© 2000 by Raymond Weschler
Curt Henderson...............Richard Dreyfuss
A high school graduate, who on the night before he is supposed to
leave his small California town in order to attend a major university
on the east coast, cannot decide if he really wants to go.
Steve Bolander................Ron Howard
Curts best friend, who is also planning to go back east to school,
who tries to convince Curt that they need to leave their homes.
Laurie Henderson..............Cindy Williams
Steves girlfriend and Curts sister, who still has one more year in
high school, and who is sad because Steve is about to leave.
Terry "the toad" Fields.......Charles Martin Smith
A good friend of Steve and Curt who is socially awkward
(nerdy) and insecure, but very sweet and nice.
A gentle and sexy girl with whom Terry passes the night.
John Milner....................Paul Le Mat
Another friend of those above, who is the "coolest" guy
in town, and well known for driving his super fast sports car.
A funny 12 year old girl who drives around town with John.
The leader of a street gang called "The Pharaohs" who Curt meets.
Bob Falfa......................Harrison Ford
A guy from out of town who challenges John to a car race.
Curts ex-girlfriend who still has feelings for him.
Wolfman Jack...................Wolfman Jack
A famous radio disc jockey (who plays himself in the movie).
This movie is the story of a single night in the lives of a group of teenage
students in a small central California town, in the summer of 1962 (although
its never made exactly clear, the town is in the San Jaquin Valley, and may
have been Modesto, a couple hours east of San Francisco). Both Curt and Steve
had been planning to take off the following morning for the east coast, for their
first year at a major university. However, Curt begins to think he may not want
to go, and soon Steve and Laurie are also struggling with what it means to
"leave home in order to find home."
American Graffiti is a classic rocknroll movie that captures the "feel"
and relative innocence of the country in the last years of the first rock era
(The film features great songs from 1955 to 1962, by such artists as Chuck Berry,
Bill Haley and Buddy Holly). It was still a little over a year before events would
start to dramatically change the country, music and life in general (John Kennedy
was assassinated in 1963, the Beatles arrived in 1964, and the Vietnam War began to
dominate headlines in 1965). In 1962, times were still relatively simple, although
all the characters in this film have their own serious concerns about love, sex,
and relationships in general, concerns that are probably on the minds of most
teenagers, no matter when and where they have lived
Some Words and Expressions that You May not Know
Curt tries to decide if he is going to leave town, Terry gets a car,
and Steve and Laurie prepare for a long-distance relationship.
Last night in town; You guys gonna have a little bash before you leave?
A "bash" is a small party. Note that "going to" ---->"gonna" in rapid speech.
Its the first scholarship that the moose lodge has given out.
A "scholarship" is a gift of money that is given to students to allow
them to go to a university. The "moose lodge" is a mens social group
(A moose is an animal like an antelope and a lodge is a house).
She can wait. Make it short and sweet.
A slangy way of telling a person to speak quickly, and to be brief.
I could wait a year
.go to city for a while.
A reference to city college, which is a local two year college found in most
parts of the United States (as opposed to a four year university).
You chicken fink! After all we went through to get accepted?!
A "chicken" is a slang term for a coward, and a "fink" is a person who
tells parents or teachers what others have done wrong, but this term
is never used. "To go through" something is to experience or endure it.
Were finally getting out of this turkey town
and now you want to crawl back into your cell.
"This turkey town" is Steves way of referring to the small California
town they live in. "To crawl" is to move on hands and knees, like a
baby, and a "cell" is short for a jail cell or perhaps small room.
Do you want to end up like John?
"To end up like" a person is to slowly become just like them.
Where is the dazzling beauty Ive been searching for all of my life?
A strong adjective that means beautiful or gorgeous.
The pickings are really getting slim; The whole strip is shrinking.
An old-fashioned but still used expression is "slim pickings," which means
there are few good choices, in this case of girls (slim means thin). A "strip"
is an important commercial street in a town.
A good term for a person who thinks they are very special or smart.
Where was I? :: How you thought high school romances were
goofy and we started going together because I was cute and funny.
"Where was I?" is what you ask when you cant remember what you were
just saying. "Goofy" is a funny adjective that means silly or ridiculous.
When two people "go together," they become a couple.
You were leading up to something kind of big.
"To lead up to" something is to start to talk about it.
You made it sound like Im giving dictation.
"To give dictation" is to speak the words of
a letter so that a secretary can write it down.
I just sort of think its juvenile now!
A useful adjective for childish or silly.
Ill keep it at home; Its less conspicuous there.
If something is "conspicuous," it attracts attention or is easily noticed.
Im not upset; I mean I cant expect you to be a monk while youre away.
A "monk" is a religious man who lives in a monastery in order
to prey or mediate, who has little social life and never has sex.
I got a really neat record collection.
An adjective that can mean good, excellent, or more colloquially, cool.
He didnt dump on me, you little dip.
