Tuesday, June 3, 2008

When 'Coming Attractions' Aren't So Attractive

Originally posted September 23, 2007. Reprinted with permission.

I am starting to have a problem with movie trailers. And that's too bad because I and many of my friends think that the previews are sometimes the best part of going to the movies. (I'm looking at you, Ace.) And even the pre-show show with trivia and puzzles can be an entertaining diversion while waiting for your movie to start.

Sadly, you cannot find much of that good stuff anymore. Whether it's First Look or the 20, they tend to blow and feel so much like commercials, trying to sell us a crappy product instead of enticing us to look at something new. Let me describe every stupid pre-show I've seen in the past year and a half. Ahem. "TNT showed you how they do drama. NBC took you inside their new procedural show that will be on TNT this summer. Universal gave you an all access behind the scenes pass to their summer franchise movie starring one talented actor, two talent less teenagers and a supporting cast comprised of NBC's acclaimed drama series. And you got to experience the first single of the soundtrack for Universal's summer blockbuster from a one hit pop artist soon to have nude photos on TMZ. Didn't catch all of it? No problem, we're going to run this shit wall to wall for four months in front of every movie you see regardless of the target demographic! Catch it!"

Gratefully, you can time it out to miss the shit and still get a decent seat for your movie and do like my friends and I (the Fresh Enuf 4 a Woman Crew) and just make sarcastic comments, catcalls, inappropriate bodily noises and ruin it for everyone else. This includes running and screaming from a theatre like someone just shouted 'fire.' But, I'm talking about the real trailers that give me a problem. And the one I'm really pissed off at right now is We Own The Night. Now, I'm not upset that this seems like the same movie James Grey did with Joaquin and Marky Mark before called The Yards. (That one had Sonny, not Tom.) And I'm not mad that they hit you with some Blondie and coke at the beginning, just to let you know that we're in the Eighties. I've slightly disappointed that they try to make it look like a companion film for The Departed, but more so that they hook up Eva Mendes with another white guy. (Still trying to figure out how I feel about her and Denzel [And furthermore, of all the Mexicans in Once Upon A Time In Mexico, she hooks up with Johnny Depp?!]) No, what really pisses me off is that they give away the whole movie.

Wahlberg is the good brother, Phoenix is into drugs (deja vu), they try to work together, bring down the bad guys, bad guys try to kill Eva, do kill Bobby Duvall and everyone learns the meaning of teamwork in the end. Haven't even seen the movie and now I don't need to. Why couldn't the trailer make it seem like they might MOT work together, but battle it out like Cain and Abel so I can be surprised when it comes? For eleven fucking dollars, I need a big surprise or some serious boobage. And with Eva, hell, I'll take some ass crack, I'm not picky! Do I need to see the exact same trailer in front of EVERY movie I go to? Anyone thinking that studios are NOT in bed with distributors need only look at the same shitty previews they see for bad movies, with big stars and terrible grosses.

Hell, they even to do to movies they HOPE are going to do well. Did you see the trailer for The Kingdom? I did, a fucking year ago, and like me, everyone got real excited for it, so they pushed it back to be closer to Oscar season. Cool, but why oh why did the new trailers have to tell me that Michael Bluth gets kidnapped? The number one reason I wanted to see the flick (Piven being a close second) and now, he's not going to be in it for half the flick? Don't tell me he's going to be the Jack Sparrow of this shit, man, let me get into the movie, watch it, get emotionally involved, then you can rip my heart out when they rip him out of a truck! Goddamit, why do I have to get so angry about all of this?

You know what a good trailer is? American Gangster. Do they tell you the twist? No and neither will I! The trailer says hey, here's one of the best actors of our time playing a cold killer, another bad ass playing a bad ass cop and directed by a guy who made a little movie you may have heard of called Blade Runner. Oh, you're only 19 and don't watch anything made before 1995? How about Gladiator? That's a fucking trailer for a movie that looks bad ass, sets you up for it and promises to be at least slightly better than Virtuosity. One simple trailer and then run it every so often to keep it in your head, not to bash it in there. Oh yea and by the way, "They tried to kill, MY WIFE!"

Speaking of one trailer, my other bitch today is about the movies that I'm not entirely sure what they're about because I see two different trailers for it. They took this unfortunate tactic with a great film called American Dreamz, in which the original trailer laid out the plot of a terrorist trying to sneak onto a reality show to blow up the President, hilarity ensues. But, the trailers closer to the movies release date hid that storyline and showed you a movie with Hugh Grant insulting people in a dry, polite British manner and hey, Mandy Moore used to sing, remember? Either way, I still saw it.

American Dreamz relegated to DVD.

But how about a movie that's not so clever, like, oh, I don't know, Good Luck Chuck. The first trailer I saw had Dane Cook discovering that women slept with him, then met the man of their dreams, hence the nickname, Good Luck Chuck. An interesting concept, especially when he meets Jessica Alba (She who demonstrates the difference between being attractive and being sexy.) and cannot sleep with her, for fear of losing her. Now, the trailers show a Jessica Alba movie, featuring Dane Cook in which she is clumsy, cute and gosh, how is he ever going to be with her without prat-falling all over the set? Well, Good luck, Chuck. I got a better name for this new movie; I call it Get Fucked, Chuck. I was wondering when these two would get together to make a crazy rom-com, where she accidentally gets stripped to her panties (not really Jessica and not really her panties.) and Dane is so awkward in a sexual situation with her. Movies like this make me want to slit my wrists, down the alley, not across the street, none of the cry for help bullshit.

Please help me people. Let the trailers do their job. You see a cool trailer, go see the movie. You see a just alright trailer, just say 'Alright' and move onto the next movie.

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