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“Old Boy” and New “Old Boy”

Remakes are not new. I mean, the first ever recorded remake was of “The Great Train Robbery” from 1903. It was remade in, wait for it, 1904. It was supposed to “explain” the story better. And isn’t that what we’re still doing today?

The latest remake to hit theatres is “Old Boy” on the 27th of November. It was originally a Korean movie, which Hollywood bought the rights for and after almost five years of development is finally releasing it… hollywood style. Generally, I am not a huge fan of remakes, especially when hollywood takes a movie from a different country and makes it theirs.

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I watched the original when a Korean friend lent it to me. It was amazing and so different. I had never watched a Korean movie, but I was a huge fan of many other Asian films, so the cultural differences in the filmmaking was not a huge shock to me. There were a couple of very gross moment and a lot you would not typically see in an american movie, but none-the-less a very good movie. I heard about the remake on the Nerdist Writers Panel when they interviewed the writer of the remake, Mark Protosevich and thought I’d give my two-cents about remakes of foreign movies. Read more…

What I Learned About Life by Cutting My Hair (seriously, just hear me out)

First of all, I’d like to apologise for the unannounced hiatus I took. Life has been busy, but I have come back with a lot to talk about, starting with a hair cut.

The experience

Ever since I can remember, I have never been entirely happy with my haircut. Every morning was a struggle with my ‘do. Before I could leave the house, I had to spend at least five minutes in the bathroom just doing my hair. When I started showering in the evening, instead of in the morning, the time I spent in the bathroom every morning rose even further; fighting with the catastrophe my bed had left my hair in. Read more…

Problems with International Media with examples from Scrubs – Season 2, Episode 20 “My Interpretation”

For those of you who don’t know, I am half Finnish, half American and live in Germany. I just recently happened to re-watched the Scrubs episode “My Interpretation,” where a German patient and his brother are in Sacred Heart and it presented itself as a perfect example for so many problems I have with media at an international level.

I could go on about these problems for an entire essay. It actually was one of the themes I wanted to write a thesis about. When I re-watched the episode I found example after example of problems that we need to look at differently because of our very international world.

The B story of the episode “My Interpretation” is that J.D. has a patient who doesn’t speak English — only German. The patient has pancreatic cancer and J.D. needs to tell him. Luckily, the patient’s brother is there and translates for him. When asked what the prognosis is, J.D. says “It doesn’t look good” but the patient’s brother translates “It’s going to be okay.” J.D. discovers this mis-translation after Elliot reveals she speaks German and corrects the mistake. The patient gets a little better, but the truth is revealed, they explain that his brother only wanted to protect him, etc, etc. J.D. relays the lesson he learned in Story B to Story A, everything is great and everyone dances to “99 Red Balloons.”

My main problem with this episode is the German. German is a language that is present in the entire world. You can find an Oktoberfest in Tokyo! So, when I hear German with a really bad accent in a series as big as Scrubs, I have to wonder why they couldn’t be bothered to hire an actor who could actually speak German. Then, at least have a writer who did more than just copy-paste from Google Translate.

Here are some examples:

“Warum so kalt hier?” should be “Warum ist es so kalt hier?”

“Ich sollste eine Heizgebeut dabei haben” should be “Ich sollte einen Heizbeutel dabei haben” which isn’t even the correct translation from the subtitles. The subtitles said space heater. That would be a “Raumheizgerät” I’m thinking they want to say “Hot Water Bottle” which would be a “Wärmeflasche.”

And here’s the worst part of the episode. The brother translates medical jargon to German. J.D. says, “I got the results back from your biopsy.” Which was translated to, “Wir werden dich zu ein.” Which means “We will you to.” What?! The correct translation would be “Ich habe die Ergebnisse zu Ihrer Biopsie zurück bekommen.”

But it gets worse. Next, J.D. says, “The lesions in your liver are consistent with menestatic pancreatic cancer.” This was translated to “So siehts so aus als ob du ‘pestatik pancreatic Krebs du hast.” A minefield of bad grammar, no translation and basically just mumbling. He literally says “pancreatic” in an english accent. What he was trying to say is “It looks like you have menestatic pancreatic cancer.” Correctly translated this would be “Es sieht so aus, als ob du Bauchspeicheldrüsenkrebs hast.”

With these translations, there were certain words that I didn’t know in German either. Like pancreatic cancer or biopsy. I didn’t use Google Translate, I used http://www.leo.org but the results would have been the same.

The point I’m trying to make here is that a little effort goes a long way. Translating all the lines of dialogue is a job of half an hour, maybe an hour if the person doesn’t speak perfect German. So why wasn’t it done? I would like a series much more if they displayed any effort in getting facts right. I know for a fact that Scrubs had a couple of doctors on staff to make sure their medical terms were correct in content and pronunciation. So why not do a little bit of that effort with the translation?

The biggest surprise, of course is that Sarah Chalke (who plays Elliot) speaks perfect German!! She even has scenes with each of the “German” characters! It’s ridiculous to listen to the “Germans” speaking with bad grammar, bad accents and mumbling when a German-as-a-foreign-language-speaker makes no grammatical errors, has almost no accent and speaks clearly.

Hell, Sarah Chalke could have translated the lines. Or at least given the “German” actors some corrections to their lines.

I know that I am one of the very few who speaks German and watches Scrubs in English. I’m in an even fewer group of people who cares about something like this.