"To dump" a person is to break up with them, usually after being romantically
involved (though note that dump on is no longer used). A "dip" is an insulting
slang word for a small, weak or clumsy person.
I got some really simple instructions for you;
First of all, only 30 weight Castrol R.
"Instructions" are written directions or orders for doing something.
The second sentence refers to a brand of motor oil, which comes in
weights, or thickness, of 30, 40, etc.
Ive written the tire pressure and stuff on a pad in the glove
Note that "and stuff" is a common way of saying "and other things."
A "glove compartment" is a small container found in front of the
passenger seat of most cars.
Ill love and protect this car until death do us part.
The poetic words that are usually said at a wedding, and not for a car!
This is a super fine machine!
A silly way of referring to a car.
How would you like to go to the drive-in movies? :: You got to be kidding.
"Drive-in movies" were big screen theatres in which people watched
movies from their cars (They died out by the 1980s). If a person is
"kidding," they are just joking around, or not being serious.
You want to bomb around?; I want to try out my new wheels.
"To bomb around" is to fool around together, but this is
no longer used. "Wheels" is a slangy term for a car.
Im going with Laurie and Steve to the hop. Besides, Id spoil your luck.
"The hop" is an old-fashioned word for a high school dance (and is still
a well known word because of the song "At the hop," played in this film).
"Besides" means "in any case," and in this context, "to spoil" something
is to destroy or ruin it.
The freshman hop?! Come on, that place is for kids.
"Freshman" year in school is the first year (followed by sophomore, junior and
senior). "Come on" has more meanings than probably any phrasal verb in English.
Here, it is just a way of saying "be serious."
You two just got your ass out of there!
A slangy way of saying to leave, or here, to have left (Your ass
is, of course, your behind, rear end, derriere, butt, etc
Bullshit, man! Come on, for old times sake.
"Bullshit" is one of the truly great obscenities, generally used to
refer to lies, nonsense or other untruths or distortions. To do something
"for old times sake" is to do it in honor of the distant past, and the
way things once were. A favorite expression among older people.
I aint going off to some goddamn fancy college.
"To go off" to school is to leave home for a distant university.
"Goddamn" is a common but vulgar filler word that is used to express
anger, frustration or other emotion. In this case, "fancy" is expensive
or perhaps exclusive or elitist.
Curt sees the perfect girl, John finds himself with
Carol, and Steve and Laurie try to work it out.
Hey man, what happened to your flat head? :: Ah, your mother!
"Your mother" is a curious way to insult a person after theyve
insulted you, but in any case, is much less vulgar than "fuck you."
Theres a very wicked 55 Chevy looking for you.
"Wicked" is an interesting adjective that means evil or perhaps
dangerous. A "Chevy" is a brand of car, in this case, built in 1955.
Watch out for the cop in Jerrys Cherry.
A "cop" is a very common word for a policeman (Jerrys Cherry
is the name of a fast food restaurant in town).
Toad, is that you in that beautiful car? Jeez, what a waste of machinery.
A funny little filler word used at the beginning of sentences
to express surprise, frustration or other emotion.
Here we go with another call out of the station. Can you dig it?
A very slangy and never used way of asking "Do you like it?"
The little bitsy spaceman.
A childs way of saying very small.
You must have the wrong number, partner.
An interesting word that can mean a business partner,
a lover, a friend, or in this case, just another person.
Quick, hang a right! Cut over to G street!
"To hang" a right is a slangy way of saying to turn right, and to
"cut over" to a street is to cross other streets or lanes to get to it.
I just saw a vision! I just saw a goddess.
In this case, a "vision" is a sight of something amazing or beautiful.
A "goddess" is, of course, a female God, or perhaps a beautiful woman.
This was the most perfect, dazzling creature Ive ever seen.
An interesting word for any kind of animal, human or living being.
You have no romance, no soul?
A persons "soul" is their non-physical spirit, though as here,
it can be used to mean a sense of romance or great emotion.
Someone roaming the street wants me!
"To roam" the streets is to wander or travel aimlessly.
He goes to JC now.
An abbreviation for junior college, which is a local city college.
Hes so boss.
A common adjective in this film which means great, good, or more
colloquially "cool," but this usage is extremely old-fashioned.
Howd you like to ride around with me? Sorry, Im going steady.
"To ride around" with a person is to drive with them, but with no
particular destination. If a person is "going steady," they are
dating or romantically involved. An old-fashioned but fun expression.
Youve got nothing to fear; Im as harmless as a baby kitten.
"To fear" something is to be scared of it.
A "harmless" person is not dangerous in any way.
If you ever get tired of going steady with
someone who aint around, Im up for grabs!
If a person is "up for grabs," they are available and not yet taken.
Note the use of aint; You should say isnt instead.
You throw me out and Ill scream! :: Stay cool.
In this context, a way of telling a person to stay calm or quiet.
Is this what they call coping a feel? :: No, get up! Jesus.
