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Film Academy Challenges Fans to Sum Up Movies in Five Words, Succinct Hilarity Ensues

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger chimed in (guess what he picked)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent out a call for five-word movie summaries on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. And thousands of people responded — including “Terminator” star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It’s a refreshingly off-brand idea from the Academy, being a hell of a lot more succinct than the typical Oscar acceptance speech, and the responses have been pretty fun and often very clever. For instance, Schwarzenegger, who not surprisingly picked the plot of his career-defining hits “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2.”

CNN anchor Bill Weir picked Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir “Chinatown,” though his contribution is less a summary of the plot and more just a recitation of the film’s second most famous line.

Our personal favorite comes from Twitter user John Bousfield, who offered up this perfect summary of the plot of Christopher Nolan’s 2001 film debut “Memento”:

(For those of you who might have forgotten, Memento plays out in reverse chronological order to simulate the experience of the main character, played by Guy Pearce, who is unable to form short-term memories.)

User Alex Benjamin had this pithy take on 2004’s Tina Fey-written dramedy “Mean Girls”:

Jessie McFadden meanwhile had this to say about John Hughes’ 1985 coming-of-age classic “The Breakfast Club”:

Christopher Buehlman got a Matt Damon threefer with this sum up of the plots of “Interstellar” (where Damon plays an astronaut who must be rescued in space), “Saving Private Ryan” (where Damon plays a soldier who must be extricated from World War II France), and “The Martian” (where Damon plays an astronaut stranded on Mars):

Here’s Pixar’s “Up”:


A certain 1994 British romantic comedy:

Re-litigating the final scene of that one Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet movie:

Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial”:

And speaking of Spielberg, people have opinions about how best to sum up “Jurassic Park.”

And quite a few “The Big Lebowski” stans showed up.