“What did he say? Huh? Okay, well, pass the popcorn and put on the sub-titles.” This is not only a common experience people have with today’s entertainment; it also reflects something deeper about our culture.
It’s not often that reading a Washington Post article makes me exclaim “Thank you. Thank you!” But that’s precisely the reaction I had when imbibing a Friday piece by movie critic Ann Hornaday. Titled, in part, “How auteurs diss their audiences,” it criticizes a modern film phenomenon long a pet peeve of mine: background — or, should I say, foreground and all-around — music so ear-splittingly loud one cannot hear the dialogue.
I know you’ve noticed this. Most everyone has. My late father, a WWII veteran with hearing somewhat damaged by reports in training and battle, complained years ago already that actors in movies would “whisper.” I’ve been with other people who’d have to crank the volume of a movie up high so they could decipher the dialogue, and the commenters’ verdict under Hornaday’s article is unanimous. “I used to think I was going deaf,” related one reader. Numerous others said they’d wait till they could watch a film at home so they could turn on subtitles. For my part, I’m no fan of modern movies; there’s a good chance the work isn’t my cup of tea if the actors weren’t dead when I became alive. But I have watched enough of them to know that, despite my fairly acute hearing, I can only decipher parts of the dialogue and must fill in the blanks.
Read the rest here.