15 November 2009

Why The Good Guy Always Has a Shoulder Sling After Getting Shot Five Times

After a day full of laundry and studying, I spent the evening watching a movie with two other students.  We were going to watch The Diving Bell and the Butterfuly, one of my favorite French films, but instead watched Eagle Eye an American action movie.  One of the others watching with me is also an America, but the other is French . . . but he is fluent in English.

I think learning a new language and living in a new culture has ruined the movie-watching-experience for me.  I spent majority of the time watching thinking about the nuances of American English and if my friend was understanding most of the dialogue.  I was struck by how quickly things were said, and how much of it was cultural discussion . . . for example, when the audience is introduced to the main character, he is playing poker and talking about his friend's girlfriend.  If I spoke English, but didn't know anything about poker or American dating relationships, or even what American's feel is appropriate interaction between friends, I would have been entirely lost!

I have often heard it said that the rest of the world perceives American culture to be exactly what they see in movies.  So I began to wonder, while watching Eagle Eye, what does this film say about American culture.  Here are the assumptions I would draw if I was an outsider:
  1. Car chases happen on a regular basis in everyday life.
  2. The person driving the get-away-car in said car chase may get some bumps and bruises and a few dents in his driver's side door, but he will walk away with a scratch on his head.
  3. Cool things only happen to beautiful people.
  4. Those people still look beautiful no matter what they've fallen into or been hit by.
  5. Not only does everyone own a cell phone, but also every piece of the most current technology created.
  6. Slang is used . . . a lot.
  7. Cars and trucks and airplanes blow up and everyone's got a gun and can hit a target, even if they've never used one before.
  8. Beautiful people can fall in love anywhere, at anytime, under any circumstance.
  9. The non-important extras can get killed by simple punch to the face . . . so everyone must be skilled at unarmed combat.
  10. No matter how many times the good guy gets shot and everyone thinks he's dead, he ends up walking away with a few scratches and a shoulder sling on his right arm (bummer . . . especially if he's right handed!).
  11. There are only sleek, fuel-efficient, top-of the line cars on the road.  And should you not have your own, a kind stranger has run off leaving his keys in the ignition for someone else to use.
  12. Rockband is not an international phenomenon.
Well, anyway, you get the idea.  Point is, learning French has ruined my ability to simply sit down and brainlessly enjoy being entertained.  But then again, maybe that's a good thing.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Hi Deb. I am a CBC Deptford "Go-er." We have met, but I had to comment on this as I found it pretty funny while sadly pathetic. Action films for me are mostly equivalent to root canal save the exceptional few that actually have a plot or character development. You are so spot on with the whole "outsiders looking into America" scenario! We must look completely ridiculous - no wonder it has been speculated so much that the French don't like us! The only argument you made that may actually be true is the gadget and gizmo comment: I think Americans actually DO have all those gadgets! It's part of the reason we also have a financial/debt nightmare! Et oui, je parle francais aussi. Well, a little - it was the only language class I took 3 semesters of (I kind of liked it.) Thanks for the updates - our church prays for you and many of us really enjoy the updates and e-mails and blogs. Not that there are some who really don't enjoy them...er...ummm...you know what I mean! -Scott