Friday, May 17, 2013

Too easy, too hard, and sometimes inept

I'm involved in something kind of funny tonight, which should tell you a thing or two about the kind of person I am.

I'm catching up on four months worth of calendar that I didn't tear off at the time the days passed.

Why am I telling you about this on a movie blog? Well, it's a movie trivia calendar. It's called Film Fanatics. It might be Australian. I'm not sure.

Why am I actually doing this? Because my wife's sister is coming to visit tomorrow, and I want her to think I've been diligently keeping up with the calendar she got me for Christmas.

That's the kind of person I am -- the kind who pays attention to the details that might hurt somebody's feelings. People usually laugh at me when I tell them not to post about a party I had on Facebook, because I don't want the people who weren't invited to see the post. Me, I think I'm going the extra mile to keep someone from having a bad day. (Yes, I flatter myself by thinking that not getting invited to my party could ruin someone's day.)

So, when my sister-in-law walks into our bedroom, I want her to see that I have been actively using the present she got me -- a thoughtful present that's probably one of the biggest gifting successes she's ever had with me.

These calendars where you tear off a page each day are the perfect example of a thing that's better in theory than in practice. Every time I get one of these calendars -- always as a present -- I'm excited, and full of optimism that this is the year I'll finally keep pace. In practice, however, I tear off sheets dutifully until about January 15th, then never again.

Twenty thirteen might have been another year just like that, except that when doing some cleaning for my sister-in-law's arrival tonight, I noticed the calendar, still on my nightstand but utterly neglected. I decided to spend 45 minutes to un-neglect it. (Now that I'm writing a post about it, that 45 minutes has turned into about 90.)

The good thing about going through 120 pages of calendar in 45 minutes is that you don't bother agonizing over any answer for too long. If you don't know it after 20-30 seconds, you just peek at the answer and move on. 

It's actually a pretty decent source of movie trivia, as these things go. That kind of thing is by no means a sure thing. I've seen movie trivia along the lines of the following:

What's the name of Luke Skywalker's little green friend?

A. Yoda
B. Chewbacca
C. E.T.
D. Charlie Brown

In fact, that's much more common. 

However, just because this one exceeds that low bar, it doesn't mean I can't have a laugh or two at the expense of the 2013 Film Fanatics calendar. See, one of the recurring puzzles is a title scramble, where they give you two familiar words that you have to unscramble into the title of a popular movie. They'll even give you the year.

I'm usually good at word scrambles, but these ones were stumping me. With the first four I came across, I just couldn't see the title in my head. They were the following:

FIERY WELL (1993 movie)

ROMAN POPE (1973 movie)

RUN FLYING (1968 movie)

RAISED RYE (1969 movie)

I'll give you a minute to think on them, if you want.

Okay, answers:

Free Willy, Paper Moon, Funny Girl, Easy Rider

Lame. I should have gotten at least one. (Even if I've seen only one of them -- Easy Rider -- all the titles were obviously familiar to me.)

Perhaps the calendar sensed I needed to be thrown a bone, because on February 22nd, this was the so-called "Marquee Mix-Up":

INEPT ICON (2010 movie)

If I had been taking a sip of my drink at the time, I would have spat it out.

Hello? You have to do more than move a single letter to qualify as a successful scramble. Literally, the C is moved from after the first N to after the second I. That's it.

I suppose they were trying to stick with the rules of making real words. However, they weren't sticklers for all the rules, because they took a one-word title and made it two.

I mean, would this have been so hard?


Thanks, I thought it was a nice point, too.

Maybe all I needed was a little time to warm up. I easily got the next two:

FLIP UP TONIC (1994 film) and CHOIR SEXTET (1973 film)

And ... time's up:

Pulp Fiction and The Exorcist

However, then Film Fanatics had me again on the April 26th page, as I failed to get WORMY PATENT (1990 film). A shame, because that's a great phrase, WORMY PATENT. Turns out it was, of course, Pretty Woman.

Fittingly, today's page was the last one: LEAF PHOTOS (1998 film). It took a minute -- longer than the 20-30 seconds I had been allowing myself -- but I eventually got Hope Floats.

And now, when my sister-in-law gets off the 14-hour flight from Australia tomorrow, she'll have one more reason to have a nice day.


Travis McClain said...

A few years ago, my wife's mother gave me one of those daily tearaway calendars, but it was from The History Channel. The theme (I think) was a this-day-in-history thing. I dunno. Despite my degree being in history the truth is, I don't have much enthusiasm for trivia. I never have. I'm into concepts and issues, etc.

I have little interest in the minutiae of names and dates, but that's what's easy to print on a tearaway calendar page so that's what they mass produce as a "thoughtful" gift for historians and history buffs.

I actually found the calendar while cleaning a few months ago. It had fallen under the couch and had remained there long after the last date it covered. I think I left off somewhere around 4 January, so you were 11 days ahead of me!

Vancetastic said...

It's sad but true. They really are a good idea and I really am philosophically in favor of them, they just aren't practical on many levels.