41 Comments

  1. Just a few weeks ago my mom reported that as a preschooler, I had called fireflies “light bees”.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Off The Mark was a CIDU for some people. I don’t think you can exactly call a film “obscure” if it is nominated for three Oscars and Roger Ebert calls it the best film of 1999, but “Being John Malkovich” is probably as close to obscure as you can get. It did a box office of $32 million in 1999 (on a budget of $10 million, so a modest financial success), which isn’t nothing, but isn’t, like, a LOT. I would also hazard a guess that CIDU readers are maybe statistically somewhat more likely to have seen it than the average person, but I bet a lot of us haven’t.

    (If you haven’t, and you manage to find yourself with access to a copy, it’s worth watching.)

  3. I recall knowing of the film, and perhaps even seeing a clip of it, but I can’t say I know just what the film is about.

  4. I like all of these, except the Bizarro is a bit of a CIDU for me. I understand awkward timing and timing belt form a pun, but what does that have to do with the shower?

  5. Mark M, it’s all part of the awkward timing. The alarm goes off while he’s in the shower and is unable to turn if off.

  6. Grawlix — I saw it in the theaters, and loved it, and I wouldn’t say I know just what the film is about. I guess it’s just your basic “guy gets a job as a file clerk on an office in between the seven and eighth floors of an office building, and finds a portal behind a filing cabinet which leads to the inside of a character actor’s head” story. That old chestnut, y’know?

  7. When I lived in an apartment years ago, I was taking my morning shower before work. Then someone started knocking on the bathroom door. As I was alone in the place when I started, that was a super WTF moment.

    It seems something was going on outside and maintenance needed to get it to use my electricity.

  8. ” It did a box office of $32 million in 1999 (on a budget of $10 million, so a modest financial success)”

    Wow, Hollywood accounting must really be something if a 300+% return on investment is only considered a “modest” financial success…

    I didn’t get the Muppets one, or maybe I’m just doin’ a Bill: “Armenia” is supposed to sound like “arm in ya”? Is that all there is?

  9. “but “Being John Malkovich” is probably as close to obscure as you can get.”

    Uh….no. Not even remotely. I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t heard of it and he doesn’t remember the title.

    And it’s the only reason I can remember who John Malkovich is.

  10. larK: I think “arm in ya” is all there is. I see the Oy, but for me, the flow of the dialogue doesn’t scan, so it doesn’t really work for me.

    (You need at least a 500% return to be an “immodest” financial success.)

  11. There are plenty of movies that are so unusual and notable that almost everybody knows about them even though they never saw them. My Dinner with Andre; Rain Man; Un Chien Andalou; anything by Fellini or Bergman.

  12. Didn’t see BEING JOHN M., but I know the premise. As for WTF films I have seen, I assume it’s in a tier with FELLINI’S 8 1./2 (which I loved) and ERASERHEAD (which I hated).

  13. I think “Being John Malkovich” is in the same position that “The Mouse that Roared” held in my childhood as strangely and mesmerizingly easy to remember title that sticks with you. This memes seem to have a life span of thirty to forty years.

  14. I knew someone named Fenick, who entirely got used to people asking “Oh, as in The Mouse that Roared?” . She sometimes left out the reference and jumped just to “No, not Fenwick, as you are thinking” which then puzzled those unfamiliar with the Mouse book or movie.

  15. One of our (now deceased) cats was named Fenwick, but it was from Little Nell Fenwick in the “Dudley Do-Right” cartoons, rather than from the MOUSE books/movie. (We’d actually named a previous cat the full ‘Little Nell Fenwick,’ but inevitably wound up only using the ‘Nell’ or ‘Little Nell’ parts, so when we got another cat to keep her company we recycled the ‘Fenwick’ part.)

