What properties would you say are referenced too often based on their ACTUAL popularity?

What are some films/tv/stories etc. you constantly see referred to as if “everyone” knows that thing, when in reality you think very few people are familiar with it?

Probably not explaining very well, maybe some examples will work.

  • I see a LOT of memes, GIFs, etc., that all make reference to The Room, a movie I guess someone named Tommy Wiseau (?) was in, and it’s a really bad film, and he, I suppose… makes big faces and overemotes in the movie? I haven’t actually seen it and I imagine 95% of my friends haven’t.

  • Every so often I’ll see references to The Warriors, which I surmise had a scene involving someone having empty glass soda bottles on their fingers and clinking them together as a way to (“hauntingly?”) summon others to come out and play, aka fight. But, again, I’d guess the VAST majority of people haven’t seen this and just maybe recognize it from having been referenced so often.

I’m not thinking like “I guess that must be a Star Wars reference, but I’ve never seen it.” More like “Hardly anybody anywhere has seen that thing people seem to keep dying to reference as if we all get it.”

Over the past couple of years I’ve seen a dozen or more Dragon Ball Z references. I doubt that more than one percent of the people watching these cartoons even knows what anime is.

My theory is all the references that you see in Ready Player One and Detective Pikachu were written by fans for fans.

Jack Nicholson’s scene with the waitress in Five Easy Pieces is very well known, but the number of people who have seen the entire movie is far smaller.

Chuck Norris memes are everywhere and while I’m sure plenty of people have seen Walker Texas Ranger or a Chuck Norris movie there are probably a whole lot more who never have. I’m a 50 year-old white American male and have never seen an episode or movie of his. Probably have only seen him in that one Bruce Lee movie.

A friend of mine would often, sort of at random, respond to people with ‘french fried pertaters [mumble/grunt]’. Every time he did it, I reminded him that if he’s going to keep saying that, he should at least watch the movie. One time he told me he was finally ready to watch it and then decided not to when he realized it was ‘an old sci-fi movie’…yeah, he thought it was from Blade Runner.

Similarly, especially with the movie now being 25 years old. Not very many people that say ‘Bye Felicia’ have seen Friday. In fact, in my experience, a lot of them aren’t even aware it’s from a movie, they just think it’s a saying.

I saw The Warriors a few weeks ago (via a Netflix DVD), mostly because it’s referenced often, and I have to say; it’s kind of ridiculous.

There are probably way more people who know that Mein Kampf or Triumph of the Will are associated with Hitler without ever having read/seen them.

I’d bet more people have seen a Say Anything radio scene parody than have seen Say Anything.

The Warriors was quite popular in its day, so more like Five Easy Pieces in that it’s a reference that would have been easily identifiable for awhile.

If you’ve never seen Say Anything…, you should correct that immediately. It’s a great film.

Would this include people referring to junk emails and texts as “spam” and having no idea it is a reference to a Monty Python sketch about SPAM?

Ridiculous it may be but it’s still the best adaptation of Xenophon’s Anabasis ever made.

I once spent an evening watching “Triumph of the Will” – on film in a theater – 30 years ago – I think it’s still going

And there have been so many adaptations. Seems like every year, there’s yet another one.

I still hear the famous “The Six Million Dollar Man” jumping sound in modern properties, an American TV series that aired from 1973 to 1978 got the sound directly lifted for the 2015 video game “Metal Gear Solid 5” of all properties.

I think less than 1% of people who use the phrase “Uncle Tom” have read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which is a shame because it’s a fascinating and historically important book and the term is misapplied in comparison to the character.

I don’t remember the exact stat but it was something like the best selling book in the 19th century after the Bible. Lincoln apparently met the author and called her “the lady who started the war.”

Uncle Tom in the book is an honorable character. Uncle Tom in the stage adaptations of the time…was not (for a lot of not-very-nice reasons), and is the origin of the not-very-nice modern connotation of the term.

In other news, I rather liked The Warriors. It’s a perfectly enjoyable film for what it is.

I can’t imagine most people who say “I’m out of order? You’re out of order! This whole courtroom’s out of order!” could tell you what movie it comes from. (Or what the actual quote is.)

I never read it or Huckleberry Finn, but when I was in school they were still regularly read as part of some classes, just not the ones I was in. However, the amount of times I’ve heard Uncle Tom referenced, is pretty low.

That was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread. But I was wrong on where it came from. In my head it was from Scent of a Woman*, but it turns out it’s from And Justice For All, which I’ve never seen and I’m not even sure I’ve ever heard of.

The other one that popped into my head was “You can’t handle the truth”, but that phrase is rare enough these days that I think most people using it know where it’s from and are mostly using it to make fun of how over used it was in the 90’s.

“Show me the money” probably fits in here somewhere as well.

*To be fair, in Scent of a Woman it was “Out of order, I’ll show you out of order…” So at least I didn’t completely make that up.

How many people reference “Badges? We don’t need any stinkin’ badges!” without ever having seen Treasure of the Sierra Madre.