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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

June 6, 2011 at 2:23 PM

It’s all in the details

You know how sometimes you’re watching a movie, and something utterly false that you see on screen takes you right out of the moment? I just had one of those moments, at a screening of the fairly forgettable teen drama “The Art of Getting By.” Blair Underwood, a perfectly fine actor doing a perfectly fine job, is playing the principal of a private school in a scene that takes place in the principal’s office. The principal’s name, as we can clearly see from a nameplate on his desk, is “William Martinson.” (We also know this because the kid in the principal’s office calls him “Bill,” which means this is one hell of a laid-back school.) Behind him on the wall hang a number of diplomas, all bearing the name of . . . “Kenneth something-or-other” (I didn’t write the name down). The “Kenneth” is clear as a bell, and utterly distracting, leading me to wonder why this Bill Martinson has stolen Kenneth’s diplomas and hung them on the wall (in which case, are his own academic credentials suspect?), or whether Bill has changed his name due to some elaborate personal problem that we don’t hear about in the movie, or whether, more likely, this scene was filmed in the real office of a real-life principal named Kenneth something-or-other, and it didn’t occur to a single person on the crew to do anything about all of those diplomas. Anyway, a tiny moment, but it certainly took me away from whatever fine work Blair Underwood just might have been doing in that moment. Seen any other such glitches lately?

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