Saturday, February 24, 2007

I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a SCI-FI, Horror, Slapstick, Action Flick today!

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for a couple to dissolve the traditional method of choosing what movie to go see, a just and equitable new method must be established. It has to have rules. It has to have absolutes. And most of all, it has to protect the fragile ego of the male half of the couple and allow him to achieve some small (albeit meaningless) victories in the movie-choosing process. (Note: It is not actually necessary for the woman to ever win this contest, as they are far more secure than men; but if they do come out ahead once in a while, it makes the hollow victory achieved by the man that much sweeter {though still meaningless})

With all that said, I suppose it is now incumbent upon me to provide a solution. While I would normally prefer to simply whine and complain and leave the problem alone to fester and grow until it can never be solved, I have decided (been told by my wife) to tackle the problem head on. So in the spirit of harmony for all couples (doing as I’m told) I present to you my:

Movie Exchange Rate System

The concept of an exchange rate for movies is not terribly new (I overheard a guy I work with, we’ll call him “John”; say he and his wife already practice a rudimentary exchange system). But because there’s never been a thoroughly researched and tested system, men have had to bargain with their wives over movies for literally thousands of years! A typical exchange goes like this:

EVE: Let’s go see I Weep All Day at the One-Plex!

ADAM: But honey! I wanted to see Hit on the Head tonight!

EVE: The last three movies we saw were Crushed by Rocks; Dude, Where’s My Fig Leaf?; and Snakes on a Tree! We are going to see I Weep All Day!

ADAM: Hey, that’s not fair! You liked Snakes on a Tree! You said it was “oddly compelling”!

EVE: Oh, yeah…about that…um, Hey! Did you try that pie I made you yet?

And it goes on and on like that throughout history. Marie Antoinette just had to catch Head Over Heels, Joan of Arc couldn’t miss I Burn For You, and Amelia Earhart was first in line to see Fly Away With Me! But all of those tragedies might have been avoided if only there had been a simple method of exchanging movies so a fair balance between Chick Flicks and regular movies, indeed between all movies, could have been achieved.

Of course, to create such a system, you must first define the commodities you are working with. Then you need to assign them a value, and apply those values to an exchange rate. Finally, you’ve got to set up a system of rules so it’s used the same way every time. If there’s ever going to be any progress ("Dennis, there's some LOVELY filth down here!"), we need to begin at the beginning. So let’s look at some definitions.

Categories of Films

I put considerable time, effort, and research into studying every film ever made. I built a comprehensive database to track the various attributes of all films throughout history and assigned a point value to each one. I considered such important cinematic elements as: number of uses of the word ”love”, number of times someone is punched, car crashes, scenes lit primarily by candle or fireplace light, gratuitous nudity (or lack thereof), volume of Hugh Grant appearances in the film, and countless other criteria. Then I got distracted by a pop-up ad for a new flavor of “Scope” and deleted the whole thing without saving it. My bad.

Since I am obviously not going to put that much work into this a second time, I will “Wing It” from here on out. Let’s start with the seven categories of films:

1. Guy Flicks (GF): These are movies that not only appeal primarily to guys, but are intended almost exclusively for a male audience. When Chicks are forced to see them, they are not permitted to complain about things like a lack of plot, unrealistic outcomes, or excessive explosions. That is the reason we are here, ladies. Have a sip of your Diet Coke and move on. (NOTE: Sports pictures, even if they make you cry, are automatically Guy Flicks. It’s a rule). Here are some examples:

(NOTE 2: For the purposes of this list, figure skating is not a sport – you hear that, Cutting Edge fans? NOT a sport! Go Home!)

2. Chick Flicks (CF): These are movies obviously made for women. They tend to contain a lot of exposition about relationships, looking for “Mr. Right”, moral behavior, sensitivity, and a bunch of other weird junk that only the estrogen-enhanced can really understand. When men are forced to see them, they are not permitted to fidget, complain, whine, sigh loudly or otherwise express their discomfort in any way that could distract the women who are actually getting something out of this. Eat your popcorn and shut up. Remember, she didn’t bother you during The Fifth Element! (NOTE: Gentlemen, remember: So-called “tasteful” nudity is STILL nudity! If this Chick Flick has some, just try to concentrate on that while the rest of the movie sucks.) Here are some examples of Chick Flicks:

(NOTE 2: I do not know how Brokeback Mountain fits into this, nor do I care to find out. If it becomes an issue, I suggest you find someone French to settle the dispute.)

