Friday, November 22, 2013

the same old schtick

I might lament that there's no new things to notice on the blu-ray. Visual things I mean. But a) that puts me in Phil's position in a way and b) that's crazy talk, there's always new things to notice.

Regarding "b" I did notice that one thing the other night when I was actively searching, the chocolate wrapper on the table. And, just tonight I discovered a new thing not in the movie but on the disc. There are two sets of subtitles for English. The first is the old, plain one, words across the bottom of the screen. Second one, though--that's more fun, slightly different font it seems (hard to compare properly because I've got to cycle through 16 different subtitle settings to loop around and there's a pause between just the one English set and the other), and it's doing that thing where dialogue from a character on one side of the screen is positioned on that side of the screen. I almost worked at a place that did subtitles several years back and when I tested out the subtitle program on the computer as part of the interview process I rather liked being able to position subtitles like that. And, that was about the time Heroes was on the air and they used subtitles like that a lot of the time, at least with Hiro and Ando...

Actually I just checked when Heroes was on the air, and the timing is all wrong for when I interviewed for that subtitle job. Rome was on the air, for sure, because it was an episode of that show that I was subtitling for my test. I remember that because for that show there was a nice sheet of paper with a list of regular characters and guest characters with their nice Roman names spelled how you'd need them in the subtitles. Subtitling something like Groundhog Day would be a lot easier, much simpler names... and the debater in me wants to run some sort of kritik now. I mean, these names are simpler because--what?--they're a bunch of common Western, Judeo-Christian, White names? I mean, sure, the names fit the location and the time but I almost offended myself for calling them "easier" and "simpler." But, I taught debate class this evening, so maybe I'm just in that sort of mood.

Anyway, subtitling Groundhog Day would be easier because the names are more common, and often much shorter than Roman names. I mean, Augustus is easy enough but try typing Servilia as readily as you might type Rita. Atia--that's easier. But, Phil versus Vorenus or Octavian or Ned versus Pompey... anyway, they supplied a nice list. Didn't supply any instruction on how to use the subtitle program, though, which I thought was odd. I figured out the basics pretty quickly. But, at first, I was typing along with the dialogue like it was a live show, with the subtitles scrolling a few lines a the bottom of the screen, the kind of thing you see on the news. So, what I ended up with at first was ten minutes worth of subtitles shoved into one little subtitle box. Then, I realized it and backed up the video and copied and pasted what I'd already typed into separate boxes that I had to set screentimes for, which was tricky but kinda cool once I figured it out. Then, right before the test bit ended I figured out how to position the boxes around the screen and... now that I realize it was well before Heroes was on the air, I'm wondering where I saw subtitles done that way.

Regardless of my near brush with subtitling fame, I like these subtitles. It's a nice visual cue to who's speaking and when the conversation is going back and forth quickly, it's easier to follow. That being said, a short time ago--I'm on Day 3 right now and Phil's driving Gus' car--when Phil was responding verbally to the two DJs on the radio (i.e. the morning of Day 2) a few lines got lost. But, the lines are well timed otherwise and seem more accurate than subtitles sometimes are. They have had 20 years to get them right, after all. No, that's not true. This is the 15th anniversary edition. I don't think there is a 20th anniversary version... but I should totally record a new commentary track so they can put it on the 25th. I'll have to plan ahead, script a bit of what I need to say, but leave some room for coming up with stuff on the spot. And, if they don't want it for the official disc, I'll just put it online someplace and link to it.

The true test of these new subtitles is coming up now in the gorging scene at the Tip Top. If they get Larry's line right, I will be happy. I mean, I complained about it before, but I might as well do it again now--

NO! They misspelled "concentred". Got Larry's line right, though, so I am not too angry. But, considering concentred doesn't even register as a word on Pages--it might in Word, but I'm on the iPad right now, not the desktop--could they not have looked up the poem? Now, I'm worried about the lines in French; will they just type them out phonetically?

And, in awesome news, I just noticed something new. I was looking at the background folk as Phil talked to Nancy by the gazebo and thinking I need even more crowd shots to point out more recurring extras, and then I see him. Yellow hat guy, who I only labeled once in a Tip Top shot last night (but who is visible in a different place within the Tip Top though I don't yet have a screencap of it), walks by behind Phil and Nancy.

And, another new thing (on a roll, here): there seems to be a third guard who stays in the front seat of the armored truck the entire time as Phil robs it. There's just a silhouette but it definitely seems human shaped.

I might have subtitled some stuff a little differently. I mean, there's a notable difference between "I'm just interested in you" and "I'm just... interested in you." That hesitation gives more nuance to the conversation; Phil is making this stuff up as he's going.

Just caught a bit of an error. We always see the bartender (a.k.a. God) from the same general angle, but I just noticed that Phil and Rita are not sitting in the same spot at the bar as Larry and Nancy are later. So, the reaction shots with the bartender should be different. Larry and Nancy on the last night are sitting where Rita was sitting on the first night. I could read something into that, but I'll do that another time. For now, I realized I never got back to my "a" from the first paragraph above.

Regarding "a" I imagine that point where Phil knows all the people he'll interact with, knows everything they will do. That's got to be not just boring but actively annoying. You'd have to deliberately provoke people into doing new things, or explore every inch of town, spend a week of days with each citizen, with each tourist, with each reporter, get to know them all, then cycle through them a second time, a third, maybe a fourth. I imagine that the movie only shows us one example (presumably the last) of Phil Phil Connoring a date night after night. Sixty-three eligible women in town in Rubin's original, probably a bit more than that in the "real" town. Plus, if Phil's going through a particularly immoral period, then his definition of "eligible" would probably change. He was practically flirting with Mrs. Lancaster on Day 1, anyway, I'd say, telling her he slept alone. And, she laughed. And, she seemed to enjoy him kissing her on Day 4. So, I'm sure she'd be amenable to more. For example.

