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[This one’s from the archives. Originally posted August 5, 2010 on]

A MAN and a WOMAN are at a video store. By the look on the Woman’s face, they have been here for quite some time. The Man is distracted by a DVD cover of women exposing themselves atop a fire truck.

WOMAN: I still think we should get a regular movie.

MAN: What’s in a regular movie? I don’t want to watch a regular movie. Wait, what is a regular movie? I really don’t know what you mean.

WOMAN: A man and woman falling in love, or the world crumbling to pieces. Or both.

MAN: Both? Their fate is that they die, then. Is that a tragic love story? Do you want to rent a tragic love story?


MAN: If you do, you’re going to have to know the ending first. “Romeo and Juliet”?

WOMAN: That has too much talking.

MAN: It’s Shakespeare. How can you say Shakespeare has too much talking?

WOMAN: And we just saw a play last weekend. I don’t want to see a couple of people going on and on in a room.

MAN: I already said we didn’t have to rent “Tape.”

WOMAN: Is that the one shot on video?

MAN: Yeah. But Ethan Hawke is amazing. And the guy from “Dead Poets Society.”

WOMAN: I know what “Tape” is. Uma Thurman. They’re in a hotel room the whole time.

MAN: I don’t care for Richard Linklater, but he did a good job directing that one. And he didn’t write it.

WOMAN: I liked “Before Sunrise.”

MAN: And how about that sequel “Before Sunset”?

WOMAN: Why are you looking at me like that?

MAN: Those are too talkie. Linklater’s too talkie. He goes on and on ─ [Picks up DVD.] Here we go. “Reservoir Dogs.”

WOMAN: Tarantino swears too much.

MAN: Tarantino’s hardly in it.

WOMAN: You know what I mean. His characters.

MAN: His characters are great. You’re just trying to get me back, now. You’re mad.

WOMAN: “Before Sunrise” is a good movie. And I don’t want to rent “Tape.”

MAN: I wasn’t a fan of Ethan Hawke until “Gattaca.” Let’s rent “Gattaca!”


MAN: It’s not a talkie movie at all.

WOMAN: Then why mention it?

MAN: Jude Law’s in it, and he’s in a wheelchair.

WOMAN: Jude Law’s hot, standing or lying down.

MAN: Alright, then let’s rent “Closer.” It has Jude Law.

WOMAN: That’s talkie isn’t it?

MAN: But it’s filthy dirty.

WOMAN: A lot of sex?

MAN: No, not really. But they talk about sex. They talk about everything that’s difficult in relationships, except for the problems that come with agreeing on a video to rent.

WOMAN: I don’t like Clive Owen anymore.

MAN: Me either, but he’s really good in “Closer.” They all are. Natalie Portman, and so is Julia Roberts, for once.

WOMAN: You think Natalie Portman’s hot.

MAN: Yes. Mike Nichols directed it. He’s sometimes all over the place, some bad 80′s movies; but he has good movies, too. He directed “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” which is the best one-location film of all time –

WOMAN: Don’t care. What’s this movie?

MAN: “Dogville.” Good, but I think it’s anti-American. And shot on video on a soundstage. Too many ideas in one story.

WOMAN: “Clue”?

MAN: Again?

WOMAN: It’s funny.

MAN: It’s talkie, though.

WOMAN: No. They’re inside a huge mansion, not just one room.

MAN: I know the ending. How about “Noises Off”? I’ll rent that. Same style as “Clue.”

WOMAN: They’re on stage the whole time. I don’t get it.

MAN: It’s a play about a play, which they made into a movie. Michael Caine, John Ritter –

WOMAN: It’s kind of corny.

MAN: It is, but it’s mostly funny.

WOMAN: Like “Brain Donors.” That’s a real masterpiece.

MAN: Don’t be a jerk. That movie’s hilarious. It’s a modern Marx Brothers movie starring John Turturro.

WOMAN: It’s awful. And I don’t know what a Marx Brother is.

MAN: Michael Caine’s in a lot of talkie movies, actually. “Deathtrap” is awesome.