"To cop a feel" is a funny slang expression used by boys when they get to
touch or feel their partners breasts or other sexual body parts. "Jesus"
is a very common way of expressing anger or other emotion.
Whats your name? :: Mud, if anybody sees you.
If a person says that their name is "mud," they have been caught doing
something very bad or embarrassing (Mud, is of course, wet dirt).
What do you got in there? More than you can handle.
"To handle" something means to be able to deal or work with it.
I wont report you this time, but next time, just watch it.
"Watch it" is a very common way of telling a person to be careful.
Im not going to give you a whole line.
"To give a person a line" is to tell them a generally untrue or distorted
version of a story in order to convince them of something.
How would you like to be the owner of this practically new vette?
Short for Corvette, a very fast sports car that is still made.
Im going to knock 10% off the top! How about that?!
When a salesman says they are going to "knock 10% off the top,"
they are reducing the price of an object by 10%.
Thats $98 down, $98 a month.
In this context, a reference to the "down payment," or the first
payment you make when buying a car before beginning to pay monthly.
My boss wants to get rid of the sporty cars.
"To get rid" of something is a very useful and common way of saying
to eliminate it, or perhaps throw it out. "Sports cars" are small and fast.
Leave me alone, for gods sake.
A common filler expression that shows emotion such as anger or frustration.
Note that many of these expressions are based in religion!
After youre elected senior queen, youll have so many boys after your bod.
High school classes often elect kings, queens, presidents, etc
The "senior" year
of school is the last one, after freshman, sophomore and junior. "Bod" is a very
slangy way to say body, and if all the boys are "after your bod," this means they
want to have sex with you.
Laurie, I know its a drag, but
If something "is a drag," its unpleasant or unfortunate. Very common.
When Mike went into the marines, she was
acting so wacky, she got run over by a bus.
"The marines" are the division of the US military that is best known
for fighting on beaches or near a coast. "Wacky" is a funny little
adjective that means totally crazy or ridiculously irrational.
Hey, zit make-up. :: Just cool it!
A "zit" is a slang word for a pimple, and "zit make-up" is cream
that is designed to hide or eliminate pimples. If a person tells you
to "cool it," theyre telling you to calm down or stop what youre doing.
You and Laurie engaged yet? :: No, we got it all worked out.
If a person is "engaged," they have officially agreed to get married.
If a situation is "all worked out," the people involved have agreed
on how to deal with it.
We can date other people. :: And screw around, I know.
"To date" a person is to go out with them, usually with romantic
intentions. "To screw around" with a person is to have fun with them,
though depending on the context, it can mean to have sex with them.
I hear college girls really put out.
If a girl "puts out," she easily agrees to have sex
or engage in various sexual activities.
As Curt, Steve and Laurie head for the dance, John cruises
the town with Carol, and then soon hears of a challenge to race.
Come on! Come on, what?
Note that when you dont understand a person, you can quote their
exact words, and then add a "what?" to ask what theyre trying to say!
How sentimental of you; Youll be back at Christmas.
If a person is being "sentimental," they are acting in an emotional way,
particularly as related to love, romance or feelings for the past.
Get your cooties off me!
A funny slang word for germs, used most often by young children.
Dont make a scene! :: Go ahead, slug me, scary face!
"To make a scene" is to act in a way that is so loud or perhaps angry
that everyone nearby notices. "To slug" a person is to hit them with a fist
(closed hand), usually with great force. "Scary face" is never used.
I wouldnt dance with you if you were the last guy left in this gym!
Short for "gymnasium," a large building for athletic
events that usually has basketball courts.
Joe College strikes out.
"Joe College" is the name a person who is not going to school might
use to describe one who is going to a university. If a guy "strikes out"
with a girl, he is unable to do anything sexual with her.
If Mr. Simpson came in here and saw me dancing with
one of you
young ladies, hed have my rear end.
A way of saying "he would seriously punish me"
(Your "rear end" is your ass or butt).
I got drunk as hell the night I went off.
Note that "as hell" is a way of adding intensity (i.e.
I got very drunk).
To "go off" is to leave, in this case to school.
I barfed on the train the next day, too. :: Very cute.
"To barf" is a colloquial word meaning to vomit or throw up.
Only stayed one semester.
A period of 15-20 weeks in which classes are held at school.
Why did you come back? :: I decided I wasnt the competitive type.
In this case, a "competitive" person is one who is motivated enough
to compete against other smart students for good grades, but note the
same grammatical construction can be used with many adjectives
(silent, talkative, athletic, nervous, etc
The Beach Boys; I predict theyll go a long way.
"To predict" something is to guess or claim to know what will happen in
the future. If an artist "will go a long way," this means that they will
go on to have a successful career (and The Beach Boys did in fact do so).
The next night we found out where they were parked and we went out with ammunition.
Things that are fired from a weapon, such as bullets and bombs.
Do you have homework or something to do? :: No sweat, my mother does it.
"No sweat" is a common alternative to saying no problem!
Come on, dont give me any grief. Im warning ya. :: Spare me, killer.
