For the Love of Pete!

Part of the wonder of a living language is reviving dead words and phrases.  When I recently began to toy with the idea of doing a series of novels set in the 1920’s, 1930’s, and 1940’s, I began to wonder if my knowledge of The Little Rascals would be enough to create that period dialog that would truly zing.  While doing a scant bit of research on the internet, I came across some of my favorite sayings and words from those “Old Timey” days.  It was quite funny to realize many of these antiquated phrases have been used by me for some time (for instance, my favorite, For the love of Pete!, or my referring to friends or contemporaries as kids).  Anyone who knows me knows my fondness for creating catch phrases and playing with words, so here’s a list of some of the best that I think should be put back into everyday use:

For the love of Pete! — a versatile exclamation that can be used in almost any situation but is often delivered as a complacent complaint.

Source:  Pete, the dog from The Little Rascals.

Usage:  Ethel said to Abner, “When’re you gonna cut that lawn?”  To which Abner replied, “For the love of Pete, Ethel!  I woulda done did it yesterday if it would get you to shut your trap!”

The Wreck of the Hesperus — a mess; a fiasco; a potentially calamitous situation.

Source: 19th century poet Henry Wordsworth Longfellow.

Usage:  The apartment looked like the wreck of  the Hesperus after the party.

Affrighted — to become frightened or scared.

Source:  Victorian Era novels.

Usage:  The sallow specter of the dead governess left me quite affrighted.

Side Note:  Adding a soft “a” to the front of any verb will make the cut of your jib jive in that Old Timey way.  For instance:  Last Sunday I went avisiting and met a baby and a dingo.  Tonight, I plan to go out adrinking.

Dinners — a woman’s bosom; visible cleavage.

Source:  Old Timey grandmaws.

Usage:  Oh dear, that little trollop has her dinners all ashowing in that dress!

A Real Brick — a good friend or confidant.

Source:  The book and the film Atonement.

Usage:  Gee, Sally, you’re a real brick for listening to me tonight.

Rather — an often sarcastic declaration of a defeatist attitude or disgruntled agreement in the wake of a long story or statement.

Source:  Graham Greene novels.

Usage:  Martha said to George, “Well I’d say he slipped off the wagon tonight with that old scallywag.”  To which George might have replied, “Rather!”

Get out but quick — self explanatory, see?

Source:  The classic noir film Double Indemnity.

Usage:  Laura said to Clyde, “Suppose you get out of here before I slap you.”  To which Clyde replied, “Suppose I do get out, get out but quick.”


I’d say we start using at least one of these phrases everyday!  So hop to it, kids!

And we’re off

(in a cloud of dust).

What are some of your favorite Old Timey phrases and words?

For further Old Timey fun, check out these hilarious explanations of Old Timey names:

Written By David H. Schleicher 

80th Annual Academy Awards Predictions and Drinking Game

The 80th Annual Academy Awards aired Sunday Night, February 24, 2008.  Below were my predictions for the winners in the major categories.  The actual winners were filled in after the Oscars were announced.

It was an off year for the Academy as they chose the absolute worst film for Best Picture as a way to finally reward the Coen Brothers (just as I sadly predcited).  Meanwhile, the Schleicher Brothers tied for the lead in the Oscar Pool with 13 correct predictions from 24 categories.  This was off from my personal best from last year where I scored 17 correct predictions. Continue reading

The 2nd Annual Davies Awards in Film

The year’s best film , There Will Be Blood, closed in a orchestral flourish with this amazing piece from Brahms.  It was a fantastic way to end a wonderfully strange year at the cinema.

