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Lost in Translation: why do my friends hate it?

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Lost in Translation: why do my friends hate it?

Old 02-25-04, 05:34 PM
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Originally posted by baracine
Painkiller: What can you expect from the "loving, sensitive, intelligent" people who "really loved" this film even though it shows too typical ugly Americans abroad caught in the grips of ignorant xenophobia (which is just another variety of intolerance and belly-button worship)? Let them dream on, I say.
Or so you've read. But because you haven't bothered to actually see the film, you really have no idea what it shows, do you?

These are the same enlightened trendies, BTW, who gag at the thought of two words of French (that ugly, foreign language!) on the packaging of the Canadian edition of the LIT DVD (see that thread in DVD Talk).
Have you ever stopped to consider that the people who complain about the bilingual packaging are doing so because it makes the package look cluttered, not because they have something against the French language?

Probably not, because it's clear from your posts in this and other threads that you are far, far more xenophobic than the ugly Americans you rail against.
Old 02-25-04, 05:50 PM
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It was just okay......
Old 02-25-04, 11:31 PM
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I think it largely depends on the atmosphere of the viewing and if your friends know what they're in for.

I showed Lost in Translation to a group of 10+ high school seniors and everyone loved it. I told them it was a quiet story about a man and a woman finding each other in tokyo.

We were bawling in laughter at the right scenes, and everyone unanimously thought it was great with an excellent soundtrack. To the friends I've recommended it to, 80% thought it was boring and not funny enough.

Just the views of a high school senior
Old 02-28-04, 01:04 AM
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Well I got to around to watching it tonight. I found it to be a great film, a film that doesn't have a plot per se, but has great cinematography and it really made me cry ( I am a guy and don't cry at many movies)

If you have ever felt lonely at a certain point of your life, and have met somebody you have shared your loneliness with, it makes perfect sense. I really believe that everybody feels lonely sometimes, no matter if you are married. Its a movie, I almost want to watch again as soon as I get the chance.

Bill Murray deserves an Oscar for his performance.
Old 02-28-04, 11:27 AM
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Originally posted by chanster
Well I got to around to watching it tonight. I found it to be a great film, a film that doesn't have a plot per se, but has great cinematography and it really made me cry ( I am a guy and don't cry at many movies)

Bill Murray deserves an Oscar for his performance.
I finally got around to watching it last night as well. I found it to be good in most aspects except for the editing. Some scenes just didn't fit well in conveying mood or were just too short. I thought the acting was top notch but I can't agree Murray deserves an Oscar, but what do I know.

I didn't cry or anything but it was very heart-warming. I have felt lonely and still wonder if I'll meet my soul mate, but the ending just didn't have the emotional impact on me. This is probably because I connected more with Scarlett's character than Murray's, yet didn't really care for how they handled their problems and themselves. For example, the excessive smoking and drinking, cheating, and the occasional moments of stubborness (for lack of a better word). I know these are reasons for the characters misery and the result of them being such, but just couldn't connect as much with them given the circumstances. I was happy for them in rediscovering/discovering who they are, finding each other, and it gave me hope for the future.

I look forward to watching it again.

Last edited by DVDho78DTS; 02-28-04 at 11:36 AM.
Old 02-29-04, 05:00 AM
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Originally posted by LiquidSky
This is a rather bold statement. Worst movie EVER made in the history of film? So, you have seen EVERY film EVER made not only American films but European and Asian as well?
not to mention African films...

but really, how can one say that the acting or cinematography is bad? if you find it boring, that's one thing, but it is still competently made. not like Eegah. blanket statements like "worst movie ever" are so ridiuculous.
Old 02-29-04, 09:24 PM
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Originally posted by baracine
Conventional wisdom is wondering how many decapitated horses' heads were delivered to reticent producers' bedrooms in the middle of the night before this movie (...) got made.
Hey, Billy Crystal just stole my line at the Oscars!!!
I feel so... vindicated!

Last edited by baracine; 02-29-04 at 09:27 PM.
Old 02-29-04, 09:37 PM
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People can be such snobs.... I didn't like the film because I thought it "It had no plot and went nowhere". I like Ghost World, Rushmore, Virgin Suicides and most others that have been mentioned here. I've seen movies about people who are lost souls or estranged from the world where I felt connected to the characters and they actually DID somethng which I always enjoy in films. I guess I didn't "get it" since I didn't find much to "get". Wish I could be enlightened like some here...
Old 02-29-04, 11:40 PM
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Originally posted by Grizzly
let me guess, your friends are Joe and Jane Sixpack type of people? if so i wouldn't be surprised as it is a film that works on a level above them.

