Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Hi folks,

Thought I’d post a bit of potpourri today and perhaps get some reactions. First, going along with the recent post on how Hollywood kind of “gets it wrong” many times, here’s a recent email a former student of mine from when I taught at the University of Toledo and good friend, Kat Hacker sent me, about Hollywood and their products:

Kat writes: This list is kind of clever (I did not write it.)
Unexpected knowledge gained from the movies:

1) During all police investigations, it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.

2) All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

3) The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

4) Even when driving down a perfectly straight road, it is necessary to turn the steering wheel vigorously from left to right every few moments.

5) When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom should still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish. All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach up to the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

6) Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.

7) It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts--your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.

8) A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

I have a few of my own:

1) Every time a car is shot at, it will blow up when a bullet hits the gas tank. And, a bullet will always hit the gas tank. This is a remarkable event, especially considering that bullets don’t have nearly enough heat to ignite gasoline and this has never happened in real life.

2) Every time a car goes over a cliff, it will blow up.

3) Every time a car blows up, the explosion will be of a magnitude that it would require at least 100 gallons of gas to get a fireball that big. A stick of dynamite blowing up is a puny explosion compared to a car blowing up. Cars in movies that blow up have obviously just been filled up. They are still filled up even though the explosion occurs after a high-speed car chase of many miles. One wishes they offered cars with this kind of gas mileage to the general public.

4) Every time a car hits a guard rail on a cliff, it will go right through it. You’d think that state highway departments would watch movies, learn this is what happens, and perhaps use a higher grade of steel in guard rails…

5) Criminals obviously never watch movies as they don’t seem to realize that bullet-proof vests only cover the chest. The chest is the only area they are allowed to aim at, it appears. The head is off-limits, as is the groin area or legs or arms. Personally, I’d rather have a steel “cup” than a chest vest… If my goodies are hit, I imagine I’d rather be dead…

6) While even a .45 has enough power to kill a person if the person is hit in the hand (the shock can kill and does), .357 magnum rounds can hit a person in the shoulder and only have about a half-inch wound in circumference, and after the person is hit, he conveniently lives long enough to be able to deliver his lines. In theater parlance, this is known as "being a trooper."

7) If a gas tanker is seen in a movie, you can count on it that it will get blown up. You’d think that tanker drivers would have seen movies and if they ever saw anyone filming them, they’d abandon the truck and go get pie and coffee in a truck stop until the cameraman left.

8) Many times, when a car blows up, it blows up at least a couple more times after the initial explosion. It would seem to indicate the car had at least one auxiliary tank or perhaps the driver had gone for lawn mower gas just before his car was shot and it’s the gas can that blew up in the secondary explosion. And,  judging from the size of the secondary explosion, that must have been a 75-gallon gas can...

9) When a car or building blow up, and the hero and his love interest are within a few yards of it, they are blown backwards and then get up slowly and brush themselves off. Their eyebrows are never burned off or even slightly singed. In our own experience, when the backyard barbecue flares up briefly, we lose our eyebrows. How is it possible a mega-explosion never affects actor’s eyebrows? Rhetorical question. The answer is, in a standard actor's contract, it states that while the role may call for bodily damage in every part of the body unit, the eyebrows are sacred territory and can never be damaged. As famous movie star Bette Davis stated: "My eyebrows are my livelihood."

10) Where did the canted pistol aim originate from with gangs doing drive-bys? Was the guy who started all that maybe cock-eyed? Perhaps this is where the famous movie phrase, “Are you talking to me?” originated from…

It would be fun to hear your own personal favorites.

 My son Mike and me on MSNBC-NEWS doing our part to keep cliches alive...

For the second part of this post, I’d like to ask folks to send in their own examples of:

Phrases that drive me nuts that we hear over and over from TV news anchors, sports reporters, and politico commentators that suggest they might want to enlarge their vocabularies… or maybe even get one…

At the end of the day… (Guess it doesn’t matter what happens at noon…)

(This happens)… and we’re having a different conversation now… (Master of the obvious…)

(Somebody) needs to step up to the plate. (And do what?)

The 800-pound gorilla in the room… (That has to be Sasquatch. “Regular” gorillas only weigh 300-400 pounds…)

The dead cat bounce… (PETA, where are you when we really need you?)

Drink the Kool-Aid. (I bet the Kool-Aid folks wish this one would disappear…)

(He) knocked it out of the park. (And the announcer said, “Foul ball…”)

Think outside of the box. (I’d like to see what’s in the box, first…)

The ball is in his court. (And?)

At the eleventh hour. (This must be just before “the end of the day.”)

