Do you speak Spago? |


Do you speak Spago?

Do you speak Spago? -- A Cynic's cinema glossary

above-the-line costs
Staggering pre-production expenses mainly for big-name talent, as in Macaulay Culkin’s post-Home Alone salary (current asking price: $1 million).

French term for a director with a domineering personal vision. Ex: ”Gee, since I won my Oscar, I feel like an auteur.”

below-the-line costs
The pittance left over after above-the-line costs for actual filming.

best boy
Lead assistant to head electrician. Not as weird as you thought, huh?

1950s Hollywood sees red, turns yellow.

Snide reference to audience-pleasing sentimentality done best by Frank Capra, as in It’s a Wonderful Life.

character actor
1: Somebody too convincing to be a lead. 2: A Broadway actor skylarking. 3: Michael J. Fox if he doesn’t get a big part for five years.

Creates great photography so the director can win the Oscar.

Concept for every Liza Minnelli project.

cool image
1: A shot with predominantly blue tones. 2: Something Johnny Depp has. 3: Something Richard Grieco wants.

cult film
A movie loved with evangelical passion by fans terrified that other people will find out about it.

1: Status of a film before a studio agrees to make it. 2: Hollywood purgatory.

1: Hollywood species recognized by baseball cap. 2: What every actor wants to be. Ex: ”I enjoy my role on One Day at a Time, but I really want to direct.”

1: Film industry slang for ”special effects.” 2: Silly name for the 1986 movie, since nobody outside the film industry understood the term.

Judd What’s-His-Name.

1: What a director says he’s doing when he’s ripping off another director’s style. 2: Anything by Brian De Palma.

The bosses.

1: A film’s staying power at the box office. 2. Kathleen Turner’s power base.

MPAA ratings
1. G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17. 2. Classification system that alerts teenagers to flicks that have $7 worth of sex and violence.

net profits
No such thing.


More from Our Partners