Don't Be So Literal We describe film titles literally, like the 1999 film Richard III, Louis XIV and Tutankhamen, aka Three Kings.
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Don't Be So Literal

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Don't Be So Literal

Don't Be So Literal

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

You're listening to ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR and WNYC. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and with me is our house musician, Jonathan Coulton, and our puzzle guru, Greg Pliska. Let's welcome our next contestants, Lise-Anne Deoul and Nick Carusso.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Do you know anyone that uses the word literally incorrectly or do you have a thing about that, Nick?

NICK CARUSSO: I do. I work as an editorial director on a website, so I edit and have to watch things I say and write all the time.

EISENBERG: Yup.

CARUSSO: So - and I, though, like everybody my age, I tend to use literally too much, but I always make a point to use it correctly technically.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

CARUSSO: So, you know, I try to be literal when it's necessary to be literal.

EISENBERG: That was a beautiful response.

CARUSSO: Thank you so much.

EISENBERG: Lise-Anne, how about you?

LISE-ANNE DEOUL: I do, but I plead the fifth as to who it is because I don't want to get in trouble, but I know lots of people who misuse it.

EISENBERG: And do you call them out?

DEOUL: No, no.

EISENBERG: You just let them be.

DEOUL: Yeah, I just quietly, you know, check that off in my brain that they just don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That's called - yeah, that's called silently judging.

DEOUL: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Well, this game is called Don't Be So Literal. What we're going to do is describe some film titles literally, and you have to tell us the name of the film. Greg Pliska, puzzle guru, give us an example.

GREG PLISKA, BYLINE: If I said a more literal approach to this 1999 film's title would be Richard III, Louis XIV and Tutankhamun, the answer would be "Three Kings." Wow, that's going to be good.

CARUSSO: Yeah, I get it. Yeah, I get it.

PLISKA: So there are three of them, and they're all kings and...

CARUSSO: Yeah, I get it.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah, OK.

PLISKA: OK, good.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Every movie's going to have a number in the title, so that's the part that we're being super literal about. And, of course, the winner will move on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show. Here we go. There was a pregnant pause when someone suggested this 1995 Hugh Grant film's title be "February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September and December."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Lise-Anne.

DEOUL: "Four Weddings And A Funeral."

EISENBERG: No, that is not correct - interesting. Can you take it more literally and steal, Nick?

CARUSSO: "Nine Months."

EISENBERG: "Nine Months" is what we were looking for.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Unless you're Hugh Grant, who knows how to have three kids in 15 months.

(LAUGHTER)

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: I got it. I got that one. He's productive. He's productive.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) He multitasks.

COULTON: Gets a lot done.

EISENBERG: This 1984 Molly Ringwald classic would be far less sweet if it had instead been named dipped, rolled, floating, gel, layered, oil, sand, soy, birthday, liturgical, spiral, pyramid, votive, tea light, taper, and luminaria.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Nick.

CARUSSO: "Sixteen Candles."

EISENBERG: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: If we could go back in time, we might rename this 1995 Terry Gilliam sci-fi film capuchin, howler, mandrill, spider, common marmoset, golden lion tamarin, pigmy, squirrel, proboscis, rhesus and baboon.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Lise-Anne.

DEOUL: "Twelve Monkeys."

EISENBERG: "Twelve Monkeys," yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Common marmoset kind of sticks out, doesn't it? Sad. That is sad. That...

CARUSSO: It gave it away.

DEOUL: I just remember Brad Pitt.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Was that a message to Brad Pitt or just generally - sorry.

EISENBERG: Dear Brad Pitt, you are no common marmoset.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This 1956 Akira Kurosawa film could've lent more historical context if it had been named Domowe Gosin (ph), Minamoto no Tametomo (ph), Kusunoki Masashige (ph), Miyamoto Musashi (ph), Date Masamune (ph), Honda Tadakatsu (ph), and Hangaku Gozen (ph).

(LAUGHTER, SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Nick.

CARUSSO: "Magnificent Seven." Is that - I don't...

EISENBERG: No, that's a very good guess.

CARUSSO: These people are really mean.

EISENBERG: They're freaking out. It's OK. It's all right. Lise-Anne, can you steal?

DEOUL: "Seven Samurais."

EISENBERG: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: You were so surprised.

DEOUL: I am.

EISENBERG: It's because my Japanese was so authentic.

DEOUL: Yes, yes.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You were like, they sound even better.

DEOUL: Yeah, yeah.

EISENBERG: They sound magnificent.

CARUSSO: I was struck, yeah.

EISENBERG: What if this 2005 Mark Wahlberg revenge film's cast and name had been instead Alec Baldwin, Billy Baldwin, Daniel Baldwin, and Stephen Baldwin?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Lise-Anne.

DEOUL: "Four Brothers."

EISENBERG: Yes, indeed, exactly.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: They're the new grouchos (ph), I guess. This futuristic 1997 Bruce Willis film may have been less confusing if it had just been named boron.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Nick.

CARUSSO: "The Fifth Element."

EISENBERG: Beautiful.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Do you know what the sequel is called? Carbon.

(LAUGHTER)

CARUSSO: Why I wouldn't know.

EISENBERG: Prequel is beryllium.

CARUSSO: Yeah, I got you.

EISENBERG: OK.

CARUSSO: I got you.

EISENBERG: All right, this is your last question. If the studio hadn't been bound to this 2015 film title, it could've taken a more literal turn with the name gunmetal, steel, graphite, titan, thunder, ash, meteor, dark, laguna, storm, argent, blue-green, green-blue, stone harbor, wolf, magnetic, sage tint, slate, charcoal, battleship, silver, cadet, castle, aluminum, metallic, platinum, ash, taupe, lead, mousy, oyster, iron, pearl, powder, panes, dove, raptor, seal, bay, minimal, shadow, pewter, rainstorm, ember, barnwood, chateau, smoke, castlegate, wall street and gothic.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Some interior decorators right now are feeling very hot.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Nick.

CARUSSO: "Fifty Shades Of Grey."

EISENBERG: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Puzzle guru Greg Pliska, how did our contestants do?

PLISKA: Well, thanks to his familiarity with the novel "Fifty Shades Of Grey," it appears that Nick is our winner and will be going on to the final round at the end of the show.

(APPLAUSE)

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