I constantly hear advice for writers, actors or directs to go the extra mile. I hear of actors who spend months working in a job their character works in, just to understand it better, or writers who go to lunch with a firefighter because they’re writing a screenplay about a firefighter. So what stopped the writers of Scrubs from going to lunch with a German and asked him to translate these few lines of dialogue. I would have been happy to do it for the price of lunch and a conversation with a TV writer.

With the internet, we have the entire knowledge of the planet at our fingertips. There are no more excuses for having facts wrong in a TV show. The only reason something like this happens anymore is laziness or just not caring. Wouldn’t you, as an audience member love it if your hobby was portrayed in a series or movie? But what if they got it wrong? Wouldn’t you be really disappointed that everyone who saw the movie now believes your hobby is exactly the way it was shown?

This episode of Scrubs also shows an example of another interesting topic that I’ll discuss next week — The loss of jokes by translating movies and TV shows into different languages.

I’d love to hear your opinion on this. Are these real problems that should be addressed, or is my umbrage unjustified?

Self Diagnosis

It’s Friday. The day that I update this blog. So far, 18 hours have passed on this day where I have done nothing else but go shopping and eat. I have been procrastinating this article, the editing of a concert I filmed and writing my podcast. But is there an underlying reason to my procrastination? Is there a reason why I am not motivated to write, to edit or do anything else but let Netflix show me episode after episode of “How I Met Your Mother?” Well, I like to believe that it’s because I’m depressed. Or the more likely solution… I’m lazy.

I believe we live in a world where most of us don’t have enough real problems. When I look at my life, I realise I don’t have a damn thing to complain about, but still I’m not really happy. I dwell on the past, I complain about not having any form of bright future and sulk and moan my way through every free day I have, which could be used brightening my aforementioned dark future by actually doing some personal work.

On the internet, I found that this attitude is also seen in depressed people. So that must mean I’m depressed. Right? I’ve never been to a doctor who could analyse me and properly diagnose me as being depressed, yet still, since I’ve been 14 I tell people that I have depression. Or laziness.

Many of my acquaintances say they have depression or they have insomnia, ADD or anxiety but none of them have been to a professional to actually get diagnosed. Now, this is just me throwing out some wild theories without any evidence, but I believe that people want to be grouped into categories and these psychological problems can be an easy way to do that. I don’t know why people want to be classified as depressed or as an insomniac. Maybe we want to have something that makes of different from others. Something where we can say “I have ADD. That’s an interesting topic. Let’s talk about that.” 

But I do believe these problems exist and I even believe that people who self diagnose their depression could actually have depression. The important part is to not stop at self diagnosis. If you really believe you have depression, insomnia, ADD, anxiety or any other mental problem that could easily be self diagnosed — go to a professional. Not only can that person diagnose you better than you or the internet ever could, but she can help you with it.

While I do mostly believe my lack of work stems from an unjustifiable depression, I don’t tell people anymore that I’m depressed. I tell people the truth, exactly how it happens. And the truth is that I don’t want to do anything. I don’t have any long-term goals in my life and I don’t have the motivation to find any. I have a lot of days where I feel absolutely isolated but I don’t go out and meet people because I don’t like being among people. I don’t want to do work because it makes me feel uneasy and it’s much simpler to lie on the floor dwelling on my past mistakes, not realising I’m making huge ones in the present. 

All that might be similar to a person who has been diagnosed with depression but a diagnosis can only be given by a professional. So until (or if) I see a professional about my lack of motivation, crippling nostalgia and lack of interest in anything, that is all it’s going to be — just a problem I have to deal with.

Quick weight loss story

Here’s a weight-loss story.

When I was younger and I would fall, be it a volleyball-dive or just stupidity, I would automatically go into a roll and be right back on my feet again. I could do this because I was athletic, really athletic. The whole thing would happen automatically, I didn’t have to think about it.

Then I gained weight. For the last 6 years I have been getting heavier and heavier. Almost 40 kg heavier. Then, 8 months ago my girlfriend dumped me and I put all the energy, time and money I would have spent on her on exercising and eating healthy. Now, I’m 30 kg lighter.

But this never really meant anything to me, until just now. I hit a low point and decided to go shopping for bourbon, cola and candy. The comment from the cashier about “what a fun night I have planned” didn’t help my mood. So, I’m on the way home, on my longboard, when I start going downhill. Started going a little too fast for my taste. I decided to brake by putting my foot down, but the longboard hit my foot and before I knew it, I was in the air. A second later, I had rolled and popped back onto my feet. Backpack and all.

So, now I’m sitting here, writing this. Knee, elbow and palms throbbing and bleeding, with the widest grin you have ever seen on my face. I finally accomplished something and now I’m going to go clean my wounds. 

Ben Affleck as Batman

I was preparing another article for today, but then the new of Ben Affleck being cast as Batman appeared on the internet and I just had to talk about this. Before you click away thinking, “oh God, not another fanboy whining about this casting choice” I actually don’t mind it. Read more…

Does Life Imitate Art?

Any writer in any media should know about the website www.tvtropes.org. If you didn’t know about the site and are now clicking on it for the first time, I am so sorry for the next hundreds of hours you’ll spend on this site. 

I used this site as the core of my thesis about periphery demographics and I bet it can help you with your stories, or kill a lot of time. Actually… probably both. Okay. Definitely both. 

When I realised nine minutes ago that I still hadn’t posted anything this week, my best friend told me of the tvtropes site he was on at the moment which was Life Imitates Art.

Read more…