Monday, January 5, 2015

George Awards: And…We’re Watching

This post contains bad, foul, filthy and unacceptable language - the words that “will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor.”

This is not a post for children.  Kids, take a hike. 
This is also not a post for those adults who are offended by this type of language.  Do yourself a favor, and go read some of my cute stuff before moral outrage can kick in.
End of Warning.

Similar to last week’s entry for “damn” in the George Awards, it seems silly to use that giant warning for this word.  Therefore it’s time for another “Forgotten George”

I was so concerned with making sure I gave Arnold credit for profanity use, I missed a stellar display by one of his co-stars.  Linda Hamilton infused the word “fuck” with such venom and resentment it practically dripped off the screen in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  The scene in the asylum:

“On August 29th, 1997, it's gonna feel pretty fucking real to you too.”

And in the Dyson house:

“Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb...”

Spring to mind as just a small sample.  (Really, there were several more amazing ones in the hospital alone.)Therefore, I’d like to commemorate Linda Hamilton’s performance with a Special George Award for the most ferocious fleet of fucks in a franchise…

And it all started with the transition of meek waitress Sarah Connor into the woman who trains the leader of the resistance near the end of the original 1984 Terminator:

“You’re terminated, fucker!”

And now, back to the Damn George Awards already in progress.

Number 5 is probably the most pointless literal use of the word, from an extremely pointless and literal minded individual, Navin Johnson (Steve Martin).

His exchange with Stan Fox (Bill Macy) in The Jerk (1979) cracks me up every time.

Fox: “Damn these glasses, son”
Navin: “Yes, sir!”
“I Damn thee!”

I had to do a quick shift around (because I continue to watch movies as I write these...)  Luckily it worked out as the next two entries show the range possible for a simple word like damn.

The 4th place winner is another George Award (amazingly) for this film from the Henson company -  Labyrinth (1986).  The use of the word, and the tone of Brian Henson's voice, both directed at the Goblin King (David Bowie) and himself displays that Hoggle has reached what he feels to be the absolute lowest point in his life for betraying his only friend Sarah (Jennifer Connelly).

"Oh, damn you Jareth...
and damn me, too."

The 3rd place spot is one more Star Trek win.  Deforest Kelley probably deserves a lifetime achievement George Award for being famous for saying, “Dammit, Jim,” when it was never actually uttered throughout the original TV series.  Since these awards are for movies, we’ll have to look to the Trek films for a good damn.

Interestingly the George goes to Leonard Nimoy’s Spock, instead of McCoy.

While the first instance, “One damn minute, admiral,” was a hoot in 1984’s Star Trek III: the Search for Spock, that isn’t the winner.  The prize instead goes to the much maligned, but highly worthwhile as a character study, 1989’s Star Trek V: the Final Frontier.

Nimoy’s skills serve well, demonstrating how this little swear word that could transforms a request into an irrefutable command of an experienced Starfleet Captain in his address to washed up Klingon General Korrd (Charles Cooper):

Spock: “General, I am in need of your assistance.”
Korrd: “MY assistance?”
Spock: “You are his superior officer.”
Korrd: “I am a foolish old man.”
Spock: “Damn you, sir. You will try.”

Mel Brooks sort of makes another appearance at Number 2 nicely combining the two aspects of damn shown above.  While 1982’s My Favorite Year wasn’t directed or written by him, he produced it, and the whole premise is based on his time writing for Sid Caesar.  A comedy film about comedy writers…yes this one is in the upper echelons of my tastes.

The George Award Moment occurs when Mel Brooks stand-in Benjy Stone (Mark Linn Baker) is trying to talk Errol Flynn stand-in Alan Swann (Peter O’ Toole) down from his panic about performing live (and seeing his daughter).

Benjy takes the swear du jour, used to express desperation and hopelessness by Alan, and turns it around on him, making the same word invoke power and strength.

Teaching diversity, just one more service I offer.

Clarence Duffy:  “Those are movies, damn you!
Look at me! I'm flesh and blood, life-size, no larger!
I'm not that silly goddamned hero! I never was!”

Benjamin Steinberg: “To me you were!
Whoever you were in those movies,
 those silly goddamn heroes meant a lot to me!
What does it matter if it was an illusion? It worked!
So don't tell me this is you life-size.
I can't use you life-size.
I need Alan Swanns as big as I can get them!
And let me tell you something:
you couldn't have convinced me the way you did
unless somewhere in you you had that courage!
Nobody's that good an actor!
You are that silly goddamn hero!”

As mentioned when this perverse linguistic insanity began over a year ago, back in 1939 “damn” was far more offensive than it is now.  Yet Clark Gable’s famous line to Vivien Leigh from Gone with the Wind was still the number 1 entry in the American Film Institute’s 100 years 100 movie quotes list.

However, since I’m in charge here, its only the Historical Achievement George Award for using Damn in a Motion Picture that goes to:

"Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

There is a reason I am bucking the example set by 1500 cinema experts the world over, aside from being an aficionado of terrible movies and lacking the patience to sit through good ones.  It is that it's my list dammit, and the Number 1 George Award for Using Damn in a Motion Picture, not only uses it in a top ten spot from the AFI list, but has two other uses that are arguably as good or better.

The victorious movie, one I’ve geeked out about previously, is 1968’s Planet of the Apes.

The most famous line, reaching number 6 on the AFI list, is Charlton Heston as George Taylor making his enraged utterance that shocks the entire ape community by displaying the loathing he has for those who thought he was a speechless animal. The line, copied in multiple monkey movies since, is of course:

"Get your stinking paws off me,
you damned dirty ape."

Kim Hunter as Zira uses the word in what may be the funniest moment in the film.  Zira’s reply to Taylor’s request is much more civil than Heston’s usage, but still goes a long way to demonstrate that our viewpoints and beliefs are likely just as alien to others as theirs are to us. 

Taylor- “Doctor, I'd like to kiss you goodbye.”
Zira- “All right,
but you're so damned ugly.”

The real clincher: the main reason that this 1968 classic deserves the highest honor, even when compared to AFI’s number one quote from a film that 75 years later still holds the top spot for domestic box office gross (adjusted for inflation) is Heston’s delivery in the final scene.

Taylor’s attitude was misanthropic throughout his journey, and his discovery that ape society was built on the same prejudices and vices as his own did little to improve it.

His ending realization of what depths human society sank to stuns and overwhelms him beyond what even his negative opinion could have predicted.

The first place George Award could go to no other selection, as no other selection could match Charlton Heston’s beach pounding tirade against humanity while screaming the most hate filled, visceral, and literal use of “damn” ever recorded on any medium.

“Oh my God...
I'm back. I'm home.
All the time, it was...
We finally really did it.

And on that cheery note, the Return of the George Awards has reached its conclusion.  If anyone feels I’ve missed any valuable or personal favorite words, please nominate them in the comments for the inevitable publication of the George Awards Strike Back!

Finally, to borrow from Benny Bell:
“And if any of you feel offended…
Stick you head in a barrel of shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-
Aving cream, Be nice and clean, shave every day and you’ll always look keen!”
(Dedicated to Jay and Joey. Think of you every damn day.)

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