What do these lines have in common? Aside from being movie quotes, they’ve become part of our family vocabulary.
No, vocabulary is too "scholastic" a term. They’ve become part of our shorthand, part of our personal language. Just as nagging and begging have become part of my mommy-communication strategies.
I bet you use movie shorthand, too. Like that first line there, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.” If you are over a certain age (and are an adult), you’ve at least heard of the quintessential mob movie The Godfather. While I may not be a Mafioso, I know that phrase works well in domesticated suburban settings, as well. I’ve actually had this conversation with my husband:
Him: Do you want me to put the kids' muddy sneakers inside or leave them in the garage?
Me: Leave the sneakers. Take the cannoli.
Moved out of context, this line that so succinctly summed up the callous nature of a mob hit has worked well for us as a fun, lighthearted way to say, “Forget that ugliness, let’s have dessert!”
My time for watching horrifically violent and tense organized crime flicks is limited these days. Instead, our movie nights are filled with kids’ movies. In my fledging kiddie-cinema years, I lamented the loss of fun quips to throw around out of context. Quotes from the R-rated flicks, I feared, would be replaced with banal drivel that was better suited for the toddler set. Would, “You’re my huggabuggable smushy doodle!” become my new norm?
Then, thank the gods of film quotes, Shrek happened while I was still in my child-bearing phase. It was 2007. We were on vacation, and our daughter was two years old. Shrek the Third was our first family movie-theater experience. I’d seen the other Shrek films -- like most of America -- but this was the first time I’d seen one in the company of a child. Worlds collided, angels sang, minds were blown, and I realized that both this budding bundle of a moviegoer and her parents were enjoying the same film.
Nay! Not just enjoying, but laughing (albeit for different reasons).
Later that summer, we bought the rest of the Shrek movies to watch at home. In the intervening years, we’ve added three more children to the mix and they too have seen all the Shrek movies, in addition to The Incredibles, Annie, Up, Despicable Me, The Princess Bride and countless other movies that appeal to parent and child alike. And it is because of this meeting of the movie minds that a child in my house will pinch his or her nose and run screaming when they hear:
“My mouth was open and everything!”
When I watch children’s movies these days, I'm like a 49er (a gold-seeking entrepreneur, not football professional) panning for precious metals we can refine and repurpose at home. Because it's so much more fun to proclaim, "My mouth was open and everything," when a child toots on the stairs when I'm trailing a step behind than it is to say, "Ew, you passed gas in my face!"
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