THE SHAME IS COMING. HOW WILL YOU DEAL WITH IT?
Movie references. We all have our favorites. We all love to quote. A well placed reference can be the source of uproarious laughter but it can also bring about the spirit crushing sting of embarrassment.
Recently, a few coworkers of mine were having a conversation that didn’t involve me at all. One of them mentioned New England Clam Chowder. I couldn’t resist.
“Is that the red or the white?”
I’ll admit it’s a pretty obscure reference but most of my friends love Ace Ventura!
My reference was an epic fail. Now… It can be considered acceptable if you interrupt a conversation with a movie reference but ONLY if it works. When it doesn’t work you look like an idiot AND it’s rude… Double fail.
It’s never fun when your reference is met with an awkward silence and blank expressions. It’s almost impossible to recover unless you can bring up a clip on YouTube. Sometimes, your only hope is a sudden recollection of your reference by one of your friends.
It’s even worse when you’re proud of your reference. You immediately try to defend yourself but you’re just making it worse.
“What do you mean you’ve never seen that movie? How is that possible?”
This tactic may relieve the stress temporarily but once you come down from that high you’re still left with… The shame.
Anger will only get you so far before the sadness kicks in. A perfectly good reference was wasted. Whether it was bad timing or you simply didn’t know your audience well enough, a wasted reference hurts. Slowly, the sadness will fade away but you’ll still be left with… The shame.
It’s a gut wrenching feeling that’s only extinguished by a reference that actually sticks with your audience.
You have to redeem yourself!
7 KEY STEPS TO AVOID FAILED MOVIE REFERENCES
1. Don’t make stupid references.
2. Know your audience.
3. If you’re unsure, pull the chute.
4. Don’t screw up the quote.
5. The setup is crucial.
6. Pick your spots.
7. Never quote Troll 2 to casual movie fans.
Even if you manage to keep these 7 steps in mind, you’ll still fail from time to time. Nobody has a perfect record when it comes to referencing movies. At best the most seasoned movie fan can only hope to achieve an 80-85% success rate. No matter what, there will still be failed attempts. Here are some helpful coping tips when no one laughs:
COPING WITH TERRIBLE MOVIE REFERENCES
You weren’t thinking. Don’t make it worse by spelling out the reference in the hopes that people might ‘get it’. Your best bet is to identify the movie you were trying to reference and move on with your life. Making solid movie references depends entirely on your comfort level with those around you. The better you know your audience’s taste in movies, the easier it is to identify a great reference.
When you fail, you’re going to get ridiculed. Accept that. It’s the risk you took and you have to live with it.
“Why do we fall?”
Sometimes, you get caught trying to shimmy your way into a conversation you didn’t start. Don’t interrupt people who aren’t talking about movies. Odds are, it won’t matter how good your reference is because the setup is everything. Quit being obnoxious. Wait… Isn’t that what I just did?
There I was, a perfectly good Ace Ventura reference going to waste. How did I cope? Luckily, I was saved by a friend who jumped into the conversation and added:
“I can never remember that… White?”
Know your audience. I was saved because SOMEBODY would eventually got it.
Most of all, don’t forget to be kind to the complete losers who may never regain the tiny shred of confidence they had before making a lame movie reference. At least they tried! You’re allowed to ridicule them mercilessly but be nice about it!
How do you cope with failed movie references? It sucks doesn’t it?