First off, thanks for all your insights on babysitting etiquette & economics! It was very helpful for me ... and if you needed to vent, and got a chance to, I hope it was helpful for you as well.
Today's question: What are your favorite moments of social brilliance or awkwardness in the movies?
One of mine (and Mr. Improbable's) is in the little-known, but marvelous, "Ripley's Game," starring John Malkovich as a Ripley long since married, and retired to a villa in Italy. For some reason I don't think the film was ever widely released, but it's delightfully dark and funny, and Mr. Malkovich is superbly cast as the terribly civilized, terribly brutal, terribly talented Mr. Ripley.
Anyway, in one scene, the host of a party is disparaging Ripley, not realizing that he has come in. The dialogue is as follows:
Jonathan: That's the trouble with Ripley. Too much money and no taste. (sees Ripley) Oh, hi. You're here then. We were hoping you'd come.Malkovich says each "Meaning?" in exactly the same tone, and by the end of the scene, Jonathan is undone. It's marvelous. (The rest of the movie concerns Ripley's somewhat elaborate reaction to Jonathan's faux pas.)Ripley: Why?Jonathan: Well... to add spice to the evening.Ripley: Meaning?Jonathan: You're a bit of a local personality.Ripley: Meaning?Jonathan: People have heard about you.Ripley: Meaning?Jonathan: Nothing. Just ... nothing.
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Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.