3. Standard Comedies (SC): Standard comedies are funny flicks that tend to skew just a bit to the male side. They have fart jokes, sight gags, inappropriate comments and the occasional gratuitous cleavage shot. Men generally enjoy them a lot, while women laugh all the way through and then complain about how “stupid” or “improbable” certain parts are. Here’s a heads-up, ladies; it’s like that on purpose. If you want to see a movie that requires you to think, just look farther down the list for the “Other Movies” category. (NOTE: Comedies with a “Message” or with “Heart” are probably better classified as “Other Movies”. Sorry Pleasantville, try not to be quite so pretentious next time.) Here are some Standard Comedies:

(NOTE 2: The film Kate and Leopold is quite funny and even has jokes about a “Great Erection”; but in the end Meg Ryan is in it, so it has to get kicked to the next category!)

4. Romantic Comedies (RC): This is the biggest gray area of them all. There are a lot of movies out there that are slap-a-monkey hilarious, but are still saddled with an overabundance of romance, relationships, and happily-ever-after-ness. These films are all skewed for women, but men (at least some of the more evolved ones) can still enjoy them, despite this shortfall. Guys, you will find parts of these uncomfortable or smarmy, but grit your teeth and think about football for a minute, it’ll pass. (NOTE: Romantic Comedies have the greatest chance of having a shot of a guy’s naked butt. DO NOT attempt to cover her eyes like she does to you when the naked chick runs by in Airplane! The ratio of boobs-to-butts in Cinema is still in our favor, so let her enjoy it while she can.) These are examples of Romantic Comedies:

(NOTE 2: Boys, just because Adam Sandler is in The Wedding Singer, its status is unchanged. It is STILL a Romantic Comedy. Get over it.)

5 & 6. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! [Male and Female] (YGBKMM or YGBKMF): Some flicks are simply a cinch to categorize. Is it the type of film with a running body count? Probably for dudes. Do the actresses wear petticoats and bodices? Call the chicks. So each side gets its own YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME category! ‘Nuff Said! (NOTE: ANY film with ANY connection to Jane Austin, no matter how tenuous, is automatically a YGBKMF. No exceptions!) Here are some examples of each. You can probably guess which is which:

(NOTE 2: Guys, if it has zombies in it, even if you think it’s funny, don’t try to pass it off as a Standard Comedy. Respect is a two way street and Shaun of the Dead is a YGBKMM! Now you know. "And knowing is half the battle!")

7. Other Movies (OM): Now we come to everything else. Some movies are funny, but not romantic, but still have a point and ultimately make you learn something. Some movies are action packed, but have a human element and can make you sniffle a bit. Still others are EVENT pictures that you have to see no matter what. These include important franchise films like Star Trek or X-Men, high class dramas like A Beautiful Mind or Crash, political thrillers like The Interpreter or All the President’s Men and real-event homage films like United 93 or Hotel Rwanda. You also have important sequels like Indiana Jones IV and Rocky Balboa, as well as fun caper flicks like Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, or Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead. (NOTE: Classic film revivals and re-releases are often found here too. Like the Star Wars Special Editions, a Lord of the Rings marathon, or the Director’s Cut of Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo) Here are a few more from the Other Movie category:

(NOTE 2: Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo is a classic because it was the first on-screen appearance of The Muscles from Brussels himself, Jean-Claude Van Damme! Betcha didn’t know THAT!)

(NOTE 3: The Internet Movie Database says Van Damme was in the first Breakin’ movie, but the Breakin’ 2 official website says different. So there!)

The Exchange Rate

Now that we have all agreed on how to classify the movies, it’s time to work out the exchange rate. For ease of use, I’ve created this handy-dandy chart. Feel free to print one out for at home!

Now, you may notice a slight discrepancy in the rates on the male side. I assure you, it is not a typo. Men are both more fragile AND bigger whiners, so it’s only fair (to us) that we get a better exchange rate. Just think of it as spending Canadian dollars in the USA; it’s a drag that you have to pay a higher rate, but we don’t care.

The Rules

Now the last thing I need to cover is the practical use of the system. We can’t be going all Lord of the Flies here and letting you make up your own rules! What happens if you go on a double date, but both couples don’t use the same exchange system? ANARCHY! That’s what happens! And since we can’t have that, we’ll have these four simple rules instead:

Rule 1: The exchange rate must be posted at all times. (That’s what the chart above is for. Please respect it!)

Rule 2: A running account balance will be kept at all times, in a place where both parties can access it. (Dudes, if you’re already in the hole for 9 CF’s and a YGBKMF, you’d best go get tickets to a double feature of The Queen and Bride & Prejudice STAT!)

Rule 3: All exchange transactions will occur BEFORE a movie is watched, and properly documented. (Listen sister, we saw Much Ado About Nothing last week! It counts!)

Rule 4 [This one is IMPORTANT!]: Enjoyment of a movie after-the-fact IS NOT a basis for exchange account adjustment! EVER! IT’S NOT! (I don’t care if HE ended up enjoying Return to Me or SHE got a kick out of Zoolander you will RESPECT THE SYSTEM!)

And Finally...

