Revenge is an Octopus Best Served Cold

Jane was away for half of last week, so I saw a couple of movies with friends: Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes with Shag, and the Korean thriller Old Boy with David. The Jarmusch was great, especially the segments with Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina, and Tom Waits and Iggy Pop. Old Boy was pretty heavy but pretty gripping, with its story of a man held captive for fifteen years for reasons unknown, then released and given five days to find out why—and to seek revennngge.

Not many people at the movies on a cold Thursday night. Only a dozen in Cameo One: some bearded guy and his girlfriend sitting near us, and a few others here and there. David and I chatted about this and that through the Lynx commercials, then stopped when the trailers came on, as is only polite.

After the movie’s intense finale, we sat there for a while before wandering out into the lobby. “I’m never eating octopus again!” said David on the way out. Certainly not alive, I agreed. And how about that DIY dentistry with a claw-hammer? Ouch.

It looked freezing outside, so we paused a moment before leaving, like a few other people were. “I didn’t really like the way the director portrayed the villain so sympathetically,” mused David. “Just what was going on in that big confrontation scene?”

I was about to engage in some friendly disagreement—I didn’t feel the director was portraying him sympathetically, myself—when one of the people nearby interrupted. It was the bearded guy, pulling a beanie over his shaved head as he prepared to leave (did I mention that he looked just like those bouncing green heads in Spirited Away?).

“He was doing all that to stop the other one from telling the girl,” he said.

Okay. So you’re joining in; that’s fine. We were all in the audience, we’re all fellow viewers here. But just as I was about to disagree with this guy in turn (because I thought there was a lot more going on in that scene—genuine remorse, for a start), he continued:

“The director didn’t put it there for pretentious fucks to stand around analysing afterwards!”

And, with a shove of the glass doors, left.

David shouted something indignant after him—“Not as pretentious as someone who calls people pretentious fucks!”—but he had already gone, off into the night with his lucky lady. I just stood there in mild shock, as I usually do when confronted by a passing sack of bile. Needless to say, I chewed on his gratuitous insult for the entire walk home, as David later told me he also did.

Pretentious fuck? Moi? I hadn’t even said anything yet! You didn’t even give me a chance to be a pretentious fuck, you... you fuck! Unless he’d overhead some off-hand comment before the movie—he was sitting in front of us, after all. Was it something I’d said, or that David had said? Something that he’d inferred from what one of us had said? Or both of us? Or what?

And: what? So, he never analyses a film afterwards? What had he just been doing? And how is it pretentious to wonder aloud what a key scene meant in a film? Are we supposed to just consume our entertainment silently like sheep, and bottle up our thoughts on it all, and wait for a moment to rage at some stranger who dares speak openly on the subject, after first growing a beard and shaving our head?

Were we seriously supposed to believe that he was going to travel all the way home with his partner without either of them mentioning that they’d just watched someone eat a live octopus?

Well, Mr Angry Man, of Angry Wynd, Angryburgh, you might want to consider doing some anger management. Or go and see the movie of the same name. It’s got a really straightforward plot, which doesn’t invite any post-film analysis.

Hmph. Insulting strangers to their face is pathetic. Much better to get a website and insult them in front of thousands.