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Fun! In Shops!
by Xavier Jones-Barlow

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Typical Christmas Shopping...

Typical Christmas Shopping...
I hate Christmas shopping. In fact, I am not a huge fan of Christmas. That however, really is not the point. There are plenty of ways people deal with the stresses and strains of festive shopping. Unfortunately for me, I am oblivious to most of them. What follows is a very rough guide for geeks to help with the spending of money on other people. A lot of fun can be had with store assistants. And please, I'd like to make it clear that I am not sadistic or mean, just bitter. I have put up with this sort behaviour for years now. I am just a product of my experiences. So, we are not necessarily trying to make shop staff squirm, we are just testing some basic movie knowledge, exploring the water for opinion and keeping the smiles on our faces. At the same time you can see what sort of suggestions I have for gift ideas, double bonanza!

Setting The Scene
I love stupid questions. I like being asked stupid questions, because the question itself may be basic and, from a point of view, a little idiotic, I still can take pleasure in educating the asker with authority and passion. On the flip side, I like asking stupid questions because they are to the point, I will always get an accurate, honest answer and you can get a feel of what exactly you are dealing with.

When entering a DVD section of a shop, these are some of the questions you may like to consider;

'What? And these are all for sale?' - Funnily enough, this is a question I have actually witnessed in the past.

'What is the difference between DVD and VHS?' - I am certain that there are people who still do not know. Now imagine defining Blu-Ray and HD.


Yeah, really. This line of questioning is always fun;-

'Huh, $40 eh?'
-Yes Sir.
'How about I take this extra disc out, because I only want the film'
-Erm, no. It is the whole price for the whole box.
'But I don't want the extra disc, and while you are at it, can you scratch off all the talking from the director or whatever. I just want the film.'
-Well er...
'I'll give you $7 for it'

-Etc, etc.

Fighting Talk
Something with the boys in mind. This opens up a whole plethora of questions that I would like to deal with in a future column perhaps. In the time being, let me ask you, or the clerk;

'Who do you think would win in a fight. Jason Bourne, or James Bond?'

It is a toughie. Or is it? For years and years and, snore, years, I have had to put up with watching a Bond film every Christmas day including the year I was still in gestation. The concept is awesome, the execution; a little tiring. But, then came Daniel Craig and a modern interpretation of the first Bond story. It was the bollocks. Little did the Bond franchise realise, Jason Bourne was on the scene and kicking ass (as opposed to kicking arse) and I am a big fan. With the literary trilogy complete, and we will ignore the third party additions, Matt Damon, I feel, would kick Connery, Moore, Lazenby and Brosnan into the last century. Without spitting vodka into their eyes. Craig however has bought a darkness and brooding that the character has needed for fifty years now. It would be some fight. At the end of the day, when
'Bond is doing a signing where?!?!?'

'Bond is doing a signing where?!?!?'
poker chips, high tech gadgets and ball-point pens have been cast aside the BOURNE 1/2/3 disc box set would make most blokes happy, I am sure.

'Who do you think would win in a fight. Optimus Prime, or Spider-Man (3)?'

I would like to think that these two bastions of goodness would never resort to duking it out. But they did, during the summer. And there was one clear winner. As a Spider-Man fan since the age of four (1980 folks), and I boast a comic collection that almost reaches the thousand mark. I always have high hopes for the SPIDER-MAN films. I am of the opinion that all the major mistakes were made in the first fifteen minutes of the franchise and I think I have finally made my spiritual peace with Mr. Riami. Spider-Man 3 was a hell of alot of fun, an action sequence that really did nearly blow my mind, possibly because I was sitting in the front row of the cinema. And enough comic folklore to get the nostalgic brain juices running. But. BUT. Prime, Bumblebee and Starscream come along and wash the spider down the sink. As a huge Michael Bay critic, and the over macho expressionism he feels he has to use, I had no expectations whatsoever. I was blown away. It is an astounding film. True, honest and amazing to watch. I was very fortunate to be in the position to witness the opening weekend on both sides of the Atlantic, and for the first time in several years, I think a summer 'braindead' blockbuster has made it to my film of the year. I won't bang on about it, that is what reviews are for. Brother/Dad/Son/Uncle/Gay lover would love this, if they do not have it already.

