Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cinematic Vernacular

Lots of people like to quote movies. There are websites and magazine articles devoted to listing the great memorable quotes in cinema. This is not one of those posts. This post is about my recent realization that there are movie quotes and dialogue that Steve and I have seen together over the years that somehow seeped into our language. If someone overhearing our conversation was unfamiliar with the film we were referencing, they might be confused by what we're saying. Here is a rundown of movie lines that Steve and I commonly use in the context of our conversations. So nobody will have to ask me, "Who's Shelby?" ever again.

Line: "Bring your green hat."
Movie: Old School
Background: A highly intoxicated Frank (Will Ferrell) strips naked during a college party where Snoop Dogg is performing. He commandeers the microphone and invites everyone to join him as he goes streaking through the quad into the gymnasium. As Frank tries to recruit Snoop to join him, Snoop's spiritual advisor Don Magic Juan, wearing a green hat, steps between them. Frank encourages him to come along, saying "It's cool, I'm cool, bring your green hat, let's go".
How we use it in a sentence: It's a way of saying "Come with me right now", or "Just come as you are"
Example: "We're meeting for dinner at a place near work. Come on, bring your green hat."

Line: "I'm an excellent driver"
Movie: Rain Man
Background: Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) is the autistic brother of Charlie (Tom Cruise). They go on a road trip in a vintage car. Raymond repeatedly announces that he is an excellent driver, among other things.
How we use it in a sentence: Whenever Steve and I are getting ready to go somewhere together, we inevitably have a conversation about which car we'll take and who will drive. We say this line in our best "Dustin Hoffman" voice.
Steve: Let's take your car.
Me: I'm an excellent driver.

Line: "Drink your juice, Shelby"
Movie: Steel Magnolias
Background: Diabetic Shelby (Julia Roberts) gets a little too much insulin on her wedding day. While having her hair done at Truvy's (Dolly Parton) Salon, she has a reaction. Everyone rushes to her aid, but her mom (Sally Field) asserts that "juice is better" and she struggles to force juice down an uncooperative Shelby's throat.
How we use it in a sentence: Whenever somebody is babbling nonsense, they are advised to "drink their juice". It's a polite way of saying "you should probably stop talking." This person is often tipsy or hungover, or maybe just groggy and sleep-deprived, and is always holding a beverage when this is said to them.

Line: "I don't know, Margo!"
Movie: Christmas Vacation
Background: Todd and Margo (Nicholas Guest and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss) are the yuppie a-holes who live next door to the Griswolds, and look down on them for not meeting their high-class standards. Throughout the movie, Clark's (Chevy Chase) holiday misadventures make Todd and Margo's life a living hell. Todd and Margo come home late one night to find their stereo destroyed by an unknown object (a block of ice that Clark managed to send flying from his gutters through their window). Confused and aggravated, Margo asks, "And why is the carpet all wet, Todd?", he responds with the utmost yuppie-angst: "I don't know, Margo!"
How we use it in a sentence: Whenever we feel we've been asked a dumb question, or one that we have no reason to know the answer.
Samantha: What time does American Idol come on?
Steve: I don't know, Margo!

Line: "It'd be a lot cooler if you did"
Movie: Dazed and Confused
Background: Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) is the older guy who has already graduated, but still hangs around with high schoolers. He picks up freshman Mitch and asks, "Say, man, you got a joint?" Trying to play cool, Mitch casually replies, "No, not on me, man," and Wooderson smiles and says, "It'd be a lot cooler if you did."
Me: Did you pick up more formula for Robinson?
Steve: Aw, no...
Me: It'd be a lot cooler if you did.

Line: "Say 'What' again!"
Movie: Pulp Fiction
Background: Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) is a hit man on an assignment. He brandishes a handgun while questioning a young man named Brett. Brett is too terrified of the gun to say anything but "What". This creates a very unproductive conversation, leading Jules to threaten Brett to "Say 'what' again!"
Steve: So the craziest thing happened at work today...
Me: [reading and not paying attention] What?
Steve: Say 'what' again!