"Dont give me grief" is a way of telling a person to not give you any
problems (grief is great sadness). "Spare me" is a colloquial way of telling
a person to stop saying nonsense and be serious.
I dont like that surfing shit. Rocknroll has been
going down hill ever since Buddy Holly died.
"That surfing shit" is Johns reference to the Beach Boys, who sang songs
about surfing, and who were just starting to get popular in 1962. Buddy Holly
was a great rock singer who died in a plane crash in 1959.
Dont you think the Beach Boys are boss? ::
You would, you grungy little twerp.
"Grungy" means dirty or in very poor condition. A "twerp" is
a funny insult word used to describe a small or weak person.
You big weenie. If I had a boyfriend, hed pound you.
A "weenie" is a silly word for a hot dog or possibly a penis, and thus
"you big weenie" is a very silly insult (though note the use of the
pronoun you is very common in insults). "To pound" is to hit hard.
Im going to tell them you tried to rape me. :: Boy, are you up a creek!
"Boy" at the beginning of sentence is often used to express excitement
or other emotion. "To be up shit creek" is a vulgar but fun expression
which means to be in deep trouble. The phrase above is a gentler though
less common alternative version.
If you say "Carols not grungy, shes bitchin."
A very dated colloquial adjective when means great, neat, or cool.
The light on your license plate is out; Im gonna have to cite for you that.
When a police officer "cites" a person, he officially charges them with
violation of a law. In this case, for violating a car regulation.
The front end of this thing looks a little low. ::
No, sir, its 12 1/2 inches, regulation size.
"Regulation size" is that size which is required by law
(A regulation is an official rule, often made by a state agency).
You cant fool with the law.
"You cannot break the law without being caught and punished."
I could run you in right now and I could make it stick.
The police officers way of telling John he could arrest him,
and make sure that he is convicted in court for breaking the law.
I want to catch you in the act, and when I do, Im going to nail you, but good.
In this context, "to nail" a person means to cause them great trouble.
"But good" is a an interesting way of saying with great force.
Thank you, asshole.
One of the truly great, crude and classic insult nouns.
CS; whats that stand for? Chicken shit, thats what it is.
"Whats that stand for?" is the question to ask when you want to know
what letters represent in an abbreviation. "Chicken shit" is a rarer
alternative to bullshit, and also means lies, or in this case, nonsense.
You know a guy around here with a piss-yellow deuce coupe.
"Piss-yellow" is a crude way of referring to the color of urine (piss).
A "deuce couple" was a popular type of car in the 1950s.
Hes supposed to be hot stuff?
If a person is "hot stuff," they are very talented,
strong, or impressive in some other way.
Aint nobody can beat him. :: I aint nobody, dork.
"I aint nobody" is a grammatically horrible sentence, but in this context,
an interesting way of saying "it doesnt matter that no one else can beat him,
because I can." A "dork" is a silly insult word for fool, jerk, etc.
Tell him I aim to blow his ass right off the road.
"To aim" to do something is to intend to do it, though this usage is
very old-fashioned. "To blow somebodys ass off the road" is a crude way
of saying to beat them, in this case in a car race.
Terry meets Carol, Steve and Laurie enjoy the dance,
and Curt and Wendy talk of the past and future.
What a babe! What a bitchin babe!
A slangy word for a sexy girl or woman. Widely used among teenagers.
You sure you dont need a lift somewhere?
A "lift" is a ride in an automobile
Anybody ever tell you that you look just
like just like Connie Stevens? :: For real?
A good way of asking a person if they are telling the truth
(Connie Stevens was a well known actress in the early 1960s).
Yeah, no shit. Im not just feeding you a line.
"No shit" is a vulgar but common way of saying that what was just said
is the truth. "To feed a line" to a person is to tell them something
that is insincere, exaggerated or not true, much like some advertising.
Is this your car? Its really tough looking.
If a person is "tough looking," they look strong, mean or perhaps
hard to beat or defeat. Rarely used for a car, but there it is!
Can it lay rubber?
A slangy and dated way of referring to the act of accelerating a car
very quickly in order to make rubber tire marks on the street.
Its bitchin tuck and roll. I love the feel of tuck and roll upholstery.
"Upholstery" is the soft material used to make a covering for a seat.
Here, "tuck and roll" refers to the car seat, which can be lifted and
rolled back to make room for storage behind the front seats.
Peel out! I just love it when guys peel out.
A dated phrasal verb meaning to accelerate a car very quickly,
usually in such a way that the car makes a high shrieking sound.
Last years class president, Steve Bolander, and
this years head cheerleader, Laurie Henderson!
Note that each high school year class has a president. "Cheerleaders"
are the girls who lead cheers (applause and screaming) for school sports
teams, and the head cheerleader is their official leader.
You think I care if you go off? You think Im gonna crack up?
"To crack up" is to go crazy, or perhaps have a nervous breakdown.
Boy, are you conceited!
