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Off-Kilter

April 15, 1998|ROY RIVENBURG | Times Staff Writer

Lost in Translation: When American movies play in Hong Kong, the titles don't always translate well, so Asian distributors rename them. Not surprisingly, the results are sometimes amusing. For example, "Boogie Nights" was changed to "His Powerful Device Makes Him Famous" and "Fargo" became "Mysterious Murder in Snowy Cream" (because the phrase "snowy cream" is pronounced fah-go in Cantonese), according to the Wall Street Journal. Other recent releases:

* "The Full Monty" was converted into a Chinese colloquialism that means "Six Stripped Warriors" in Cantonese or "Six Naked Pigs" in Mandarin.

* "The Professional" was recast as "This Hit Man Is Not as Cold as He Thought."

* "The English Patient" could have been faithfully translated to "The Sick Englishman," but marketers believed that title would flop, so they came up with "Don't Ask Me Who I Am."

* "As Good as It Gets" is now "Mr. Cat Poop."

Special News Bulletin: We interrupt this column to bring you an important update on San Francisco artist Nicolino's plan to construct a 40,000-bra "tapestry" to present to President Clinton. In addition to holding radio bra-a-thons seeking donated brassieres, Nicolino is now asking members of the public to submit possible theme songs for the project, which is intended to publicize an alleged link between tight bras and breast cancer.

Please do not send your undergarments and musical compositions to Off-Kilter! We get enough stuff like that already. Instead, mail them to Nicolino's temporary local address: 4298 Vineland Ave., Studio City, CA 91602.

Also, for what it's worth, our vote for bra art theme song goes to the Beatles' lyric "Obladi, oblada, life goes on bra," because the verse makes about as much sense as the bra project itself.

We now return to our regularly scheduled column.

Weird Golf Trivia: According to Men's Health magazine, in 1912 a golfer played 18 holes while wearing a full suit of armor. He lost.

Scary Predictions Department: The merger of Citicorp Bank and Travelers insurance has comedy writer Bob Mills wondering whether the new penalty for a bounced check will be half an hour in a locked room with a life insurance salesman.

Dead Letter Office: Our recent item about a tongue-twister contest in Nebraska brought a surprising number of lurid tongue trippers from readers, including this one from a Catholic priest: "I'm not a fig plucker, but a fig plucker's son, and the son of a fig plucker doesn't pluck figs." We can't print the others we received, even though they're seemingly innocent if read correctly. However, we do think several would make great movie titles in Hong Kong.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Story: Here are two names we never expected to see in the same headline: Leonardo DiCaprio and Mother Teresa. But, according to the National Enquirer, "St. Leo" is so fed up with the trappings of fame that he secretly plans to quit show biz for a year and go to India to follow in Mother Teresa's footsteps, helping her Missionaries of Charity order work with the poor.

* Roy Rivenburg can be reached by e-mail at roy.rivenburg@latimes.com.

Contributor: Wireless Flash

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