Friday, May 20, 2016

You can't spell HRAFF without two F's

The most unusual double feature I have ever unwittingly planned was the one where both of the movies contain a euphemism for the word "fuck" in their titles.

That happened on Tuesday night, when I went to see the HRAFF screening of the movie GTFO, followed by a regular old cinematic screening of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Be it the word "Foxtrot" or just the plain old letter F, both movies were trying to tell me about the word "fuck" without actually saying it.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is, of course, the acronym WTF as spoken in the military alphabet. I would probably know that anyway, but I know it even more because I've memorized the military alphabet as part of my job. I regularly read out serial numbers to users and vendors, and the military alphabet lets a person do that without any confusion or fears of being misheard ("Did you say C or B or D?"). Here, I'll show you: alpha bravo charlie delta echo foxtrot golf hotel india juliet kilo lima mike november oscar papa quebec romeo sierra tango uniform victor whiskey x-ray yankee zulu. (You have no idea how quickly I typed that, but it was pretty quickly.)

Then GTFO stands for Get the Fuck Out, an acronym male gamers regularly hurl at female gamers who are trying to share their testosterone-laden gaming space. (The documentary is about the unsafe and abusive environment for female gamers and what to do about it.)

Unfortunately, I kind of wanted both of these movies to get the fuck out. I gave both of them 2.5 stars, and I think I may have been even a bit generous to Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. (It's just hard to be mean to Tina Fey.) GTFO is on an important subject, but it's a poorly made film -- badly lit and using some interview footage filmed over Skype. It just doesn't look very nice, it's edited poorly, and the information is conveyed haphazardly. Then Whiskey is kind of a big collection of "so what?" Fey tries her hardest to be chipper and appealing, but she doesn't come across all that well, and the characters are difficult to care a thing about.

Because I was worried that I might be told to get the fuck out, I told a funny little lie before my screening of Whiskey.

I was well within my rights to be using my critics card, as the movie had only been out for five days and it was an approved night of the week to use the card. Yet I stumbled when confronted by an innocent question from the person printing me my ticket:

"Are you going be reviewing this film?"

Now, to be clear, she was not asking me this because she wanted to determine the validity of me using my critics card. If anything, she was starstruck. "Here is this great person before me, who has the power to tell other people to see movies or not see them." If anything, she couldn't believe that she was in some way involved in the process of a movie review coming into existence.

But I acted on instinct and saw a threat. "Yes," I said.

Well, I'm not reviewing this movie. My editor reviewed it like two weeks ago. And disliked it even more than I did.

But she wasn't done. She asked where my review would be appearing. Still starstruck, mind you. Still not checking up on me.

"ReelGood," I said, continuing the lie. I mean, that is the site I write for. But I did not venture a "dot com" or any other indication of what type of media organization ReelGood actually was. If she really wanted to follow up on our conversation, she could do the digging.

Not that it will ever come back to me, but if it did, I could always say I thought I was reviewing it and hadn't realized that we'd already reviewed it.

When I got inside, I jokingly texted my editor that he needed to repost his Whiskey review tomorrow and put my name on it.

To quote Curtis Armstrong, sometimes you just have to say WTF.

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