WOMAN: That one part in “Deathtrap” scared me, but it was weird to see Superman as a regular person. Sidney Lumet direct that?

MAN: I don’t know who that is. Ira Levin wrote the play. Author of “Rosemary’s Baby.” Superman, Christopher Reeve, is also in “Noises Off” with Michael Caine. And Michael Caine’s in the talkie “Sleuth.” Original and remake. Decent movies. He plays the young guy in the original, and the older guy in the — Jude Law’s in the remake. And Jude Law plays Caine’s part in the remake of “Alfie.”

WOMAN: I’m not listening.

MAN: “Oleanna.”


MAN: “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

WOMAN: Isn’t that basically just like Oleanna?

MAN: David Mamet wrote “Glengarry Glen Ross,” but he wrote and directed “Oleanna.” They’re nothing alike. Although, “Oleanna” really is talkie. It’s heady. But “Glengarry Glen Ross” is the best. You know, William H. Macy only has two good movies. “Oleanna” and “Fargo.”

WOMAN: You’re exaggerating to get me to rent “Oleanna.”

MAN: But when David Mamet directs, he has a problem with framing cutaway shots. Or he puts them in where they don’t fit. Come on, come on. “Glengarry Glen Ross.” David Mamet didn’t direct, so we don’t have to worry about the cutaways.

WOMAN: I would never, in my life, worry about cutaways.

MAN: Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jack Lemmon. “Glengarry Glen Ross” is the best talkie film of all time.

WOMAN: I thought “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” was.

MAN: They’re both the best. Richard Burton portrays one of the best rolls, though, in “Who’s Afraid of –”

WOMAN: I’m going to the car. Get whatever.

MAN: “Talk Radio.”

WOMAN: Absolutely not. It has talk in the title, for crying out loud.

MAN: It’s not really a talkie movie. Oliver Stone, before he lost clarity. It’s about a radio talk show guy going crazy because he’s losing faith in the world.

WOMAN: Sounds awful.

MAN: It’s really depressing, and really good.


MAN: What?

WOMAN: I’m going to the car. I’m not yelling over the store.

MAN: Wait!

WOMAN: What?!!

MAN: “The Lion in Winter” or “The Owl and the Pussycat.” Which one?

WOMAN: Those look old. Is that Barbra Streisand?

MAN: “The Owl and the Pussycat,” yeah. And the guy is George Segal who’s in “Who’s Afraid –” He also played the maternal father in “Look Who’s Talking.”

WOMAN: Why that Pussycat movie? Are you wanting to get frisky tonight?

MAN: Because it’s funny, and it’s like Neil Simon.

WOMAN: Of Simon and Garfunkel?

MAN: No. The playwright. “Odd Couple,” “Out of Towners.”

WOMAN: With Steve Martin?

MAN: Gross. No. That’s the remake. “The Owl and the Pussycat” is like a Neil Simon play, but written by –

WOMAN: Play? No. Car? Yes.

MAN: “The Lion in Winter” has Anthony Hopkins – young with a beard.

WOMAN: No. It looks older than the Pussycat one.

MAN: “The Lion in Winter” is like a smarter “Gladiator” with no action and a completely different story line.

WOMAN: I don’t understand. Here. [Hands him DVD.]

MAN: What’s this? “Dog Day Afternoon”? I never heard of it.

WOMAN: You’re an imbecile. Al Pacino. True story about a bank robbery. One location, mostly. And there’s a little bit of suspense.

MAN: You’ve seen it, though.

WOMAN: Well, the suspense will be for you, then. I’ll meet you in the car.

MAN: We should rob this place.

WOMAN: There wouldn’t be any witnesses.

MAN: But I already know that the drawer’s empty.

WOMAN: Make sure you hit the lights when you lock up.

MAN: I don’t know why we ever opened this video store.

WOMAN: You talk too much.

Woman exits as Man grabs an outdated bag of microwave popcorn to go with the Sydney Lumet classic “Dog Day Afternoon.”

Dan Jones

Author Dan Jones

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