The “After Midnight” Rant Edition
Caffeinated Clint on…. “Trailers”
I was thinking the other day – yep, in between scratching and snortin, I sometimes do that – about this: Remember when there was no such thing as a good trailer – they were all basically crap? Yeah, you do? And remember how most of the movies that were being advertised ended up being terrific? (Obviously those under 25 probably have no idea what I’m talking about… but the rest surely will).
Funny how things change, huh?
It was as if the studios decided to save the money they could spend on a trailer, and just put it back into the movie itself. Cool huh? Pity they didn’t stick to that rule.
I don’t think studios really started to put into effort into cutting snazzy trailers until the late 80s – at least – because all I can remember preview-wise, at the theatre, were a bunch of blotchy scene-staples, prior to the main feature, passing themselves off as such.
One that comes to mind is “Staying Alive” – I can’t tell you how many times I saw the trailer for that…. And couldn’t have been any less awed. And then there was the trailer for “Dirty Dancing”, which played for months before its release; it looked like rubbish – yet the movie was great. And if you’ve re-visited the trailers for such blockbusters as “Superman” or “Star Wars” – you can find them on their respective DVDs – you’ll agree that those previews look like birdshit too. They do nothing for the movie.
Granted, these were the times before the ‘movie trailer man’ – back then, any old schmuck use to voice them; if they even had a narrator – so that could’ve played a big part in the crappy trailers of yesteryear, too… but more so, I just think the film industry has changed big time since I shelled out $6 bucks to see Dudley Moore in “Santa Claus: The Movie” all those years ago. It’s now all about ‘quantity’ – as in, getting as many people to see a film as people – not ‘quality’ – who cares what the finished film is like? They’ll come see it based on the trailer! – which is damn sad. (They now even have test screenings for “trailers”).
But you know what? I’d much rather trailers to be CRAP and movies to be GOOD. Because if all studios are concerned about these days is cutting a great trailer… and in turn, paying less attention to the finished film…. We’re all fucked. Give us back the scratchy scene-staple trailer. I don’t care. I am sick of seeing fantastic trailers – recent examples include the remake of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, “Shooter” and “300” – only to discover the movies aren’t even half as good. It’s just getting worse.
Here’s a few examples :
Check out these CRAPPY trailers for some OLD movies- fabulous old movies!
Check out these AWESOME trailers for rather so-so movies!
So why are studios putting more efforts into their trailers than they are the movies themselves?
“People watch them for fun now,” says Valerie Van Galder, Sony’s vice president of marketing, “and that’s made them a huge priority for us.”
MSNBC points out that studios carefully monitor downloads of their trailers, and they interpret the data like it’s a less-reliable form of audience tracking polls. As a result, the cost of a dud trailer has never been higher, whereas a memorable one can almost single-handedly launch a movie.
The great gang over at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1810 efilmcritic.com recently did a feature called “Diary of a Mad Trailer Editor” where they talked to one of the chaps behind the editing panels – make sure you check it out, it answers many questions.
It’s just sickening. Surely there can be a balance somewhere – the trailer AND the movie for “The Departed” was good, for instance – and the quality doesn’t always have to subside with the teaser?
Lets open the floor for discussion.
Caffeinated Clint on…. “His favourite comedies”
A couple of weeks ago – due to popular demand (fuck I use to hate it when cinema ads use to say that “due to popular demand, film xxxx is showing for one more week!”) – I revealed ten of my favourite dramas. This week, I’m going top let slip ten of my favourite comedies… John Hughes owes me ten.
Ten of Clint’s Favourite Comedies:
The Breakfast Club
What? : Classic friggin’ John Hughes movie about a group of kids – all strangers – who meet in a Saturday detention.
Why? : It’s some of the best writing of the 80s – Hughes KNEW his audience. Probably still does… but can’t be bothered writing.
When? : I don’t think I actually saw it at the cinema. Think it was on video.
Favourite bit? : The bit where Estevez gets high and starts dancing like a twit always cracked me up.
Favourite performance in it? : They’re all damn good, but particularly impressive was Judd Nelson – the guy whose career was furthered the least from the film.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
What? : Another John Hughes movie, this one about two businessman – one fat, one skinny, one annoying, one not – who get saddled together on a cross-country journey on Christmas eve.
Why? : It has everything. It could’ve worked as just an out-and-out crazy comedy… but then, it also has some really touching stuff in it near the end. Just a divine bloody movie.
