The other day I missed my nap. And that's not good. That usually means
that I'm tired in the evening and have to go to bed early. So having missed
my nap I decided early that evening just to put on my night-sweats and robe
and stretch out on the couch and watch something on television.
The only trouble was, nothing was on. Over one hundred channels and
nothing on to watch. With one exception. I discovered that the movie
Letters From Iwo Jima was going to be on at 9:00. So at the appropriate
time I got me a glass of Shasta Cola and got on the couch and punched
in the right channel.
I had heard a lot of good things about Letters From Iwo Jima. So I was
really looking forward to watching it. But then the movie came on. In the
interest of authenticity, Letters was made mostly in Japanese. And so
it carries English subtitles for most of the movie. Now I'm very used to
subtitles, I watch foreign films all the time and have no problem with them.
The problem was that the subtitles that appeared on the screen frame in
Letters were so tiny as to be pretty much illegible. The only way I could
possibly have made out the subtitles would have been to watch the movie
three feet from a big-ass HDTV plasma television. After a couple of hours
of which, of course, I would be blind.
The only other solutions would be to learn Japanese real quick or to see
the movie at the movie theater. Neither of which is going to happen.
I tried my best to watch the movie. But I was only catching about 25
percent of the dialog. After a very frustrating 20 minutes, I finally
gave up. I tuned off the TV and went to bed early.
I hate to say it, but Clint Eastwood really screwed the pooch on that
one. He should have caught the problem while the movie was in post-
I feel like sending Eastwood a really nasty e-mail…
…in tiny little letters, of course.
And while I'm on the subject, I would just like to ask why it is that in
the age of digital technology that we are still doing subtitles the same
way they did them in the 1930s? Today's movies are for the most part shot
in 16:9 image ratio format. All they would have to do in post-production
would be to reduce the size of the frame just a tad, and then add a nice
black bar across the bottom of the frame using bright white lettering for
the subtitles. This would not only make subtitles easy to read, but it would
solve the old problem of the titles "disappearing" when the frame goes
light at the bottom. It would also preserve the artistic quality of the
cinemaphotography in the best way.
But then, I think Hollywood is for the most part out of ideas these days
anyway. So I guess I shouldn't expect much in the way of creative thinking.