Tag Archives: movies

In case you forgot to hate the world today

They’re making another “No Strings Attached.” Except they cleverly swapped  out the leads (look close, it’s hard to tell: Justin Timberlake for Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis for Natalie Portman), and changed the name from one lame cliche to another. Miraculously, this one is even more explicit. “Friends with Benefits.” Behold and be sad:

I don’t know how many times I can endure this.

Look at E.T. Just look at him.

I have no reason to tell you to look at pictures of E.T. except that I think it’d be a really good idea to look at pictures of E.T. right now.

Right now!

Awesome, right? Yeah, E.T. is awesome.

A Film By Any Other Name

From the directors of Two Stupid Stupid Guys, There's Something Going on with Mary.

Translation is a sticky game. I’ve long wished that I knew Russian so I could better appreciate Tolstoy. I wonder how much more I’d love Love in the Time of Cholera if my Spanish reading comprehension weren’t so dilapidated, or what greater enlightenment I’d have garnered from The Unbearable Lightness of Being in Kundera’s native Czech.

Translation is also a fun game, one that keeps me entertained for at least a stop or two every time I’m on the subway in New York comparing the sparse, pithy copy in the English language MTA ads to the meandering Spanish ones that require smaller font and tighter spacing to fit on the same poster, or pondering the rhythmic differences that make “si ves algo, di algo” sound better to me than “if you see something, say something.”

This post on the Economist’s Johnson language blog takes a look at interesting movie title translations, including “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which is, in its original Swedish “Men Who Hate Women.” Definitely more going on there than just a little lost-in-translation-ing:

When I arrived in Mexico I wanted something easy to practice my Spanish, so I went looking for “La chica con el tatuaje del dragón”, as I assumed Stieg Larsson’s thriller might be known. It isn’t: the title here is “Los hombres que no amaban a las mujeres” (“The men who didn’t love women”).What a rubbish name, I thought: why couldn’t Mexicans be given a direct translation? In fact, it’s English-speakers who have been duped: the original, in Swedish, is simply “Men who hate women”. (“It was considered too scary for foreign audiences, while just hitting the politically-correct spot in Sweden,” reckons my neighbourhood Swede.)

Duped indeed. Or maybe “Men who hate women” just wasn’t specific enough to differentiate it from other Hollywood flicks.

By the by, I’ve got a little movie title translation of my own to offer — for “Burn After Reading.” Sorry, Coen brothers, you know I love you, but you got this one wrong. Shoulda called it “Burn Before Watching.”

[Thanks, Ter.]

Take for the Weekend and the Back End

Weekend box office grosses put The Expendables on top with a $35 million take, with Eat Pray Love’s $23.7 million gross on its tail. Speaking of tail, be aware that if you go see this girly adaptation, you’re in for some “male rear nudity.” The MPAA’s warning:

Do we really need our movie ratings to be this specific? I’d like to see the label on a rerelease of Boogie Nights.

Stuck on Tapes


In a bit of news that warms my analog heart, Engadget today reports that VHS sales (in the UK) doubled in 2009:

According to a report by [the UK]’s Entertainment Retailers’ Association (ERA), while music sales dropped by 0.8 percent in 2009 (the lowest decrease in five years) and all other video fell by by 10.6 percent, VHS sales more than doubled, from 44,377 in 2008 to 95,201 last year. Of course, everything is relative — while PC games, for instance, declined nearly 25% last year, some 6.4 million titles were sold.

Sure, the numbers are paltry next to, well, just about any other type of media, but the trend makes sense to me. Here’s my completely unscientific take. I don’t think that it’s the cache of the antiquated medium, the way wannabe audiophiles buy records as status symbols. Really, there’s no precedent for VHS tapes being “cool.” What there is precedent for is them being cheap as hell. For instance, I just picked up The Blob, Cronenberg’s Shivers (produced by Ivan Reitman) and Rooftops (1989) for a buck apiece at a gas station-slash-Quiznos-slash-minimart-slash-collaborative-antique-store in Ohio. Don’t know Rooftops? Me neither, but I’m pretty psyched. From the cover:

Jason Gedrick stars as T, a misunderstood loner who has escaped the heartless, drug-ridden streets of New York’s Lower East Side to make a life for himself on the roof-tops of abandoned tenement buildings. T and the other homeless kids live by their wits during the day and “combat dance” every night at an empty lot they call the “Garden of Eden.”

Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have bought any of these on DVD because they would have been too expensive to justify the purchase. But I’ve got a working VHS player so that I haven’t had to replace my awesome tape collection, and so that I can continue to grow it on the cheap. So there’s my proof. Poor folks like me in the market for pre-21st Century cinema, might just keep the VHS trade going for a while. VHS. QED.

Google Game: Things to do other than…

While writing last week’s Google Game post I stumbled upon a gem of a search. From time to time in life you realize that you need a change. You’re on a path someone else laid out for you, or you’re whiling away precious time, or you’re stuck in self-destructive patterns. Naturally, when it’s time to take control an open-ended interweb search is step 1:

Apparently a lot of people are looking for alternative routes after high school, because as far as I can tell these are all elements of the college experience.


Yup, sounds about right.