Friday, August 21, 2009

Subtitles? Yes, please.

This makes post 150 in my long stretch of blog posts. That's quite a fence, and it's said that "Good fences make good neighbors". (I love Frost)

150 seems like a milepost -a nice even number. But I'm not going to celebrate. No special "list of however many random things". I'm just here to type out my thoughts and make sure they're all nicely alligned with the posts I've already set.

Tonight, I watched "Valkyrie" for the third time. I really enjoy that movie. It's suspensful and a little sad, but it's a well-made film based on an incredible piece of history.

Now you all must know of my fascination for words. If not, just trust me -it's almost an obsession. When I watch a movie, especially one packed with rich meaning expressed through excellent dialogue, I much prefer to have the subtitles to reference at the bottom of the screen.

This preference has given rise to the realization that there are two camps when it comes to subtitles: those who are for (yes, please), and those who are against (I'm terribly sorry you feel that way).

Being biased towards the pro-subtitle folks, I've tried to understand the other viewpoint. Here's what I've come up with:
The most common reason I get for the opposing subtitles stance is, "You miss out on the action on the screen because your eyes keep looking down at the words."

Hmm. I guess I fail to see the negative in that reasoning. The eyes are drawn to the words? I think your inner word-loving self is trying to tell you something.

I mean sure, for some people it's annoying to try and focus on two things at once (i.e. action and subtitles), but for me, it makes the movie all the more interesting, meaningful, and thoroughly enjoyable.

Having just watched an entire movie with the subtitles on, I honestly can't remember ever having pulled my attention away from the on-screen action. It's become second-nature for me to take in a flik in that fashion. I mean, sure I may have missed seeing a few footsteps of some Nazi soldiers, but my ears captured it. My peripheral vision captured it. Action sequences before and after linked up properly. So there is no break in the mental flow of the movie in my head. I think the most ardent subtitle hater could learn to love subtitles as I do with very little training. Like most things in life, it's got a lot to do with attitude.

If you're not all that keen on subtitles, please give it a shot. There's no room for hate in this world. Let it go. And let the words live.

While I'm on the movie subject, I've been thinking lately about the way movies have changed. Cinema is a form of art -a medium for expression. Or it was once. All right, it's still a form of art, but it's rarely used to its full potential as it once was. I find several examples today where art in cinema is used only to embelish an entertainment package, when shouldn't it be the opposite -or at least a sensible balance between the two? I'll walk away from a flik thinking, "Wow. That was like a hollow skeleton, shrink-wrapped in a package called let's sell this shiz." OK, so I don't exactly think that, but later on I do -like when I'm blogging.

I love it when someone will dazzle audiences with a real masterpiece, something with real merit. That's probably why I'm prone to purchase the ones that are good. I've been told, "You sure like to buy movies". I admit, it's true. But I'll say this about it: I've got a pretty darn good collection. Maybe one day I'll post a list of the titles.

Which brings me to my next point: I don't like to lend out movies. I'll recommend good movies all day. I'll sit you down and watch one with you almost any night of the week. But when someone asks to borrow one, I start shifting in my seat and fidgeting, and try to change the subject somehow. Am I obsessed? I don't think so. I'd like to pose an analogy to help justify my stance (it's where you compare things). If you went to your friend's art gallery and asked to take his/her favorite oil painting home for a few days, what answer would you expect. OK, it's a flawed analogy. Movies are very replaceable, but still.

Next subject: I have a confession. I was in the Hispanic section of the grocery store last week, and I saw an item that I wanted. It's something that I've considered buying for years, yet never actually done it. Well on that day last week, I went through with it. I bought the thing I wanted. It's a tall candle in a glass with the "Virgen de Guadalupe" pasted around it. It was a very catholic thing to do, I know. But can you blame me? I mean, consider the coolness factor! I don't think it's a bad thing. She helps me remember to say my prayers!

Speaking of Hispanic things, I'm excited to start my Spanish cluster this coming semester. I've been studying and practicing my Spanish with friends here, and I'm really having fun with it. Learning another language is fascinating. Well, again -there's my fascination with words. Sorry.

I'm going to be atypical and tell you what my next blog post will be. I'm going to introduce you to all my summertime friends here in Rexburg. Until then, thanks for reading, and God be with you.


Alicia said...

I am for subtitles and so is Ju. We tried watching "The Pickwick Papers" and then groaned audibly when we realized there were no subtitles. My love for them stems from the era of Jim's fake fighting phase (he obliterates, I alliterate). He was always running around in his mask, cape, and sword making stabbing and whooshing and grunting noises. Subtitles were my only option. Now I'm a regular addict. And so in Danny.

Alicia said...

IS Danny, I mean. IS.

Kay said...

We too prefer subtitles. It's almost a must when you have small children.

And I completely agree on the whole lending out movies! I hate doing it. Besides, no one takes as good of care of your movies as you do. And yes, they are replace-able, but do you go and watch the movie after it's been borrowed to see if it's scratched? No. I don't think so. This is a big reason I won't borrow movies from other people, because I don't like lending them to people. Plus, we've had more movies disappear because people don't return them. We have such a big library of movies, it's hard to keep track of what's been lent out. ...I could go on and on...

strongmom said...

My kids are better readers because of sub-titles. It is what enables one to savor the cleverness of the written/spoken word of many a movie. To me, that is as important as the cinematography. But then, I'm kind of a freak - all foreign films have to be in their original language and then sub-titled as well. I just got through watching Cyrano de Bergerac (with Jill) in French, and we loved it!