Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ill Communication

Want to hear about one of the stupidest things that Crown and I have ever done?


Every year before the Oscars I throw myself into a panic trying to see as many nominated films as possible. Usually it’s because, ever the degenerate gambler, I want to win the pool. I should note that regardless of how many of the nominated films I see, I’ve never, ever won the bloody pool. What can I say? I vote with my heart and my heart firmly believes that Waiting for Guffman should have won for Best Picture in 1996. Come on! It should at least have been nominated, and if it had been, I’d have picked it in the pool.

Anyhoo, Oscar night approaches, I’ve seen very few of the movies this year, and so this weekend I caved and got Crown to illegally download a couple in a desperate attempt to catch up. We saw Little Miss Sunshine. Very cute, but Best Picture? A little extreme if you ask me. That probably means it will win, I suggest you put your money on it.

The second movie that I had him download was Babel. I haven’t been very excited to see this movie, despite the fact that it has Brad in it. I mean, seriously? What’s the point of casting Brad Pitt in your movie if you’re going to have him looking all busted like that? I love Brad, it’s no secret, but it ain’t because of his super-fine skills as a dramatic actor, you know what I’m sayin’?

Regardless, Babel is nominated for five awards, including Best Picture of the Year, Best Director, Original Screenplay, so I figured I should check it out. Crown and I snuggled into bed on Monday night to watch our pirated version on the Mac and guess what? We got struck down by the anti-piracy karma Gods.

That’s right. About 10 minutes into the film, we are both watching intently and trying to keep an open mind about that fact that we have NO IDEA what the hell is going on because the entire film so far has not been in English. I asked Crown, “Don’t you think there should be subtitles?” To which he answered, sounding very academic indeed, “I think the point is that we can’t understand the actual language, but we can understand the universal language of humanity,” or something smart like that.

So we continued to watch.

The thing about Babel though? Three quarters of the bloody movie is in foreign languages. Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, even sign language… we couldn’t understand a bloody thing! Several times I commented that, “I’m pretty sure this is meant to have subtitles,” and each time we justified it away with (what we considered to be) hyper-intellectual film-talk, like:

“It’s definitely a comment on our shared experience as human-beings.”

“You don’t need to understand what they are saying. You just need to watch closely and read their expressions and body language.”

“The whole point is that the message is lost in translation. They are encouraging you to think.”

And my personal favourite,

“Man this is the shittiest, most boring piece of crap movie that I’ve ever seen. How in the ass did this get nominated for Best Picture!? When is it going to end?”

To which Crown responded,

“Babe, it’s only been on for 25 minutes.”

And so we continued to watch. I can honestly say there were two full, and likely critical, story lines that I had absolutely no idea what in the hell was going on, even though I tried my best to “read the body language” and the physical reactions of the actors. We came up with several utterly ridiculous attempts at deciphering what was going on, some of them were almost convincing. When the movie finally ended we both kind of looked at each other and said, “I think that was meant to have subtitles”.

And of course, as we found out quickly the next day, the fucking movie is meant to have subtitles. Huge losers. Huge. Serves us right for stealing.


shantih said...

I love you guys!
I loved Little Miss Sunshine too... but I saw it before all the rage happened. this makes a difference. So do subtitiles :-)

hip_ragdoll said...

Well, if you still want to see "Babel" remind me and I'll bring you my totally legal DVD that I bought because I refuse to pay any more late fees. You can totally borrow it, a bit late, and with the subtitles.