Learning the lines of the powerful

By Nisid Hajari
Updated October 22, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Power is heard at least as often as it’s seen, and, like any insular group, Hollywood’s elite has carefully developed its own often arcane, often smarmy vernacular. Here’s a primer on how to talk the talk.

* At the end of the day: Sentence fragment used to lend obvious statements a pseudo-philosophical weight. (”At the end of the day, it’s the grosses that count.”)

* E-ride: Film that performs like a Disney E-ticket ride-a roller coaster full of thrills, chills, and spills.

* Five minutes ago: General evaluation of particularly annoying trends. (”Dinosaurs? That’s so five minutes ago.”)

* Flashing greenlight: Limbo status conferred on a film that a studio insists it loves, just not enough to send into production immediately.

* Flyovers: Term for the great mass of middle America not fortunate enough to live on either coast. (”Will it play to the flyovers?”)

* Let’s Mandarin: ’90s spin-off of ”Let’s do lunch,” used to suggest schmooze- dining at Beverly Hills’ Mandarin restaurant.

* Put a pin in it: Glib command used when negotiations hit a sticking point; glosses over potential ugliness and defers hard decisions until an unspecified future date.

* Relationships executive: Someone better at schmoozing at Mortons than at analyzing a script.

* Reverse personification: Calling a studio by the first name of its chief: One never pitches a script at Disney; one ”takes it to Jeffrey (Katzenberg).”