Karen Krizanovich column

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It's Saturday. Time to think about how you would like to spend the rest of your working life. For instance, wouldn't it be nice to have a cushy job? Somebody like you should be doing something more glamorous, more fun and, needless to add, something that actually pays the kind of money you're worth. Am I right? Aren't there times when you feel you get treated like a Roman soldier? I mean, those poor guys got paid in salt. Imagine the water retention at the weekends, bingeing on your wages until your sandals didn't fit.

But I digress.

Saturday is also the day you scout the entertainment listings. It's about now that you think, "Hey! I should be a film critic. What a great job. Seeing movies all week and I'd get paid for it. I'd get invited to fancy royal premieres, interview famous actors, marry a famous actor, direct a famous film, become rich and famous."

Nope. A film critic's life isn't like that. Being one myself, it is a job as stupid and loathsome as any other - although probably still not as idiotic as what you do all week.

Picture this. On Monday and Tuesdays, you have to see all the films released that week. This can mean seeing five films in a row. These films will not be Citizen Kane, 2001, The Godfather, The Last Seduction and Raging Bull. They will be Biff: A Boy's Story, How Mom Made Muffins and Speed 2: Cruise Control. There will be a smattering of dull Euro-puddings, Albanian- Hawaiian joint ventures and 75 minutes of American trash so mindless your kids will love it. You'll have to watch these stinkers anyway. No snoozing either. The best bit about this job is that you can make up to pounds 200 a week if you're really top notch.

An extra twist in the system is having to view films at ten on a Monday morning. Can you think of one movie you'd want to see at that hour? Me neither. I still haven't recovered from watching the Canadian model Natasha Henstridge parading around naked in some sci-fi flick called Species at an early morning screening some years ago.

Of course, most adults would prefer to see an alien gorefest after their morning coffee. But what really ruined me was Natasha's taut buttocks moving deftly through the undergrowth (before she turned into a flesh- eating monster, that is). Those buttocks were enough to put me off my feed.Which brings me to yet another reason not to be a film critic - one which is perhaps the only real occupational hazard of this profession - you will soon sport an enormously fat ass. Film critics are, on the whole, not attractive people. We are children of the night.

Still, I will sacrifice my own glutes for you, my people, so that you won't waste your hard-earned money on bad movies. That's why me and my big butt are begging you to see Austin Powers: International Man Of Mystery, the new comedy by Mike Myers released this Friday. This is the one we've been waiting for, the one that makes sitting in the darkness with a bunch of people you don't really like worth it. It's funny. It's silly. It's fresh. It's one movie that makes you feel smarter than it is.

Of course, maybe you won't like it. Maybe you don't fancy seeing a groovy distillation of London in the swinging 60s as it never was. Maybe you don't want to laugh until you squeak. Perhaps you don't want to see what a character named "Alotta Fagina" looks like.

Austin Powers is, as I've said before, the funniest film since Airplane! - and it is about as quotable. (If you've seen Airplane!, you know what I'm on about. If not, shame on you.) See Austin Powers and you'll be running around the house saying, "Shagadelic baby!" and "Oh, behave!". You'll drag out your velvet Regency suit, floppy cravat, Beatle boots and groove the night away.

Or, at least I did. I can't be the only one who does stuff like that. Come on. Admit it. You sing into your deodorant bottle when nobody's home. You dress up and tell jokes to yourself in the mirror. You can quote - verbatim - lines from Airplane!, like the classic "Guess I picked the wrong week to give up smoking."

Okay, fine. Don't admit it. Make me look like a fool. See if I care. There is a tendency these days to quote movie lines to each other when socialising. Far from the old days when Noel Coward coined his own witticisms, nowadays we are all too tired and blotto to think of something clever by ourselves. We steal from people more amusing than we are. We steal from folks who are paid to be funny.

It's like some insidious club. One casual toss-away line of, "Ever been inside a Turkish prison?", and, blam, you are in with the in-crowd, trying to outgun the next quote with something even more well-known, something even funnier. Trot out "Give me a vector, Victor", "I'd buy that for a dollar" or "Lucco Brazzi sleeps with the fishes" and everyone will see how hip you are. Burst into a bar of "Springtime for Hitler" and cute girls and boys will want to know you. Being a movie nerd can actually pay off, as Tarantino found out.

Yeah, I know. Quoting movie lines is silly. It's stupid and it's puerile. But now that the summer's coming to an end, silly's rather nice. Perhaps I am an agent of the Dumbing Down of Britain, or maybe I have lived too many movies and not enough life. I don't know. But what I do know for certain is that for a really cheap thrill, I only need to glance in the mirror. Thar she blows: my big film critic's bum. It's alive!

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