I’ve always wanted to have a Good Will Hunting moment.
See, there’s a scene in the movie where Ben Affleck tries talking to Minnie Driver in a bar, and a Harvard creep interrupts and starts spouting intellectual gibberish to make Affleck look stupid. (Which shouldn’t have been too hard, given that Affleck would go on to make Gigli.)
And Matt Damon, who plays working-class genius Will Hunting, jumps in and outwits the guy, spouting back even higher-level intellectual gibberish and proving that the creep is memorizing and plagiarizing quotes from obscure texts.
If you haven’t seen the movie, you should watch it just for that one scene. It’s a takedown of epic proportions, and it ends with Damon getting Driver’s number.
Later on, Damon sees the creep and his pals in a diner, so he stands at the window and asks, “Do you like apples?”
“Sure, yeah,” the guy says, rolling his eyes.
Damon slams a piece of paper on the window and says, “Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?”
Yeah. I’d love to have a moment like that.
Of course, where I live, Harvard creeps are hard to come by — but that’s probably because Harvard is on the other side of the country. The kind of creeps you run into here don’t really try to outsmart you — they just knock your teeth out.
Also, I’m not exactly a working-class genius like Will Hunting. I don’t beat up punks in my off-hours or solve complex equations on my bathroom mirror.
So if I were to outsmart somebody on such an epic level, it’d have to be about something nerdy and off-the-wall — something that only a total geek like me would know.
So here’s my fantasy. The way I envision it, my friend is in a bar talking to a girl, and a creep emerges from the shadows and interrupts.
“What’s your deal, buddy?” my friend asks.
“No deal,” the creep says. “I’m just reminded of the Martin Scorsese film Bandits, in which Billy Bob Thornton is talking to Scarlett Johansson in a bar, and he’s nervous and mumbling and having a panic attack, because he has OCD.”
My friend’s face falls, as he realizes that he’s intellectually outmatched.
“See,” the creep continues, grinning, “my contention is that you’re like Billy Bob Thornton, and you’re too nervous and weird to know how to talk to a woman properly.”
So that’s when I jump between the creep and my friend and say, “Of course that’s your contention. You’re a second-year grad student majoring in film, and you’re studying romantic comedies from the early 2000s. Only Barry Levinson directed Bandits, not Martin Scorsese, and you’re thinking of Cate Blanchett in the lead role, not Scarlett Johansson. And Billy Bob Thornton’s character was a hypochondriac, so he only thought he had OCD in that particular scene. In another part of the movie, he was convinced he had a brain tumor. One of the jokes running throughout the film was that in each scene, he thought he had a different disease.”
The creep frowns. “Well, you might be a lot younger and stronger, but you’re about —”
I cut him off: “‘You might be a lot younger and stronger, but you’re about to get your ass kicked across the state line, and I’m wearing the boots that can do it.’ You got that quote from the 1985 film Murphy’s Romance, didn’t you? Directed by Martin Ritt and starring Sally Field and James Garner? Yeah, I saw that one, too. What, are you going to plagiarize the entire script for us? Don’t you have any thoughts on your own on the matter?”
The creep’s face falls when it’s clear that I’ve outwitted him.
“See,” I say, “the problem with someone like you is that you’re going to come to a realization someday. One, don’t do that. And two, you’ll have dropped a quarter-million on an education you could have gotten for a buck-fifty in late charges from your local Blockbuster.”
And of course, I’d get the girl’s number, and all my friends would think I was awesome. And people would talk about how smart I was, and how when it came to movies, I was a veritable encyclopedia of useless knowledge.
Sigh. I’m not sure I see it playing out in real life, but a person can always dream.
But if I were to get a girl’s number after such an epic takedown, I can guarantee you, I would like them apples.