Nick Hornby, Rose Byrne, and Ethan Hawke team-up to squash fandom in favor of romantic pursuits.

Obsession is tricky. How do you discern when passion deteriorates into addiction? As someone who spends a good portion of every day preoccupied with movies, I have a hard time recognizing when fandom turns toxic. Obviously, typing The Last Jedi into the search bar will send you down a wormhole of horrors committed by despicable degenerates and stunted ignoramuses.

Where obsession gets tricky is in identifying its negative hold on yourself. I treasure my enthusiasm and the enthusiasm of others. As I type, I’m also ticking down the seconds until the San Diego Comic Con where I can dive into the wave of the like-minded, and geek out over the minutia of Star Trek or Conquest of the Planet of the Apes‘ validity within the franchise.

We’re an easy mark for ridicule to outsiders. The 40-Year-Old Virgin cuts deep. Like everyone, we need a good ribbing to understand why we behave the way we do.

Nick Hornby certainly appreciates fanaticism confused as fandom. Diving into High Fidelity and Fever Pitch will reveal the fetishistic struggle faced by consumers of pop culture. Often the message is to take a breath and poke your head out of the basement to smell the roses. His heroes will never be free of their mania, but respite often comes in the form of romantic pursuit.

Fellow geeks, the time has come for another cinematic trip to the therapist’s couch. Juliet, Naked takes a jab at your idolatry and demands introspection. We’ve all been Chris O’Dowd here, but thankfully Ethan Hawke rarely shows up to school us.

Oof. Did you feel that? The sting? Maybe not as sharp an instrument as The 40-Year-Old Virgin or High Fidelity, but the moment O’Dowd turns to Rose Byrne to exclaim the importance of a new Tucker Crowe album is horrendously relatable. A younger version of me has uttered a line akin to “I don’t want to spend my time with someone who doesn’t get it.” Damn dude.

I’ve had similar thoughts that romance with another is not possible if they don’t dig on Trek as much as me. I have a stalker wall devoted to Shatner very much like O’Dowd’s Tucker Crowe shrine. And by wall, I mean every wall. Yes, it’s a good test for others when they walk in. Yeah, maybe you should get new friends. That’s cool. It’s also a good test to achieve soul mate status. If you take a look and you stick around, you’re the one.

Should our fandom define us? Do I even have a choice in the matter at this point? Yes. The answer is yes, of course. Every moment is a moment to evolve. Passion should bring us together, not separate us. The moment we let Star Trek or Star Wars or whatever distance ourselves from others is when we fail the spirit of that enthusiasm. Passion should be jubilant and joyful. Stray not from the positive experience.

Anyway, sign me up for Juliet, Naked. Clearly, it struck a nerve.

More to Read: