Tuesday, September 05, 2006

TIFF 2006 #1: So Cute...So Rude...

I’m getting things underway a little late this year because, really, how many times can you be expected to read about the splendor of the program book, the inane ticket lottery and the flurry of box numbers before you actually slip into unconsciousness out of sheer boredom? (If you desperately need a fix, you can always revisit the diaries from previous festivals, links to which can be found here. Or just check out the blog archives from September 2005.) So, my apologies if you were somehow anxiously anticipating details of where my order landed (box 2 of 40) or which box was drawn first (#22) or how many tickets I scored as a result (33 of my 35 picks). Scintillating though those details might have been, I’ve decided less is more where needless pre-fest rambling is concerned.

That said, here’s some needless pre-fest rambling…

[Note: Starting in a day or so, this diary also appears, in its entirety and with plenty of pretty pictures!, over at Moviepie’s TIFF Diary main page. Updates appear here first, every night, though.]

Today was ticket-exchange day, but this entry has less to do with exchanging tickets than it does with the fascinating juxtapositions that occur frequently during the festival. Sometimes it means seeing a horrible movie right before a cinematic masterpiece; sometimes it means winding up in a seat between someone who smells horrible and someone who’s fresh as a daisy; and sometimes, like today, it means seeing The Cutest Thing EVER within 90 minutes of seeing The Rudest Thing EVER.

First, the cute. So ridiculously cute that it was physically painful. In line this morning, a few people behind me, was a young woman with a tiny, flopsy black lab puppy on a big red leash. (AWWWWWWW!) But, even cuter was the fact that the puppy was wearing a green smock that read “Future Guide Dog in Training” on it! (Seriously, AWWWWWWW!) [The dog at left, though adorable, is not the dog I saw...the puppy in line was much smaller, and its smock was much bigger.] I told her that the wee dog was, hands down, the absolute cutest thing I have ever seen in a film festival line-up. And I meant it.

About an hour-and-a-half later came the monumentally rude. To preface this short tale: in line, right in front of the cute puppy and its handler, stood a guy I’m going to call Obnoxious Man, because he was so odious that he took obnoxiousness to a practically superhuman level. He was a doughy businessman-looking guy in his late-20s or early-30s, and everything he said was ALL IN CAPS BECAUSE HE’S IMPORTANT. Well, Obnoxious Man was lined up because he desperately, DESPERATELY wanted a ticket to the Borat movie. He was sweating, he wanted a ticket that badly. And he made sure we all knew how much he wanted one.

So, while waiting for the box office to open, Obnoxious Man struck up a conversation with the TIFF volunteer assigned to Line Patrol this morning – a pleasant and unassuming older woman, perhaps in her 60s?, with a France-French (as opposed to Québecois-French) accent. Obnoxious Man told her about his all-consuming desire for the Borat ticket, and she shared with him that she, too, really wants to see that film, but (since both screenings are sold out) that she kept checking all day yesterday to see if anyone had returned any. They hadn’t, there were no Borat tickets in the system and she thought Obnoxious Man’s chances might be slim.

Cut to 90 minutes later, about 15 minutes after the box office opened and the moment Obnoxious Man emerged from his ticket-exchange experience. I was standing outside waiting for a festbuddy to finish his order, and Obnoxious Man – clearly pleased with himself – strode out gleefully and headed directly over to the TIFF volunteer with whom he’d been chatting. I kid you not, this is what he did: he took a ticket, held it up in front of her face and said, “Read it and WEEP!”

It was a ticket to the Borat movie.

In that instant, with that dumb-ass (not to mention offensive) move, Obnoxious Man guaranteed himself a festival’s worth of seriously bad TIFF karma. I mean, who does that? Who GLOATS??? And who gloats over Borat??? To a volunteer, who’s friendly and doing a good job and working for free, of all people??? You’re just asking for a karmic bitchslap! The ticket-procuring process is hard enough on everyone as it is, so getting a ticket to a film that you know someone else desperately wants is usually a time for modesty, humility, apology and encouragement (“Oh, really? You wanted this one? Oh. Wow, I guess I just got lucky or something. That’s weird because that never happens to me. You can always try the rush line, though. Or try same-day! Someone might return a ticket tomorrow, so don’t give up!”). It is not a time for schoolyard taunting. Dumbass.

So, if anything goes awry at either of the Borat screenings, now you’ll know why. If the film breaks or the print doesn’t show up or Sacha Baron Cohen gets food poisoning or a plague of locusts descends on the theater, blame Obnoxious Man and his big, fat thumbing of the nose to festival courtesy and good manners. The universe frowns on the unapologetically impolite, and may just crap all over Obnoxious Man in the coming days. Stand clear.


The Midnight Queen said...

Was his ticket for the midnight screening? I'm volunteering for that one, and I'd be delighted to act as an agent of karma if the opportunity comes up.


Vickie said...

Ooooh, that would be hilarious. Unfortunately, I didn't catch which screening he snagged. My *guess* would be midnight, since that one seemed a little looser availability-wise (because of the late hour) than the daytime one, but I really don't know for sure.

I'm sure the universe will do its bit to kick his ass in some way, though! (But, you know, the universe can always use freelance agents! ;-))

Linda said...

Obnoxious Man is obviously the cousin of Bumbling Sweating Man who pushes small children and old ladies out of the way to get the free Reign of Fire or The Core T-shirts at the free screenings in my town. He is always at the front, he always gets the schwag, and he ALWAYS wears his loot when seen at the movies. I think I saw him the other day on the bus (on his way to a screening) proudly donning his Saw II shirt. He makes me very uncomfortable. I'm sure he'd club someone over the head to get a Borat T-shirt...

Vickie said...


Bumbling Sweating Man is, in turn, likely related to Man Boobs, who does EXACTLY the same thing at free screenings in Toronto. In addition...and you may wish to stop reading if you have delicate sensibilities...after the screenings are over, he goes through the aisles, collects empty (large-size) popcorn bags and -- I kid you not -- brings them out to the concession stand for FREE REFILLS.


People are strange.

ThisWatch said...

Karmic bitchslap, France French--I love your voice as always. So there's no chance of Ebert this year, yes?

Vickie said...

I don't think so.

Last I read, he was still recovering, and his official site would have had Toronto info by now if he was here or en route. Though, who knows, maybe he'll be spontaneously healed and re-energized so that he can go about evading me just like always. ;-)

Vickie said...


Should that be "if he WERE here"?

Dammit. It's late and I'm sleepy, so my apologies to the writers and copy editors among you if I'm gramatically flawed. And, if I'm not, ne'ermind.

Matt said...

Wow -- you predicted the Borat meltdown. Sure, the print showed up, Cohen seemed healthy, and the locusts stayed home, but the film broke. Badly. Michael Moore tried to fix it. Yes, that Michael Moore. No luck, though, and it's rescheduled for tonight at the Elgin. Thanks, Mr. Obnoxious Man.

You can get the details from someone who was actually there.

The_Voice said...

This upsets me as Borat was a first choice of mine and BAM, I didn't get it :P This is why the ticket system doesn't work :P And it wasn't even the PREMIERE I was going for... it was the second showing :P

Forget the print not showing... i want it showing up in French.