Wow. That’s a lot to take in. But I’m so dedicated to relationship harmony (my wife was SO tired of hearing me complain) that I felt it was important to get this all down while it was still fresh in my mind. If I may, I’d like to thank some of the folks who provided invaluable assistance in the development of this system:

To Adam Sandler; whose insistence on making RC’s that make me laugh until it hurts was one of the reasons I had to do this in the first place! Thanks, jerk.

To Bono, from U2; you had nothing to do with any part of this, but I respect a guy with the guts to call himself “Bono” when it could easily be turned into “Bone-O” by cruel people. Keep the faith, brother.

To my Dad; your love of movies, and of sharing them with me, got me to the point where I had to care about this in the first place!

To my Mom; without you sharing the films you love with me, I wouldn’t know the difference between Carey Grant and Carey Elwes! I wouldn't even know that was important! You rock!

And finally, to my wife; you let me see all the stupidest movies, and you force me to watch all the CF’s and RC’s that I end up crying like a baby at... Er, I’m not sure I should actually “thank” you for that last part, come to think of it. Oh well, you’re hot. That makes up for a lot!

Well folks, until next time!

-Sage Words


Yarntangler said...

Sage Words,

Carey Elway is an interesting actor. But since you personally decided not to take on more of Cary Grant's parts after "Arsenic and Old Lace" don't you agree that the much maligned, Hugh Grant could actually do some of those characters justice?


Sage Words said...


I would never dream of maligning Hugh Grant (unless you count the whole "Elizabeth Hurley" thing!). I'm just saying that his presence in a film tends to skew it a bit to the feminine side. Chicks dig him.

-Sage Words

Sage Words said...

By the way. It's Carey ELWES. Elway was the quarterback of the back to back world champion Denver Broncos!

-Sage Words

Anonymous said...

Your latest diatribe was quite a bit to take in considering my alchohol intake and elation over the evenings league sport victory.
Your writings have so far been a source of great happiness to me.
I suppose we are at about fifteen cents now on this identity guess thing. Hopefully you read what people resond to your posts with.
I suppose if you don't read your comments I'll feel like a real dip sh|t before too much longer.

Sage Words said...

Okay anonymouse, you got me. I think I know who you're NOT:

You're not my Mom. She has a name she posts under and you're not it. Plus, you don't write like her.

You're not my Dad. He would not make mention (esoteric as it may be) of a league sport victory, as he doesn't know a league sport from an ambidextrous flamingo with gout.

You aren't Sid, because he would say "pence" instead of "cents".

You aren't my wife because I'd know if she'd been hammered last night!

You aren't Dion, again because of the sports thing.

As to who you ARE... Well, I haven't figured it out yet. But who knows, another clue or two and I may crawl out of my fog and figure it out.

But rest assured, I do read the comments. After all, it may be Michelle Pfieffer one day, and I wouldn't want to miss that!!

Until next time...

-Sage Words

Geezerguy said...

Hi Sage Words-

OK it's taken me a while to comment on this one.
-Excuse #1
I've been without my internet connection for a while, 'cause the guy I've been pirating it from went fishing for a week (see my latest post at Observations from a Rolling Home)
-Excuse # 2
I'm lazy and self-involved these days, and am now just catching up with the blogs of others.
I never knew ambidextrous flamingoes could get gout. I've always thought of them as just naturally avoiding a high-cholesterol diet, but maybe I've got my symptoms mixed up.
The system looks really good, but having read it, I'm going to have to rearrange all the DVD's in my carying case now. Thanks a lot.
We watched "Final Destination" the other night (duh, who's next on the list?...BAM), and now "Ghost" and "Strictly Ballroom" are sitting ominously on the table. However, I have a copy of "Final Destination Two" and Yarntangler actually likes the series, so I may catch a break under the radar. Wish me luck.

Anonymous said...

By saying "anonymouse" were you calling me some sort of cartoon mouse with the power to confuse his enemies (or nemesis) as to his identity, or was that a typo.

Anonymous said...

You're right about who I'm not so far...

Sage Words said...


I have dubbed thee "Anonymouse" for two reasons:

1. To distinguish your posts from other (potential) anonymous users

2. Just in case you turn out to be a cute, furry quadruped with an entirely rational fear of cats

You see, there is a fine line between Reality, and my world. If you choose to cross that line, you must live by my rules. One of those rules is a nickname requirement. But just like in a good restaurant, if you don't bring a coat and tie, we'll make you wear one of ours!

Now here's a test:

Who got married to the widow next door?

-Sage Words

Alynn said...

See There Mr. Words, when you are married to a wife like mine you don't need an exchange system.

When you have so much Charisma that you can turn a perfectly good and attractive woman into a comicbook/gaming/rp nerd, you go a long way into getting to only watching movies you want.

I bought Ironman on DVD today, my wife jumped up and down and was happy...

I have found nerdvana...