Follow TV Tropes


Totally Radical / Film

Go To

  • Spoofed in Slam Dunk Ernest, when the title character walks into his friends' locker room and attempts to use urban slang to gain rapport with the African-American basketball players. His attempt backfires when he says, "Right arm. Out of state. Frozen." These malapropisms for "Right on," "Out of sight," and "Cool," are not well received by the other players.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • The gang starts getting suspicious when those who arrive at the island resort speak like any average teenager, while those who leave speak using awful Totally Radical slang. It's because they're actually monsters wearing human skin, and Scrappy Doo taught them how to speak like "normal teenagers."
    • Advertisement:
    • The teens also couple the awful slang with malapropisms, such as "Are you tricking (tripping) on me?" and "I'm gettin' my swerve (groove) on!"
  • The movie Gleaming the Cube is named after a particularly interesting-sounding skateboarding term one of the writers overheard from a crew member's son. The boy had made the phrase up on the spot.
  • Diablo Cody's films Juno and Jennifer's Body include high school students using a lot of slang that Cody made up herself, such as "Honest to blog." Audiences are generally divided on whether it's an example of this trope or a clever way of side-stepping it.
  • This scene from Camp Rock:
    Tess: makes random hand signs
    Caitlyn: Okay, what is that?
    Ella: She said "Whatever, major loser."
    • This was outdated ASL slang from the '90s. She made a W, E (looking-ish thing), M, and L on her forehead.
  • In Better Off Dead, there is a scene where the teenage protagonist's father attempts to connect with his son while awkwardly using slang he is reading from a book on how to communicate with teenagers. He still gets some of it wrong, saying things like "Right off!"
  • Advertisement:
  • Who can forget the immortal scene from FernGully: The Last Rainforest? We still have no idea if it's meant to be a satire (note Crysta's reaction) or if the writers were serious:
    Zack: You know — bodacious, bad, tubular...
    Zack looks meaningfully into Crysta's eyes
    Zack: As in, you are one bodacious babe.
  • Spoofed in Shrek the Third, where Shrek spews out a string of hip-hop slang in a failed attempt to relate to Artie.
    Artie: Help! I've been kidnapped by a monster that's trying to relate to me!
  • In the movie Disturbing Behavior, Katie Holmes' character uses the term "razor" as analogous to "cool" or "sweet".
  • This was one of the many problems with The Neverending Story III, from the school bullies being referred to by the other students as "The Nasties", and Bastian's step-sister refers to his sense of style as being "Un"note .
  • Advertisement:
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure seems to intentionally embrace this. Much of the comedy comes from the two characters' flamboyantly silly version of California teen slang, which turns out to have swept the world in a utopian future. Their legacy includes two prime directives: "Be excellent to each other," and "Party on, dudes!"
  • In Freaky Friday (2003), not only the dialogue, but the themes of the movie are Totally Radical, adjacent to Adults Are Useless. The conversation in the restaurant where Anna (in the body of Tess, her mother) is talking with Jake over contemporary music (like they have a college degree in it) and then singing along with a rock cover "Baby One More Time" comes off as Totally Radical. The moral of the story seems to be that teenagers just need to be left alone, and not relate to their parents (or vice versa), because neither can understand each other.
  • A common complaint critics leveled at Steven Spielberg's Hook was that it invokes this trope with its approach to the Lost Boys, who ride around on skateboards, play basketball, and refer to Peter Pan as "The Pan". ('Pan the Man' at one point.) Their Catchphrase, "Bangarang", is intentional fantasy, but still comes across as outdated.
  • Mean Creek for the most part is a pretty strong aversion of this trope; the teen talk is realistic and full of realistic profanity instead of cheesy slang, things like drinking, smoking, and marijuana use are discussed outright, and the Truth or Dare game in it isn't your standard fiction one with only mildly embarrassing PG-rated aspects. However, writer/director Jacob Aaron Estes did fail to realize that the teens of 2004 don't have the exact same interests teens in his day did, and don't consider Super Soakers the best thing since sliced bread or fantasize about Heather Locklear. Throwing your backpack in your direction only to pick it up and throw it again is also more of a 90's thing than something common today.
  • In Mean Girls, Gretchen tries to create her own with "that's so fetch," to little success.
    Regina: Gretchen, stop trying to make fetch happen! It's not going to happen!
  • Used deliberately in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. The secretary Grace tells the principal "The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads — they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude" in regard to Ferris.
  • The immortal line from the 90-minute Nintendo commercial known as The Wizard:
    "I love the Power Glove. It's so bad."
  • Invoked with Kevin Flynn's mannerisms in TRON: Legacy; which are reminiscent of an aging hippie guru left over from the '60s, making it an example of Two Decades Behind as well as a Shout-Out to another laid back character played by Jeff Bridges.
    "Radical, man..."
  • Inverted in Prince Caspian. They really, really tried to make the 1940s settings for the Earth scenes perfect and detailed... and then had the boys say "got it sorted," which is at least forty years ahead of their time. Twice. At dramatically important moments.
  • The dialogue in the Norwegian war movie Max Manus also suffers under this trope, with actors who are supposed to live in World War II unwittingly talking like the nineties.
  • Disney's movie Now You See It... is full of this. The main characters use phrases like "a snowball's chance in you-know-what" and Danny talks like a ten year old girl at times.
