+0
I had thought of post this message in the board of Book and film reviews, but I thought it over and realized that this board is more appropriate, as what I am asking about is several idioms appearing in film reviews.

One of my cousins asks me to translate some film reviews on The Shawshank Redemption for her. I go down the materials and find that some idioms are really beyond me. Would anyone please explain the underlined part of the following four sentences to me?

1 The Shawshank Redemption defines a genre, defies the odds, compels the emotions, and brings an era of artistically influential films back to Hollywood.

2 Andy proves to Red and the other inmates that in the conventional walls of Shawshank prison convention will find no home in his lifestyle.

3 Though full of hardened criminals, your heart will go out to these men as they display the most basic of human emotions, and deliver some of the most quotable lines in a film to date.

4 This comment may contain spoilers.

Maybe it is difficult to guess the meaning of them without the situation of context. Does "defy the odds" here mean to succeed in spite of all kinds of possibilities? I guess I know the meaning of "find no home" here, but I don't know how to explain it accurately. Does sentence three mean that the audience will pity and share the feeling of those criminals? If there is a spoiler in a comment, there is something not good about the thing, isn't it?
1 2
Comments  
Hi Jingtian,

1 The Shawshank Redemption defines a genre, defies the odds, compels the emotions, and brings an era of artistically influential films back to Hollywood.

2 Andy proves to Red and the other inmates that in the conventional walls of Shawshank prison convention will find no home in his lifestyle.

3 Though full of hardened criminals, your heart will go out to these men as they display the most basic of human emotions, and deliver some of the most quotable lines in a film to date.


4 This comment may contain spoilers.

Maybe it is difficult to guess the meaning of them without the situation of context. Does "defy the odds" here mean to succeed in spite of all kinds of possibilities? To suuceed in spite of all kinds of difficulties.ie the odds are 100 to 1 that you will fail.

I guess I know the meaning of "find no home" here, but I don't know how to explain it accurately. Andy will not accept the conventions, will not allow prison to change his nature and character. Andy will not conform. On the contrary, in the end Andy actually 'changes the prison', doesn't he?

Does sentence three mean that the audience will pity and share the feeling of those criminals? Yes

If there is a spoiler in a comment, there is something not good about the thing, isn't it? A comment may start off with some praise, but near the end it includes some negative aspect that 'spoils' the initiallly positive part of the sentence. That's the idea.

I think everyone likes this movie, don't you? I certainly do.

Best wishes, Clive
1. Yes, I think it means that people would not expect a movie like this to be successful, but it is.

2. Convention will not be an important part of his lifestyle.

3. Your interpretation is exactly right.

4. "Spoilers" in the context of a film review means that the comment will "spoil" the ending for someone that has not already seen the movie -- the comment will reveal a key part of the plot and therefore eliminate the suspense the movie tries to create. It is a warning that if you haven't seen the movie yet, and you don't want to know how it ends, you should not read further. This is a fairly new idiom.

I hope this helps. It seems that you have an excellent understanding already.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Good morning Clive - I see we were writing at the same time! I disagree with your explanation of "spoilers," though. If you read film reviews on line, you will often see the line "May Contain Spoilers" followed by lots of blank space on the screen so that the reader who does not want the ending "spoiled" can stop reading without accidentally seeing more information that he wants to. If you want to read the spoilers, you have to scroll down past the blank space.
Hi Khoff,

I see from Google that your meaning is very common., and certainly correct in the context of a review. Thanks.

I think perhaps this term has a number of meanings in other contexts. For example, another is this, from a comment on a bygone Presidential election:

In response to the assertion that he is a spoiler, Nader places the blame squarely on the shoulders of Democrats.

The idea, of course, was that Nader was a distraction who syphoned off Democratic votes.

Best wishes, Clive
Hi, Clive and khoff, thank you for your replies.

It seems that you don't see eye to eye with each other with regard to "spoilers". I guess khoff's interpretation is to the point. I have looked up this word in several dictionaries and get similar meanings when it is used in a book or movie review. But not being a native speaker, I haven't come across with such usage of the word, so I posted here to make sure. Anyway, I will try to reach the author and ask about his opinion. It might take several days as I have to first register an ID in that website and then either send a private message to him or post a message there. I will come back with the author's original explanation.

Thanks again and good luck.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Hi,

No, I tried to say that I'm sure Khoff is right. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough. She's right.

Best wishes again, Clive
Thanks again, Clive. Then I don't have to reach the author, I guess.

But after I go through all parts of the reviews I have several more questions. I will post them here later after I check them out to see whether I can handle them myself.
5 The cinematography by Roger Deakins is excellent. The editing superb: there's not a single dead spot in the whole movie.

If there is a dead spot in a movie, there is a certain view that is illogical. Is that right?

6 There is Brooks (James Whitmore) who gets out after fifty years but is so institutionalized that he can't cope with life on the outside and hangs himself. Playing off of this is Red's periodic appearance before the parole board where his parole is summarily REJECTED. Watch how this plays out at the end.

Does "playing off" here mean the same as "in contrast (to)"?

7 Frank Darabont did an amazing job adapting from Stephen King's short story, and he deserves as much praise for it as possible. Nobody, not even my favourite writers such as the Coen brothers of Quentin Tarantino (partly for the fact that the first only writes comedies and the latter only fares in blood spatter) could have achieved this amazing script, which completely uplifts and spellbinds the viewer.

Is there a typo here? I guess it might be the Coen brothers and Quentin Tarantino. I am not sure, for I haven't seen many movies.

Well, these are the questions I met when I was translating the rest part of the film reviews. Your kind help is appreciated.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more