That's not Fair! That's not Fair!!!

'Do you have the 3-Disc edition of HOT FUZZ?'

This is not funny. On so many levels. It seems that Karma has bit me in the ass (arse) and taught me a lesson. If you North American guys 'n' gals were to go into a DVD store and ask this question you would probably get handed a copy of the three disc edition of HOT FUZZ. It looks like my debut columns' smugness and fake sense of superiority have been put into check. You bastards. As far as I know we ain't getting this. So if you one of the none British people reading this, ask the question in your local HMV/Zavvi, and get the same desperate, blank looks on my face right now.

Avert your eyes!
I think that is a specific message for me. But nether-the-less there is something profound here! This year saw the realese of the 20ith anniversary of DIRTY
Pre-School Musical

Pre-School Musical
. Possibly (without thinking about it too much) one of my favourite 'chick' flicks ever. The question here, for your either bewildered, or potential Matchflicker shop assistant is;

'I want to buy my Girl/Boyfriend something raunchy for Christmas. So, in your educated and esteemed opinion, what has the sluttiest, most depraved and almost unacceptable level of hip grinding, booty waving, swing your genitals type of flick you can think of. DIRTY DANCING or HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL?!???'

I mean, really?

Get Geeky!

This is very topical. Of course, as Matchflickers we can all come up with a geeky question to stump the 'lesser film geek' (Copyright-ZB). And I am all sure you all know what I mean. 'Who shot first?', 'Who was the girlfriend, in reality?' and 'So, did he?' are all questions that only the deepest groove of geekiness can can satisfy. My suggestion for a question is this;

'What cut, edition or format do you recommend I watch BLADE RUNNER on?'

We should all consider ourselves lucky. Not only do we get a 2007 'ultimate' cut of one of the most superb pieces of science fiction to hit the movie screen (I watched it, at the cinema last night), but we get the choice of 1,2,4 or 5 disc box sets. I think that probably caters for all age/price ranges, a marketing triumph perhaps.

(N.B. In my opinion the original cut is still the best, although I am very intrigued as to what this 'Workprint' version is all about)

In conclusion, a compendium of movie-swot questions and your views on the above film will, as always, be appreciated.

Predicting the Future

My favourite. Perhaps I just like the different array of confused faces you can come across. At this point you can catch the most ardent of shop-gods off guard, and indeed, maybe even deduce your future soul-mate. In this life anything is possible. Anyhow. Try some of these;

'Have you got that film that James McEvoy got nominated for an Oscar for?'

'Do you have the 3-Disc edition of HOT FUZZ?' (Only works in Britain. Bollocks)

'What is that film about the dead girl? I think Peter Jackson directed it...?'

'Have you got that weird thing with Robert Downey Jr and Black Sabbath?'

'Have you got that film that is based on that Vonnegut book?'

'What's that Star Trek film with Simon Pegg in it called?'

That was fun. Despite all the above suggestions, which I will stand by, there is something blindingly obvious that you can do for a friend or loved one this Christmas. As a film fan, why not take the advice of my esteemed matchflick mentor or friend and go and take the recipient to the movies. First impressions last, especially with movies, and it matters not if the film is good or bad, it is the memory and company that can make or break it. I know of two people that will benefit from this insight, and I am looking forward to watching both THE NORTHERN COMPASS and ST. TRINIANS by taking them. Now, I hope that these people are not reading this.

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Xavier analyses film, literary. A bizarre melding of books and movies.

Other Columns
Other columns by Xavier Jones-Barlow:

My Month As A Teenage Girl

Mr Jones and the Shame of the Spolier Scolls

Fragment: Consider Revising.

Proof Reading The Movies #1

The Cinematic Chicken And The Literary Egg

All Columns

Xavier Jones-Barlow
Xavier lives in Scotland where it is very cold. He spends his time writing about live bands and people dreamt up in his bizarre imagination. Quite huggable .

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Xavier Jones-Barlow by clicking here.

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