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Insistent Terminology / Live-Action Films

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  • In Alexander, when Nearchus subtly jabs that Parmenion's flank nearly crumbling at Gaugamela cost them the chance to catch Darius, Parmenion's son Philotas rages at him, starting with "How dare you, Nearchus!" prompting Nearchus to talk over him, "General Nearchus to you!"
  • Almost Famous: "We. Are Not. Groupies. Groupies sleep with rock stars because they want to be near someone famous. We are here because of the music, we inspire the music. We are Band Aids."
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  • Austin Powers:
    Dr. Evil: It's Doctor Evil! I didn't spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called Mister, thank you very much!
  • The Dude in The Big Lebowski is very insistent that Maude Lebowski is not his "special lady", but his "fuckin' lady friend!"
    "I'm just helping her conceive, man!"
    • Also, he's The Dude, not Jeffrey Lebowski. This is rather important, as the whole movie got started when he was confused for another Jeffrey Lebowski.
  • Birds of Prey (2020): Huntress insists her weapon is called a crossbow, not a bow and arrow.
  • Hedley Lamarr, the villain of Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, is cursed with a name similar to a noted actress... in a joke that may by now have suffered from the "Weird Al" Effect.
  • The inmates of Camp X-Ray are "detainees", not "prisoners". Prisoners can appeal to the Geneva Convention, but detainees cannot.
  • In Casablanca, Rick asks Captain Renault, "Is it your order that we come to your office?" Renault responds, "Let us say it is my request. That is a much more pleasant word."
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  • Cellular: It's a day spa, not a beauty parlor.
  • Clerks II: When Randall arranges for a donkey show for what's supposed to be Dante's going away present, he refers to it as "bestiality". The guy running Kinky Kelly's performance is always quick to correct him: "It's interspecies erotica, fuck-o!"
  • Equilibrium has this famous dialogue:
    Preston: Then I have no choice but to remand you to the Palace of Justice for processing.
    Mary: Processing. You mean execution, don't you?
    Preston: Processing.
  • In both Escape from New York and its sequel, Escape from L.A., the U.S. government is on a Last-Name Basis with protagonist Snake Plissken, to which he consistently replies, "Call me Snake". However, during the respective climaxes of both movies, when one of the government's men finally does call him Snake, he reverses his previous attitude with the reply "The name's Plissken".
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  • A Few Good Men: Subverted when Kaffee asks Colonel Jessup if he thought Private Santiago was in "grave danger". Jessup asks "is there some other kind?"
  • Fanboys: "You live in your mom's garage!" "It's a CARRIAGE HOUSE!"
  • From The Gamers: Dorkness Rising- "I'm Chaotic Neutral!"
  • In Half Baked, Thurgood is a custodian, or a janitor, if you want to be a dick about it.
  • In Hangmen Also Die!, the Resistance members note the importance of word choice in public perception, preferring the people see Reinhard Heydrich's killer as his "executioner", rather than his "assassin".
  • In The Hangover:
    Alan: It's not a purse, it's a satchel!
  • In Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1, when Dobby refers to Mundungus Fletcher as a thief, he insists that he is instead a "purveyor of rare and wondrous objects."
  • Mel Brooks loves these. See the Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein examples above. He also did it in the French Revolution part of History of the World Part I with the Comte de Monet. People keep calling him "Count de Money" and he repeatedly corrects them. Somebody later asks who he is, and he says he is the Count de Money, then annoyedly corrects himself.
  • A series of Running Gags in Hot Fuzz stem from Angel's strict adherence to politically correct vocab guidelines that cause him to correct anyone who gets something wrong.
    Danny: When did you first know you wanted to be a policeman?
    Angel: Officer.
    Danny: When did you first know you wanted to be a policeman officer?
    • "It's the police service; 'force' is too aggressive."
    • "She's a police officer; being a man or woman has nothing to do with it."note 
    • "Traffic collision; 'accident' implies there's no one to blame." (Obviously, that one's not so much meant for comedy. Later becomes a Plot Point AND Foreshadowing).
    • This is also shown at the end of the movie to show the Character Development of both main characters. Danny is the one to make the vocab guideline correction, showing that he's starting to take the not-so-action-packed moments of being a police officer a little more seriously, as he actually knows some of the guidelines. Angel is then the one who responds with a Double Entendre, showing that he's not taking himself quite so seriously anymore, and isn't as obsessed with being a model police officer every single moment of every day.
    • It's not a rubber plant, it's a Japanese peace lily!
  • From Small Soldiers: "We're not dolls... We're action figures!"
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas!:
    (Grinch is searching for a party outfit; he grabs a tablecloth and wraps it around his waist)
    Max: [barks at him]
    Grinch: It's not a dress, it's a kilt! (rips off tablecloth) SICKO!