Line: "You're killing me, Smalls"
Movie: The Sandlot
Background: Scotty Smalls is camping with his buddies, when Ham offers him a s'more. Scotty doesn't know what a s'more is, prompting Ham to say "You're killing me, Smalls"This phrase is commonly used as a sign of frustration towards a person's cluelessness or ineptitude (per Urban Dictionary)
How we use it in a sentence:
Me: What are you doing? The Bachelor finale is on right now!
Steve: But the Rangers are playing a double-header!
Me: You're killing me, Smalls.

Line: "Bitch! I don't know your life!"
Movie: Baby Mama
Background: Angie (Amy Poehler) is Kate's (Tina Fey) surrogate mother and is staying in her apartment. Kate confronts Angie when she discovers wads of gum under her coffee table. Even though we see her do it, Angie says she doesn't know if she put the gum there, and that maybe Kate put some of the gum there.
Kate: Yeah, actually, you might be right. ‘Cause sometimes, when I work a really long day, I like to come home and chew a huge wad of Bubblicious gum and stick it under my reclaimed barnwood coffee table!
Angie: Bitch, I don’t know your life!
How we use it in a sentence: I might say this in response to a person who has misdirected hostility over me not knowing something that I would have no way of knowing.
Me: Can you come early tomorrow night?
Steve: I can't! I have to meet with some reps at Outback after work.
Me: Bitch, I don't know your life!

Line: "I feel teriboo!"
Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Background: Rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) is vacationing in a Hawaiian hotel where Matthew (Jonah Hill) is an employee and aspiring musician. He slips a demo CD to Aldous, urging him to listen so that he won't miss the opportunity to discover his talent. To persuade him, Matthew imitates Aldous, which sounds more like an Ozzy Osbourne impression, saying "OH! I saw that guy! He was my waiter and I totally dismissed him like everybody else does... in his life. And I totally was wrong cuz he's a major, major, major influence on me now... and I feel terrible!" But his fake British accent sounds like he says "I feel teriboo!"
How we use it in a sentence: Basically, whenever we make a mistake or forget something important
Me: I totally forgot my mom's birthday!
Steve: I feel teriboo!

So what about you? Are there any movie lines that have taken on their own meaning for you, or that are used as a kind of short-hand between you and your friends or family?


  1. Constantly. I doubt anyone else has a clue of my reference and I never bother clarifying. Sandra will set me up or counter sometimes.

    Line: "Ok Then."
    Movie: Raising Arizona
    parole board guy: You're not just tellin' us what we wanna hear?
    H.I. McDunnough (Nicolas Cage): No sir, no way.
    parole board guy: Cause we just want to hear the truth.
    Hi: Well, then I guess I am tellin' you what you wanna hear.
    parole board guy: Boy, didn't we just tell you not to do that?
    Hi: Yes sir.
    parole board guy: OK then.
    It's more the tone and attitude of frustration when saying it. I use it anytime as an affirmative acknowledgment especially if it is something I am not excited to agree to.
    Also in the same movie "Hi" (Nicholas Cage)was being grilled unmercifully by his wife's best friend Dot as to proper care for their new baby.

    Dot: "Have you got the baby's dip-tet? You got a pediatrician? Have you got some life insurance?
    Hi' wife: "Yea Honey, have we done that?"
    Dot to Hi: "Gotta do that Hi!"

    Our typical exchange:
    Sandra: "Did you ever schedule your colonoscopy?"
    Me: " Ummm, no."
    Sandra: "Gotta do that Hi!"
    Me: "OK then"

  2. Haha! These are awesome. The one from Christmas Vacation is classic. I use that one a lot too.

    I am constantly quoting movies as well, so I just may have to steal this idea. Hehe. But most of my quotes are from uber silly (read:stupid) flicks like Zoolander ("The files are IN the computer," "He's so hot right now"), Forgetting Sarah Marshall ("Booshit, booshit booshit") and shows like 30 Rock ("I want to go to there") and Will & Grace ("It's funny 'cause it's blasphemous"). In fact, I think my brother and I speak 95% in movie quotes. My family is pretty sure we're insane. But we know we're AWESOME. ;)

  3. I just found your blog today, but I loved this. My all time favorite movie is Dazed and Confused, so I got a kick out of that one, because my husband and I say that too. We also pull out the "I never get shotgun!" line a lot!