How To Embrace Your Inner Geek

Revenge of the Nerds (1984)So, the other night, I was at the cinema, watching a special screening of one of my favourite ever movies (yes, I know I say that virtually every movie is one of my favourite ever movies, but that’s by the by).  Suffice to say, I had a front row seat and a wonderful, unobscured view of Aliens.

I was only 7 when it came out, so I had never seen it on the big screen, and oh my god, watching it on a teeny TV just does not do it justice. But what, you may ask, does watching Aliens have to do with inner geeks?  Liking Aliens doesn’t mean you’re geeky, it means you’ve got great taste in films. Well, I was looking forward to going to see it so much that I was Tweeting about it rather a lot on the day.

A young, achingly trendy guy in my office assumed that when I said I was going to see Aliens, I was actually going to see a band called The Aliens, who are painfully stylish and up to the minute. When I informed him otherwise, he looked mildly amused and faintly disbelieving that I’d willingly pay to see some trashy old sci-fi, action movie.

Now, I don’t claim to be a total Trendy Wendy, but I do try to cultivate a certain image at work, and 5 minutes talking to this man totally opened the can of worms that is my nerdiness.  As he walked away from my desk, I observed the remains of my so-called “cool sophistication” lying in tatters about my desk.

So far, so John Hughes (trendy guy, nerdy girl, opposites attract, yawn yawn); however, that isn’t the way this story’s going.  What was interesting was that myriad others, finding out what I was going to see that evening, suddenly crawled out of the woodwork with previously undisclosed passions for sci-fi, for Xenomorph movies, and for Lance Henriksen.  Which inspired me: no longer would I hide my inner movie geek, but rather I’d celebrate her.

“I can’t believe I just gave my panties to a geek.” — Sixteen Candles

I have issues with the term ‘Geek’.  When you hear the word do you, like me, automatically think of Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club?  It creates connotations of someone freakishly obsessed with something that the cool kids think is beneath them–a tad unfair I feel.

I don’t like soccer, but I don’t call footie fans ‘soccer nerds’.  (Actually, I call them something far worse, usually when scores of Chelsea fans are stopping me from getting home in a timely manner by blocking up the Underground).

Why should I be ashamed of having a hobby that is not only socially acceptable, but also broadens my cultural horizons?

I like movies, nay, I love movies. But I don’t love all movies –Japanese horror scares the bejeezus out of me and I don’t think I’ll ever have Eli Roth on my ‘must-watch directors’ list, but if it’s a moving picture and it doesn’t feature Kirsten Dunst, chances are I’ll give it a go.

I don’t care particularly if it’s mainstream or arthouse, just so long as I’m entertained and/or moved.  That’s why, on my shelves, you’ll find Il Postino next to 50 First Dates, and Monsters, Inc. next to The Shining.  They’re all great movies – just because I’m able to articulate why I like them doesn’t make me a freak of nature.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” – Almost Famous

Go to any social gathering, and you’ll hear people talking, discussing and arguing about any given topic.  It could be about anything: sports, politics, pizza toppings… but get into an argument with someone about Kevin Smith and you might as well have a big, illuminated sign with ‘NERD’ emblazoned on it hovering above your head.

Specialized knowledge, to the less well-informed, translates as geekiness, and is frowned upon.  For the record (and just to get the last word in on one such argument with Swiss Cheese and Bullets), eh-hem…

“Kevin Smith is an awesome writer and director, and despite a few minor glitches (Jersey Girl, anyone?), has produced some fantastic comedies: Dogma remains one of the most clever films I’ve ever seen, and there are some beautifully tender moments amongst the hilarious crudeness of Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

“It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?” – Psycho

Before I get disowned, I’d like to clarify that my mother is nothing like Norman Bates’s mum.  I have her to thank for my interest in obscure movies: when my classmates were watching pre-teen fluff, my sister and I were being introduced to sci-fi, myth and magic, and sword and sorcery.

We saw Star Wars before anyone else I knew, and we had an extensive VHS collection that included The Beastmaster, Hawk the Slayer, and Gremlins.  And whilst I may not have appreciated it at the time, despite the derision of my classmates, I’m grateful that my early film education contained the titles it did, otherwise what you’d be reading right now is a full and frank article on the finer points of The Care Bears Movie.

Call the all me names you like, nothing bad ever came from knowing the correct way to look after a Mogwai.

“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” – Gone With the Wind.

We’re all friends here.  Heck, in the 6 months since I happened upon Forgotten Flix it’s become my must-read blog in a way that Harry Knowles can only dream of, and now I find myself revelling in my nerdiness.

There are some things that maybe I should keep to myself (like the picture of Superman sellotaped to the inside of my desk drawer), but on the whole, from now on I will be proud to stand up and say,

MY NAME IS MAGGIE, AND I AM A MOVIE GEEK’.

Heck, if you’re nice about it I’ll even lend you my copy of Misfits of Science.  

Maggie Kruger fell asleep on her dad’s lap on her first cinema trip to watch Return of the Jedi in 1983, and has loved the movies ever since, even going so far as to study them at college, where she worked on a number of short films. She lives and works in London, UK, and will tell you that her favourite film is Dr Strangelove, although when pressed will also admit a certain weakness for 1980′s brat pack movies and most of Adam Sandler’s early work. Follow her on Twitter: @emmizzykay .

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About Joel Robertson

I'm the father of three boys and married to my high school sweetheart. I'm a former public school teacher (and still recovering from PTSD), reformed filmmaker, podcaster, writer, and fan of all things movie related.

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