Browsing the shelves at our neighborhood video store, nothing looked even halfway apealing to us except The Royal Tenenbaums -- and even then we were hesitant, having heard very mixed reviews of it. But we finally picked it up and headed for the counter. I put the video down and handed the girl my member card. With a hole puncher she punched out the last check box on the card. "This rental will be free," she said. "Now...are you guys really sure you want to get this?"

I shrugged, unused to being challenged on my choice of rentals.

"I just gotta be honest with you. This movie really, really sucked. Is there anything else you were thinking of getting?"

"Um. My wife kind of wants to see The Princess Diaries. Sort of."

"I think that would even be better than this."

"She's right, you know," said the woman behind us in line. "It was very bad. Just awful."

Angela and I looked at each other helplessly. It had taken us so long to settle on this movie, and now apparently every single person in the store felt that renting it would be a hideous mistake. Seeing our uncertainty, the girl behind the counter said, "I'll tell you what. Go ahead and pick something else for your free rental, and I'll let you rent this one along with it for free. I just don't want you to take home a movie you'll hate and have nothing else to watch." Well, you can't beat free for cheap, right? We picked out Pollock, which Counter Girl seemed pretty leery of as well but accepted.

We thanked Counter Girl for her honesty and left. We got a couple of Quarter Pounders for dinner, popped The Royal Tenenbaums in the VCR when we got home, and settled in to watch our sucky, sucky movie, figuring we could at least see for ourselves how bad it truly was before putting in our second choice.

Tenebaums was awesome. I want to ask Counter Girl what other movies she hates now and rent them all.