Strike Gold

clapboardThere was some really interesting expressions in this article about Quentin Tarantino’s new movie on the BBC News website. I love his films so I’ll definitely go and see this one even though the reviews of it haven’t been very positive. The title of the film is also interesting because the second word ‘Basterds’ is spelt wrong. The correct spelling is ‘bastards’ and although the director has said that the title is deliberately spelt wrong, he hasn’t said why.

A ‘bastard‘ is a child born to parents who aren’t married but the word is often used as an expression to describe an unpleasant person.

The first interesting expression in this article is in the title:

Tarantino strikes box office gold

To ‘strike gold‘ is similar to ‘strike it lucky‘ in that it means to be very successful and in this situation it means to make a lot of money through that success. A ‘box office‘ is where you buy tickets for a movie, concert or play so to ‘strike box office gold‘ means to make a lot of money through ticket sales.

The next interesting expressions is in the third paragraph where it is mentioned that the film ‘beat the mark‘ set by the director’s earlier films. In this situation, to ‘beat the mark‘ means to increase the standard or level.

A similar expression we use sometimes is ‘benchmark‘ meaning the level or standard against which we can compare other things. We could say that this opening weekend has set a new benchmark for Tarantino.

There’s another interesting word slightly later in the article where Harvey and Bob Weinstein are described as ‘movie moguls‘. When we use the word ‘mogul‘ we mean a person who is important because he or she is wealthy or powerful.

It is mentioned in the next paragraph that they were ‘behind a string of big hitters‘. By ‘big hitter‘ we mean a person or thing which is very important. In this case, the films were ‘big hitters‘ because they were very successful. To be ‘behind‘ these films means they were responsible for creating them and a ‘string‘ just means a ‘series‘.

Here are some other words related to the movie industry:

  • blockbuster: very successful and popular movie
  • hit: successful movie, song or album
  • flop: a movie which doesn’t do as well as expected

What’s the best movie you’ve seen recently?
Today’s photo is by Bart Groenhuizen.


Have you ever dreamt of winning the lottery? I certainly have! That’s why I was so interested in this article on the BBC News website yesterday. There’s a great word in the title:

Huge Italy jackpot still not won

A ‘jackpot‘ is the biggest prize offered in a competition or lottery. We often use it in the phrase ‘to hit the jackpot‘ meaning to win a jackpot or to suddenly become very successful.

The next interesting expression comes a little later on, where it is mentioned that:

Ficarra Mayor Basilio Ridolfo and his colleagues stumped up 115 euros from their pay packet to buy tickets.

The phrasal verb ‘stump up‘ means to pay a sum of money and a ‘pay packet‘ is the amount of money a person earns at work. People in the U.S. prefer to say ‘paycheck‘ rather than ‘pay packet‘.

There is another interesting word in the next paragraph:

Before the draw, Mr Ridolfo told Ansa news agency that they chose numbers which were connected with the town’s patron saint, the Virgin Mary of the Assumption.

A ‘draw‘ (sometimes ‘prize draw‘) is when the winning tickets are selected in a raffle or lottery.

The final pieces of vocabulary I would like to look at are in the following paragraph:

If Ficarra had struck it lucky, Mr Ridolfo said half of the winnings would be spent on municipal projects while the rest would be divided between the town’s 2,000 residents.

To ‘strike it lucky‘ is to have sudden good luck and ‘municipal projects‘ are projects related to that particular town or city.

What would you do if you ‘struck it lucky‘ and ‘hit the jackpot‘ in your national lottery?