2007 ended up being a great year for films, possibly the best since 1999.  While 2006 was consistent in its passably entertaining mediocrity, filmmakers seemed to take more chances in 2007 leading to more highs (see below), more curiosities (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Beowulf, Sweeney Todd), and more lows (I Am Legend–not quite legendary).  The year’s two greatest films explored Greed and the American Dream.  There Will Be Blood took an epic approach to explore how greed driven and focused can build nations while slowly devouring the soul of the individual, while Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead took an intimate approach and explored how greed ill-planned and misdirected can destroy a family in the blink of an eye.  While Hollywood seemed to cash in on more name brand sequels and three-quels than ever before (and the public ate them up ad-naseum only to quickly forget them a few weeks later) three trends stood out in my mind that I feel defined 2007: Continue reading

A Review of Joe Wright’s Adaptation of Ian McEwan’s “Atonement”

(01/04/2008) I rarely do this, but I felt compelled after a second viewing of Atonement to admit where I may have been off base with my initial review.  I judged the characters rather harshly, but on second look felt them worthy of forgiveness from the audience.   I was especially unfair to Keira Knightley.  Her emaciated appearance adds a bizarre element to her character in that it could be viewed as a physical manifestation of her character’s lovesick nature.  She loses herself and her body in this role much like Christian Bale did in The Machinist and Rescue Dawn.  There were also certain nuances in her body language and performance I witnessed the second time around that made the film richer and more emotionally complex.  Joe Wright’s camera adores Keira, lingers on her unique features, and makes her a far better actress. I also found the ending, which at first look seemed all too clever, to be a fitting conclusion and mirror of the film’s greater themes that honored the source material from Ian McEwan.  Atonement is a brilliant and haunting piece of work.  I still can’t get the Dunkirk tracking shot out of my mind.  The rest of my original review appears below unabridged. –DHS

Suite Britianna, 10 December 2007
Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA

A budding young writer named Briony witnesses an innocent act she doesn’t fully understand between her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and long-time family servant Robbie (James McAvoy) one restless summer day on her family’s lavish country estate in 1935 England that leads to scandal in Joe Wright’s dreadfully sumptuous adaptation of Ian McEwan’s international best-selling novel, “Atonement.” Four years later, all three characters try to find their own personal sense of peace or redemption during WWII.

This brief synopsis does nothing to explain the intricate complexities of the plot and actions that take place. Although Keira Knightley’s performance is slightly off-putting due to the fact she appears like she just escaped from a concentration camp (surely young British socialites did not look like this in the 1930’s), the stunning cast shows full range here racing through curious emotions: spite, lust, recklessness, and selfish wanton abandon. The facial expressions, especially from the children in the early scenes on the estate, are priceless. None of the characters are particularly sympathetic as they are often vain, self-absorbed, and quite silly in their drama, but they are fascinating to watch. The first third of the film is played like a “Masterpiece Theater” production of “The Great Gatsby” as seen through the eyes of Nancy Drew.

However, what makes “Atonement” soar is the impeccable direction of Joe Wright. He makes the most audacious coming-of-age as an auteur since Anthony Minghella delivered “The English Patient” back in 1996. Wright displays a near Kubrickian mastery of sound effects (notice the strikes of the typewriter keys) that transition from scene to scene and often bleed into the amazing score from Dario Marianelli. Wright also crafts a finely textured mise-en-scene that visually translates McEwan’s richly composed story onto the screen with near note perfect fashion. Nothing can really prepare you for how well directed this film is until you see it, and the scene of the three soldiers arriving on the beach at the Dunkirk evacuation is one of the greatest stand alone unedited panning long shots ever captured on film. It left me gasping.

That scene leads to the heart of the film. The often clichéd romance at the core is trumped by Wright’s depiction of Robbie, a single man forlorn and obsessed, his dizzying inner turmoil reflected against the grand canvas of a chaotic world at war. Likewise, Briony’s redemption comes not in the too-clever conclusion at the end of the film, but in the intimate and symbolic confessional at the bedside of a dying French soldier. These moments leave lasting impressions, and left me imagining that if Joe Wright were to ever adapt Irene Nemiorovsky’s “Suite Francaise” onto the silver screen, he would knock it so far out of the park it would leave “Gone With Wind” spinning in its gilded Hollywood grave.

Originally Published on the Internet Movie Database: