The Evolution of Cine-Slang

Since the invention of cinema by the Lumière Brothers in 1895, the film has been criminally denied its deserved status in the art world. I’m not blaming anyone in particular, and I’m certainly not pointing my finger towards poor filmmaking and poor films. We can blame them for, say, school shootings and the teen suicide rate (not to mention unwanted pregnancy). The reason for the degradation of cinema’s good name is in just that: its name. The language we have used, and continue to use, to describe the cinema is degrading to anyone that respects the art form-especially pretentious film students.

Historically speaking, cine-slang has always been pretty lame. The term ‘flick’, as in “Want to catch a flick later?”, or “What a rootin’ tootin’ good flick that Paint Your Wagon was!”
has been around since Godknows- when. We all use it, but where the hell did it come from? I believe that it comes from the epilepsy-inducing effect caused by showing a film at the incorrect frame-per-second rate. Inexplicably, the term somehow came to refer to all films. Idiot projectionists aside, the term is outdated. Let’s nix it from our collective vocabulary, shall we?

When sound was introduced to the cinema in 1927 with The Jazz Singer, the world was forever changed. And we all sounded like morons by calling films ‘talkies’ all of a sudden. I don’t really think that I need to explain this. I don’t recall silent films ever being referred to as ‘muties’ or ‘shushies’. Let’s throw this word into the trash bin as well.

“But Dru”, you say. “Those terms are all outdated! Only my grandparents use them! This article isn’t worth reading and you don’t deserve to live!”

Au contraire, my snarky reader. I have not yet come to the biggest offender of all: the word MOVIE.

These days, we seem to watch ‘movies’ instead of films. We go to the ‘movies’ instead of the cinema. We give the Best Picture Oscar to How Green Was My Valley instead of Citizen Kane. We pollute the planet beyond repair, eat ridiculous amounts of fast food, commit violent atrocities around the world and yet censor Atom Egoyan’s latest film because of some on-screen ‘thrusting’. You see what I’m getting at here.

The word ‘movie’ is a throwback to the 1920s and ’30s. Because the pictures onscreen seem to be moving, we call it a ‘move-ee’. It’s like calling a painting a ‘stillie’, a poem a ‘wordie’ or a song a ‘polyphonic layering of successive notes and rhythmsie’. That’s how stupid you sound every time you say ‘movie’. Just so you know.

All in favour of ostracizing the word ‘movie’ from the English language? I’ll assume you’re saying ‘yes’.

December 30, 2005 Blueprint Web Administrator No Comments