  16. Mark in Boston: it’s important to remember that one’s own friends are hardly ever a representative cross-section of knowledge, And for that matter, I’ve never heard of “Un Chien Andalou”, and, while I assume that if you started naming Fellini and Bergman films, I would recognize a decent number of titles, I can’t name any titles off the top of my head. Unless Fellini made a movie called “La Dolce Vita”, maybe? That sticks in my mind as a title, and I’m having vague associations with Fellini. I can think of one scene from a Bergman film, of Death playing chess, and have no idea what movie it’s from or what the context is.

  17. larK — a 300% ROI is fantastic by anybody’s normal standards, but in absolute terms, it means “a profit of $20 mil”. Again, really big numbers in normal-people standards, but a rounding error once you put it into the studio system.

    woozy — I wasn’t calling it obscure — I was calling it as “close to obscure” as a triple Oscar nominated film that Ebert thought was the best film of the year could be. You, I, and our friends may all be aware of it, anybody whose involvement in film is more than “usually gets around to seeing some of the big tentpole movies most years, maybe” is probably aware of it. But I get the feeling that “usually gets around to seeing some of the big tentpole movies most years” is a pretty common level of involvement in movies in the United States.

    (and I’m so happy this place right here still exits, even without CIDU Bill… that’s not relevant to what I’m saying, but I’ll probably keep saying it parenthetically every so often for a while….)

  18. ‘“Un Chien Andalou”’ – and if you’re squeamish, don’t bother. I can never watch the eye surgery scene in “The Minority Report” either.

  19. “(and I’m so happy this place right here still exits, even without CIDU Bill… that’s not relevant to what I’m saying, but I’ll probably keep saying it parenthetically every so often for a while….)”

    And those of us who don’t say it, are thinking it . . . always. Thank you for saying it so well and consistently.

  20. Huh . . . I was watching an analysis of ‘Nosferatu’, which mentioned ‘Shadow of the Vampire’, in which Malkovich stars as the director. Never knew that. Learn somethin’ new ev’ry day . . . synchronatically [yes, that’s a made-up word, but apropos).

  21. >” I was calling it as “close to obscure””

    Yes, And I’m saying it’s not at all close to obscure. I claim it’s got a title that *everyone* finds recallable and thus not “close to obscure”. Now you and I are simply stating personal impressions as objective facts. But our beliefs in the facts are diametrically opposed.

  22. woozy — take a look at the comments on the original. It looks like fewer than ten percent of the people there are reacting with anything that suggests recognition or understanding that it’s a pun.

  23. I would also regard “Being John Malkovich” as pretty famous, and not close to obscure. As Shrug said in the LOL thread, it’s hard to know whether something is commonly known. But I always thought of “Being John Malkovich” as a fairly famous movie, even if it’s not a movie that everyone has seen.

    ianosmond: Are you talking about the comment at GoComics? Those got immediately got shunted into a political discussion, so I don’t see any indication of whether any of the commenters were or weren’t aware of the pun.

  24. Winter Wallaby — no, there was a discussion on Mark Parisi’s FB, too, which was pretty much just people reacting to it.

  25. ianosmond: Ah, OK, so maybe I’ve overestimated how famous it is.

    BTW, I certainly wouldn’t think that a majority of Americans have heard of “Un Chien Andalou.”

  26. I only associate John Malkovich with the Nespresso commercials. I’ve puzzled my Californian cousins with the line: ‘Heaven can wait, Georges, but not for its capsules’. 🙂

  27. I watched every single commercial and now I want a Nespresso machine!! Thanks for posting those – very amusing on a rainy Monday afternoon.

  28. >woozy — take a look at the comments on the original. It looks like fewer than ten percent of the people there are reacting with anything that suggests recognition or understanding that it’s a pun.

    I … am not sure why you say that. I’m not getting any indication that anyone didn’t get that.

  29. Maybe my thinking has been overly conditioned by watching “The Good Place,” but if I died, there was an afterlife, and it looked like I was going to Heaven, I wouldn’t say “It’s not my time.” Why risk going back, living another 20 years, and then going to the other place? Just take the win.

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