to a movie if you’re just going to be reminded about how boring your own life is?” Amanda added.
“Unless it’s got lots of gratuitous nudity and sex scenes involving Michael Fassbender!” Saffy said.
“Oooh, good point! He’s hot! He’s the new Ryan Gosling!”
“Oh God, can you imagine if Ryan Gosling had been in ‘Shame’?”
Amanda moaned. “It’ll be like ‘Sophie’s Choice’!”
Later that week, the girls took me to ‘Prometheus’. I don’t think I blinked the entire movie. And when it ended, all I could say was, “That was amazing!”
Saffy sighed. “I can’t help but wonder how much better that movie would have been if Michael Fassbender had been naked in it!”
“Oscar winning idea, Saf,” Amanda said.