A person who is "conceited" thinks very highly of themselves.
Note the inversion of the verb and pronoun for stylistic effect.
I asked you out! Backwards day, remember?
In general, boys ask girls out on dates, but some high schools used to
have an annual "backwards day," in which girls asked out the boys.
I even asked my father why you didnt kiss me. He said he thought you
were bright enough and that youd probably get around to it after a while.
"Bright" is another word for intelligent. "To get around to" something
means to eventually do it, but after waiting or doing other things.
I had to practically throw myself at you.
This is Lauries way of telling Steve that she had to be very forward
or assertive before Steve finally got the courage to kiss her.
Whats wrong? :: Go to hell!
Gentler than "fuck you," but still a strong showing of anger.
What are you doing? Stealing hubcaps?
The coverings that are placed at the center of car wheels.
Same old Curt! All the time we were going
together, you never knew what you were doing.
"Same old" is a way of saying that some things never change
(in this case, Curt). A common expression is "the same old story."
I said why dont you go kiss a duck, marblehead?
A cute insult, but neither "kiss a duck" nor "marblehead" is still used
(though you should know a marble is a tiny and round stone ball).
OK, Bolander, youre suspended! Krout, I graduated last semester, remember?
If a student is "suspended," they are officially prohibited from
attending classes. "To graduate" is to finish going to a school.
Come on, beat it, Vic. Im not your baby.
A slangy and common way of telling a person to leave.
If brains were dynamite, you couldnt blow your nose. :: Look whos talking!
"Dynamite" is a powerful explosive, and thus is a silly way of telling a
person they have no brains, since "to blow" in this case means to blow up.
"Look whos talking" is a good way of responding to an insult by implying
that the person speaking is even worse (stupider, uglier, etc.) than you are.
Whos the wimp youre hanging out with now, Einstein?
A "wimp" is an insulting word for a physically weak or small
person. "To hang out" with a person is to pass time with them.
I know everything your dirty little mind is thinking. It shows.
A person who has a "dirty mind" most likely thinks a lot about sex.
Look buddy, you want a knuckle sandwich?
"Buddy" is a common word for friend, but note it is often used
sarcastically, as here. A "knuckle sandwich" is a silly way of
referring to fist (knuckles are the part of the finger that bend),
and thus, this is a way of threatening to hit somebody.
Keep your smart-ass mouth shut.
"Smart-ass" is a strong insult which means overly
confident and cocky, and is both an adjective and a noun.
Ill call you some night when Im hard-up.
If a person is "hard-up," they are sexually frustrated or perhaps just lonely.
You seem to know a lot of weird guys.
A good word for strange, odd or bizarre.
That creep is not a friend of mine. Hes just horny.
A "creep" is a very unpleasant, mean or obnoxious person.
If a person is "horny," they have a strong desire to have sex.
I bet youre smart enough to get us some brew.
"I bet" is a common way of saying I think, or Im sure.
"Brew" is a slang word for alcohol or liquor.
Thats his wife. :: Get out of here!!
A classic colloquial expression which actually means "I dont believe you!"
Commonly used when something that is hard to believe has just been said,
and note that on occasion, its reduced to simply "get out!"
That girl is young and beautiful and she was cruising 10th street.
"To cruise" a street is to drive slowly down it, often looking for girls.
My ex is going to become a Presidential aide.
A short way of referring to a former boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.
How do you suppose youre going to do that, wishy-washy, at a JC?
A person who is "wishy-washy" has trouble making up their mind,
or deciding between many choices. The local "JC" is a junior college.
Uh, to the opera, James. :: Drop dead!
The first sentence is the way a rich person would talk to their chauffeur
if they want to be driven to the opera (James is a common name for chauffeurs).
"Drop dead," like "go to hell," is gentler than "fuck you."
Unless you want to go to the Gallo dam and have a little orgy. :: You wish!
An "orgy" is a party where many people have sex with each other.
"You wish" is a way of telling a person that they will not likely
get what they probably want (in this case, to go to an orgy).
I could pick up some Oleo margarine and roll around in it for a while.
"Margarine" is a food that is similar to butter, and perhaps a good
product for an orgy. "To roll around in" something is to roll ones
body around and around, in order to become covered by it.
Hey Henderson, long time no see. What you been doing?
A common expression that you would say to a
person that you have not seen in a long time.
I just want to tell you that Bobbie here is madly in love
with you and trembles at the sight of your rippling biceps.
"To tremble" is to shake, usually from cold or fear.
"Rippling biceps" are well shaped, muscles on the upper arm.
Out of my car! :: Temper, temper!
A persons temper is the general tendency they have to get angry.
As Terry tries to find liquor for Debbie,
John and Carol visit a junkyard.
Oh rats, I thought some of my friends would be here.
A dated and silly way of saying damn it or darn it.
Why dont you grow up, for Christs sake.
Another "religious expression" which shows anger, frustration, etc.
You spastic creep!
