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City by the Sea

Seen: 2002.09.09   ¶   Reviewed: 2002.09.12

We finally got back in the swing of things as nearly two months of uninterrupted Austin Powers and Signs came to a blessed end. IN THE GRIM FUTURE OF MOPIX THERE IS ONLY AUSTIN POWERS AND SIGNS.

I simpy despised Signs. Now, City by the Sea I liked. It’s a fully competent police/family drama, with a solid cast and all the beauty shots of the World Trade Center a nervous studio executive might require as a pretext to delay release of the movie, copyrighted in 2001.

In fact, one’s admission price was justified by a simple two-minute outpouring–monologue from an unexpected source, R. DeNiro, an actor scarcely ever associated with concepts like “touching” and “revelatory.” It was so fast, unexpected, and powerful that I don’t remember a word of it. I was too busy fighting a frog in the throat.

Also: We Frances McDormand. If I were the kind of fella who does older women, I would do her, but I will remain content to merely praise her.

One might even see this picture again, you know. One just might.

Anyway, Mr. X and Mr. Y were present, as were about 20 other people in the 550-seat Cinema 2 at the Paramount. (The other hardwired auditorium is Cinema 11, with 227 seats.)

Today’s sign-in procedure? A manager interviewed me for my name and phone number (how do they communicate with a deaf person?) and the serial numbers of all the equipment. This he wrote in a “book,” actually a loose-leaf binder. “Oh, so there’s a ‘book’ tonight, is there?” I asked. “There’s always been a book,” he said. “Not in my experience there hasn’t.” “There’s always been a book.” “No. It’s different every time,” I told him; he is apparently unaware that I have documented proof.

(Silver City Scarborough uses loose leaf with two large boxes to fill in information per page. Paramount’s loose leaf consists of cramped printed lines in which one illegibly crams in far too much information.)

We got the ideal sweet-spot seats and had near-perfect reflectors. We were FULLY DIALED IN. Cinema 2 is so frigging big you have to sit within six rows of the display at the distant rear, and you have to be right in front of it or the angular distortion is intolerable. Still, you can fit a good 20 people in that sweet spot, far more than there are actual reflectors. And headset-wearers can sit anywhere, presumably.

While we were waiting for the film to start, three young gals 20 rows below us stared right at us. “Hello. Yes. Feel free to ask,” I said smarmily.

Strangest event? Several times during the movie, these two disheveled lower-order guys in their 50s one row away at the end of the aisle talked to each other so loudly they were distracting over the DVS narration. I eventually gave up. “I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to be quieter,” they were surprised as hell to hear me tell them from a standing position a foot behind their ears.

People. Don’t friggin’ cross me when I’m out for my MoPix.

Caption quality

What you need, you don't pay for: No comma, please. (Long objects of verb phrases are a perennial bugbear down at the Caption Center.)

(phone ringing continuing): A somewhat uncomfortable conjunction of gerund and verb? Perhaps (ringing continues) was all one needed.

45-caliber automatic: .45-caliber, shurely?! (.45-calibre, shurely still?!)

“You’re not an angel” was captioned as You're not angel. The an an pair was a bit tricky, apparently.

Every utterance of “so” at the beginning of a sentence was followed by a comma. Such is rarely necessary. It’s not like the mandatory comma before the name of a person addressed (“Come on, Eileen” vs. “Come on Eileen”).

Description quality

Well, quelle surprise: A male narrator who isn’t Miles Neff! Michael Goff. He comes on way too strong in the opening credits. I could not stand how prominent he was, reading credits with too much verve, personality, and self-aggrandizement. By the first scene, however, he had become a proper DVS narrator. Inexplicable.

(It is assumed that this Michael Goff is not the statuesque former assistant of Roger Black who went on to edit Out [that is, drive it into the ground], ignored me at the Out party at the Gay Games in ’94, Peter Principled over to Microsoft, and later become a venture capitalist.)

Buddy “drives a motorcycle.” One “rides” or “pilots” a motorcycle.

Within 15 seconds, we are told twice that a fellow is blond. DVS does in any event tend to round up hair colours to “blond,” a topic I am somewhat exceptionally aware of.

A skeeball machine is identified as such twice. Good on yez for pegging it, but... a what?

“And puts on a knit cap”: It had been mentioned before. “His” or “the” cap?

“Michelle stares open-mouthed, then opens the news clipping”: Echo of open. “Unfolds” the news clipping.

“As other officers stand aside and glower”: Indeed they do. An excellent word. Le mot juste.

“Joey mouths the words ‘I love you.’ ” This mouthing business is coming up a lot this year.


The .45-calibre automatic was IDed as such in dialogue (hence captioned) and in descriptions.

Exit interview


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