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February 7, 2004

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Defending the Pretentious

We can all relate to this month’s Esquire Complaint — people who sit through the credits. I’m not sure why I’m linking to it, because I’m an Esquire subscriber, and unless you are, you probably can’t read it. And in any case, it’s good enough and short enough that I’m going to reproduce it here in toto. Sorry, Esquire:

You are fooling no one. You know who you are. You are impressing no one, and it is time you learned the truth: Nobody thinks you’re smart because you sit through the closing credits at the end of movies.

You do this all the time (and particularly at the end of Miramax films). The movie concludes, the houselights come up, and you silently pretend to be fascinated by the cast listing. Somehow, this is supposed to indicate that you are a serious person. What this actually proves is that you are an inefficient person, because all the information you are pretending to ascertain is already on the Internet (and most of that information doesn’t matter to anyone who doesn’t actively work in the film industry). You do not have a favorite gaffer. You do not care what record label released the soundtrack. You do not know the difference between the motion caption coordinator and the environmental technical director, so why would you care who these people are (or who their first assistants are)?

Now, I realize you do this because you think your date will think you’re intellectual. She does not. She either thinks you’re a pretentious fraud (which you are), or she suddenly feels insecure (because she can’t figure out why she’s supposed to care who the secondary location scout was). The movie is over. Leave the theater. Go to the bathroom.

Being one who sits through the credits, I take umbrage, even as I appreciate Chuck Klosterman’s sneering. But I’d like to answer on behalf of the Credits-Watchers. (Others who watch the credits, feel free to chime in.)

My watching of the credits is pragmatic, above all. If there’s a crowd exiting the theatre, I prefer to let it pass me by, rather than getting caught up in the shuffle. I’ll get out like two minutes later than I would if I’d gone with the crowd, and I won’t be dumped outside by an irrepressible wave of human traffic.

After I’ve already been sitting for two hours, I’m in no rush to get up. The soundtrack’s still playing, my thoughts about the movie are coalescing, I’m relaxed. Why hurry into the over-bright, crowded theatre lobby?

Most Credits-Watchers, I’m assuming, only watch the credits because they’re there. We’re not trying to impress anyone. We don’t care about the name of the dolly grip, although we might be interested in finding out the name of the cinematographer. If anyone stays after a movie and seems legitimately amped about the identity of “Man at Construction Site #4,” they really do deserve our scorn.

Posted February 7, 2004 at 3:57 | Comments (4) | Permasnark
File under: Gleeful Miscellany


Okay, you know, I have an Esquire Complaint of my own.

They've got "Big! Style" splashed across the front of this month's issue in day-glo orange letters, with the gigantic subhed: "The 10 Best (and Worst) Dressed Men in America. Are You One?"

This big promo corresponds to... a three-page article. Which features photos apparently taken with my new camera phone. And several men that are not, in fact, well-dressed.

I mean, jeez, the cover tease almost takes up more space than the article itself.

Oh, but that's okay, because that's not the only thing on the cover, and the giant photo of Mark Ruffalo leads us to... a two-page interview.

So what up, Esquire? Have you decided that it is "uncool" to watch movie credits and "cool" to read articles that are only a page long?

Posted by: Robin on February 8, 2004 at 02:07 AM

confessions of a credit watcher:
I sit through credits because:
a) like you, I'd rather wait to exit the theatre without the jostling crowd
b) if it's an animated feature I am obsessed with knowing the names of those voices I couldn't place
c) if it's a meaningful flick - I want a few quiet moments to reflect! at home when a good movie is over I don't get up and run out of my living room!
d) I'm givin' my eyes some time to adjust to the light

No one has mentioned all the bonuses you might get. Ferris Bueller talking to the audience, the outtakes from "Being There" and lately the bonus of learning about the actual coach in "Glory Road." I have been a credit watcher ALL my life and I'm 77. I love to know the LOCATION. I love to find out who is on the SOUNDTRACK. Actually the longest one I remember was in Anna and the King and they listed all the mahoots. That was a hoot!

Posted by: Xine Harker on January 16, 2006 at 03:21 PM

I sit through the credits to pick up on the names of the composers and artists whose music was used in the film. I also have heard, during the credits, some amazingly good music (often contrasting remarkably to the music used in the film). Unfortunately, the music used over the credits is frequently not identified IN the credits. (And one of the hardest things in the world to do is to get a studio to respond to correspondence asking for information about such obscure matters.)

Posted by: Jerome Norris on January 16, 2006 at 08:16 PM
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