Random Factoid #571

30 12 2014

2014, for me, was the year of the typo correction.  For whatever reason, I felt emboldened to act as copywriter for the world.  (Just not for my own work, which I often find full of errors upon reexamination.)  Much of my Larry David-esque perceived need to correct other people’s harmless mistakes or typos stems from an empowering NPR segment about a book called “The Great Typo Hunt.”  Yes, I am enough of a nerd to call an NPR story about grammar “empowering.”  Get at me, world!

It began as early as January, when IndieWire ran a story called “The 20 Best Films of 2014 We’ve Already Seen.”  This highlighted festival films from the previous year due for release in the upcoming calendar year, and the original list inexplicably omitted “The Immigrant.”  Foreshadowing (or stemming from) my being a warrior for this film, I commented about this egregious exclusion.

IndieWINNING

The post is now called “The 21 Best Films of 2014 We’ve Already Seen,” but the URL still says “20.”  Point, Marshall.

It continued with the website for “Obvious Child.”  I was trying to find a poster to add to my PowerPoint aggregating all the films I saw in a year (as chronicled in Random Factoid #200) on the website when I noticed a pretty egregious typo.  I emailed the admin listed on the Tumblr, and I wound up getting a personal response from the film’s producer, Elisabeth Holm.  The correction can be seen below.

Obvious Child Email

Then, as I am often prone to do, I was scouring the pre-order section of iTunes to see when I might be able to rent certain titles I missed.  I noticed that “Laggies” was up – and that its star, Keira Knightley, had her name misspelled on the cover.  I sent the studio a quick email and, sure enough, the cover changed!

A24 Laggies

 

And the gentle, metaphorical red pen did not limit itself to spelling errors.  I also tackled factual inaccuracies, such as one that I found in a piece by Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst at The Hollywood Reporter.

Feinberg

Now, just so we’re clear, I am far from perfect and actually made plenty a pretty embarrassing error while thinking I was correcting someone else’s error.  See that comment from The Dissolve?  It was in reply to a comment that I deleted, which was calling them out for misspelling “Slave” when it was referencing the video’s misspelling.  Had I watched the video, I would have known that.  Had I really been paying attention, I would have also noticed that they also “misspelled” Brad Pitt’s name.

Salve

I decided not to let the comment live on and shame me, like a coward.  Perhaps in the new year, I will limit myself in my quest to make the world a safer place for proofreading to only correcting errors which I am completely certain are wrong.  Or, rather, I can just shake my head in dismay at every typo I see online (cough, IndieWire – you’re the worst offender) and hope they feel the same shame that I experience when I realize a similar gaffe in my own work.

P.S. – How can I tell AT&T about this bad typo?

Gaurdians





REVIEW: Obvious Child

27 06 2014

Obvious ChildRiverRun Film Festival

If Woody Allen and Joan Rivers ever had a love child, it would probably sound a whole lot like Jenny Slate’s Donna Stern in “Obvious Child.”  This stand-up comedian proves to be a magnet for unfortunate events – losing her job and her boyfriend in rapid succession – and handles it with indefatigable humor, both macabre and self-deprecating.  Slate refashions a best friend archetype into a leading lady, and it works marvelously.

Donna might not work quite as well as a character had she not appeared in a film with the refreshing candor of writer/director Gillian Robespierre.  Pleasant interactions at a bar lead Donna into the bedroom with the charming Max (Jake Lacy, recognizable to fans of the last season of “The Office”) … but what grows inside her isn’t love or desire for a relationship.

It’s a baby, one thing Donna knows she can’t handle in her crazy life.  So she does what plenty of women across the country do: signs up to get an abortion.  In the spirit of stand-up, Donna and the film tackle the issue head-on.  She even incorporates it into her routine on stage, not to poke fun at it but to use humor as a vehicle to really explore the way we feel about abortion.  The real injustice, Robespierre seems to argue, is the way we traipse around the issue when we talk about it.

“Obvious Child” plays out like a feminist take on “Knocked Up,” another film that explores the consequences of unplanned pregnancy with poignant honesty.  All the characters speak with such refreshing candor, particularly about what it means to be a woman both physically and emotionally.  As Donna’s confidante and roommate Nellie, Gaby Hoffman brings down the house with her free spirit and untamed tongue.

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