  • The Smurfs: Papa Smurf wearing Wayfarer sunglasses on the poster? Check. Smurfette turned into a shopaholic ditz right out of Sex and the City? Check. Smurfs rapping? Kill us.
  • Used to orient us into the '50s setting in Stand by Me, where Vern is so excited by news of a dead body in the woods that he can only say the now-ridiculous "This is so boss!" half a dozen times before explaining anything to the others.
  • American Graffiti (set in the 1960's) features inappropriate usage of "boss."
  • Perhaps the strangest version of this is done deliberately in the 2006 film Brick. It is set in a modern day high school with teens and young adults but every character talks and acts like they are in a 1940s noir film, complete with hard-boiled slang and verbal tics that would sound like complete nonsense to modern teenagers (or anyone else born after 1934). Needless to say, this adds immensely to the film's quality.
  • In The Beatles film A Hard Day's Night, George Harrison is mistaken to be a participant in an ad campaign and ad manager Simon Marshall shows some shirts to him, "feeding" George the lines he's to use.
    Simon: Now, you'll like these. You'll really "dig" them. They're "fab", and all the other pimply hyperboles.
    George: (after assessing the shirts) I wouldn't be seen dead in them. They're dead grotty.
    Simon: Grotty?
    George: Yeah. Grotesque.
    Simon: (to assistant) Make a note of that word and give it to Susan.
    • Funnily enough, the expression "grotty" was actually invented by the film's screenwriter Alun Owen. It ended up catching on in real life after the film was released.
  • In The Wild One, the bikers have a lot of this.
  • Bringing Down the House attempts to avert this. The movie uses a lot of hip-hop slang, so instead of using real slang and risk dating the movie or invoking this trope, they just made up their own slang instead.
  • In the 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of the side effects of Willy Wonka isolating himself from the rest of the world for so long is that he tends to speak this way to children, using slang and references that wander about from The '50s to The '70s.
  • Occasionally seen in the children's adventure movie A Kid in King Arthur's Court, such as when the time-traveling hero attempts to teach Arthur's younger daughter how to speak like him.
    Princess Katy: So if something is bad, it's good?
    Calvin: Right, and if it's cool, it's hot.
    Princess Katy: I fear I shall never understand your "valley speak."
  • Marty McFly attempts a little Fifties slang in Back to the Future, to middling success. Of course, by now, even the 1985 characters' slang sounds dated and odd: Nobody says "this is heavy" anymore, unless they're referencing the movie.
  • Lampshaded in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014). When Mikey uses his Catchphrase "Cowabunga", he says that he's been "holding it in for years" since it's something he used to say when he was a kid.
    Raphael: You got one more in the tank?
    Michelangelo: Been holding it in for years.
  • Saving Christmas: Critic Peter Sobczynski called the hip-hop version of Angels We Have Heard On High in the film the whitest thing he'd ever heard in his entire life.
  • In Annie, Guy sets up a Twitter account for Annie, @annie4realz. "Get it? Because she's 'for realz'?"
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen notoriously has Skids and Mudflap, whose gangsta-wannabe mannerisms are taken to the point of complete obnoxiousness. Ironhide calling a Decepticon "punk-ass" towards the beginning of the film counts too, especially considering how jarringly out of character it is.
  • Deliberate in Pixels, as Eddie Plank keeps on using slang, mannerisms, and hairstyles from his Glory Days, The '80s.
  • "Riley's First Date?", the short following Inside Out features Riley's mother trying to find out whether Riley is attracted to Jordan. Unfortunately, she attempts to do so with her idea of current slang. It's as hideously grating as it sounds.
    Mom: So, what's the dealio with Jordan? OMG, he is awesomesauce. Fo' shizzy!
    [Inside Riley's control center, her emotions stare blankly]
    Joy: ... Did she just say "fo' shizzy?"
    Sadness: I don't understand. What's happening?
    Disgust: Ugh, this is just embarrassing! I can't. I c-can't. [Storms off]
    Mom: Holla!
    [The rest of the emotions cringe]
  • Played straight and inverted at the same time in Disney's The Aristocats: The movie has Scat Cat and others saying "groovy" and "cat" in a film released in 1970 (when that kind of slang was going out of style), but the film itself is set in 1910, when none of such slang was in common use (or even invented) yet. Of course, the movie has swing to begin with... It still counts, because that sequence also has the eponymous kittens (who are, as their name suggests, supposed to be Upper Class Twits) awkwardly joining Scat's crew in singing the jazz song "Ev'rybody Wants To Be a Cat." (Note that the song contains plenty of beatnik/hippie slang such as "square" and "where it's at.")
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, set in 2016, features a character who is "stoked" to meet the rest of the cast, including the "fly" Ruby Roundhouse. Justified because he turns out to have been stuck in the game since 1996, though he has only experienced a few months.
  • In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Captain America does a few PSA videos that are shown in schools. One is addressing kids in detention, which he starts by Edgy Backwards Chair-Sitting in order to be relatable, but he instead looks awkward.
  • Spoofed in Not Quite Human, as Professor Carson attempt to help Chip fit in by programming him with slang that was cool when Carson was that age, resulting in Chip using 50s slang and attempting to do the Twist at a dance. This results in the other students ending up deciding that Chip's quirky behavior is cool.
  • Yello Dyno from Tricky People. So dated is his radicalness that he makes pop-culture references to Ethel Merman and Al Jolson.
  • The terribly written totally cool dialog in Jack Frost (1998) (the Michael Keaton as a snowman film, not the less horrifying horror movie), called out by Roger Ebert.
    Charlie: You the man!
    Jack: No, I the snowman!


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: