Get Smart

I took my sons tonight to see the new movie Get Smart. I remember watching the original TV series created by Mel Brooks and Buck Henry when I was a boy. (I still think that anything created by Mel Brooks is funny and I will watch it.) I used to laugh so hard while watching Get Smart that my mother thought that I had a serious mental problem. Sometimes, I would laugh at something funny hours later. My mother would ask me why on earth I was laughing and I would attempt to tell her between laughs, but she still didn’t understand why I was laughing.

So when my sons and I saw the previews for Get Smart, I told them about the old TV series. They didn’t seem that interested. I showed them some old clips from TV series Get Smart on, but that didn’t capture their interest either. Then, when they least expected it, I would describe some of the funniest scenes that I remembered from Get Smart. They laughed at them. I told them that we had to see the movie the first day that it came out. Everytime we saw the preview, there were more scenes and they were very funny. I was hoping that those wouldn’t be the only funny scenes in the movie. I was really pitching the movie to my sons, otherwise they might not want to see it and I would have to see it when it came out on DVD. But we did see it tonight, the first day it was released.

Well, the movie was based on the original TV series, but was not totally dependent on it. Steve Carell replaces Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86. Anne Hathaway plays Agent 99, replacing Barbara Feldon. But I was happy that they brought back some of the objects and characters from the original. I don’t know why, but I always loved when Max insisted on using the Cone of Silence even though it never worked properly. I also loved seeing the shoe phone back in action. I loved when they brought back Hymie at the end of the movie. Okay, you Hymie lovers, I should have yelled SPOILER ALERT! Sorry!

Well, I loved the movie even though it was different than the original, but if it would have followed it too closely, I’m sure that I would have been disappointed. I guess they got Smart, though. I was especially pleased that my sons liked the movie!

Missed it by that much!

Napoleón Dinamita

Vote for Pedro!

I love the movie Napoleon Dynamite with Jon Heder so much that I’ve seen it at least twenty times. I saw it for the first time because my oldest son wanted me to rent it from Blockbuster. I thought I would end up seeing it all by myself as when I’ve rented other movies for him that he really, really wanted to see, like the Lords of Dogtown–and I ended up watching it alone, which I really loved by the way!

Anyway, I knew I had to own Napoleon Dynamite on DVD! When it first came out on DVD, it was only available at a clothing store called Hot Topic. Once I bought it, my twins started watching it repeatedly because they loved the movie, too. Well, I couldn’t walk by the TV without stopping to watch Napoleon and his misadventures. So, I watched it repeatedly along with my sons. Once we watched the movie all the way to the end and I told my sons not to start it over until I had read the credits; I don’t why, but I like to read the credits to see who the key grip is. (This goes back to the days of my youth when my friends Jim, Vito, and I would go to show and sit through all the credits so we could applaud for the key grip.) So, after the credits were completely over–yes, I read them all–there was another scene in which Kip marries LaFawnduh! My sons and I were pleasantly surprised!

Of course, this made me wonder what other surprises were in store for us on the rest of the DVD. Surprise, surprise! Not only does the DVD have subtitles in Spanish and French, but the movie is also dubbed in Spanish! I started watching it with Napoleon speaking Spanish, but my non-Spanish-speaking-Mexican sons wouldn’t watch it in Spanish!

Anyway, sometimes the topic of the movie Napoleon Dynamite comes up in Spanish class because the new student Pedro at Napoleon’s high school is Mexican. I often tell my students that they should watch the movie in Spanish someday. I was planning to watch it all the way through in Spanish one day. Since I’m always open to suggestions in Spanish class, last week, a student recommended that we Napoleon Dynamite in Spanish. I agreed if we didn’t use the subtitles. They resisted, but I insisted. Then, we reached a compromise: We would watch the movie dubbed in Spanish with Spanish subtitles. Since the students were fourth semester Spanish students and most had already seen the movie, I knew they would understand the action and plot development of the movie. I was amazed at how much the students laughed!

Napoleon Dynamite is much funnier in Spanish, especially when Napoleon says, “¡Idiota!” I was wondering how they would translate words like “liger,” which is half-lion, half-tiger. Well, Napoleon says that he’s drawing his favorite animal, “el legre,” which is “medio león, medio tigre.” However, lost in the translation is, “But my lips hurt really bad!”, which is translated as, “Pero mis labios están resecos” and Pedro’s “Maybe I’ll build her a cake or something.” The Spanish used is standard Spanish and doesn’t really capture the slangy colloquialisms of high school teenagers.

Also, the subtitles don’t always match the Spanish dubbing. In the beginning Napoleon says, “¡Rayos!”, but in the subtitles, we read, “¡Cielos!” Obviously, there were two translators at work. Overall, the Spanish captures the feel of the original movie. I would recommend for all Spanish teacher to watch this movie with their high school or college students in Spanish. It was definitely a very entertaining way to reinforce some of the Spanish lessons learned in class.