Friday, May 22, 2009



"Luke, I am your father."

Everyone in the free world recognizes this line from a jaw-dropping scene in a legendary sci-fi film, when the protagonist’s paternity is proclaimed in moviedom’s most memorable "Maury Povich" moment. In a game of Jeopardy, even someone like me, who’s never seen the flick in question but knows just enough to reasonably fake it, would punch the buzzer and triumphantly shout, "Who is Darth Vader, Alex?"

And Mr. Trebek would regretfully reply, "I’m sorry, but that’s wrong. Darth Vader did not say those words."

I know! I was as shocked as you! (At least I have the excuse of being a big Fakey McFaker who’s never seen the film.) Diehard devotees already know this: What Vader actually said in "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back" was, "No, I am your father,"in response to Luke Skywalker’s accusation about his father’s death.

According to a survey at "Luke, I am your father" is the daddy of film misquotes, topping a list of the 10 most common misquotes compiled after polling 1,500 filmgoers. What the survey didn’t show, however, is that for every misquoted movie quote, there’s another movie that uses the misquote, therefore making it a correct quote. In other words, right quote, wrong movie. So if you fancied yourself a master impressionist every time you asthmatically intoned, "Luke …," you weren’t imitating Darth Vader, you were citing Chris Farley’s character in "Tommy Boy."

Here’s the rest of’s list, with the actual movie quotes, and as a bonus from yours truly, films containing the misquoted quotes.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" – "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

Actual quote: "Magic mirror on the wall …"

Misquote used in "101 Dalmatians"

"Do you feel lucky, punk?""Dirty Harry"

Actual quote: "You’ve got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya, punk?"

Misquote used in "Scary Movie 2"

"Play it again, Sam." "Casablanca"

Actual quote: "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By'."

Misquote used in "Moonraker"

"Hello, Clarice.""The Silence of the Lambs"

Actual quote: "Good evening, Clarice."

Misquote used in "Dr. Dolittle 2"(by a caged boar, no less.)

"Beam me up, Scotty.""Star Trek" (TV and films)

Actual quote: "Scotty, beam us up."

Misquote used in "Armageddon"

"Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.""Gone With the Wind"

Actual quote: "Frankly, my dear …"

Misquote used in "Clue"

"If you build it, they will come.""Field of Dreams"

Actual quote: "If you build it, he will come."

Misquote used in "Eight Legged Freaks"

"I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.""The Wizard of Oz"

Actual quote: "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Misquote used in "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids"

"Mrs. Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?""The Graduate"

Actual quote: "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me."

Misquote used in "The Ladies Man"

Friday, May 08, 2009



I’ve got a beef with a certain popular fast-food chain and its famously creepy mascot.

By now, most of you probably have seen Burger King’s latest ad campaign featuring a SpongeBob Squarepants-themed remix of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” In keeping with the original ode to plump posteriors, the King, with his disconcerting, ever-present plastic smile, extols the virtues of square rear ends while several ladies jiggle their box-shaped badonkadonks. At one point, the King even measures the perfect right angles of one woman’s, um, “asset.”

“When a sponge walks in, four corners in his pants – like he got phone book implants, the crowd shouts, all the ladies stare … dang, those pants are square!”

At first glimpse, I found the ad mildly amusing, if a bit bizarre. Upon closer scrutiny, however, I wondered, “What kind of buns are they selling, hamburger or human?” A perfectly valid question considering there’s no mention of food until the last eight seconds of the 30-second spot. In fact, the music video-style commercial is only loosely connected to SpongeBob, who has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him cameo on a TV screen before being eclipsed by a fanny-cam close-up.

Despite a voiceover that mentions – not once, but twice – the 99-cent Kids’ Meal that comes with a SpongeBob toy, Burger King and Nickelodeon insist the ad is targeted at adults. Call me crazy, but I don’t think there’s a huge 18-and-over demographic shrieking, “Mommy, I want that toy!” when the commercial comes on. If you ask me, BK and Nick’s claim sounds like a lame attempt to cover their own butts.

Some parent and women’s groups are raising a rumpus over the cheeky ad. Susan Linn, director of the Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood said, "It's bad enough when companies use a beloved media character to promote junk food to children, but it's utterly reprehensible when that character simultaneously promotes objectified, sexualized images of women."

Others feel BK is getting a bum rap. The commercial is harmless, silly fun, they say, and the offended parties are overreacting, humorless drudges.

I’m somewhere in between the detractors and defenders. I’m not mortally offended by the ad; I just think it’s ill-conceived and weird. And I don’t advocate “commercial-free childhood” (though that would shorten a lot of Christmas lists). I do believe, however, that Sir Mix-a-Lot proclaiming, “Booty is booty!” has no place in a kiddie meal commercial, where the only shakes should come in chocolate, vanilla or strawberry, not skintight short-shorts.

Kids are bombarded with enough adult content as it is, even in children’s programming. I realize we can’t raise them in an antiseptic bubble; they’re going to be exposed to innuendo and risqué humor. But using rump-bumpin’ hotties to sell toys crosses the line between innuendo and inappropriate.

And that’s something I just can’t get behind.