My 19 year-old son, a Syracuse sophomore, doesn’t converse in Valley-speak, but my younger son, who’s much smarter than me, does somewhat. In a dry, white-ebonics sort of way. He’s an exception. Most Val-speakers do it mall-style. The fact is that tens of millions of under-30s talk in this profoundly irritating dialect — unashamedly, kind of flamboyantly — as if they’re all from the same genetically-afflicted sub-species.
Valley-speak is about conveying sincerity and a lack of pretense, and vocalized with the exact same tonalities no matter what part of the country the speaker lives in. It involves the usual Jeff Spiccoli vocabulary along with a trait that drives me insane, which is an absolute insistence on speaking every word group, phrase and sentence as if it’s a question. (Judge: “Uhm, okay…dude? Dude? This court, like, finds you guilty? And, like, sentences you to a minimum term of, well, pretty much ten years?”)
I’m not doing an old-crank routine by complaining about this. Nobody but nobody uses Valley-speak in the business world, and certainly not among jourmalists. The second I hear it, I assume that the speaker is under-educated, a slacker pothead or mentally challenged in some way. (Sales girls at Urban Outfitters use it.) A Valley-speaker is essentially conveying to the listener, in short, that he/she is, like, totally not in the game? And that you should, like, not even think about hiring them when they come looking for a job because the chances are they’re ditzoids?
What I’m wondering is, when a Valley-speaker decides to try out a more adult dialect, how do they go about this? Do they just turn off the attitude and mindset like a faucet, or do they take a language class or find a private Henry Higgins-like tutor or what?
Because I disliked his tweedly-deedly performance as the Lord of the Rings “Gollum,” and because he seemed so closely allied with the grand designs of Peter Jackson, I had a kind of negative-reflex thing going with Andy Serkis. That changed when I saw his quietly menacing portrayal of British psychopath and child-killer Ian Brady in the ’06 HBO drama Longford. I was totally on the team from then on.
In any event, I read in an Indie London interview piece this morning that Serkis is about to start on work Tintin, an animated feature about the Belgian comic-strip character “and his faithful dog Snowy.” (Good God.) Bagging paychecks as co-directors are Steven Spielberg and Jackson. (Spielberg is “directing the first one, Jackson the second…the bulk of the shoot starts in September but things got a little bit moved around after the writers√É¬¢√¢‚Äö¬¨√¢‚Äû¬¢ strike.”)
Spielberg, I decided after reading this, has become a kind of delaying sadist regarding the Abraham Lincoln film with Liam Neeson. Chicago 7 this, Tintin that…and we never hear diddly about the Lincoln project. It’s a classic avoidance syndrome thing (a kid avoiding a homework assignment, a guy who keeps putting off doing his taxes). If a benevolent God took any kind of interest in human affairs, Spielberg would (a) officially abandon the Lincoln film and (b) arrange for another esteemed director to step in so it can finally move forward.
Spielberg would just screw it up anyway. He wouldn’t do a Schindler’s List to the story of the nation’s 16th president from 1861 to ’65 — he’d probably Amistad it. I’ll never forget the way John Williams‘ musical score almost overwhelmed the voice of Anthony Hopkins during his big courtroom oratory scene. I remember watching this in a screening room some 11 years ago and saying to myself, “Yep…Spielberg is at the controls, all right.”
I’m presuming HE readers understand that the ’08 Oscar Balloon has its own page now with a feedback/comments option. Should I double up by pasting it at the bottom of the page, where it’s been for three and a hlaf years, or will people adapt to the new click-through deal?
HE’s weekend projection for Horton Hears a Who, the animated Dr. Seuss film from 20th Century Fox, is $45,878,000. Roland Emmerich‘s 10,000 B.C. (Warner Bros) will be off 57% from last weekend’s debut for a Sunday-night tally of $15,720,000. Never Back Down (Summit) will wind up with $9,386,000. The repulsively low-grade College Road Trip (Disney) will rake in $8,946,000 for a fourth-place finish. Vantage Point will come in fifth with a $5,592,000 weekend total.
The weekend’s best hold will come from Roger Donaldson‘s The Bank Job, off a mere 21% for a weekend total of $4,679,000 and a $9.600,000 cume. (People obviously like it, arre telling their friends, etc.) Michael Haneke‘s Funny Games (Warner Independent) has opened disastrously with a projected weekend haul of $516,000 at $1700 a print. One might surmise that all those split-decision reviews — a thoughtful first-rate exercise that also ranks as one of the most agonizing films to sit through in human history — had something to do with this, but people don’t read reviews so maybe not.