for writers and readers….

You can learn a lot from films…

On Fridays I am returning to some of my favourite posts from the past. To paraphrase BBC radio: this is your chance to read again…This post comes from April 2013 when I was taking part in the A-Z blogging challenge


Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead – the 1995 film starting Andy Garcia – is rich in useful story telling devices beginning with the letter B.

BOAT DRINKS was the good luck phrase used by a group of ex gangsters when they said goodbye to each other. It originated from their time in prison when they shared a fantasy of one day being rich enough to enjoy a drink on their own yacht.

BUCKWHEATS is the slang for an abnormal assassination – murder with torture attached.

Inventing phrases and special words for characters can be a way of bringing them to life and also a means of introducing the back story.

When I looked up Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead I discovered that the brilliant title comes from Warren Zevon’s song which plays as the film’s credits roll. Andy Garcia is the lead character  Jimmy the Saint, a name that comes from Bruce Springsteen’s song ‘Lost in the Flood’.  So, you can borrow but you can’t steal…

I won’t reveal the plot of What To Do in case you haven’t seen it but I thoroughly recommend it. On Wikipedia it is listed as neo noir (that’s grey, isn’t it?) crime and I think I’d label it as a violent tragic romance…does that sell it to you?

Can you think of any other examples of invented slang? Does your family have its own words and phrases that would be meaningless to an outsider?

2 comments on “You can learn a lot from films…

  1. Ann Perrin
    March 13, 2015

    ‘Never say never’ comes to mind. Remember that that A to Z challenge. . You did wonderfully and I gave it a go, but got the letter or the right date wrong at least twice! I blamed being discalculous although really it was not paying attention, too much juggling! . Hope your hips will be dancing soon! x

    • bridget whelan
      March 13, 2015

      It’s the knees I’m worrying about! Hope all is well with you – I’m a keen follower of your blog so I know what you’ve been doing… that has come across as a bit stalker-ish but you know what I mean!

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This entry was posted on March 13, 2015 by in Muse and tagged , , , , , , , .


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