Movie Article

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).

auteur
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?

blacklist
1950s Hollywood sees red, turns yellow.

Capracorn
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.

cinematographer
Creates great photography so the director can win the Oscar.

comeback
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.

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

director
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.''

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

has-been
Judd What's-His-Name.

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

Japanese
The bosses.

legs
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.

1 2
Advertisement

From Our Partners