Back in 1992 a movie came out that blew my teenage mind so far out my head I spent two years cleaning up the spillage. It was a movie that rocked me in a way that no other movie ever did before. Not because of it’s message, nor of it’s visual imagery, but with it’s colorful use of the English language. That movie was White Men Can’t Jump.
I rented this on VHS with my father, expecting to see a simple buddy comedy that would entertainment us for the next 90 minutes. Instead I was introduced to smacktalk, putdowns, creative word combinations, and more F-Bombs than I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
It was the greatest thing ever.
So much profanity. So much cussing. So much… space travel?
You see, I spent my teenage years in New England. About as far opposite of Venice, California, (where this movie took place) as I could get. So when I heard the characters start calling each others mom’s astronauts I was confused. “Your mama’s an astronaut!” Excuse me? I didn’t get it, but it REALLY seemed to get the guys in the movie all up in arms. And of course this was before the internet, so I spent years never knowing why it was bad to refer someones mom a space traveler. And I’m willing to bet I wasn’t the only one, but that probably didn’t stop every other perplexed school kid was calling each other’s mama’s an astronaut.
I did eventually find out, but by then the term had faded into obscurity. And like most insults that once packed a wallop, it’s been regulated to nothing more than a footnote in the book of smack, right between Jive Turkey, and Pecker Wood.