Speaking (Music, Movies & Entertainment)


Idioms & Expressions:

jam, tune (both of these are casual terms for a song)

Turn the volume up – this is my favorite jam.


for a song (to sell or buy something for an extremely low price)

They sold the house for a song.


jam session (an informal event where people play instruments together)

If you can play drums, then let’s have a jam session.


genre (a noun, this is a French word for a type of music)

What is your favorite music genre?


taste (noun, this is another word for “preference”)

My friends and I get along because we have similar tastes in music.


in the limelight (prepositional phrase meaning that you’re in the focus of public attention)

He’s been in the limelight for a few years now.


15 minutes of fame (noun that refers to a short period of fame that a person achieves)

The firefighter got fifteen minutes of fame when he saved a child from a burning house.


claim to fame (noun that refers to the reason why someone is famous)

Her claim to fame is a detective novel that was published last year.


brush with fame (noun that refers to a time when you encounter someone famous)

He had a brief brush with fame when he met President Obama last week.


rise to fame (noun, refers to the time period in which someone is slowly achieving fame and recognition)

Her rise to fame began in the late 1990s when she starred on a TV show.


has-been (noun that refers to a person who used to be famous or accomplished, but no longer is today)

The athlete won a championship in 1986, but now he’s a has-been.


idol (noun, refers to someone who is a role model or a hero to someone else)

Kanye West is an idol to many young hip-hop fans.


multi-hyphenate (noun, this is a person who is famous for several reasons)

The Oscars are a star-studded event. Every year, all the industry’s multi-hyphenates appear at the awards show.


Part I: Spontaneous Speaking

What kind of music do you like?

I generally like what’s current. Nowadays, it’s all about hip hop, pop, and rap. It’s

crazy how rap has risen to the forefront of culture over the past 15 years or so. Pop and rock used to be far more mainstream, but now hip hop is king.

Do you prefer western music or Vietnamese music?

Well, I think most people prefer the music from the area or culture where they were

raised. For this reason, I prefer Western music. I’m sure if I were exposed more often to other types of music, I could get to like it, though.

Can you play an instrument?

When I was a kid, I learned how to play piano, but I actually quit when I was 15 in

favor of running cross-country. Later in life, I bought a guitar and started learning

how to play it. This was about two years ago, and now I’m just a little bit beyond

the beginning level. I think playing music is good for your brain, and I would also

like to play in front of a crowd one day.

Where’s the best movie theater in your town/city?

I’m not sure – but I imagine the Lotte Cinema is one of the best. I go to the Lotte

Cinemas at the Vincom Tower on Ba Trieu Road. I have been there about three

times so far, in my two months in Hanoi. I’d like to be there more often, but my

schedule doesn’t allow it.

What kind of movies don’t you like?

I don’t really like horror movies, actually. I realize that most genres are predictable,

but horror movies are predictable in such a way that I feel like if you’ve seen one of them, then you’ve seen them all.

If you can have dinner with any famous movie star, who would you want to meet?

I think I’d like to meet Chris Evans. He’s the actor who plays Captain America in

the Marvel superhero movies. I’d like to see what he’s like in real life and how he

acts when he’s not playing a character. He also seems like a really fun guy to hang

out with.

Part II: Group/Class Discussion

          How has the entertainment industry changed in the past 50 years?

Well, the internet has disrupted everything. Now, people can become famous, in any

field of creativity, by getting discovered online. In the past, your only chance at

fame or opportunity was appealing to people in the industry.

          How will entertainment change in the future?

I think that we’ll use computers more and more. For example, we can now create

actors on screen using nothing but computers. I think that a human presence will

become less and less valuable as computer processing power improves.

What are the advantages of fame and success? What are the disadvantage?

Well, if you’re famous then you probably have a little bit of money, which helps you maneuver and accomplish things that you really want to do. But you also lose your privacy. Ordinary people think they’re entitled to you, or to a part of your life, which I’m sure can get annoying.

Do you think movie stars earn too much money?

I don’t think so. Even if an actor is paid a very high salary, like something in the neighborhood of $30 million for a movie, that is still far less money than the movie studio will make off of the film. I think that if a studio is going to use you to get rich, you should be well-compensated for it.