While many of us crave the sunshine and heat of summer, one of the silver linings of the chilly winter months is that they offer the perfect excuse to cosy up at home and get lost in our silver screen favourites. As well as an almost endless source of entertainment, I’ve found films and television shows to be great sources of inspiration, particularly the memorably pithy quips and one-liners. Many of these quotes have since become part of everyday vernacular, even though we may not know where they come from (or the correct phrasing!).
I’ve often wondered if film and television scriptwriters have any idea which of their lines are going to catch on and become household phrases. It was Oscar Wilde that first said: “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”.
‘You talkin’ to me?’ ‘I vant to be alone.’ ‘ Ask yourself, do I feel lucky. Well, do ya, punk?’
These are all phrases which have come from the silver screen to our everyday lives, working their way insidiously into our ordinary dialogue and conversation.
Clint Eastwood’s much-quoted expression Go ahead punk, make my day from the Dirty Harry film Sudden Impact was first penned by filmmaker Charles Pierce. When Pierce was young his father would say “Son, you just let me come home again today without that lawn being mowed, just go ahead, make my day”.
So there’s an example of art imitating life imitating art. But catchphrases need to have relevance and staying power to really catch on. Which ones will have the staying power must be difficult to predict.
As a teenager my friends and I would repeat countless senseless lines from songs, ads and TV shows like The Flintstones (Yabba dabba doo, or Open this door, Wilma!).
The Godfather contributed more, such as I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse.
When my children were teens they frequently quoted Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers and the Simpsons. Wayne’s World gave us Party time, excellent! and We’re not worthy!!
Terminator 2 gave us I’ll be back and Hasta la vista, baby.
The Simpsons have probably released more catchphrases than any other show, such as Release the hounds, Okily Dokily Neighborino and D’oh!
But the old favourites still rule, such as Tommy Cooper’s Just like that, Captain Mainwaring’s Don’t panic! And The Two Ronnies’ It’s goodnight from me and it’s goodnight from him.
I’d love to know if you puzzlers use any famous catchphrases in your everyday conversations. Write and tell me your favourites. As winter begins to wrap up, I hope you are all keeping warm, cosy, and well. Happy movie-watching, and, of course, happy puzzling!