– Mark E. Smith

Very occasionally in audio description, onscreen text appears that has to be read out loud. That part isn’t actually very occasional. The very-occasional part is when the text contains profanity.

It comes up now and then. A bumper sticker read SHIT HAPPENS in Forrest Gump. Black Hawk Down had my fave example: “McKnight mouths the word ‘motherfucker.’ ”

In Wanted, nutbar diretor Timur Bekmambetov (or Темір Бекмамбет – two Kazakh dudes on the subway taught me the correct pronunciation one time) defies every law of physics. The movie is credited to a trio of screenwriters. Usually too many cooks spoil the broth, but this broth has just the right brio.

It’s been a long time since I saw characters not even pretending they were trying not to swear. Profanity came up over and over again, even at a fake ATM. Look and listen, as for research, personal study, or review. (Check the Flickr video set.)

  • Screen reads   followed by links to two buttons, CORRECT and INCORRECT

    NARRATOR: The machine notes “Your transaction cannot be processed.” More messages appear: “Insufficient funds. You’re an asshole.” Then screen prompts ask: Correct or incorrect? Now the ATM reads “You’re broke, your best friend is fucking your girlfriend, you know it, and you’re too big a pussy to do anything about it.” Wesley selects Correct and leaves. Later, in the pharmacy.

  • Angelina Jolie looks to the side and grimaces, her lips pressed together

    NARRATOR: They hide behind another shelf ad. Now, as the woman uses her cornerscope, Wesley makes a run for it. The woman mouths the word “fuck” and goes after him. Wesley sees Cross, who walks toward him, gun lowered.

  • NARRATOR: Everyone steps out of his way except Barry, who nods and walks straight for him.

    BARRY: Yeah. That was great, bro. Who’s the man?

    NARRATOR: Wesley slams the keyboard across his face, sending several keys and a tooth flying. The airborne keys spell FUCK YOU.

Miles Neff was, as usual, the voice (a mainstay of the Descriptive Video Service), but there wasn’t a writing credit on the descriptions. That must have been a fun day at the office.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2008.12.26 17:24. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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