Handy translation guide for film reviews

 

Hate to burn two hours on a movie? Are you scarred from scenes you’d rather have missed? Here is a list of common movie review words and phrases–and what they tell you about what is actually in the film.

“Sweeping” Uneven and confusing timeline. May shift back and forth between eras.

“Epic” Thirty minutes too long.

“Fresh, modern take” The author is spinning in his grave.

“Coming of age film . . . ” Contains uncomfortable sequences of adolescent sexual experimentation. Avoid.

“Inspirational” Maudlin.

“Daring” A sailor would blush.

“Brave”  Your assumptions will be so challenged, you’ll walk out of the theater halfway through.

“Saucy” Women saying a bunch of crass and obscene stuff

“Irreverent” Prepare to have all you hold dear profaned on the big screen.

“Realize they are drawn to each other” Adultery is a central plot point.

“Hilarious” If you can overlook the lewd premise–oh, wait, that’s the funny part.

“Torn between the man she loves . . . ” Follow your heart, folks. We can’t say that too many times.

“Outrageous” Over-the-top plot, for a jaded audience.

“Sweetly charming” Yawn. Skip it.

“Bound to be a cult classic” It’s kind of weird and hard to follow.

“Quirky” It was justly panned by audiences.

“Idyllic” Contains disturbing scenes of violence and witchcraft in a country setting.

“Offbeat” Strange and boring.

“Exploration and discovery” WARNING: not sci-fi.

“Bold” Has a graphic sex scene during the first five minutes.

“Witty” Raunchy.

“A classic the whole family will love” Has child actors making comments that would have gotten your mouth washed out with soap.

“A pulse-pounding thriller” Contains gratuitous gore.

“A movie for all generations” A guarantee that Grandma will not like it.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Thank you. Love it!

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    sawatdeeka:

    “Daring” A sailor would blush. 

    Unless it is “daring and brave,” which means it is a sermon from the pulpit of the Church of Woke.

    “Hilarious” If you can overlook the lewd premise–oh, wait, that’s the funny part. 

    The Left can’t do funny because That’s Not Funny.

     

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Percival (View Comment):
    The Left can’t do funny because That’s Not Funny.

    • #3
  4. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Wow. This really is a good list. Mind if I add one?

    “Outrageously funny!” This is a DVD cover you’re reading.

    • #4
  5. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Percival (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka:

    “Daring” A sailor would blush.

    Unless it is “daring and brave,” which means it is a sermon from the pulpit of the Church of Woke.

    Thanks–you just gave me another idea. See “Brave.” 

    • #5
  6. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    “Unconventional” The director, writer, and/or cinematographer have substance abuse issues.

    • #6
  7. Samuel Block Support
    Samuel Block
    @SamuelBlock

    I agree that most of what calls itself film criticism is worthless. Nonetheless, the mistake that Andrew Klavan rants about regularly – that conservatives have abandoned the culture – doesn’t apply exclusively to money men and would-be artists. 

    Even so, I like your translations.

    • #7
  8. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Percival (View Comment):

    “Unconventional” The director, writer, and/or cinematographer have substance abuse issues.

     Percival! LOL! 

    • #8
  9. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Great list. I have sat through few too many “epic” films.

    My wife is always doing these types of English to English translations. When we were looking for a house and the listing said “charming,” she would say “too small.” When an obituary says “died suddenly” she says “suicide.” And when I doubt her and do some follow up, she’s always right.

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    “Intriguing score” The producer’s nephew just graduated from Juilliard.

    • #10
  11. Addiction Is A Choice Member
    Addiction Is A Choice
    @AddictionIsAChoice

    “Riveting”  It’s gonna make sense soon …. right?

    • #11
  12. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    Great list. I have sat through few too many “epic” films.

    My wife is always doing these types of English to English translations. When we were looking for a house and the listing said “charming,” she would say “too small.” When an obituary says “died suddenly” she says “suicide.” And when I doubt her and do some follow up, she’s always right.

    I like her translations!  Real estate is a good target:  “Just five minutes from the freeway”  (rough part of town).  “Good starter house” (it’s not up to code).   “Would make a great project” (it’s really ugly).  “Safe neighborhood” (Two-hour commute). 

    My daughters and I used to do that with the humane society’s featured animals, too:  “Loves quiet households” (Will bite your child’s hand off.)  “Independent” (“Not compatible with your other pets”). “Cuddly” (Scared of her own shadow).  

    • #12
  13. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    My wife is always doing these types of English to English translations. When we were looking for a house and the listing said “charming,” she would say “too small.” When an obituary says “died suddenly” she says “suicide.” And when I doubt her and do some follow up, she’s always right.

    Good skill to have. I bet it helps immensely when relating to other people. 

    • #13
  14. tigerlily Member
    tigerlily
    @tigerlily

    Well done sawatdeeka!

    • #14
  15. Jason Rudert Member
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    “Important” if also French, you will see a guy’s wiener

    • #15
  16. Archibald Campbell Member
    Archibald Campbell
    @ArchieCampbell

    As I  mentioned elsewhere, can you do one translating Armond White’s reviews?

