Sunday, May 23, 2010

Edited for television

I was watching Die Hard: With a Vengeance the other day on TV and it came to the part where the protagonist John McClane (played by Bruce Willis) is forced to stand on a Harlem street corner with a sign that reads, “I hate the pluralized form of the n-word.” Okay, the sign doesn’t actually say that. It actually reads, “I hate all human beings with skin colors that range from light caramel to dark chocolate.” Actually, that’s not right either. What it literally says is, “I hate . . .” oh, I give up. I’m not going to write what it actually says because it’s offensive and I don’t want my blog coming up in Google when people search for that phrase.

Okay now for the confusing part. The sign on the TV version of the movie actually says something completely different than the one in the theatrical release. The sign he's holding on TV says, “I hate everybody.” This change was presumably made so as to be less offensive to the wider television audience. The problem is that I actually think it makes the scene more offensive.

Let me explain. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the scene I’m talking about starts out with McClane on the corner wearing the sign. Soon afterward he is noticed by a group of African-American men who threaten him and ultimately assault him by breaking a bottle over his head. When watching the theatrical release it makes sense that this group of people would attack him. In the TV version, however, the group of guys comes off looking like a bunch of crazy assholes. What exactly prompts their aggressive treatment of McClane in this scenario? I can only imagine what's going on in their heads: “Look at this misanthropin’ mothereffer! He has a sign that says he hates everybody! You guys hear that? He hates everybody. That includes you, me, my dry cleaner, EVERYBODY! Let’s kill him.”

Interesting side note: According to The Internet Movie Database, the actual sign that Bruce Willis wore while filming in Harlem said "I hate everybody." The sign was changed with CGI in post-production for the theatrical release.


Ryan Danger Sims said...

The image I used in this post came from Flickr. I assume it was taken while they weren't filming because in the movie Bruce Willis isn’t wearing a shirt.

Michelle said...

What you are saying makes sense... the attack in the movie does not now that I think in these terms... HA! and Bravo!

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