During my last year in college in Madison, Wisconsin, I wanted a job where I could be around creative people — something that also fit my lack of experience and busy class schedule.
Our haven to creatives, weirdos, nerds (before nerds were cool) and disillusioned people with graduate degrees was our enduring local video store, Four Star Video Heaven.
Opened in 1985 as Four Star Fiction and Video, video rental was originally secondary to the bookstore until they split in 1991. My would-be Four Star boss, Lisa Brennan, took over the video store in 2003, and it was a local icon by the time I applied in 2010.
When Brennan left in 2014 for other projects, the staff launched an IndieGoGo campaign to buy the business and reinvent it as Four Star Video Cooperative.
That’s how much Madisonians love this place.
The co-op remains dedicated to original owner David Smith’s vision of sharing “underground, art, foreign and just plain weird titles” with the community alongside mainstream Hollywood films.
This embracing of the weird attracted me to the place originally as a customer, when I would browse the long walls of unique independent documentaries and foreign films before checking out, most likely with something like “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”
When I was ready for a change as my college years wrapped up, I turned to the store for a job.
I loved it as a patron, and why wouldn’t I want to work in a place so inspiring that Dan Savage brewed up the beginnings of “Savage Love” in its back room?
At 23, of course I dreamed of following such a romantic path to success.
The Toughest Job Interview I Ever Had
I filled out my application with complete confidence. I’d been working with customers since I was 16, and I was a smart college almost-graduate from a hard-working family.
Just one hiccup. I was — and still am — the farthest thing from a film buff.
Standard procedure meant I had to take the infamous Four Star movie quiz during my interview — while my future boss looked on, no less.
Thankfully, I was hired — woohoo! But.
A few months later, my new cinephile co-workers gleefully informed me they were still laughing at how badly I failed that movie quiz.
I got the lowest score of any employee. Ever. I probably still hold the title.
Because it is so hard.
Take the Quiz
Think you know movies? I bet this quiz will have you thinking again.
In an attempt to reclaim a bit of my dignity, I’m challenging you to take the Four Star movie quiz and not score as awfully as I did. I’d like everyone to know how tough it is, so y’all can stop tittering at my failure.
Because I’m kind, I’m making it a little easier: Unlike the original feat I faced, this truncated version of the quiz, by necessity, includes multiple choice.
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s written for Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Writer’s Digest and more, attempting humor wherever it’s allowed (and sometimes where it’s not).