When? : At the cinema I believe… and I’ve got a feeling I saw it as part of a double feature (with either “Jaws IV” or “Back to the Beach”).
Favourite bit? : The end. Warm and Fuzzy City.
Favourite performance in it? : John Candy’s. This has got to be one of his best performances… and most memorable characters.
Back to the Future
What? : A film that I probably could have saddled into the ‘Sci-Fi’ category… but this is good enough. Michael J.Fox played a time-travelling teenager who heads back to 1955 to sort out his [now] squabbling parents.
Why? : This was just grand. The performances; the writing; the effects; the characters; the story…. It’s a near flawless film.
When? : Saw it in an ‘Advance Screening’ at the Cinema – with “Weird Science”.
Favourite bit? : There’s just too many…
Favourite performance in it? : Michael J.Fox. This was his coolest and most memorable role. Who didn’t love Marty McFly?!
What? : A surprisingly fun and vivacious baseball comedy from the late 80s. Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen and Tom Berenger played washed-up sportsmen who get a shot at a comeback.
Why? : Not only is it funny, and has a reasonably good script (for a film of this type), but it’s got one of the most rousing sequences – the “Wild Thing” moment – to ever grace a comedy.
When? : At the Cinema – in a double with “Skin Deep”.
Favourite bit? : The “Wild Thing” moment (I still recall the cinema audience cheering, clapping… going nuts for it!)
Favourite performance in it? : Charlie Sheen was good in it… but a then-unknown Wesley Snipes probably got most of the laughs.
What? : Mike Judge’s satire on Office Life.
Why? : The script is littered with gold gags – there’s not a lead balloon anywhere in sight. I’m laughing about it even as I write…
When? : At an empty cinema in Melbourne.
Favourite bit? : Anything involving the next-door neighbour.
Favourite performance in it? : I frickin’ love everyone in this… but Gary Cole probably gives the most amusing turn in it, as the wanky boss.
What? : Martin Brest’s highly-amusing constantly-engaging action/comedy with Robert De Niro and Martin Brando. It’s the kind of 80s gem you can just watch over and over again… and I have.
Why? : Its that perfect blend of terrific performances; sensational writing and an action to comedy ratio that really worked. It’s sad to see what’s become (“Gigli” anyone?) of the once great Martin Brest.
When? : At the Cinema – may have even see it a couple of times.
Favourite bit? : Seriously? There’s no way I can pick a fave – its all great.
Favourite performance in it? : Charles Grodin is fantastic in it; it’s easily his best performance to date – but you can’t go past Bobby De Niro.
What? : Book Cum Film starring Tim Robbins as a self-centred studio head who accidentally kills a stalkerish writer. Featured about 100 cameo appearances, and name-dropped more than Pauly Shore at the Comedy Store green room.
Why? : I love Movies. I love the Business. Most of all, I love good writing. This combined all three.
When? : I believe it was on video – think I took it home one night from the store I was working at at the time.
Favourite bit? : I really enjoy the ‘movie within a movie’ sequence near the end – with Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts & Susan Sarandon appearing as themselves.
Favourite performance in it? : Robbins is the star of the show, no doubt about it.
What? : A Slick action comedy starring Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez as San Francisco Cops staking out the ex-girlfriend of an escaped convict. One of them, naturally, gets a little too close to the girl.
Why? : What was that I was saying about “Midnight Run”? A perfect blend of action and comedy? Yep, same here – and also, good performances.
When? : At the cinema. First week of release I believe. Loved it. Can’t say that for the sequel.
Favourite bit? : “Get out of the House… Get out of the House!”.
Favourite performance in it? : Dreyfuss is great in this. He always is, but this was Dick in his element.
Can’t Buy Me Love
What? : A late 80s Touchstone comedy with Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey as a bespectacled dork who hires the most popular girl in school to be his girlfriend.
Why? : Just one of those easy-to-watch bundles-of-fun teen comedies that they did so well back then. Dempsey was also pretty good as Ronald ‘The Donald’ Miller.
When? : At the cinema, but only after someone (was it my mother?) recommended it to me.
Favourite bit? : The big ‘standing up to the bullies’ scene with Miller… rousing stuff.
Favourite performance in it? : Dempsey. You believed he was this dork. Still do.
The Secret of My Success
What? : A Michael J.Fox vehicle, released in the late 80s, that was much more ‘racier’ territory for the TV heartthrob. In it, he plays a determined young country-boy who creates an alter-ego so he can score a job. Not as complicated as it sounds. Pretty by-the-numbers actually… but fun by-the-numbers.
