Word: euphemism [yoo-fuh-miz-uhm] n. 1. the substitution of a mild, indirect or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh or blunt 2. the expression so substituted: “To pass away” is a euphemism for “to die.”
Birthday: Napoleon III (1808), Adolf Hitler (1889), Lionel Hampon (1908), Tito Puente (1923), George Takei (1937), Ryan O’Neal (1941), Jessica Lange (1949), Luther Vandross (1951), Clint Howard (1959), Don Mattingly (1961), Crispin Glover (1964), Carmen Electra (1972), Joey Lawrence (1976)
Standpoint: Last week, I polled all my friends on Facebook and Twitter. I asked them to name the best movie with a one-word title. Also, I was asking everyone I talked to, including my co-workers at The Chestnut Grill, who came up with a ton of them. (Special thanks to Ezgi and Adina on that one.) So, I compiled over 200 suggested titles and whittled (Colleen, you were right. I misused “wheedle”. Live and learn. 4/21/09) the list down to 15 movies. Here is the list (alphabetically) of 15 Great Movies with a One-Word Title, followed by the reason each film made the final cut. Enjoy.
- Caddyshack – 1980 – Chevy Chase, Bill Murray and Rodney Dangerfield made a mockery of Bushwood Country Club. But Ted Knight’s Judge Smails stole the show.
- Clueless – 1995 – Kind of a Ferris Bueller for the 90s. Sadly, Alicia Silverstone hasn’t made a movie since in which she’s more appealing.
- Diner – 1982 – Stands all by itself just fine but important for launching the film careers of Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, Daniel Stern, Tim Daly, Ellen Barkin and (ahem) Steve Guttenberg.
- Fargo – 1996 – William H. Macy as Jerry Lundegaard is positively amazing. Plus, one of my all-time favorite movie lines is when Frances McDormand says to Peter Stormare, “And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper.”
- Fletch – 1985 – Probably one of the most complete comedies in the history of film. Chevy Chase went on to sully his good name with an assortment of dreadful movies (Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Cops and Robbersons, Funny Farm), but does it really matter?
- Glory – 1989 – Again, one of those movies that kickstarted the careers of many now-famous actors including Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Andre Braugher. Also, it showed that Matthew Broderick was capable of playing a role that didn’t involve a whole lot of wisecracking.
- Hoosiers – 1986 – Gene Hackman‘s portrayal of disgraced college basketball coach Norman Dale is fantastic. The theme music is equally great.
- Made – 2001 – Vince Vaughan and Jon Favreau improve on the incessant banter they originated in Swingers. When I first watched it, I wanted to strangle Vince Vaughan. And I think that’s what they were going for.
- Milk – 2008 – On almost any other recent year, this film would’ve won Best Picture. Slumdog Millionaire was just a little better. Sean Penn and James Franco were top-notch.
- Predator – 1987 – Normally not a big Arnold Schwarzenegger fan, but this movie boasts the best ensemble cast of any movie set in a jungle with a terrifying, murderous alien. Ever.
- Serenity – 2005 – Apparently, FOX let Joss Whedon make this movie due to the fact that it inexplicably cancelled his popular TV show, “Firefly.” Whedon made the most of it. If you haven’t seen this movie, drop what you’re doing and do so now.
- Silverado – 1985 – I’m beginning to think that this list might be a bit biased because, after looking at the selections so far, I’ve got most of these films on DVD. But, this is another one of those movies that feature actors that are now world famous like Kevin Costner, Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn, Danny Glover, Jeff Goldblum, and few others at the beginning of their careers.
- Tombstone – 1993 – Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday is superb, if not at all historically accurate. Most likely the most quoted western in movie history.
- Unforgiven – 1992 – Obviously, I like westerns. But after watching the final scene where Clint Eastwood wins a gunfight against approximately 20 guys, can you really blame me?
- WALL-E – 2008 – Many of your submissions were animated movies (Aladdin, Madagascar, Ratatouille) but they didn’t stand a chance. WALL-E effortlessly straddles the thin line between children’s movie and societal statement.
There you have it. Just in case you’re wondering, it’s pretty difficult deciding the best 15 out of 200. The Honorable Mentions are too many to list. I can give you a few movies that never stood a chance. Titanic. Volcano. Twister. Accepted.
I’m sure you can think of a few movies I overlooked or discarded. Tell me which ones and why.
Quotation: Everybody is wrong about everything, just about all of the time. – Chuck Klosterman
Gallimaufry: Falling into the “How-Pathetic-Can-I-Possibly-Get” category, Spencer Pratt (“The Hills”) has challenged Ashton Kutcher to a 30-day contest to see who can get the most Twitter followers. Dude, you’re a little late. I suggest concentrating your efforts on something that doesn’t involve some crappy show like “The Hills.” Look into it…All season long on “American Idol,” people have been asking the question, “Why in the hell did they bring Kara DioGuardi on as a fourth judge?” It appears she’s wondering the same thing. Could this be a sign of her exit?…Yesterday was a good day in Philadelphia for sports. The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres, 5-4, off a two-run homer in the ninth inning by Raul Ibanez. The 76ers beat the Orlando Magic in the Game 1 of their first-round playoff series on a last-second jumper by Andre Iguodala. But the highlight of the day in sports, for me at least, was sitting at my brother Jeremy’s new house and watching the Flyers spank the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6-3. Claude Giroux registered a Gordie Howe hat trick. He’s the real deal. (Thanks to Phinally Philly for the link.)
Incoming: This week is up in the air. Besides more of your suggestions for Annoying Sayings & Misused Words, we’ll have to see where the wind takes us.