19 December 2010

Movie Language

When you're young, you learn how to describe things from those around you.  This is when you learn to call carbonated drinks "Cokes" in the South or "pop" if you're, well, wrong.  Before this goes off the rails, though, we're focusing on language as it pertains to movies.  Just a little informal sampling, and I hope you'll respond with your personal preferences.

"Film" or "Movie" - They're synonymous, though there is a pretentious school of thought that likes to consider highbrow, artistic works "films" and mainstream fare "movies" as though there's some value to using one word over the other.

"Cinema" or "Theater" - Where do you go see a movie (or film)?  Also, if you favor "Theater," do you transpose the "er" to "re" to become "Theatre?"

Actor or Character - When describing a plot, do you find yourself saying, "Harrison Ford is accused of killing a woman" or "Harrison Ford plays a guy accused of killing a woman?" (Bonus point if you can name the story.)

"Part One" - If you're talking about a movie series, do you find yourself adding "One" at the end of the title of the first movie?  For instance, "I liked Godfather 'I' better than Godfather II."

"Direct" vs. "Make" - Fairly synonymous, though one is more specific.  Did Martin Scorsese "direct" or "make" The Departed?

"Star in" vs. "Make" - Same difference as "Directed."  Did Sean Connery "star in" or "make" Medicine Man?

Remember, this isn't one of those "choose which one is most correct" tests.  I'm just curious which terms you personally find yourself using most often.

5 comments:

  1. I usually say "Wanna go see a movie?" and "The Wrestler is a great film." I agree with the connotation that movie is always reserved for "light" stories and film is reserved for "heavy" stories.

    I go to the theater. To see a play, I go to the theatre.

    "Harrison Ford plays a guy accused of killing his wife in The Fugitive."

    I usually don't say "part one" unless it's in the title. Sometimes I'll say "the first [title]".

    Martin Scorsese directed The Departed.

    Sean Connery starred in Finding Forrester.

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  2. I say movie and theatER, though I never see movies in the theater anymore. Who do they think they are, or better yet, how wealthy do they think we are? As far as describing a plot, I tend to go with the actor name. Actually, we often go with a previous typecasting role the actor played. Tom Hanks is lovingly known as "Forrest Gump" forever, unless we are referencing "Castaway". Then he becomes "guy stuck on an island", appropriately named by my young daughter. Djimon Hounsou will always be "Amistad", even though Amistad is the boat, not the man. Julia Roberts is always "Pretty Woman" regardless of what movie we are speaking of. Mark Wahlberg will always be "Dirk Diggler". Wait, that might just be to me... Anyway, our family has an endless list of these code names, however an outsider could easily make sense of our conversation.
    Adding to the potential confusion is my late father-in-laws habit of calling a movie by the incorrect name, albeit similar to the actual title. "Glory" is forever refereed to in this house as "Hallelujah", "Secondhand Lions" is "Secondhand Cowboys", the aforementioned "Pretty Woman" is "Pretty Lady", but only when referencing the movie, not the actress "Pretty Woman".
    I usually leave off any 'part one' or other reference. As to who makes a film, it all depends on the context of the conversation. If we are talking about actors in general, or directors, producers, etc., we reference accordingly about who "made" a film. And of course, there is always the conversation about who "made" a film worth viewing or even discussing.
    Here's my question- Does anyone else still say "flick"?

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  3. Shawnee, your remarks cracked me up because they remind me so much of my own family! In the realm of TV, for instance, my mom and brother referred to "Full House" as "Michelle," for instance.

    I still use "flick" from time to time, usually when I'm talking about something particularly lightweight. I often--thought not always--mean it in a slightly snotty, condescending way. For instance, "'Garfield: The Movie' was an alright little flick that got by on the charm of Jennifer Love Hewitt."

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  4. Just thought I'd chime in and say that, while applicable, The Fugitive was not the movie I had in mind in which Harrison Ford plays a character accused of killing his wife. Keep guessin'.

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  5. I say movie and theatER, though I never see movies in the theater anymore. Who do they think they are, or better yet, how wealthy do they think we are? As far as describing a plot, I tend to go with the actor name. Actually, we often go with a previous typecasting role the actor played. Tom Hanks is lovingly known as "Forrest Gump" forever, unless we are referencing "Castaway". Then he becomes "guy stuck on an island", appropriately named by my young daughter. Djimon Hounsou will always be "Amistad", even though Amistad is the boat, not the man. Julia Roberts is always "Pretty Woman" regardless of what movie we are speaking of. Mark Wahlberg will always be "Dirk Diggler". Wait, that might just be to me... Anyway, our family has an endless list of these code names, however an outsider could easily make sense of our conversation.
    Adding to the potential confusion is my late father-in-laws habit of calling a movie by the incorrect name, albeit similar to the actual title. "Glory" is forever refereed to in this house as "Hallelujah", "Secondhand Lions" is "Secondhand Cowboys", the aforementioned "Pretty Woman" is "Pretty Lady", but only when referencing the movie, not the actress "Pretty Woman".
    I usually leave off any 'part one' or other reference. As to who makes a film, it all depends on the context of the conversation. If we are talking about actors in general, or directors, producers, etc., we reference accordingly about who "made" a film. And of course, there is always the conversation about who "made" a film worth viewing or even discussing.
    Here's my question- Does anyone else still say "flick"?

    ReplyDelete