A Big Ol' Bag ... Of Psychological Issues

Not too long ago, my wife and I watched the 2009 Stuart Hazeldine film Exam.  In a nutshell, the plot is that eight candidates, none of whom we know anything about, have all reached the final stage of hiring to join a mysterious and powerful corporation. As the eight sit at individual desks in a windowless room, a dude calling himself "The Invigilator" (played by the actor that would definitely play Shaft if the Brits ever decided to explore blaxploitation films) gives the candidates eighty minutes to answer one question. He outlines the only three rules that they must follow: (1) don't talk to him or the armed guard by the door, (2) don't spoil the papers on the desks in front of them, and (3) don't leave the room.

The candidates turn over the papers in front of them, expecting to find the question they have to answer, only to find and the papers completely blank, leaving them with little sense of ... anything.  Claustrophobic hijinks ensue as the candidates try to figure out who the other people are and what the hell they are supposed to do for the next 79.5 minutes.  Think of Exam as, basically, The Breakfast Club meets The Usual Suspects, with a dash of The Good Son and a sprinkle of Cabin Fever thrown in for good measure.

It's not that I didn't enjoy it.  I did.  But the movie stands out in my memory not because it was good, but because of a specific moment of dialogue.

At one point, as the tension has built to a pretty high level, one of the female characters turns to one of the male characters and recites the DSM-IV criteria for narcissism:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) Has a grandiose sense of self-importance; (2) Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love; (3) Believes that he is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people; (4) Requires excessive admiration; (5) Has a sense of entitlement; (6) Is interpersonally exploitative; (7) Lacks empathy; (8) Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him; (9) Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

As the vaguely attractive actress finished explaining how this applied to the dude in the film, my (theoretically) loving and caring wife blurted out, "That sounds like you!"  I started to protest, but --- yeah.

So, in keeping with criterion (1) (and possibly criteria (4), (5), and (9)), it's time for you all to send your weekly Battle Red Bag questions to mattycamp@gmail.com so that I can answer them and entertain you!  As always, the world is your oyster and all topics, football or otherwise, are fair game.

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