A "spastic" person cannot control the movement of their muscles
and a "creep" is a very unpleasant person, or in this case, a jerk.
I lost my I.D. in a flood.
A common way to say identification (drivers license, passport, etc).
Could you pick me up some Old Harpers hard stuff?
"Old Harpers" is a brand name of well known whiskey, and like
vodka, is considered hard liquor (unlike beer and wine).
Let me have a three musketeers, a ball point pen, one of those combs, a
pint of Old Harpers, a couple of flash light batteries, and some beef jerky.
"Three musketeers" is a well known chocolate candy bar. A "pint"
is a quantity equal to about 1/4th gallon, and "beef jerky" is a
type of dried beef that is popular as a snack.
Oh, nuts, I left it in the car.
Like "oh, rats," another silly way of saying damn it
or darn it, or more specifically, of expressing frustration.
Can you loan me a dollar? :: Are you for real? Girls dont pay, guys pay.
"Are you being serious?" Note that in 1962, it was expected that
men would pay for everything on a date, including food and drinks.
Could you... :: Buy you a bottle of booze?
A common slang word for liquor.
He had a head-on collision with a drunk. Boom!
A "head-on collision" occurs when two cars run directly into each
other. "Boom" is the sound of a violent collision or explosion.
Its pretty grim when a guy gets it and its not even his own fault.
"Grim" is an interesting little adjective that means unhappy, depressing
or cheerless. In this case, a person who "gets it" has been killed
(which shows how versatile the verb to get can be!).
He got his in 1955, in about the hairiest crash we ever had here.
In this case, a way to say violent and bloody, but this usage is rare.
John is describing an awful car crash in which a person he knew died.
Now they show it in drivers education classes.
Note that most students take classes which teach them how to drive.
You never had an accident. :: Yeah, well I
came mighty close. I almost rolled it a couple times.
Note the use of "mighty" as an adverb, which, like awfully, means very.
"To roll" a car is to lose control of it so that it rolls over on itself.
But Ive been just quick enough to stay out of this grave yard.
A "grave yard" is where dead bodies are buried, though here,
John is referring to a junk yard, where used car parts are found.
Oh, this is gonna strike a raw nerve!
If something "strikes a raw nerve," with somebody, it greatly upsets or angers
them. "Nerves" are the internal part of the body that feel pain and pleasure.
Curt gets to know the Pharaohs, and John
and Carol continue to cruise the town.
Hes a friend of ours, and thats his car you got your butt parked on.
A funny way of saying "you are sitting on." Remember, your butt is your
ass, rear end, derriere and, for a little variety, your tush!
You scratched it, man!
"To scratch" a car is to damage the surface, or make a small mark in it.
Where do you get off sitting on Gils car, man?
"Where do you get off" doing something is a grammatically interesting question
which is equivalent to saying "what youre doing is extremely rude," or more
colloquially, "you have a lot of nerve doing that."
It aint the size in question, here; Its the principle.
The principle is the moral or general rule, law or point, as opposed to
the specific facts; "The size of the scratch is unimportant; Its simply
unacceptable that you scratched the car at all..."
Tie him to the car and drag him!
"To drag" something is to pull it while it slides on the ground
(If a car dragged you on the street, youd probably die).
You better come with us, take a ride with the Pharaohs.
Note the use of "better," which is the only word in English to
function as both an adverb and a modal verb (meaning should)!
"The Pharaohs" are Joes gang (A pharaoh is an ancient Egyptian king).
For some strange reason, the words you scream when you want
to sit in the front seat of the car, as opposed to the backseat.
Get in the back, punk!
A word that is used to describe a mean or violent young person,
though it is now often associated with the "punk rock" of the 1970s.
This is a collect call for Wolfman Jack.
A long distance phone call in which the
person who receives the call pays for it.
My mom wont let me at home
because hes a negro.
A very dated word for a black person.
Do you know that he broadcasts from a place
that flies around in a circle all the time?
"To broadcast" is to send out a TV or radio program over the airwaves.
You tell him, Wolfman! Hes my man!
A very colloquial way of saying that you like this person.
He blasts that thing all the way around the world. Its against the law, man.
"To blast" a TV or radio show is to play it very loudly, or in
this case, to send it out with great force in all directions.
Theyll never catch the Wolfman. No way.
A very common way of saying "that is not even possible."
Who cut the cheese? :: He who smelt it dealt it.
Two ridiculous lines; The first is asking who was the person who farted
(or passed gas). The second is a silly expression which says that the
person who smelled it first is probably the person who did it.
Milner aint going to beat that. His time had come.
If a persons "time has come," something very important
is about to happen to them (either good or bad).
Sweetheart, if the prize is you, Im a ready-teddy.
Johns ridiculous way of saying that he is ready and available.
Catch them at the light. Then you jump out and flatten their tires.
"To flatten" a persons tires is to let the air out of them.
Those were good ponies. Had to train them special, myself.
