THURSTON MOORE: I challenge you to a question-off.
SPIKE JONZE: [nervous laughter] Oh, I didn’t know that this was taking place in that form. I know how good you are at this. I’m scared. All right. What do you got?
TM: I’ll start easy: Did you ever get into trouble as a teen? Like, real trouble? Like, getting-handcuffed-by-the-cops trouble?
SJ: Nice. Were you ever a hardcore kid? Like, really into Minor Threat and Black Flag?
TM: Is the past a grotesque animal?
[A smattering of polite applause from the crowd.]
SJ: If a 10-ton truck killed the both of us, would that be a truly heavenly way to die?
TM: Did you ever go on a skate date with a rad skater girl where both of you just romantically thrashed around on skateboards?
[A couple of chuckles, but there is no clear leader as far as the crowd is concerned. More of a wait-and-see attitude.]
SJ: Are there any books you’ve read that you’d really, really like to do a movie of?
[An audible, collective sigh in the audience. Jonze looks nervous.]
TM: Do you fall in love fast and deep, or do you exact caution and willpower?
[The crowd applauds again. The judges make some notes.]
SJ: What man would you be cool making out with?
[A man seated in the back of the crowd gets up to leave.]
TM: Have you ever had the shit kicked out of you?
[The crowd cheers, apparently liking this one. Audience members seem to be starting to side with Moore.]
SJ: [quickly interrupting the applause] When you first had sex, were you happy or confused or both or what?
[The crowd likes this one too. Jonze is breathing quickly but is slightly relieved that he landed a good one.]
TM: Can you find someone to pay me to draft a script about the lives of Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs and their intersecting relationship through the countercultural 20th century?
[The museum crowd seems to like this one. Jonze doesn't know what to say.]
SJ: [blurts out] So what project is next for you?
[A handful of boos from the crowd. A bottle thrown from the back hits Jonze in the face. A drop of blood trickles out of his nostril.]
TM: Spike, will you ever feel so free as to deliver a film to Cannes titled I Love You, where 1,000 participants each take turns looking at your camera and saying “I love you,” nothing less, nothing more?
SJ: [starting to lose traction and getting desperate] What are your plans this Christmas?
[The crowd now starts to laugh at Jonze. He quickly tries another.]
Does flying freak you out?
[The judges scold Jonze for going out of turn and note that they are removing points for this breach of the rules.]
TM: Have you ever thought of shooting an entire film on a plane from LAX to Australia?
[Moore is now on his feet, hurling questions at Jonze. The crowd is standing and screaming.]
SJ: [panicked but defending himself] Who’s better: Radiohead or Led Zeppelin?
TM: [knowing he has Jonze on the ropes] How is your script about the trials and tribulations of an arcane black-metal band from deep in Finland coming?
SJ: Do you like doing talk shows? Would you like to do more?
[The judges can no longer see Moore and Jonze, as the crowd has surrounded them; the crowd's taunting is deafening. The questions come in a flurry now.]
TM: Do you think goodwill and intellectual discourse are valid forms of deflating terrorist tendencies?
SJ: What kind of toothpaste do you use?
TM: [screaming] Have you ever gotten too high? Or high at all? And if and when you do imbibe, does it alleviate any sense of guilt you may have as a privileged white male with some choice coin, or do you find yourself in cosmic harmony with all races, genders, and intellects?
[Jonze is now on the ground, Moore towering above him, with the crowd roaring and surrounding the two of them.]
SJ: [feebly] Do you like soup?
[The judges call the match because the crowd has killed Jonze.]