  • Hunter Prey: The alien bounty hunter prefers to call himself a soldier of fortune.
  • Jurassic Park: "I prefer to be called a hacker."
    • Also, Dr. Malcolm objects to being described as a mathematician because he is a chaotician, thank you very much.
  • One of the lessons Killing Zoe taught the world was that a prostitute has sex for money. A call girl has sex for money to pay for school.
    • A similar lesson was given in True Romance, though did anyone need to be told not to mix up the clearly different "call girl" and "whore"?
  • Kopps: The police cars are called radio cars.
    Lasse: I will not drive around saying "radio cars"!
    Benny: Then some errors will occur. There's a lot of vehicles in the police force. Emergency vehicles, Black Marias,...–
    Jacob: Benny, we just have two cars. Number one and number two. That can't be too difficult to understand.
  • Lantana gives us the gem, "This is not an affair, it's a one-night-stand, except it's happened twice."
  • In Little Sweetheart, Thelma is not "kid", she is Thelma. Seeing as she's a sociopath and a psychopath, it's best to just listen to her.
  • Live Free or Die Hard: "It's a command center!"
  • Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels' hilarious exchange between Bacon and Barkeep Joe provides the top example on the main trope page. Remember: Cocktail =/= refreshing drink. Pub =/= Samoan pub.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Iron Man: Tony Stark is the lone civilian riding in a Humvee in Afghanistan. He asks the driver whether it's appropriate to call her a "Soldier" or if there is a prefered nomenclature since she's female. She points out that the correct nomenclature is Airman, because she is in the US Air Force.
    • Iron Man 2: Tony insists during the Senate Subcommitee hearing that the Iron Man armor is not a weapon but is instead a high-tech prosthesis.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: "It's not a purse, it's a knapsack!"
    • Ant-Man: Scott never robbed anyone. He burgled from them. Robbery involves threats or violence.
    • Doctor Strange (2016): Stephen is very insistent on being called Dr., rather than Mr.
    • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Parodied when Sonny Birch and his goons try to interrogate Luis by injecting him with Truth Serum. The bad guys insist it is not truth serum, it is a formula that lowers inhibitions and makes one vulnerable to suggestion, which Luis points out is what truth serum does. At the end, Luis and his friends defeat Sonny and his goons and inject them with the stuff. When they uncontrollably confess their crimes to the police, they grudgingly admit the stuff is truth serum.
    • Thor: Ragnarok:
  • In Men in Black 3, the villain corrects anyone who calls him "Boris the Animal", insisting that his name is just Boris. The protagonists respond by referring to him exclusively as "Boris the Animal".
  • From The Miracle of Morgan's Creek:
    Governor McGinty: This is the biggest thing to happen in this state since we stole it from the Indians!
    The Boss: Borrowed.
  • A character in Miss March insists upon being called horsedick.MPEG.
  • From Muppet Treasure Island where the muppet version of the Blind Pew storms in to confront Billy Bones:
    Gonzo: Looks like some sort of blind fiend!
    Rizo: I think they prefer "visually impaired fiend".
  • From Night at the Museum 2:
    Kah Mun Rah: Are there any questions?
    Al Capone: Yeah, I got one. How come you're wearing a dress?
    Kah Mun Rah: This is not a dress. This is a tunic.
  • In the German comedy Pappa ante Portas, the title protagonist insists that the dish "Birne Helene" (Poire Belle Hélène) has to be pear with chocolate sauce — not pear with vanilla sauce, or apple with chocolate sauce. He is technically correct, but his insistence (among other things) leads to repeated rows with his wife. When at the end of the movie a waiter mentions that in this restaurant, Poire Belle Hélène is apple sauce with whipped cream, and "Pappa" doesn't mind, you can see they're happy again.
  • Jack in Meet the Parents always refers to Greg's job as "male nurse" rather than just "nurse".
  • Inspector Clouseau of The Pink Panther films. Once promoted to his boss' old job, he finds himself constantly having to correct people of his full title. "Ah, Inspector Clouseau!" "Chief Inspector."
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    Jones: You've been captain of the Black Pearl for thirteen years. That was our agreement.
    Sparrow: Technically I was only captain for two years before I was viciously mutinied upon.
    Jones: Then you were a poor captain, but a captain nonetheless! Have you not introduced yourself all these years as "Captain Jack Sparrow"?
    Will: We're going to steal that ship?
    Jack Sparrow: Commandeer. We're going to commandeer that ship; nautical term.
    "You are Jack Sparrow?"
    beat "There should be a Captain in there somewhere."
