September 01, 2011

A Cheat Sheet for Tom Hanks

A Cheat Sheet for Tom Hanks

The recent visit of Hollywood megastar Cameron Diaz to Moscow – to promote the launch of the movie Bad Teacher – started my creative juices flowing toward a seasonally appropriate theme: school slang.

The movie’s title in Russian employs the slang term училка, from учительница (female teacher): Очень плохая училка. Diaz’ visit was surely meant to increase the кассовые сборы (box office take) from what turned out to be a very mediocre film, one sure to contribute to the continued оболванивание (mental debilitation) of the Russian population.

In fact, on the пятибальная система оценок (five-point scale) used by our schools, the movie deserves a двойка (2, “unsatisfactory”). Diaz’ acting deserves at best a тройка с минусом (3-), and only because she devoured Russian bliny with caviar on prime-time TV here, saying urbi et orbi “this is delicious.” But Diaz should be happy with this mark, as she, in my mind at least, has never ranked as an отличница (top student) in her acting, more like a троечница (one who only gets 3’s, “satisfactory”). At best, an occasional хорошист (who gets 4’s: четвёрки, a “хорошо” – or rather, хорошистка, though this word is rarely used in feminine).

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