A "pony" is a baby horse. "To train" an animal is to
teach it how to behave, or to do special tricks or acts.
I got a jeep pickup with your four wheel drive. Its got a gun rack.
A "jeep pickup" is a type of car, and four wheel drive is a type
of stick shift (for shifting gears when increasing speed). A "gun rack"
is metal bars for holding guns, usually placed on the roof of a car.
I figure with bears, its me or them.
"To figure" means to think. This is Terrys way of saying that he has
to shoot the bears he hunts, since they will kill him if he doesnt.
Jesus, its like Grand Central Station around here.
The central train station in New York City, and a very crowded and busy place.
You had me nervous there for a second.
One way of saying "you made me nervous."
He brought your name up at the Moose Hall.
"To bring up" a persons name is to talk about them.
He means were all done having loads of fun out here.
One way of saying a lot of fun (A load is a large amount).
I hope youll be taking along with you a little piece of this place.
Note the play on words; This can refer to a memory of the place,
or more literally, a physical piece of the place, such as the
money in it!
What he said goes for me too.
"I also agree with what he says."
Something Curt said. :: Oh, figures.
"It figures" is a common way of saying "Im not surprised."
Steve and Laurie break up (for a while), as John and Carol
and Terry and Debbie continue with their adventures.
You must have talked his ear off trying to get him to stay.
"To talk somebodys ear off" is to talk to them for a very long time,
often in hopes of convincing them to do something.
Curt just said at dinner that he didnt see what the big hurry was.
Note that "hurry" can be either a verb or noun.
He said that he ought to stick around and go to the JC for a while.
"To stick around" is a common colloquial way of saying to stay.
Laurie, you know what I want out of life, and its just not in this town.
A classic belief that many film characters have expressed
about the limits of staying in a small town.
You want it and you know it! Dont be so damn self-righteous
with me! After all that stuff about watching your brother.
A Person who is "self-righteous" acts as if they are being
more moral and noble than other people around them.
Youre disgusting! Get out of my car!
An important word meaning horribly unpleasant, revolting or gross.
Whenever he strikes, he leaves a bloody goat
head next to the victim. Isnt that creepy?
In this case, "to strike" is to physically attack. "Creepy" is an
excellent adjective that means horribly unpleasant and scary.
They found the bodies
.right here at the canal, all hacked to pieces.
If a body has been "hacked to pieces," its been cut up in small bits.
Who do you think will take the regionals there?
A reference to regional (geographic) divisions in college football.
How do I get into these things?
"How did I become involved in all of this?"
I put it in the garage for safekeeping.
To store something "for safekeeping" is to hold it in a
place where it will not be harmed or damaged.
I guess we broke up. :: Broke up? Bull.
A couple that "breaks up" separates and ends their
romantic relationship. "Bull" is short for bullshit.
Youre an ogre, just like my father.
A scary and cruel man.
The night is young, and Im not hitting the rack until I get a little action.
"To hit the rack" is Carols way of saying to go to sleep, though this is
never used. "A little action" usually has a sexual connotation, though here
it probably just means a little excitement.
Grab on to something.
"To grab" something is to forcefully take or hold it.
That must be your mamas car.
"Mama" is an old-fashioned word for mother, and when used in this context,
it is a way of insulting a person (or more specifically, their car).
A field car runs through the field, and drops cow
shit all over the place to make the lettuce grow.
A "field" is a an area of land where farmers often grow food.
I like the color of your car; Sort of a cross
between piss-yellow and puke-green, aint it?
"A cross between" two colors is a mix of the two.
"Puke" is a vulgar word for vomit or throw-up.
Your car is uglier than I am! That didnt come out right.
One way of saying "that isnt what I meant to really say."
What are you doing? Trying to pick up a few extra bucks baby sitting?
To "pick up" some extra money is to earn it working at a temporary job.
A "buck" is a very common colloquial word for a dollar.
Anybody know a blonde in a white T-bird?
A very sporty type of car.
Shes out of your price range.
This is Joes way of saying that she is a very expensive prostitute.
My brothers been out with her. He clued me in.
"To clue in" a person is to tell them something interesting that
they did not previously know (A clue is a small piece of information).
30 bucks for that broad?
A still used but ridiculous slang word for a woman.
Curt almost becomes a Pharaoh, Terry confesses to
Debbie, and Johns date with Carol comes to an end.
You have three possibilities: One, you chicken out. In that
case, I let Ants tie you to the car and drag you around a bit.
"To chicken out" is to refuse to do something because youre too scared.
Two, you foul up and Holstein hears you.
"To foul up" is to fail, or do something very badly, though you
should know to screw-up is much more common (Holstein is the cop).
Three, you are successful and you join the Pharaohs
with a car coat and a blood initiation and all of that.
A "blood initiation" is some type of ceremony to join a group or gang in which
blood is involved (A car coat is the paint that is put on a car, in this case
to show that the driver is a member of a gang).
You sure you got enough slack?
