I mean, that scene is word-for-word from the book, so don’t blame the movie! :) Yes, Gus is super pretentious at the start of the story. it’s a character flaw.
Gus wants to have a big and important and remembered life, and so he acts like he imagines people who have such lives act. So he’s, like, says-soliloquy-when-he-means-monologue pretentious, which is the most pretentious variety of pretension in all the world.
And then his performative, over-the-top, hyper-self-aware pretentiousness must fall away for him to really connect to Hazel, just as her fear of being a grenade must fall away. That’s what the novel is about. That is its plot.
Gus must make the opposite of the traditional heroic journey—he must start out strong and end up weak in order to reimagine what constitutes a rich and well-lived life.
Basically, a 20-second clip from the first five minutes of a movie is not the movie.
(Standard acknowledgement here that I might be wrong, that I am inevitably defensive of TFIOS, that it has many flaws, that there’s nothing wrong with critical discussion, and that a strong case could be made that I should not insert myself into these conversations at all.)
1. Make sure you own a nice bed.
2. Sleep in it frequently.
3. Remember how nice it feels to flip over your pillow to the cooler side.
4. Check your pulse and hum along to the rhythm because it is music.
5. Write clear and make a lot of spelling errors. Get the poison out and don’t worry about it being neat.
6. If you can, do not shut people out. You will have good days and they should see them.
7. If you feel overwhelmed, go outside and scream. Find a nice empty park in the middle of the night and scream as loud as you can until your throat is bleeding. The world wants to hear you.
8. Let yourself fall in love. Believe it or not, there are people out there who want your blacks and blues.
9. Keep waking up.
10. Keep waking up.
11. Keep waking up. Maybe with someone next to you.