Wow - I'm shocked by the number of people here who seem VERY eager to establish their superiority over anyone who didn't like this film. The elitism is rank in here. Seems a lot of people are trying hard to convince themselves of something. I'm not just picking on Grizzly, either - Grizzly's not the only one, just the one who managed to sound the most transparently elitist in two sentences.

Here's a hint to everyone. The fact that you may have liked this movie does not make you better, more tasteful, or more intelligent than a person who did not like it. The more you say otherwise, the clearer it is you're trying to convince yourself and nobody else.
Old 03-01-04, 01:44 AM
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I think this was an excellent movie. On the other hand, I can see why people might not like this film. It's story is slim, and its themes are very focused and not something everybody will relate to. It's not a film that will appeal to everyone. I imagine many will find it boring.

On the other hand, anyone who calls this film the worst movie ever is either ignorant or hasn't seen very many movies. As said before, it is competently made with good acting. You may enjoy it, but you have to at least admit that. I've seen some well regarded films I just really did not enjoy, but at least I can at least recognize that they aren't awful films, just not things I don't like. For instance, I find Citizen Kane to be quite boring, but I can recognize its qualities nonetheless.

On the other hand...sometimes it's easier to say it's awful than I didn't like it...I guess.
Old 03-01-04, 02:46 AM
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Originally posted by Mrs.Nesbit
People can be such snobs.... I didn't like the film because I thought it "It had no plot and went nowhere". I like Ghost World, Rushmore, Virgin Suicides and most others that have been mentioned here. I've seen movies about people who are lost souls or estranged from the world where I felt connected to the characters and they actually DID somethng which I always enjoy in films. I guess I didn't "get it" since I didn't find much to "get". Wish I could be enlightened like some here...
You answered your own problem with the film. You didn't connect with the characters. the films you list all have little plot and you loved because you felt for the characters or something along those lines. So you didn't get a connection. Oh well. there is plenty of other films I'm sure you'll enjoy.
Old 03-01-04, 11:51 AM
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I haven't seen it yet. I'm going to have to rent it to find out what all the bru-ha-ha is about.

I'm generally not an "art house" movie type of guy. Heck I don't get to the movies much these days. At $9.00 a pop and no smaller theater in my area, I really can't afford to go to alot of films. But over the years I can see a trailer or read some reviews and say "well that looks kind of interesting, maybe I should see that".

The originator of the thread was talking about when he recomended this film to his friends and they unanimously didn't like it. I had a similar situation happen only in "reverse" once (just an amusing anecdote here). I had a lot of people about ten years ago harping on me to see the film "Kids". I heard many rave about how great it was and they highly recomeneded it. I saw it and I absolutely hated it. When asked why I said "There was absolutley no plot to found in the entire 2 hours and the characters for me were unrelatable and obnoxious". The most common retort I would hear was "Oh but it's like 'real life' ", or "it's grippingly realistic" (or words to that effect). I think I responded with "Oh yeah. I've known people like that and I wouldn't want to hang around with them for 2 hours either!".

So it kind of works both ways I guess. Every film is not going to be for everybody.
Old 04-11-04, 12:12 AM
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Just watched LiT tonight and loved it. I can understand how someone might not like it, but your friends just didn't seem to get it.

I was enthralled by the setting (Japan is beautiful) and could somewhat relate to characters' loneliness. I loved the chemistry between Murray and Johansan. And I really liked how they conveyed what they were thinking/feeling without actually saying much. Sometimes the unspoken word is just as (if not more) powerful than the spoken.

And I know I'm being a real sap but I thought it was romantic.

Great movie

Last edited by the aftermath; 04-11-04 at 12:16 AM.
Old 04-11-04, 12:57 PM
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In this day and age, with amazing creative ideas for movies (i.e. Lost in Transalation) most people dismiss these great films because they're not interested in the beautiful shots, the great soundtrack, hidden meanings, or a different formula for making a film entirely. All they want is their same old, same old run of the mill I'm comfortable with this way I'm not going to change thank you very much........... style.
Old 04-11-04, 01:10 PM
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I agree with Orson Scott Card's review of LiT

"This is pure undergraduate filmmaking -- as so many independent movies are -- in which a general air of superiority and ennui is meant to be taken for intelligence and deep insights. I've seen enough of these (and enough of this kind of storytelling) to know that what we're really seeing is the filmmaker's soul.

The people of Japan aren't shallow. Writer/director Sofia Coppola is. If she went to Japan and this is all she saw, then shame on her."
Old 04-11-04, 03:07 PM
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Not everybody is going to like this film. I've met many people who didn't understand it, like it, or follow what it was "trying to do", other than showing a "bizarre affair between an old man and a young girl. Was he a pedophile?" [ actual quotes from various friends of mine ].