"Slack" is extra rope or string that hangs loose which allows for flexibility
("To give a person some slack" is to be flexible with them).
Yeah, its been building up inside of me like a volcano all night!
A dramatic way to describe a strong emotion or desire. In this
case, Johns way of describing his growing sexual desire.
We broke up. Its no big deal.
A very common way of saying that something is not important.
All right, all right, you old fart! Relax!
A vulgar and very mean insult! A "fart" is the act of passing gas.
Buddha, I got to get up early, and I just dont think it would work out.
If something doesnt "work out," there isnt a good result or outcome.
What do you mean "I guess so"?
Note how a person can quote the exact words of another.
Rome wasnt burned in a night.
Joes funny variation to the expression "Rome wasnt built in a day,"
which means that important things often take a long time to do.
Dont say anything and well get along just fine.
"To get along fine" describes when two people are friendly or
cordial with each other, but its not as warm as to get along well.
Wait a minute! Dont go overboard with this thing.
"To go overboard" about something is to over
react, usually in a very excited manner.
Arent you the one who told me that you have to leave the nest sometime?
A home for birds, usually found in trees, and sometimes
used to refer to the security of a persons home.
Youre just mentally playing with yourself.
A word that refers to the mind or intellect (but not physical body).
Where are you going? Its awfully early in the morning.
A widely used adverb that means very.
We can hot-wire it!
To "hot-wire" a car is to start it without a key,
just by using the electrical system.
Why the hell do they bother? Youve been #1 as long as I can remember.
If a person asks "Why bother?," they are implying that something
cant be done, or that it isnt important enough to do.
Ive been sick recently and this kind of activity can be really hard on a guy.
If something is "hard on" a person, it is very difficult for them.
Wow, youre just like the lone ranger.
A well-know film and TV character who rode horses in the Old West.
Just bring the ice, pronto.
An Italian word that means immediately.
I had a good time; You picked me up...and saw a hold-up...
"To pick up" a person is a very common way of saying to romantically
attract them. A "hold-up" is a robbery, usually done with a gun.
I got a little vespa that I play around with.
A well known moped, which is a type of very small motorcycle.
Wolfman Jack gives Curt the courage he needs, John teaches
Bob a lesson...and Steve makes a choice between Laurie and school.
Push the red switch down.
A "switch" is the small device used to turn lights on and off.
Im looking for a girl. :: Arent we all?
A poetic and clever way of responding to the first sentence!
Have a popsicle. The icebox just broke down
and theyre melting all over the place.
A "popsicle" is an ice cream dessert on a small wooden stick.
Thats just a dedication; What I can do is relay it.
A "dedication" is a small note of respect or admiration for somebody,
usually spoken or written before a song, book or other artistic work.
"To relay" a message is to send it from place to another.
If the Wolfman were here, hed say "Get your ass in gear."
A slangy way of saying "Start getting things done in your life!"
He comes in here occasionally bringing
tapes, to check up on me, and what not.
"To check up" on a person is to make sure they are OK, or are doing
their job well. "And what not" is a way of saying "and other things."
Sticky little mothers, arent they?
A very slangy way of referring to things in general, and even people.
Youre a weird broad.
A ridiculous way of saying a strange woman.
Youre going to be hanging on for all mercy when I get this sucker rolling.
"To hang on for all mercy" is Joes way of saying to physically hold on to
something tight (because the car will be going so fast). "Sucker" is another
silly slang word that refers to objects or things in general.
Some guy named Falfa is going up against Milner.
"To go up" against a person is to challenge them, in this case to an auto race.
Mind your own business! You take care of yourself.
A very common way of telling someone to stop trying to
find out personal or intimate information about somebody else.
Steven, please dont leave me. I couldnt bear it.
If a person cant "bear it," they cant accept that situation.
He had me, man. He was pulling away just before we crashed.
Johns way of saying that Joe was actually winning the race.
You creamed him from right off the line.
"To cream a person" is to badly beat them in a competition
"Right off the line" means from the starting line of the race.
You got the bitchinist car in the valley.
A very dated slang word for cool that sounds truly horrible!
Stay cool and dont do anything I wouldnt do.
General advice that many people love to give.
Youre probably think youre a big shot
going off like this, but youre still a punk.
A "big shot" is a person who is very important or accomplished
A very common way of saying goodbye.
Missing in action, near An Loc in December 1965.
The official military expression for when a solider cannot
be found during a war. An Loc is a village in Vietnam.
A person who sells insurance.
Possible Topics for ESL Class Discussion
1. Do you remember the first time you left home for a long time?
What were your feeling?
2. If you were Curt, would you have stayed or left? What if you were Steve?
3. Was Steve being selfish or just realistic when he told Laurie that
they should date other people when went he went away to college?
4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of growing up in a smaller
town like the one in this movie?
5. Why was it important to set this in film in 1962, as opposed to, say, 1967?
6. Did you like the music?
7. Who was your favorite character?
8. What did you like and not like about this movie?