Do Catchphrases catch on through the generations?
My kids looked at me with the oh-my-god-are-you-really-my-dad face.
Then last week the movie was on TV.
I was so excited. I set foxtel to record. I turned the lights off. I brought the popcorn out. I told the kids to prepare themselves.
” Bueller…………. Bue……..”
“Daaaaad! Stop it!”
The classic Gen X movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off begins. The boys sit mesmerised as Ferris pulls a sickie, skips school, evades the principal, trashes a Ferrari and sings Twist and Shout in the middle of Chicago.
When it’s finished they look over to me and say with a grin:
That was a moment. A moment that connected 2 generations with a catchphrase.
There are few movies that transcend generations and even fewer that leave that indelible impression. Growing up we used to copy the movie stars, recreate various scenes and learn new ways to swear.
“Yippee kai yay mother f***er! “ as Bruce Willis so aptly put it, is a particular favourite .
Then there are the black and white classics with the all-time great lines:
“Play it (again) sam” and “Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn” are two that spring to mind straight away. But I doubt my 2 boys will ever have any interest in Humphrey Bogart or Clark Gable.
I am desperate for my 2 boys to watch and like the movies I grew up with.
When I tell my son I’m “going to make him an offer he cannot refuse” – he generally does refuse without any appreciation of the meaning behind the message. I pull the cotton balls from my cheeks as he asks me to “stop speaking in that funny voice”. I would have made a great Godfather.
As I walk down to breakfast declaring how, “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning”, I don’t even get a cursory glance. Wasted on them
With Highlander’s “There can be only one”, and Connery’s “Welcome to The Rock”, they may not be in the all-time great movie list – but there is something about them that makes me repeat and copy these classic one liners.
Rocky, for example, is not just a boxing movie. It is a tale of the underdog, of inspiration and of desperation that I still reference to this day. The Rocky theme tune is timed on my ipod perfectly for when I start to struggle during my exercise routine. I generally end my run up the hill by jogging on the spot and pumping my hands in the air, calling out “Yo Adrrieeenn, I did it!!”. I defy anyone to tell me they didn’t jump to their feet when Rocky beat Mr T and regained the Championship of The World.
Talking of Mr T there are movies that are remade without these crucial catchphrases. Maybe that is one of the reasons why they fail to pack the same eh… punch.
I don’t recall BA saying, “I ain’t goin’ on no plane -fool” or “hey Sucka” in the recent re-make of The A-Team .
Did Eric Bana tell his nemesis in The Hulk not to make him angry because “he wouldn’t like him when he was angry?” Bill Bixby did. Is that why I remember him more?
When I watched Jackie Chan recently in the remake of the Karate Kid I was waiting for the “wax on wax off” part. It didn’t happen. It was more jacket off-jacket on. There was no fence painting either. Nor was there an ever youthful Ralph Macchio (san) or the wonderful Pat Morita’s, Mr Miyagi. I don’t remember one part of it – I only remember the bits they didn’t do.
Then of course there are the movies where I can’t remember any catch phrases. I just remember they were great movies. The Goonies springs to mind. Honey I shrunk the kids was one of the first to have cool special effects. Raging Bull, A Clockwork Orange, Blazing Saddles, Jaws, Platoon, The Shawshank Redemption, Psycho, Monty Python, Reservoir Dogs, Kramer V Kramer, The Shining, ET, The Indiana Jones series, Star Wars, the Bond movies, Ghostbusters, The Deer Hunter and loads more. Yes there are great movies being made now, but each generation must think they had the best.
Now with so many older movies being re-made will the classic one-liners of the 70/80’s and 90’s be replaced with new ones from this millennium? I hope not.
Will the re-make of Dirty Dancing have Baby standing at the bar rather than waiting in the corner perhaps the Top Gun remake will replace Maverick, Ice Man and Goose with Maniak, Ice Tea and Duck.
I am going to keep repeating the old one-liners to my boys, I will convert my old movies from VHS to DVD.
And one day the time will come, just like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, when they will see the movies I grew up with. They will finally understand why I did what I did. And when they come to me and tell me they now appreciate how cool their dad is, I will with a slightly raised eyebrow and a menacing American accent ask them,
“Are you talking to me?”