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Movie phrases can still catch our fancy

Published Oct. 1, 2005

Cary Grant is supposed to have said that an actor's career has four stages: "Who's Cary Grant?" "Get me Cary Grant," "Get me a young Cary Grant," and "Who's Cary Grant?"

Like actors, catch phrases also have their time on stage, and the movie Jerry Maguire seems to have spawned one. If you have not heard it yet, you will _ again and again. It is, "Show me the money!"

Unlike most actors, however, such catch phrases have only three stages: "Let's use it." "Let's use variations of it," and "Let's use it until people are sick of it."

Already a national network has been touting one night of sitcoms by saying, "Show me the funny." Newspaper headline writers and TV publicity writers throughout the country undoubtedly will have a field day using this phrase and its permutations.

We probably should expect such headlines as an article on beekeeping called, "Show me the honey." What about the possibility of a story about a Mafia hit man: "Show me the gunny." Or God forbid, a story on spring colds labeled, "Show me the runny."

Well, you get the idea.

No phenomenon from the movies has caused so much excitement and overquoting since sex, lies and videotape _ a movie title still being used in headlines almost eight years after the movie was released.

Actually, "Show me the money" is a rather mundane phrase, sounding like something from the go-go greedy '80s.

My personal favorite that at least has a bit of spice to it is "Talk to the hand," which is used in the failed movie, The Beautician and the Beast. (It means the person has stopped listening to you; the palm of his hand is extended toward you.)

I doubt if "Show me the money" will go down with such memorable movie phrases as "We don't need no stinking badges" (The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948) or "What we have here is a failure to communicate" (Cool Hand Luke, 1967). Most assuredly, it lacks the panache of, "Go ahead. Make my day," (Sudden Impact, 1983). Even "I'll be back," (The Terminator, 1984) arguably has more kick than "Show me the money."

How long will "Show me the money" live? Don't be too surprised if we see it and hear it as we greet the 21st century. Show me the doorway!

_ Douglas Spangler is a New Port Richey resident. Guest columnists write their own views on subjects they choose, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.