HALLIE EPHRON: In moments of duress (as in when one of us, I'm not saying who, has done something like forgotten where she parked the car), you might find me looking at my husband and saying, "Don't panic!" He'll look back at me and raise the ante with a louder: "DON'T PANIC!" And then in unison we will clutch our (respective) heads and shriek "AAAHHH!" Hopefully no one is watching.
Okay, raise your hand if you recognize the source of this snippet of movie dialogue that breaks the tension and shortcuts the finger-pointing . . .
Give up? Okay, It's from "Chicken Run" a wonderful Claymation movie from the folks who bring us Wallace and Grommitt.
Here are a few other family favorites that get hauled out on appropriate occasions:
- "They're he-re..." (Poltergeist)
- "InconCEIVable!" (The Princess Bride)
- "Do or do not. There is no 'try.' (Empire Strikes Back)
- "Snap out of it!" (Moonstruck)
- "We want . . . a shrubbery." (Monty Python)
- "Walk this way." (Young Frankenstein)
Do your family ritual include similarly silly phrases pulled out of the odd movie, TV show, or book? Share!
LUCY BURDETTE: Oh that's completely hysterical Hallie! How I wish I could see the two of you in the parking lot!
Here's the one our whole family would recognize instantly--it comes up the instant we have a concern about how much something costs.
"There's GOT to be a way to earn twenty-thousand dollars!" (The Brady Bunch movie)
And from EB White, reading The Trumpet of the Swan, when someone strikes as unusually large: "He's no canary."
Gosh, they don't sound so funny standing on their own, but we crack up every time--and it brings us right back to the first time we heard the line.
HALLIE: "He's no canary." I love it. How did I miss reading The Trumpet of the Swan. I love White's Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web.
JAN BROGAN: What a great topic, Hallie. And I love, "he's no canary." Of course, there's the ubiquitous "I'll have what she's having" from When Harry Met Sally, which we often say with a sly smile in a restaurant. And lately, since we've been so completely engrossed in Downton Abbey reruns awaiting the new episode (only two days away) we've been asking each other if we're going to "dress for dinner?"
But the term we use most is "protector hood." Somewhere in some movie, or some TV show, someone used this phrase to describe those moments when what you are watching or experiencing is so embarrassingly bad, you just want to hide under a blanket or "protector hood." My husband and I use that term frequently, as in "this is just protector hood material." And sometimes we even apply it to politics!
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Along those lines, there was a moment when I knew Jonathan and I were made for each other.
It was very very early on in our "relationship." We had driven from Boston to New York, to visit his mother, I think. and in the days before GPS, we got completely lost.
We wound up somewhere in Brooklyn, some skeevy creepy part, not the fun hip part. Lost as pie.
We were under a graffiti-emblazoned overpass, deserted, at twilight, and it was terrifying.
"Four little words," I said to Jonathan. Thinking that he'd have no idea what I was talking about, and I;d have the fun of explaining.
Jonathan didn't miss a beat. "Bonfire of the Vanities," he said.
Yup. Exactly what I'd been thinking.
RHYS BOWEN: My kids and grandchildren are all Monty Python fans and my grandsons spent all of Christmas quoting lines from The Holy Grail--including "We demand... a shrubbery." And for years my kids have insulted each other with "Your father was a hamster and your mother smelled of elderberries."
But the real family catch-phrase comes from British comedienne Catherine Tate and it's a cockney girl who says "I'm not bovvered. I'm above it."
ROSEMARY HARRIS: So funny...those lines are everywhere.
When we're leaving the house it might be "Leave the gun, take the cannoli" (The Godfather). Used a lot as we are in and out of the car constantly.
Others include -
"You're not too smart, I like that in a man." (Body Heat)
"Are you talkin' to me?" (Taxi Driver)
"You think I'm funny? I amuse you?" (Good Fellas)
"He was my BOYFRIEND!" (Young Frankenstein)
"As you wish!" (Princess Bride)
Clearly these lines are useful for all occasions.
And how could I forget - "We're gonna need a bigger boat." (Jaws) Used for everything that may be too small.
DEBORAH CROMBIE: We've used many of the above. But we're bigger on movie and TV theme songs. Something scary? Jaws. Something creepy? Theme from the X-Files. Something other-wordly? Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
And Rick loves to test me on the first couple of bars of old TV themes to see how fast I can identify them. But his favorite is the them from Rawhide, with re-worked lyrics, as the dogs' favorite play-time song. "Rolling, rolling, rolling, get them doggies rolling, rawhide!"
Glad to know everyone else is as silly as we are . . .
HALLIE: Oooh, Rawhide. Was Clint Eastwood adorable as Rowdy? Which suggests yet another blog for another day.
We'd love to hear what snippets of dialogue or theme songs have taken root in your life.