However, this film hit home with me on several levels. I spent a summer in Ireland three years ago. I met someone there who was from the US, same as me, and we developed a fast friendship. That line it LiT when he says "I don't want to go home", and she replies "So don't. We'll stay here." that is real talk. Myself and the other person said those very same words.

It's a movie about quiet moments in life - about two people that meet each other; that happen to bump into one another while away from their homes and at a point in both of their lives where nothing makes sence, or what sence they have left is confused by directions they never intended to make, yet did.

I love movies like this. I think that Rich Linklaters "Before Sunrise" is one of the best films of all time, and LiT is basically like that; two people who meet, and talk, and spend time, and talk some more. They develop a friendship that exists because they are vunerable and alone, and they need something, someone, to hold onto. An embrace of the familiar, despite it being with a stranger.

I feel bad that not everyone loves this movie. I really think everyone should, because it is a small, quiet, delicate study about two people that could be right for each other, but it's just the wrong time, and the wrong place.

I'm not going to start insulting people that say it was boring and they didn't enjoy it. It's hard for me to understand that, because I thought it was one of the best films of the year, and is climbing my "all time favorites" ladder.

I think it was a warming film. I think that the story was fantastic, heartfelt, and honest.

I dunno. That's my 2 cents anyway. Sorry to see people getting nasty at each other over some cinema.
Old 04-11-04, 03:29 PM
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Fact is, this a movie with dehumanizing racism as its backbone, and if you take that away, the plot and the humor of the movie disappears, and the longing felt by both main characters is neutralized. I find it ironic that a lot of people fail to see this and in turn, take up the ignorance and arrogance of the two main characters. Again, shame on Sofia Coppola for being so shallow. Japan took failures such as her clothing line and made it successful, and she repays them by making a movie where the Japanese people are portrayed as one dimensional clowns.

Go watch a Wong Kar Wai movie instead.
Old 04-11-04, 05:07 PM
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^^
are you japanese? did you see the Passion? did you think it had dehumanizing racism anywhere? or True Lies? i just want to know where you're coming from.

i am friends with a japanese girl, and we talked about this film. she said the only part that offended people back home was the part with the hooker. but she still liked the movie.
Old 04-11-04, 06:07 PM
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Originally posted by TCG
^^
are you japanese? did you see the Passion? did you think it had dehumanizing racism anywhere? or True Lies? i just want to know where you're coming from.
No, I haven't seen the Passion, and it's been too long since I've seen True Lies. Yes, I am asian, and I've talked to asians and non-asians that have also found that Lost in Translation is derogatory and smugly racist movie. The movie's humor rests on the "otherness" of the Japanese people, and it's just a bunch of cheap shots at them. The only time that the Japanese are represented in a slightly revernt light is when Charlotte visits a shrine. When it's balanced with the cheesy portrayal of modren Japan trying to appear Western, it's a smug criticism that they will never fit in, and they'll always be pathetic imitations. They even say this in the dialogue when Charlotte's husband says how awkward Japanese people look when they're dressed up like the Rolling Stones, because they're so skinny and nerdy. So the subtext here is, when Westerners imitate the Stones, it's acceptable, but when Asian kids do the same, it's just a pathetic imitation.

Also, the arrogance of the two main characters is bothering. The movie is set in a country of superior technological and social conditions, yet the Western characters still remain arrogant. Bob and Charlotte don't even attempt to speak the language, not even a simple "konichiwa" when Charlotte is greeted warmly by the flower hostess. One review said, "imagine French tourists in New York refusing to speak English, deriding waiters in French, and wondering amongst themselves, eyes rolling in disgust, why the few Americans who make efforts to speak their language make such idiots of themselves. No, even the French aren't that arrogant."

However, it's not so much the negative representation of the Japanese people that makes the movie racist, but the way it fails to represent them as full human beings. Asians are represented as one-dimensional beings in Hollywood movies, and their "otherness" is always singled-out and exploited. One reviewer mentioned that in movies like these, the "otherness" is just an innocent construction and is not meant to subjugate a people, but it should also be noted that art is not free from political context. What better way to drive home the concept of "otherness" than through art. We single out and portray a group of people as one-dimensional cartoons and effetively create barriers between "us" and "them." It's so acceptated that it forms the logic behind such things as pre-emptive strike and occupation, and we value "our" human life more than "their" human life. I'm sure of you will think this is absurd, but I've seen a lot of comments about people who refuse to see foreign films, or anime, because it's weird and they don't like reading subtitles. Think about the closed-minded, cultural insensitivty in those cases, and how such a small thing can have a significant impact on the way we view other people in the world.

