Recently in the Movies Category

What They Did II: The Movie Breakup

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I've always been fond of my 1997 Words & Stuff post What They Did: The Movie, featuring short, silly, and surreal bits of fiction and drama consisting entirely of movie titles.

Now a comedy group called POYKPAC has upped the ante with a great four-minute video, Movie Title Breakup. The dialogue consists entirely of 154 movie titles, the storyline makes significantly more sense than any of mine did, and the video helpfully shows the covers of the movies in question as they go. Very nicely done.

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony

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Someone mentioned the Emmy Awards the other day, and I realized I wasn't sure why they were called that. I figured they must have been named after some famous person named Emmy.

Turns out not:

[Television Academy] founder Syd Cassyd suggested “Ike,” the nickname for the television iconoscope tube. But with a national war hero named Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, Academy members thought they needed a less well-known name. Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera. The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol.

So the Emmy awards are named after the image orthicon camera. I'm tickled by that—to me, that sounds like a newspaper award being called the Linies, for a linotype machine (or possible the Typos?), or a book award being named the Offies, for offset printing. Or even the Movies, for movable type. I wonder if there was ever a fanzine award called the Mimmies. Or Mimsies. Or Mimis.

Anyway, so it seemed amusing and unlikely to me that a major American entertainment award would be named after a piece of technology that was once used in its production or consumption. Until I remembered that the Grammy Award is named after the gramophone.

One might think, given this trend, that the Tony awards were maybe named after the Microtone, a clip-on microphone (that I just made up) first used on Broadway in 1932 (in my imagination), or the ToneTest, a clever little device for doing sound checks (that I also just made up). But no; the Tonys are named after Antoinette Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing, the organization that gives the award. So much for the named-after-technology trend.

The other major award in this category, of course, is the Oscar. I figured that would be straightforward too, named after some then-famous film guy named Oscar, but it turns out the name's origins are mired in obscurity. Some of the claims:

  • Bette Davis named it after Harmon Oscar Nelson, her first husband.
  • Margaret Herrick (librarian for, and later executive director of, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) named it after her cousin Oscar Pierce.
  • Columnist Sidney Skolsky named it after a vaudeville joke.

Wikipedia also currently says it might've been named after Oscar Wilde, but the link to the alleged source for that claim is broken, and I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere else. I was going to add “and it seems unlikely to me anyway,” but then it occurred to me that all of the other award-name origins listed in this entry also seemed unlikely to me, so apparently I'm not a good judge of these things.

Another pan

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Another entertainingly harsh movie review:

There's nothing wrong with "All About Steve" that a rewrite couldn't fix, as long as the rewrite involved a different writer, a different character and a different story.

Michael Phillips on All About Steve

Pan

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Occasionally, critics and reviewers can be entertainingly vicious. I generally don't approve of that sort of thing, but sometimes I can't help being amused.

Case in point: the first line of yesterday's MTV review of the new movie Ghosts of Girlfriends Past:

In a time of tight money and ridiculous ticket prices, "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" offers a tempting opportunity to save yourself 10 bucks.

The rest of the review isn't nearly that negative, though.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Movies category.

Mondegreens/Mishearings is the previous category.

Names is the next category.

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