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Pete Thunell: Battling my artistic side at the Redbox

This is a conversation I’ve had with myself about a hundred times standing at the Redbox looking for a movie.

Artsy Pete: Hey bro. Long time no talk.

Action movie Pete: Oh uh, hey Artsy. I didn’t expect you to show up right now.

AP: Pete, look at these movies you’re thinking of renting. These are terrible. Is this really how you’re going to kill the next two hours?

AMP: Listen, it’s Friday night. It’s been a long stinkin’ week at work. Haven’t I earned the chance to watch something entertaining and unwind? I don’t want to be challenged. I don’t want to learn about the plight of Marxist Italian postal workers. I just want to see a few explosions and maybe watch Tom Cruise run away from said explosions.

AP: But an artsy film can be so much more! It’s entertains and it nourishes the soul!

AMP: Ugh. You sound like Tammy trying to sell the kids on eating cabbage.

AP: Don’t you remember all those art films you watched in college. Aren’t you the same guy who teared up while watching a 15-minute static shot of an Iranian woman running under olive trees because of what it said about love and freedom? What happened to your soul, man?

AMP: Hey, I almost cried during “Inside Out” when Bing Bong jumped out of the wagon. I still have a soul.

AP: Pixar doesn’t count! They make everyone cry. That’s like their whole mission statement: “Kids movies that will haunt you later in bed as you contemplate old age, death and losing a loved one.” It’s on their letterhead. Pete, you need to do more. Have you forgotten you minored in humanities?

AMP: Listen, we both know 80 percent of the reason I did that minor was to up my skills at Trivial Pursuit.

AP: It doesn’t matter. Why don’t you swing by the library and pick up something more substantial? Like, say, Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.”

AMP: Just a thought, what if they remade “The Seventh Seal” where now it’s about Jake Gyllenhaall and he has an older brother who is a part of an elite six-man SEAL team, and the team gets captured. Now it's up to Jake, who had been a SEAL but had washed out, as the seventh SEAL to save the team from the terrorists?

AP: OK … That does sound awesome. Maybe the older brother could be someone from a little-known independent film?

AMP: Sure, and we’ll even have them play chess against one of the terrorists who is wearing a billowing black cloak, just to tie it in to the original.

AP: Holy cow, that’s … NO! Stop! Do not distract me from my point.

AMP: OK, what if the seals this time are six performing seals at Sea World and their brother saw that “Blackfish” documentary and wants to break them all out. The seal could be voiced by Jake Gyllenhaall.

AP: That one is way worse, and what’s up with all this Jake Gyllenhaall business?

AMP: He’s awesome in everything.

AP: Agreed. Hold on, hold on, I see what you’re doing. You're trying to distract me. Delete “Jupiter Rising” from your Redbox queue. I see it there. You know it’s going to be terrible. There is no way you honestly think this movie is going to be good. I mean, we share a brain. I’m looking in our brain right now, and the brain knows for a fact the movie is going to be awful.

AMP: Maybe it’ll be good … OK, it’s going to be terrible. But explosions, right?

AP: Listen, how about we find some middle ground? Go home and fire up some Downton Abbey. Listening to British accents always make me feel smarter and more cultured. Give me something — anything — to work with.

AMP: I’ll see your British accents, but “Sherlock” episodes, no period pieces.

AP: Deal. But next week we finally hunker down and watch that documentary about the failings of America’s education system. It’s important and powerful.

AMP: Sure. I’m sure next Friday night after another week of work I’ll totally be in the mood to fire that one up.

Pete Thunell lives in Las Vegas with his wife and four kids where he works as an attorney. You can reach him at petethunell@gmail.com.