As for the movie's merits, it's very beautifully shot. But I think it's sad that more character is given to the city itself than the Japanese people.
Old 04-11-04, 07:45 PM
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^ I think you're looking waaaay too deep into it. Dehumanizing racism? Wow.
Old 04-11-04, 07:54 PM
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On the contrary, the racism present in the movie isn't deep at all.
Old 04-11-04, 08:21 PM
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Originally posted by beefjerky
On the contrary, the racism present in the movie isn't deep at all.
It's non-existent.

Racism is when someone thinks they're better than someone else because of their race.

There are obviously cultural differences between Japan and America, how did you expect Sofia to portray Japan? I didn't see any of this "dehumanizing racism" that you did.

Stereotyping? Maybe. But definitely not racism.
Old 04-11-04, 09:05 PM
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Read through my previous post, especially the part about the French tourists. Would you seriously act like Bob and Charlotte did if you were in another country? Cultural differences doesn't give someone the right to act like a complete jackass when in another culture. Also, what better way to dehumanize people than to represent them in a completely cartoonish, one-dimensional way? The Japanese people are portrayed as complete human beings. There's smug mentality of arrogance and superiority throughout the movie. Sounds like racism to me.

Last edited by beefjerky; 04-11-04 at 09:16 PM.
Old 04-11-04, 09:48 PM
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Movies can't be arrogant or smug.

beefjerky, I respect your views on the film but I think you're reading into things too much. If anything, I've heard this film described as a "travelogue for Japan" (by detractors, no less).

The film does find humour in The Other, but it wasn't demeaning to the Japanese people. The fact that the film didn't focus on a major Japanese character is because the film wasn't about them - it was about Charlotte and Bob.

The only places in the film that I thought were a little catty and overdone were the scenes with Anna Farris, doing a very good impression of Cameron Diaz. I can imagine that Sopia may have been a little jealous of Diaz's flirting with Spike Jonze on the set of "Being John Malkovich" (while Jonze and Coppola were still married) and wanted to skewer her in LiT. But it felt nasty and unnecessary to me.

But the Japanese - hell, I thought it showed them as an American tourist would see them (with the exception of the hooker, who was a strange character - but just because a strange character is of a certain race doesn't mean the filmmaker is demeaning that race).

I mean, Henry Fonda was the "bad guy" (wearing a black hat) in "Once Upon a Time in the West." Do you hear anyone complaining that Leone portrays white people in a bad light and that the film's racist because a white man is the evil character? No, of course not.

Usually when someone finds something offensive or racist in a film, it's because the film pokes fun at something that they see in themselves.

I find "High Fidelity" very funny, and it's one of my most rewatched DVDs, but I do have to cringe at some parts of it because I've been there. But I don't think the writers or director is making fun of ALL white people - just making jokes at the expense of these PARTICULAR characters.

Last edited by jough; 04-11-04 at 09:51 PM.
Old 04-11-04, 10:34 PM
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Originally posted by jough
Movies can't be arrogant or smug.

beefjerky, I respect your views on the film but I think you're reading into things too much. If anything, I've heard this film described as a "travelogue for Japan" (by detractors, no less).

The film does find humour in The Other, but it wasn't demeaning to the Japanese people. The fact that the film didn't focus on a major Japanese character is because the film wasn't about them - it was about Charlotte and Bob.

But the Japanese - hell, I thought it showed them as an American tourist would see them (with the exception of the hooker, who was a strange character - but just because a strange character is of a certain race doesn't mean the filmmaker is demeaning that race).

I mean, Henry Fonda was the "bad guy" (wearing a black hat) in "Once Upon a Time in the West." Do you hear anyone complaining that Leone portrays white people in a bad light and that the film's racist because a white man is the evil character? No, of course not.

Usually when someone finds something offensive or racist in a film, it's because the film pokes fun at something that they see in themselves.
When the characters act in an arrogant way, the movie gives off an air of arrogance.

The problem is, we have a wide range of roles that white people play in cinema. There are lots of cases where even white bad guys are more fleshed out than asian bad guys. Whenever you have a despicable or demeaning white character, there is always another white character who is properly fleshed out to balance it. In the case of asians in cinema, time after time, they're overwhelmingly represented in a completely one-dimensional, stereotyped light. Of course no one will say Henry Fonda painted white people in a bad light, because there are an overwhelming amount of white characters that paint white people in a good light. Like I said, it's not necessarily the demeaning attitude, but the failure to make the Japanese characters more than one-dimensional cartoons that makes it racist. They're not completely human.

Again, culture differences shouldn't give someone the right to act like a jackass when in different cultures. How can you deny the arrogance that both characters give off? I'm American and and as far from what the Japanese were portrayed as in Lost in Translation. I'm not even Japanese and I still found it racist. I've talked to many white and black people that thought the movie portrayed Japanese people in a demeaning manner, so it's not just me.

Last edited by beefjerky; 04-11-04 at 10:40 PM.

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