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  1. Member
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    #1

    sob sisters wants to get caught

    In a porn theater, Frank meets Colin, a mole in police department:

    Frank: Not indulging in self-abuse, are you?
    Colin: Sit down.
    Frank: I hope you're not turning into one of them sob sisters wants to get caught.

    What does "sob sisters wants to get caught" mean?
    Frank is implying that Colin might be suffering from a guilty conscience, and is mocking him for it?

    Source: "The Departed" (a 2006 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan)
    Last edited by Mike Hussey; 28-May-2020 at 17:36.

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    #2

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    Sob sisters: women whose complaining irritates the person categorizing them as such. The sentence means I hope you're not turning into one of those chronic complainers and that you want to get caught. Your interpretation might be right. I haven't seen the film and I can't tell without more context.
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  3. Skrej's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    I don't think the use is restricted solely to women. The term supposedly originated with four female reporters who covered a trial in the early 20th century. They were accused by men of writing too emotionally.

    Webster defines it as any journalist who specializes in writing sentimental or emotional stories, or as a term for anyone who's a sentimentally impractical do-gooder.

    The second definition seems to fit the context a little better, but either one (as well as Goes's) still supports your basic interpretation of the situation.
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  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    Colin is a crooked cop. It's hinted through the movie that Colin is secretly gay and uneasy about his sexuality. In this scene, Frank is making a crude joke about Colin's manliness, saying that Colin is "abusing" himself in a porn theater in order to get caught and humiliated.

    Whether or not Frank thinks Colin is gay, the joke annoys Colin.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  5. probus's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    It's worth noting that The Departed is set in 1954, and "sob sisters" is outmoded slang, unlkely to be heard today.

  6. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    It's worth noting that The Departed is set in 1954
    No, it isn't. You've got the wrong film. It's actually set around 2006, at the time it was made (not including the few early scenes of Colin as a child in what must be the early 80s).

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    #7

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    It's hinted through the movie that Colin is secretly gay and uneasy about his sexuality.
    I'm surprised you picked up on that. Did you get that yourself or did someone suggest it to you? I've seen this film at least half a dozen times and I never got that. The idea is interesting, and does make some sense but I think the signs are very subtle, if they are indeed there.

    Anyway, I'm happy to read these questions about what I think is a truly brilliant film. I last watched it only about two weeks ago, so the dialogue is still pretty fresh in my mind. I think Mike Hussey's interpretation is more or less right. Frank is doing little more than playflully teasing Colin here. I don't think there's much more to read into it.

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    #8

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    No, it isn't. You've got the wrong film. It's actually set around 2006, at the time it was made (not including the few early scenes of Colin as a child in what must be the early 80s).
    I have not seen the film so you may be right, but I stand by what I said about "sob sisters". It's outdated slang. Here is a snippet from a review on Rotten Tomatoes:

    ",,,Costello buys some items for the boy and asks him if he likes comic books. Young Colin says yes so Costello adds a comic book to the boy's bag. Sadly, the comic he hands him is one that wouldn't be published until the late 80s. This anachronism and lack of attention to detail got things off on a bad note with me, but as the story picked up ...".

    Apparently the writers and Scorsese didn't bother with precision about the era of the setting. And perhaps we are both right and both wrong in a way.
    Last edited by probus; 29-May-2020 at 16:02. Reason: Typo

  9. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    Quote Originally Posted by probus View Post
    ",,,Costello buys some items for the boy and asks him if he likes comic books. Young Colin says yes so Costello adds a comic book to the boy's bag. Sadly, the comic he hands him is one that wouldn't be published until the late 80s. This anachronism and lack of attention to detail got things off on a bad note with me, but as the story picked up ...".
    That's a ridiculous complaint to make. Frank gives Colin an issue of Wolverine, which is very representative of the time period in question.

    (But, okay, I take your point about sob sisters.)

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    #10

    Re: sob sisters wants to get caught

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    That's a ridiculous complaint to make. Frank gives Colin an issue of Wolverine, which is very representative of the time period in question.
    Any incorrect detail that draws an attentive viewer out of the story weakens it. Careful directors go to great lengths to avoid that kind of anachronism -- but inevitably fail somewhere. Foreign (and sometimes American) historical films and TV shows set before 1959 frequently use the wrong US flag. The props department supplies a modern flag; nobody on the set is aware that there's one star per state and the two newest states were admitted in 1959, so the WWII flag (for example) had 48 stars. The anachronism jumps out at me because the 6 x 8 arrangement of the 48-star flag is so regular.

    Other anachronisms can be so detailed that only a tiny segment of the audience would notice them. An important scene in the film Inside Llewyn Davis ends with the camera zooming in on the ignition key slot of an early-1960s Chevrolet. The viewer is supposed to think "Oh no! Davis is screwed. The other guy took the keys when he left the car and abandoned him." But this viewer didn't; being very familiar with that vintage of Chevies, I saw the missing key and the position of the knurled knob on the ignition (which was front and center in the closeup) and thought "Oh, cool! He's going to rotate the ignition switch to "Start" and drive home." The switch was clearly labeled "Lock-Off-On-Start". It was in the vertical "Off" position, which allowed the driver to remove the key without locking the ignition. Davis would have been fine without the key as long as he didn't turn the knob to the "lock" position.

    Woody Allen directed a film about a guitar player that was full of careless errors of this sort. The musician's hand movements on the guitar don't match the soundtrack; scenes at a railroad switching yard feature a diesel locomotive from twenty years in the future; and so on.

    Novelists are subject to the same kind of error. My high-school physics teacher pointed out a fundamental flaw in the novel Lord of the Flies which we were reading in English class: the character Piggy is repeatedly described as "myopic", yet his glasses are the kids' lifeline; they use them to concentrate the sun's rays and start fires. I'll leave finding the error as an exercise to the reader. (A forgiving reader can easily resolve this kind of mistake by blaming it on an inattentive narrator.)
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