Talking about Movies – Part 3

Here are more words and phrases for when you want to talk about movies.

The leading man/lady – The main male actor or female actress of a movie. You can also call them the star, leading actor/actress.

The supporting actor/actress – These are lessor roles in a movie than the roles of the leading actor/actress.

Bit part – This is an small acting role in a movie with usually under 6 spoken lines.

Extras – These are non-speaking roles. People just hanging out in the background pretending to be the crowd.

Movie soundtracks – All of the music for the movie.

Screenplay or script – It is written work made specifically for a movie. It can be adapted from a book like “Harry Potter” or “Lord of the Rings.”

Plot – This is the main plan or story of the movie. You can say, “The plot of that movie had holes in it!” This means you felt like there were pieces missing or the story line was wrong. On the flip side you can say, “That plot was tight!”

Here are some words you can use when describing how an actor or actress did in their role in a movie.

convincingHe was so convincing in that role. I really believed he was the King of England.

talentedShe is so talented. She’s a wonderful actress.

versatileHe’s such a versatile actor. I’ve seen him play a doctor, as well as a janitor.

good/bad – simple words, but we use them a lot when describing actors/actresses. Wow, he is a bad actor!

overactedOMG, she overacted so much in this movie. I didn’t believe her at all.

Talking about Movies – Part 2

Here are some more terms you can use when discussing movies:

“I give it 2 thumbs up.” – This means you really liked the movie. You could give it “1 thumb up”, which means it was just okay. “2 thumbs down” means you didn’t like it at all. When you say it, you put your thumbs up or down according to what you are saying. This expression comes from some movie critics who rate movies.

Rotten Tomatoes – You can also discuss its Rotten Tomatoes score. “It received 98% on Rotten Tomatoes; it must be good.” “It only got 8% on Rotten Tomatoes; you couldn’t pay me to watch it.”

Reviews – Along these same lines, you can talk about the reviews a movie received. “This movie got great reviews. I really want to see it!”

“That is 2 hours I’ll never get back again.” That’s a expression you can say about a movie or anything really that you disliked and felt like you wasted your time. I felt like that about the movie “Dr. T and the women.”

“That was a fantastic flick.” You can use any adjective before the word flick. Flick is another name for a movie.

“It was a total flop!” That means that the movie didn’t make any money and hardly anyone saw it. You can also call it a bomb.

“That movie was a sleeper.” (Also, sleeper hit or surprise hit) This means that the movie gained unexpected success or recognition.

“Did you check the listing to see when it starts?’ Listing is another way to talk about the show-times.

“Let’s get advanced tickets. I hear it’s going to fill up!” Advanced tickets are tickets you buy a few days or several hours before the movie. You can get them either on the Internet or at the box-office (ticket booth).

“It’s sold-out!” There are no more tickets for that showing of the movie.

In part 3, I’ll talk about the parts of a movie like plot, characters, etc.

How to use the words Former and Latter…

The word former specifies the 1st of two items which were spoken/written.

I made a pie and a cake today. I prefer the former. (This means that I prefer the first one – the pie.)

The word latter specifies the 2nd of two items which were spoken/written.

Some people like to travel by car or by plane. I prefer the latter. (This means that I prefer the second one – travelling by plane.)

Talking about Movies – Part 1

One fun way to practice English is to watch movies in English. It’s also important to be able to talk about the movies you just watched. The first part of this post on movies I will focus on various genres (categories) of movies.

Science-Fiction (Sci-Fi) are movies that have imaginary elements that are based on scientific possibilities. They can be set in the future, or even in outer space. Some examples are “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.”

Fantasy movies focus on magic and the supernatural. They differ from Sci-Fi movies because they do not have themes that are scientific. Some examples are “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings.”

Animated movies are full length cartoons. They can be hand drawn or computer animated. Examples are: “Toy Story” and “Snow White.”

War and Military movies are pretty much self-explanatory. They are movies that focus on warfare, battles, prisoners of war, or military training. An example is “Saving Private Ryan.”

Westerns are movies that focus on the Western part of the USA (the wild west), and are usually about gunfighters or cowboys. Some examples are “Battle of the Alamo” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

Horror movies are movies that scare you!!!! They keep you on the edge of your seat and they try to terrify you. “Dawn of the Dead” and “28 Days Later” are example of these.

Romantic movies have some kind of romance between 2 major characters in the movie. It also can be a subcategory to comedy and then the type of movie would be called a romantic comedy. Examples of romance movies are “A walk to remember” and “Love Story.”

Comedy films are movies with humor as the main emphasis. There are many sub-categories to comedy like slap-stick. “When Harry Met Sally…” and “American Pie” are 2 examples of comedies.

Dramatic films are movies they concentrate on the development of realistic characters. The themes could be alcoholism, prejudice, poverty, etc. Some examples are “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Brokeback Mountain.”

Musical films are movies which have many songs and may even have some dance scenes, as well. “High School Musical” is one of the more recent musical movies.

Action movies are movies where the story is told mostly through physical actions and not dialogue. There is usually a hero in this movie type. “Rush Hour” and “Air Force One” are examples.

A chick flick is a movie which is designed for female viewers. It’s a slang term, but used a lot today. Examples are: “Pretty Women” and “Clueless.”

Chick flicks are usually my favorite type of movies. What is your favorite type?

Articles in English – A vs. An

Lots of past students have asked me this question: When do I use ‘a’ and when do I use ‘an’?

You use ‘a’ when the word following it starts with a consonant.
a cat
a book
a big house
a yellow pair of pants

You use ‘an’ when the word following it starts with a vowel.
an apple
an angry man
an egg
an orange

There are exceptions:
If the word starts with a silent letter, and the next is a vowel, then you use ‘an’.

an hour
an honest mistake

Also, when ‘u’ has the sound like ‘y’ or when ‘o’ sounds like ‘w’, then you use ‘a’.
a union
a used piece of paper
a one-legged dog

Lastly, ‘m’ can sometimes be tricky and you will need to use ‘an’.
an MBA program

Using your English at the Dentist

No one likes going to the dentist (well maybe you do, but I don’t), but we all have to go at one time or another. I’ve put together some phrases to help you explain your potential problems to the dentist.

I have a toothache.

My tooth is loose.

My teeth are sensitive to cold or to sweets. (This means they hurt a little when you drink something cold or eat something sweet.)

My filling came out. (A filling is the silver or white part that a dentist puts in your tooth when you have a cavity.)

My crown fell off. (A crown is usually porcelain these days and covers the entire tooth.)

My wisdom teeth are coming in and they hurt. (Wisdom teeth are the teeth in the very back of your mouth. Many people have these removed before they come out. I got mine out when I was 19 years old.)

I chipped my tooth! (This means that a little piece of your tooth broke off.)

What dentist could say back to you:

You need to floss your teeth more.

You should use mouthwash every day.

I need to extract your tooth. (He needs to pull out a tooth.)

Would you like laughing gas? (laughing gas = nitrous oxide and relaxes you while you have your procedure done. It’s called laughing gas because it can make you laugh or giggle.

You have gingivitis.

Your gums are very red.

Maybe you need a root canal.