Posted by: viewfromacouch | May 27, 2010

Troubling trailer trends and a podcast plug.

My time in Vancouver is nearly at an end (I leave for Kelowna early Tuesday morning and start my new job on Wednesday), so these next few days might be it for me on the blog for the next little while. At this point I’m not sure I’ll have computer access for the first few weeks — not until I can afford to buy a laptop, anyway.

To my faithful followers, that means but one thing: my Top 20 countdown of the past decade’s best films will have to go on hiatus. Tragic, I know. Luckily I already have one entry finished and ready to go, and hope to have another done by Monday, so the Bottom 10 will be finished before I head off. If I have to take a break, that’s pretty much the perfect place to do it.

But anyway, that’s not why I started writing this entry. That’s just a little heads up for the few of you who read this on a regular basis. I mainly wanted to touch on a few annoying trends I noticed during the previews before MacGruber, while showing some love to a great podcast I’ve recently discovered.

First, the preview peeves.

I should start by saying that I absolutely loved Avatar. I can recognize the fact that it’s a dressed-up version of Pocahontas / Dances With Wolves. I just don’t care. As someone who just gave a positive score to MacGruber, it should be obvious that a strong story is not always something I require. The 3D in Avatar was incredibly immersive and as a sensory experience the movie is unmatched.

But now every piece of crap is in 3D. I haven’t seen How To Train Your Dragon yet, but I hear it’s surprisingly well done. Everything else though? Garbage. Avatar was specifically designed for 3D, but so much of what’s coming out now is being up-scaled to 3D after the fact. …poorly. Clash of the Titans was the first of these, and while I didn’t see that either, the worst is yet to come.

The worst offender was the preview for Resident Evil: Afterlife. As if the fact that they’ve made ANOTHER awful Resident Evil movie wasn’t bad enough, they’ve spruced it up with “THE WORLD’S MOST ADVANCED 3-D CAMERA SYSTEM!” At least they actually shot the movie with Cameron’s tech, but they’re using it to peddle the same old pablum. Avatar created a whole new world and used 3D to put you inside it. Afterlife created something totally mundane, and is throwing weapons…RIGHT IN YOUR FACE! Knives, swords, axes, shurikens, all getting thrown at the camera. I nearly died when the guy threw his sunglasses at the camera.

At least Piranha 3D looks like it’s taking the piss out of all the clichés that Resident Evil is playing straight. That’s 3D that I can get behind, especially with Christopher Lloyd as a mad scientist (who will undoubtedly be shredded to pieces by piranhas). It looks totally ridiculous, but it’s in on the joke. Eli Roth would never show up as an actor in something like this if it took itself seriously, and hey, Adam Scott too. But more on him later.

The second troubling trend, and this was a problem for every single trailer that played before MacGruber, is the horribly obnoxious “BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK!” text-scrawl that pops up after the title card. It was often more noticeable/distracting than the actual release date for the movie. That Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl movie? I don’t even remember what it’s called because BECOME A FAN ON FACEBOOK was the most important piece of information they wanted me to take away from the trailer.

This is irritating for two reasons. First of all, why would I want to declare myself a fan of something I haven’t even seen yet? Secondly, no Hollywood, I will not advertise your product to everyone on my news-feed. Because that’s basically what it boils down to: they are asking you to promote their movie for them, in exchange for “exclusive content”. I refuse. It’s not like they’re trying to show off how cool they are by being social-media-friendly. It’s too late in the game for that — Facebook has jumped the shark. My mom is on Facebook. Safeway asks me to friend them on my grocery receipts. I guess it’s a trend that goes beyond just movie trailers, but if it would please stop, I’d appreciate it.

On a completely unrelated note: why the hell does the new Shrek movie have TWO titles? I’ve been swamped with advertising for both Shrek Forever After AND Shrek The Final Chapter. Was it really so difficult to pick just one? For a while there I was scared that there were two new Shrek movies coming out within a few months of each other.

But that’s a whole different story. Time for something that makes me happy.

I recently discovered a podcast that is very funny and very much up my alley. Doug Loves Movies is a weekly show hosted by comedian Doug Benson, where he and a panel of guest comics/psuedo-celebrities have casual conversations about movies they’ve seen recently. Every episode is capped by playing The Leonard Maltin Game, where guests compete to Name That Movie based on clues Doug pulls from the Leonard Maltin app on his phone.

Now, reading that over, it sounds kind of boring. I assure you, it isn’t. Recent guests have included Jon Hamm, Patton Oswalt, Adam Scott, Paul F. Tompkins and Rob Huebel. They’re all quite funny — these people could be talking about anything and it would be entertaining. That they’re discussing movies is just a bonus. It’s a 45min program and it’s quickly becoming one of my favourite things.

I feel funny promoting this, as if I have the readership to actually give something exposure. But I hadn’t heard of this thing until a few days ago, and in case there are others like me out there, I want to pay it forward.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back tomorrow with a little piece on the Stanley Cup Final, so as not to inundate the blog with too many movie posts. Though if too many movies posts is a problem for you, you’ve stumbled on to the wrong blog, and probably didn’t make it this far down the page. If you did, good on you! Thanks for reading. Tell your friends.



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