Stuff That Only Pisses Off a Typographer

Nitpicking time.

I’m really looking forward to the new Clive Owen/Paul Giamatti film Shoot ’Em Up. Yes, I know the movie requires a ludicrous suspension of disbelief, but it really hearkens back to the heady days of nonsensical ’80s R-rated action films. Rambo, Commando, and the like. The kind of films where you could really turn your brain off and enjoy the cartoonish action. A genre that 1988’s Die Hard — much as I love it — kind of ushered out the door.

The trailer kicks some serious ass. Makes it perfectly clear what you’re in for — either that’s your thing or it’s not.

But the logo drives me absolutely nuts. Just evidence that we are living in an increasingly computer-reliant society, without any capacity for independent judgment.

Look closely. The logo reads: Shoot ‘Em Up.

Notice anything odd?

The apostrophe — there to indicate the omission of the “th” from the word “them” — is backwards. Put simply, they’ve used an opening single quotation mark instead of an apostrophe.

Why? Because word processors automatically assume that a single quote preceding text must be an opening quotation mark. The typed apostrophe (there being just a single key on a standard keyboard for it) is automatically converted. Despite the fact that it’s the wrong character. And whoever laid out that type is too lazy — or too ignorant — to fix it.

A competent typographer would change it immediately. Hell, I manually change all of my quotation marks (single and double) and apostrophes to the correct characters even here, where I have to manually type in the character codes.

And no, the hypocrisy of my criticizing a minor typographical error in the context of a film of this genre is not lost on me. But I’m still irritated.

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Gosh, Does That Suck!

Okay, so we just got the upgrade to Final Cut Studio 2, and I’m going through the included tutorial DVD. From the look of things, they’re using some kind of Suzuki ad campaign as demo material. Beautiful people, motorcycles riding across salt flats... certainly interesting, and visually compelling. So I look on the disc, and they mention that you can see the full ad campaign at suzukifilms.com.

Hmm... looks like a series of webisodes. Ah, I get it — they must be trying to emulate the success of the BMW Films series, only with one continuing storyline instead of a bunch of individual shorts. Hardly an original idea, but since when is the entertainment business (let alone the advertising business) constrained by originality? But still, let’s see what you’ve been able to do...

Oh. My. God.

Rarely have I seen such an utter lack of... well, anything approaching “entertainment.” This is so obviously the work of some executive whose sole criterion for production was “make the vehicles look good.” And I’ll give ’em that much. Beyond that minimum threshold, every penny was apparently spent on hiring models who can’t act their way out of a paper bag.

Spend a few bucks on a writer? Pshaw! Who needs a script? Just use that briefcase thing from Pulp Fiction. Throw in a twist, make the hot-chick motorcycle gang turn out to be cops. And then everyone chase the cars around. Done! How about hiring a competent director? Waste of funds — we’ve got models! All the director’s got to do is tell them to walk across the screen in slow-motion. How hard can that be? A moment to consider credibility (even by Hollywood standards)? Give me a break — nobody’ll care if it makes sense. I already told you — we’ve got models! So where do I set up the casting couch...?

Comparing this crap to BMW films is like... well, comparing actual crap to a BMW.

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