American Speech

December 3, 2014 § 2 Comments

One of the great disappointments I experienced when I first moved to the US nearly five years ago was that regular American people sound nothing like the American people in movies.

I don’t mean that any country’s people ever sounds like its cinema, but that a certain type of film can capture, or re-invent, its linguistic community’s continuum of articulacy-inarticulacy in a way that allows you to be moved by its beauty—luxuriate in its pain.

My disappointment in American speech quickly turned into disappointment in American cinema because it’s the other way around. The cinema has failed the people.

Or: the cinema has failed part of the continuum while celebrating the other extreme.

The other extreme being that sort of determined, stylized, sometimes reverential, sometimes parodic-pastiched dialogue that’s completely well done in the hands of say Quentin Tarantino or 80s/90s David Lynch. A kind of over-articulate language that’s on the skin of personhood—think Don Corleone scratching his chin.

Actually, to take it a notch down, this—from Michael Lehmann’s Heathers (1988)—is completely genius:

I’ve always been enamored with the way American TV and movie characters « Read the rest of this entry »

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