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In the Shadow’s Commentary section of each review, there are several phrases that get used fairly often, and seeing as how many of my pop culture references might be considered ancient to some folks out there, I thought that I would explain their meaning and their source.


3-D Comin’ at ya! – This term comes from the 1988 Steve Martin film Roxanne, a modernized retelling of the play Cyrano de Bergerac which was written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. Martin plays C.D. Bales who is the owner of a rather large nose. In the opening scene, when turning to confront two men who have commented on the size of his nose, one blurts out, “3-D, comin’ at ya!” It should also be noted that Comin’ at Ya! was also the name of a 1981 film that cashed in on the 3-D craze that briefly ran rampant for a year or two in the early 80’s…and which coincided with my impressionable tween years.


Ask Dr. Stupid – This comes from the Ren and Stimpy Show. At the end of the first season, the episode “Stimpy’s Invention” ended with a short segment entitled “Ask Dr. Stupid” wherein Stimpson J. Cat was asked what that ugly white slab was in a can of beans. The answer of course was the “Queen Bean” with all the others being worker beans. I trot this saying out when someone in the film spouts some pseudo-scientific mumbo jumbo that clearly makes little sense in reality.


Brown Trousers Alert! – This simply denotes a moment of terror or some other intensely frightening aspect to the film, so scary that someone very well may soil their undergarments. This comes from the old joke about the captain who, before any battle, asks his porter to "Bring My Red Jacket", so his crew won't see him bleed and therefore lose morale. Eventually, upon happening upon a battle that he has no chance of winning, his porter asks if he should get his red jacket. "Yes...", the captain says, and then, after a moment's hesitation, he adds, "...and bring my brown pants as well", the implication here being that he has, or is about to have an unfortunate case of bowel control loss.


Pigs in Space! – This of course was a recurring sketch on The Muppet Show. It followed the adventures of Captain Link Hogthrob, First Mate Miss Piggy and Doctor Julius Strangepork as they traversed the stars aboard the Swinetrek. Every segment opened with a shot of the Swinetrek as it sped past, with a voiceover loudly proclaiming the title. Thus, I like to use this expression whenever a movie features a shot (or 12) of a spaceship flying through the stars.


Somebody Call PETA! - People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals are well known for their animal rights activism, so any time the plot of a movie shows any animal being abused in any fashion, I let loose with this one.


Spring Loaded _____ - This is a staple of horror films, the cliché being that when a character finds themselves alone in a creepy locale, a cat will suddenly appear – seemingly propelled by some external source – to cause a jump scare for the character and in turn, the audience. In later years, cats were often pushed aside for different spring-loaded animals, but the same cheap scare tactic was the result.

Stock Footage Alert – This one pretty much needs no explanation. I use this whenever stock footage is used in a film. While such use became more rare in later years, films from the 60’s and earlier were often loaded with it…especially the lower budget offerings.  


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