Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Dead Wrong

In The Call, an intense thriller that came out in March, Halle Berry is Jordan, a 911 operator battling job-related demons. * SPOILER ALERT * A teenager calls the emergency hotline when a man breaks into her home. The girl, hiding under her bed after making it look like she’s escaped via an open window, is thisclose to avoiding danger when the call is disconnected. Jordan, in a moment of panic, redials. The intruder, about to exit the house, hears the ringing, makes his way back upstairs and, well, six months later Jordan is still riddled with guilt.

At some point during that six-month interval, Jordan affixed the young girl’s obituary to her locker. The obituary flickered in the flick, but not briefly enough to avoid catching flak. Leah Templeton is the subject of what just may be the worst obituary ever written. It should have been killed in post-production, because this death notice, you’ll notice, is dead wrong on so many levels.

Forget 911; we don’t need medical assistance. We need editorial assistance. I’m here to provide the 411 on this obit’s many causes of death — and I’m overlooking the incomplete addresses, poorly formatted dates, absent hyphens, unnecessary capitalization and missing commas galore.

Bad things come in threes, or so we’re told. With that in mind, I call attention to a trio of The Call mishaps that spell disaster for this obituary:

1. Why was Leah born in Los angeles? L.a.? Nay. We need a big A in a big way. Our first mistake is a little wrong, with a little a.

2. Why are the services on the 27th of Febuary? Some (many) don’t pronounce the r in our second month, but it’s there in written form. Include it always, or you’ll rue the day — in this case, Febuary 27. Our second mistake is a Feb-ew-error.

3. Why would friends and family send donatioins? See that free contribution dropped off near the back? It’s akin to a broken, soiled or banned item given to Goodwill. Take it back. Another pair of eyes would have helped avoid our third mistake: a pair of i’s.

A smooth operator would have come in handy on the crew of The Call. Alas, the error-filled obituary is permanently captured on film. To borrow a key line from the movie, it’s already done. But don’t do it again. When it comes to committing obituary errors, cease and desist. The deceased insist.

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