    • When Lord Beckett mentions Jack Sparrow (sans "Captain") in front of Will and Elizabeth, they both spontaneously blurt out "Captain".
  • Escape from the Planet of the Apes: Zira insists they're apes, not monkeys.
  • The Genie in Pretty Cool Too can't read your mind, she can interpret your thoughts.
  • Pulp Fiction: "It's not a motorcycle, baby, it's a chopper."
  • In the opening scene of the Danish film Pusher, a deadbeat drug buyer repeatedly asks to be called "Scorpion."
  • In Rounders: Worm wasn't printing those (counterfeit) credit cards, he was distributing. It's different!
  • The Mercury astronauts in The Right Stuff insist that the vehicle they ride be referred to as a "spacecraft", not a "capsule".
  • Andrea in the 2007 St. Trinian's is adamant that she is an emo, not a goth.
  • In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, every time Scott refers to Ramona's ex-boyfriends, Ramona corrects him with "exes". With a good reason. In fact, the reveal occurs right in the middle of Scott finally asking why.
  • By the killer in Scream (1996), both of them.
    Sidney: You're crazy, both of you.
    Stu: Actually, we prefer the term "psychotic".
  • In Sharknado 2: The Second One, when Matt Lauer mentions the intensifying "shark storm" to his Today show audience, Al Roker corrects him with "sharknado"—but Matt, at this point, ignores him and repeats the phrase "shark storm". Later in the film, however, Matt has caved and is somewhat grudgingly using the term "sharknado".
  • From the first Spider-Man movie, when Peter Parker finds out J. Jonah Jameson is putting out a front-page story claiming Spider-Man attacked the city:
    Peter: Spider Man wasn't trying to attack the city...he was trying to save it. That's slander.
    Jameson: It is not! I resent that! (beat) Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.
  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Anakin first classifies his threat against another species as "aggressive negotiations." Padmé later picks up the term as a sign that the two are bonding.
  • From Sunset Boulevard:
    Joe Gillis: I was only asking; I didn't know you were planning a comeback.
    Norma Desmond: I hate that word! It's a return, a return to the millions of people who've never forgiven me for deserting the screen!
    Joe: Fair enough.
  • Suspect: Eddie is a "Congressional consultant", not a lobbyist, and compares this mockingly with calling a lawyer a mouthpiece.
  • In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines John refers to the T-101 as a robot. It quickly corrects him with about as much annoyance as possible for an emotionless killer robot.
    John: No I can do whatever I want, I'm not a robot like you!
    T-101: Cybernetic organism.
  • In Trailer Park Boys The Movie several of the guys insist, "It's not a strip joint, it's a gentleman's club!"
  • In Transformers, Simmons insists on calling Megatron "N.B.E.-1", even after finding out his name. This even carries into the second film, after Megatron is brought Back from the Dead. "N.B.E.-1 still ticking eh?"
  • Tricky People: They're not sexual predators, they're tricky people.
  • In the mockumentary opening of The Truman Show, Louis/Marlon insists that Truman's world isn't "fake," just controlled.
  • Undercover Blues: A minor villain insists that his name is "Muerte". He is very insistent on this point, especially since the protagonists insist on antagonizing him by calling him "Morty". Near the end of the show, the protagonists end up pretending that Muerte is the Big Bad and their boss, which leads poor Muerte to try desperately to claim that his name is really Morty.
  • In Unforgiven, Sheriff Little Bill Daggett insists on calling English Bob the Duck, not Duke of death. When he's called out on it one time too many he gives a brief Death Glare:
    Daggett: Duck I says.
  • Vamps: A justified example; Vadim is the Ukrainian stem and NOT the Russian stem, although to be fair to the main characters, he doesn't regularly interact with them (not having anything to do with Sanguines Anonymous until later in the film) and probably was referred to as the Russian stem before the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  • The Villain: "Cactus Jack Slade!"
  • We're the Millers: The Millers are drug smugglers, not dealers.
  • When We Were Kings: George Foreman suffers a cut on his face during sparring, which means his heavyweight championship bout with Muhammad Ali will have to be postponed six weeks. At a press conference, an annoyed Foreman says "There will not be a delay. The fight will be rescheduled, but when it happens, it will be intended for that time."
  • In White House Down, Emily insists that it's known as a "YouTube channel" and not a "video blog" or "blog".
  • In Who's That Girl, Murray the cougar is consistently referred to as a Patagonian felis concolor.
  • The World's End: The doppelgängers are not 'robots'. After a whole scene spent trying to invent a term for them, the gang settles on "Blanks" by default.
  • For the first third or so of Mel Brooks's Young Frankenstein, Frederick Frankenstein consistently corrects the pronunciation of his surname: "Fronkenshteen".


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