Why? : Michael J.Fox. He’s a legend.
When? : Cinema. Probably the first weekend.
Favourite bit? : Nothing comes to mind… though I do like the opener (if even just for that cheesy theme tune).
Favourite performance in it? : Fox. He hit this one out of the park. The guy may be limited in his range, but when he’s put in stuff he can do… he does it well.
There’s a bunch of other comedies I like too – like “Grosse Pointe Blank”; “Gremlins” (who doesn’t?); “Ghostbusters” (again, who doesn’t?); “Dazed and Confused” (definitely one of my favourites); “Empire Records” (another film I can just watch again and again); “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (its right up there on my Top Twenty List!); “Risky Business” (my VHS is so worn… from incessant viewing); “Beverly Hills Cop” (Again, good Martin Brest); “Swingers” (I know I’m not alone there); “Romancing the Stone” (maybe this is even considered a romance? Maybe even an adventure movie? Still, I love it).
Caffeinated Clint on…. Life Changes
It sounds wanky but I realised this week just how much I’ve squeezed into the last decade of my life. The revelation came to me when I bumped into a former work colleague – from my days in marketing – who asked me what I’d been up to since leaving the world of the suit, tie and photocopiers. A lot, I discovered – I run a company; I work as a journalist (have done so since 1998 – first gig was with NW magazine); work in acqusitions and film; and well, moonlight as a web master. Believe me, the Clint today is a much different guy from the Clint of yesterday. Yes he’s still as stressed out as ever; Yes he’s still doing a million things at once, and Yes he’s still a ‘Beer’ man… but I can’t tell you how much things have changed for me since I left the high-flying world (well, better paid world) of working for a film studio marketing department. He noticed it too, saying I “look better” and seem more “chilled”. He could be right. He, by the way, stills work in the film industry – in PR – and says it’s “never-ending”.
What’s funny though is that the journey I’ve taken – I fear – is starting to come full circle.
Here’s a brief run-down…
After a relatively successful career in commercial radio – worked in the country, came to the city – I worked my way into advertising, and from there, marketing. I lived and breathed the pitch… the sale… the campaign. Clemenger was god. I read ‘Advertising’ books at night. I yelled at people… a lot. I complained to people… a lot. I hardly ever had time to watch movies – except for the films I was either promoting or handling. I didn’t exactly jump from company to company but I did have a few different gigs over the time… worked in the marketing dept of a Toy company; a DVD distributor; a Music company… even a Paint-store chain. Bottom line, I was a career man – and never considered doing anything but working in THAT industry.
Thinking back, I don’t know why I ended up in the marketing field. Or do I? Maybe I do. I guess I was good at it. I scored high at university (mainly with marketing-related subjects) and seemed to enjoy the atmosphere of it all. Most of all, I think it was the job-security that comes with the industry – yes, you can be burnt out by the time you’re 30 (I kid you not; that’s “retirement” age in the Marketing/Advertising industry; think about it – how many “older” publicists do you know?)
So why did I decide to leave that world and trade-in the slacks for some jeans? Me time. I didn’t have any. So, I decided to do just that… take some Me time. I knew a lot of editors (magazines, newspapers) through my work, and they knew I could write, so I started scoring some writing work…. And so on and so on. It worked. I left the field of Advertising… and became a writer. The End.
(Granted, I still kept my head in there – and still do, doing aqusition work and so on – but the change was for the better. Suddenly, I stopped yelling at people… I discovered ‘Sundays’.)
How things “come around” though. The “Me Time” has started to dissapear again.
I feel I’ve started to ‘return’ to that life a little. It’s inevitable, I know- a zebra can’t lose his stripes. I’ve worked 7 days a week for the past couple of years – and a [or series of] job that never seems to end. Even now, I’ve just done a day of pretty much non-stop work; done a radio shift; and at the end of the day – exhausted as hell – had to drive to a couple of meetings. Its now midnight, Friday night, and I’m working through a pile of “things to do” that are on my desk – naturally, I decided I could fit “Cafeinated Clint” in before I went to bed. Me time? I remember going to the beach a year or so back with the wife.
So what was I saying? Fuck… what’s with the whole tangent? Um… I guess what I’m saying is… as much as some things change, as much as some things stay the same. I left the world of ‘Marketing’ some eight years back for a lower-stress job… and look where I’ve gotten… back on the same path.