Read all the books in the library, rent all the movies at the local movie rental place--a tiny hamlet in western Pennsylvania in 1993, they might not have a Blockbuster just yet, but I'm sure they've got something. Or maybe there's some film geek with a collection of hundreds of videotaped old movies. Speaking of townspeople's collections, just for fun, I'd want to take up breaking and entering if I were Phil. That would get the adrenaline going for sure, and it would give new insight into the locals. I mean, if that big mountain man looking guy--the extra I call "Jeremiah Johnson"--has a closet full of evening gowns at home, that would tell Phil something about the guy that the guy might not admit no matter how many times Phil gets to know him. Keep in mind, no matter how many times Phil talks to a particular person, it's still the first day any of them have talked to him. Well, except for Rita and Larry and Ned and Mrs. Lancaster. Even if he talked to Buster last year on Groundhog Day, Buster wouldn't remember it; he doesn't even realize who just saved his life when he's choking when just this morning he stood next to the guy as he gave his report to Channel 9 Pittsburgh.

(It was only after all this time that I bothered to check, by the way, and sure enough Channel 9 Pittsburgh is PBH.)

These people won't be telling Phil all their deep dark secrets. Bill the waiter may not hide the fact that he's gay, for example, but he seems fairly surprised that this total stranger knows it. Larry's probably got some secrets--remember this exchange:

Rita: Why would anybody steal a groundhog?

Larry: I can probably think of a couple of reasons. Pervert.

--Maybe Larry's just seen some perverts in his time, or maybe he is one himself. We can't be sure...

Just noticed a bit of a continuity error, and it's outside the Tip Top window, through the blinds, so it's a blu-ray find for sure. God day, Rita says, "Because it's not possible" and behind Phil's head, across the street there's a (I think) woman with a red scarf walking from left to right, disappearing behind Phil's head. Cut to Doris, mouthing, "I'll come back." Then back to Phil and the red scarf woman hasn't reached his head yet.

Similar thing happens during the "boats but not the ocean" bit--end of that same Tip Top scene, but this isn't a new catch, just one I don't think I've mentioned. The extra I call Saddam is sitting directly behind Phil so that you can barely see him up until Phil says, "when you stand in the snow, you look like an angel." Cut to Rita, and back to Phil and now the guy is off to the right, no longer hidden behind Phil's head.

I need to deal with the dogs with a few good screencaps--there's a similarity of a sort to the whole food thing in that we see several fake dogs, lamps, statues, decorations, but never a real one, though we do hear one bark on robbery day. I mention the dogs now because I think one of the statues, and also a lamp right next to it, in Phil's room was something I only noticed recently with the blu-ray.

Just had to rewind nearly 30 minutes because I just realized I wasn't looking up when the French subtitles happened. Cop-out, subtitles just say "[SPEAKS FRENCH]" which is quite disappointing. Also, they should have used "poertry" for when Rita tries to say "poetry."

Another blu-ray thing which on the one hand is kinda cute but on the other hand a bit distracting: when you rewind or fast forward the timer bar showing where you are in the film has a big box around it with snowflakes on it. Cute, sure. But, also, not see through.

Another new thing noticed as the movie winds down pretty late tonight. As Phil plays Rachmaninoff at the banquet, there's a lady in white and a bearded guy with gray hair that pass from left to right behind Rita and Mary, then pass from left to right behind Rita and Mary again, and then pass from left to right behind Rita and Mary a third time. I must get screencaps of that.

Sad subtitle update. Debbie says, "We're like going to be in Pittsburgh anyway" and the subtitle just says, "We're going to be in Pittsburgh anyway." They just don't get Debbie. That "like" is vital to who and what she is. I mean, would a girl who doesn't include that "like" dance like this?

No. No she wouldn't. The subtitler needs to watch the movie a few more times to more fully understand and appreciate Debbie. I mean, she's just had a stranger inform her fiancé she's having second thoughts about getting married and she still says "thanks" when Rita compliments her ring. Debbie is awesome.

I've noticed before that on date night Phil and Rita approach the Cherry Street Inn from the wrong direction, but I don't know if I'd noticed until just now that on the last night they leave Gobbler's Knob in the wrong direction. I suppose they could have headed for the Pennsylvanian and then thought better of it because, you know, it is a fleabag.

And, for the record, it's not that I'm conflating the real life arrangement of locations with the in-film locations. Phil approaches Gobbler's Knob from the west every morning. The Pennsylvanian is on the south side of Gobbler's Knob. So, even if you don't consider the real location of the house used for the Cherry Street Inn exteriors (north of Gobbler's Knob), there's still a problem.

Anyway, this entry turned out far longer than I expected. I intended to lament being able to find new things, maybe get into a personal rant about how life seems fairly monotonous sometimes, but then I noticed new things, and really, life has been pretty good lately, especially considering some aspects of it. And, that was a long sentence.

Today's reason to repeat a day forever: to fashion a single blog entry of at least a thousand words (this entry is currently 2503 words, by the way.. that is, it was as I typed "2503" anyway) that is one single, convoluted sentence... only to have that entry lost in the resumptions of time.

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