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Oct 15, 04 09:56 AM

Abolishing the 'Ing' Flick.


I'm seeing ads for this Affleck/Gandolfini flick, "Surviving Christmas," and it's depressing me for two reasons--

First of all, the unstoppable sprawl of the Christmas season, having breached Halloween, is now marching inexorably toward Labor Day. Not that I dislike tiny twinkly lights or tinsel.

Secondly--there is a cancer on the entertainment business. It's the ING movie. "Saving Silverman." "Chasing Amy." "Finding Forrester." Et al.

For some reason, I find three-word ING movies less objectionable--"Kissing Jessica Stein," "Breaking the Waves." Especially if there's an article in there--the 'the' in the latter title--the rhythm, it seems to me, is less generic.

But can we please, as a society, abolish this practice? Fire the marketing departments? Force filmmakers into poetry classes at the Learning Annex?

Among the reasons I've neglected to finish my novel, "Ray Slape Is Dead," is a fear that if I do find a publisher, they'll force me to call it "Killing Ray Slape."

(Well, OK, it's more for the terror of embarking on the task--for a songwriter, used to terse, four-line verses, it's like scaling Kilimanjaro. As a novelist--I forget who--said in an interview, "It's like trying to cover the Empire State Building in text.")

Also--another grammatical note--how do I do italics in HTML? Such poor form, on my part, to put film titles in quotes!! Gentle readers, advice please?

Posted by Mike at October 15, 2004 9:56 AM

You can put a word in italics by using the <i> </i> tag.

Posted by: Jason M. at October 15, 2004 10:26 AM

i consulted a fellow smarty pants.

she showed me but it wont show here symbollically (not by my example anyway--i'm not the smarty).

you use the left arrow that is above the comma, then the small case letter i, then the right arrow above the period.
then put in your title
then left arrow forward slash small letter i and right arrow.
no spaces.

Posted by: slape rhymes with jape at October 15, 2004 10:27 AM

The "LearnING Annex" is quite an amusing name for a place in this context.

Also, Chasing Amy was a good movie, plus it had the speech that revealed the title. *smile*

Posted by: jim at October 15, 2004 10:29 AM

Slay Rape Said Ed
Pray Die Sad Sal
Ripe Day Ass Lad
Lard Pie Say Sad

Man, that title is rife with anagram potential.

Posted by: Lauren at October 15, 2004 11:29 AM

Man, I didn't realize I had to be gentle to keep reading.... sigh.

Posted by: phil at October 15, 2004 12:24 PM


HTML tags don't seem to work on these forms...

Posted by: DJ Ho Ho Hoes at October 15, 2004 12:41 PM

italics? (with [ i ] [/i ] no spaces.)

oh well...

Posted by: apoxuponme at October 15, 2004 2:00 PM

i don't think this site accepts html that's why you can't italicize.

also it's the < not the(

Posted by: not mrs smarty pants at October 15, 2004 2:09 PM

or the [ for that matter.

Posted by: d'uh at October 15, 2004 2:10 PM

Hi, Mike. I got sick of typing chevrons and quotation marks, so I installed a really kickass Movable Type plugin called Markdown. It converts simple plaintext into valid (X)HTML. You can read more about it at its creator's website ( It's part of Movable Type's Plugin Pack ( This might be a good time to ask your webmonkeys to upgrade MT to 3.1. :)

Posted by: dan at October 15, 2004 2:21 PM

"Searching for Bobby Fischer" has 4 words and is awesome.

I have a similar thing with book titles, Ludlum stuff almost exclusively, The Bourne Conspiracy, The Osterman Weekend, The Holcroft Covenant, The Noun Noun, noun me some more nouns guy.

Its like my friend said on gym class trying to figure out what to play that season, "Sport me a sport, sport."

Posted by: dave at October 15, 2004 3:02 PM

Not that you wanted it, but here's list of possibly every gerunded movie title ever:

Posted by: Asa at October 15, 2004 4:10 PM

narrative writing IS so different from the way it feels to write poetry -- the whole flow is different, the way it feels -- narrative is much more exhausting to me because i get so immersed in the story that i lose track of reality -- poetry is more abstract for me and it comes from a place that doesn't have to make sense --

the only things that help me get narrative writing done are: doing it when i feel freshest (weekend mornings or weekend afternoons post-nap), scheduling the time to write, giving myself a time limit so that i don't feel like i have to write more than an hour (which i usually do), getting excited about the story even when i'm not writing about it, being the characters for a while to see how they feel, and having an outline, so it's not an endless task -- mind you, i don't end up following the outline, because the story does it's own thing while i'm writing it down, but the rough sketch is less stressful

Posted by: Amy at October 15, 2004 5:39 PM

Gleaming the Cube.

'Nuff said.

Posted by: Brian at October 16, 2004 12:38 AM

kudos and congrats to all for knowing what gerunds are!!!
and for me it isn't so much the title of the movie that is bothersome. it's the lack of good, involving, intelligent plot and writing that ticks me off.
thank goodness we have musicians like you Mike, to give our brains a little jumpstart!

Posted by: Banjo at October 18, 2004 7:38 PM

Soul Coughing

Posted by: Gertrude at October 18, 2004 8:25 PM

What about "in'"?
Does "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo" count??

Posted by: James at October 18, 2004 10:32 PM

actually, according to AP style via


Titles of books, movies, plays, operas, ballets, poems, songs, television shows, lectures, speeches and works of art are capitalized and placed in quotation marks.

Example: Vincent Van Gogh's painting "Starry Night" is one of the greatest of his works.

and furthermore. . .

Capitalize the titles of magazines and newspapers, but do not underline or use quotation marks. Unless "magazine" is in the title, do not capitalize it.

Example: I read The Post-Standard and Time magazine."

this is what copyediting does to a person.


Posted by: bdf at October 29, 2004 9:24 PM