    • #16
  17. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    Archibald Campbell (View Comment):

    As I mentioned elsewhere, can you do one translating Armond White’s reviews?

    I had to look him up–I hadn’t heard of him before, but I should have.

    Mulan rhymes with Wuhan.”  Wow.

    Not sure I could translate him. He says a lot in one review.  Can you take a crack at it?

    • #17
  18. Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosopher
    @HankRhody

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):

    “Important” if also French, you will see a guy’s wiener

    Filed in “News you can use”, and cross-filed in “never, ever ask Rudert where he goes when he’s not on Ricochet.”

    • #18
  19. sawatdeeka Member
    sawatdeeka
    @sawatdeeka

    “Full of hope and joy”   Contains random disquieting scenes. 

    • #19
  20. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):

    “Important” if also French, you will see a guy’s wiener

    Filed in “News you can use”, and cross-filed in “never, ever ask Rudert where he goes when he’s not on Ricochet.”

    • #20
  21. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    The problem with film critics is that they see a lot of films.  So they get bored with “the same old, same old”, and crave seeing something “different”.

    The thing is, “different” when it comes to an art-form (or, if you prefer, “Commercial product”) that is as old and settled as film is, is that “different” often equals “sucks”.

    But because they just want to see something different, critics praise it to high heaven.

    Now, occasionally the critics and the film-maker get it right, and they really have stumbled onto something different that works as art and as entertainment.  But not very often.

     

     

    • #21
  22. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Simply brilliant. And it reminded me to look up what I think may be the best movie review ever, Joan Ellis’s take on Demi Moore’s turn as Hester Prynne in a very bizarre movie version of The Scarlet Letter.  I like it exactly because it required no “consecutive interpretation,” as the United Nations likes to put it: http://joanellis.com/reviews/SCARLET_LETTER,_THE.htm

    • #22
  23. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Vance Richards (View Comment):
    When an obituary says “died suddenly” she says “suicide.”

    also, “found peace”.

     

    • #23
  24. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    She (View Comment):

    Simply brilliant. And it reminded me to look up what I think may be the best movie review ever, Joan Ellis’s take on Demi Moore’s turn as Hester Prynne in a very bizarre movie version of The Scarlet Letter. I like it exactly because it required no “consecutive interpretation,” as the United Nations likes to put it: http://joanellis.com/reviews/SCARLET_LETTER,_THE.htm

    Don’t make me laugh right after drinking 16oz of water.

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):

    “Important” if also French, you will see a guy’s wiener

    Filed in “News you can use”, and cross-filed in “never, ever ask Rudert where he goes when he’s not on Ricochet.”

    Literally, laughed out loud.

    • #25
  26. Archibald Campbell Member
    Archibald Campbell
    @ArchieCampbell

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Archibald Campbell (View Comment):

    As I mentioned elsewhere, can you do one translating Armond White’s reviews?

    I had to look him up–I hadn’t heard of him before, but I should have.

    Mulan rhymes with Wuhan.” Wow.

    Not sure I could translate him. He says a lot in one review. Can you take a crack at it?

    Heh, if I could do it I wouldn’t be asking you to. 

    • #26
  27. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):

    “Important” if also French, you will see a guy’s wiener

    French or Spanish. Pedro Almodovar….

    Sawatdeeka: I especially like your take on “idyllic”. 

    • #27
  28. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Hank Rhody, Freelance Philosop… (View Comment):

    Jason Rudert (View Comment):

    “Important” if also French, you will see a guy’s wiener

    Filed in “News you can use”, and cross-filed in “never, ever ask Rudert where he goes when he’s not on Ricochet.”

    Literally, laughed out loud.

    So did I. 

    • #28
  29. Hartmann von Aue Member
    Hartmann von Aue
    @HartmannvonAue

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Archibald Campbell (View Comment):

    As I mentioned elsewhere, can you do one translating Armond White’s reviews?

    I had to look him up–I hadn’t heard of him before, but I should have.

    Mulan rhymes with Wuhan.” Wow.

    Not sure I could translate him. He says a lot in one review. Can you take a crack at it?

    I find him maddening sometimes but over the years have come to appreciate him more. I’ve gone from thinking of him as too contrarian and obsessed with his standards of cinematic perfection, too unwilling to just let entertainment entertain, to thinking…he might not be contrarian enough. 

    • #29
  30. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):

    sawatdeeka (View Comment):

    Archibald Campbell (View Comment):

    As I mentioned elsewhere, can you do one translating Armond White’s reviews?

    I had to look him up–I hadn’t heard of him before, but I should have.

    Mulan rhymes with Wuhan.” Wow.

    Not sure I could translate him. He says a lot in one review. Can you take a crack at it?

    I find him maddening sometimes but over the years have come to appreciate him more. I’ve gone from thinking of him as too contrarian and obsessed with his standards of cinematic perfection, too unwilling to just let entertainment entertain, to thinking…he might not be contrarian enough.

    I like that old dude too.

    • #30