But there’s one thing I decided this month – streaming from the concerned advice from others and some health hiccups – that folks, if you play hard, you’re gonna get hurt. I do have a pretty full-on job at the moment, which leaves me little time for anything else (Moviehole is a hobby – so I do get that I suppose), but I’m determined to TRY and slow it up.
With my child on the way in July, I’m going to HAVE to take a step-back. I’m going to pull on the brakes. I’m going to start to take Sundays off again. I’m going to not spend every night tapping away on the laptop or talking on the cell phone. At 31, I’ve realised family comes first…
My wife said to me something that I can’t seem to get out of my mind. Concerned that I’m working too much (Granted, I’m working so much because I want to be able to support my family), and running on fumes, she sternly informed me that she “wants our child to have a father – what good are you dead?!!”.
I’m sure a lot of blokes – and women – can relate to the situation. But the wife is right. Does it make any difference in the long run? Won’t the pile of work just start over again tomorrow? Why not slow up and smell the daisies?
In other words, yeah mate, things have changed since I left “that world”, but I’m still the same guy – same drive; same desires; same stress-level; same habit of going ballistic to someone on the other end of the phone if they’re shitting me – but thankfully I’ve now got someone to tell me “when I’ve had enough”. I hope you do too, Bud?
Anyway, back to work. (Ha!)
The Movie Going-Experience
This next new feature is a bit where I recall some of my ‘cinema going experiences’ – i.e. it may be a date-gone-wrong to “Weird Science” (actually happened); it may be falling asleep in “Super Mario Bros” (actually happened); or maybe the time two people decided to have sex in the back row behind me (actually happened, in a screening for Van Damme ‘classic’ “Double Impact” at the old Hoyts Mid City).
The Movie-Going Experience : “Supernova”
What : A science-fiction shambles that went through about five different directors.
When : On a weekday afternoon (on a rare break from work)
Details : Then-girlfriend, now wife, and I took in what was one of our first films together. Will I ever live it down? Nope. “He took me to some fucked up Lou Diamond Phillips space movie”.
Movie any good? : Is President Bush?
Night any good? : It was day. Don’t remember the night.
Forgotten actors I like
Who : Anthony Edwards
What did you like him/her in? : Take your pick – “Top Gun”, “Revenge of the Nerds”, “Miracle Mile”…
What’s so good about him/her? : He’s a versatile son-of-a-bitch and had a real ‘normal’ quality about him that everyone could relate to.
Where the heck are they now? : After spending the last decade or so in TV-ville (on “E.R”) he’s had a couple of smallish roles in biggish pics… like the recent “Zodiac”.
Show me them in action : OK… here’s a trailer from one of his lesser-grand efforts…
1. Zodiac – I’ll try and get my full review up next week, but lets just say I really enjoyed this pic. I’d heard mixed things… but I found it to be as good as it could possibly be. David Fincher has crafted a gorgeous looking film that has quite a killer script and one heck of a cast. I’m sure it has it’s flaws… but their minimal.
2. Lovewrecked – How many times have you heard a woman jokingly use the phrase “I don’t have to be smart, I’m beautiful!”?
Amanda Bynes lives by the motto. She’s as cute as a porcelain doll, and one of the kindest and most down-to-earth actresses on earth (she’s actually one of my favourite interviews) but when it comes to choose her film roles – either her, or her manager, is missing the smarts such decisions call for.
Case in point: “Lovewrecked”, inarguably one of the worst teen comedies in history. It’s so bad…. It looked like the studio might never release it at one point.
3. Disturbia – Although it is merely a stitch-pattern of sequences from other films (everything from “Home Alone” to “Rear Window”, “The Bedroom Window” and, even, “Stakeout”) the script has been so funked up – in that it speaks its audience, seemingly knowing exactly what they’d be after – that the contemporised retool is instantly likeable. It’s also genuinely thrilling at times – and considering there’s two or three teen thrillers released each month that don’t encompass one legitimate scare, that’s saying something. The cleverness that Christopher Landon and Carl Ellsworth’s script embodies is refreshing – they’ve written a fun movie, one that delivers on most of its promises. It’s definitely one of the best teenage thrillers to come along in quite some time.
(A scientist who seems to be able to sum up the world – or a movie – in just a few words, whilst the rest of us feel a page review isn’t even sufficient).
“More like Becoming Bored!” – Mrs Morris on the new Anne Hathaway snorefest, “Becoming Jane”
Contact Clint at his MySpace