Illegal immigrant. (Whatever happened to illegal alien? That’s what they are.)

To be perfectly candid. (As opposed to what? Imperfectly obtuse?)

It’s a win-win situation. (Or a lose-win? Or a lose-lose? Or a win-lose?)

Going forward… (Sideways isn’t an option?)

Push the envelope… (Okay. Then what? It’s pushed. Does it need a stamp?)

Let’s take this off-line… (Can’t. My ‘puter crashed…)

The bottom line. (I’m dying to see the next-to-the-bottom line…)

Has legs and can really go far. (Better than visualizing someone pulling themselves along with their arms on the ground, I suppose…)

Transparency. (Oh, like the government, right?)

Game changer. (I know we agreed to play tag, but now we’re going to play hide ‘n seek…)

When the rubber meets the road. (All I can say about this one is… never trust rubber…)

Yes AND No. (Make a decision.)

Multitasking. (Like walking and chewing gum at the same time?)

Reinvented. (Can’t something only be invented once?)

To tell the honest truth. (As opposed to what? The dishonest truth?)

Thanks for the heads-up. (I was wearing it between my knees and never noticed…)

If we took all of these and the other clichés out of the mouths of TV folks, we might as well hit the “Mute” button…

Let’s see your own favorites. Or… unfavorites…

To be perfectly candid, I guess that at the end of the day, near the eleventh hour, and to tell the honest truth, if someone doesn’t see the 800-pound gorilla in the room multitasking and reinventing the dead cat bounce, we’re having a different conversation, and obviously thinking outside of the box, which, at least theoretically, could result in a win-win situation—a real game-changer, where the rubber meets the road. Bottom line? Going forward, let’s take this offline, so I can drink the Kool-Aid and become truly transparent, i.e., room temperature… The ball’s in your court.



Anonymous said...

Some of my faves:
+ you should never hang around to see if the baddie you winged is actually dead
+ handguns have a magical supply of never-ending rounds
+ handguns have absolutely no kick

'In the fullness of time'
'Touching base'
'Stood still as a statue' - just read a NYT bestseller which included this pearler on three separate occasions
'Snow fell like a blanket'

Fun post!

Amie Borst said...

oh my favorite....

yes, that's why we watch the news...i don't sit through a half hour of it to hear the same thing repeated...

Anne Gallagher said...

I love Brian Williams but his "As always, thanks" really drives me nuts.

My faves --

doesn't cut the mustard

and the quirky eyebrow (as in "he quirked his eyebrow)

Les Edgerton said...

Lily, I have another one on handguns, where the guy shooting runs out of ammo... and throws a $400 to a several-thousand-dollar gun away... especially a cop. I just want to hang around shootouts and pick up all the discarded guns and take them to "Pawn Stars" and make some money...

Amie--except, the way the news channels work... we do sit through the same news, ad infintem... Good one!

Piedmont--I do think I'd rather have them cut the "mustard" than a Wisconsin product...

These are all super, folks! Keep 'em coming!

Unknown said...

When I was thirteen I made up a top ten of what not to do in a horror movie.
1) Don't split up.
2) Don't have sex while there's a killer on the loose.
3) Don't put down your weapon for anything.
4) Screaming only alerts the axe murder where your at.
Misplaced the list. That's what I can remember.

Unknown said...

This just in...
at the top of the hour...
And now for the weather...
In depth...
...always popular

Ha! When you start looking or listening they come out and grab you

Enjoyed your post.

Les Edgerton said...

Stephonavich, your comment has inspired me to write another post, this one dedicated to horror movies, which deserve their very own category. Thanks!

Pam--they just keep coming, don't they! I want to see the news story reported on "in shallowness or superficiality." No! Wait! They already do that!

Thanks, everyone!

Deborah said...

I dislike the phrase, "you made your bed, now sleep in it." You would sleep in someone else's bed?

Monster movies: a guard looks into a room, and doesn't see the monster stuck on the ceiling, even though the light was turned on. They only look down or sideways ... visions of Flatland?

Sci-fi: ugly ET's are usually evil. Think Star Wars. If not, they are cute, little green or furry people.

Other movies: it is so strange that people always die with one bullet, knife wound, or karate chop, yet the hero would be beaten up, thrown down a building (or jumps onto a moving truck), shot (but, only in the extremities and still maintains use of it), stabbed ... yet, remain conscious (unless there's a beautiful woman where he can regain consciousness to behold her loveliness, blah blah blah).

Deborah said...

Edit above with some, mostly unimportant characters get killed with just the odd bullet, etc.