Before my punishment yesterday (watching Vampires Suck for a review, link as soon as it’s up), I was treated to the requisite batch of trailers that precedes any movie. However, I was struck by how… I dunno, across the board the trailer selection was. Usually, there’s a correlation, however minor, between the film and the trailers. Kid’s movie gets kid’s trailers, action movie gets action trailers, etc. I can only imagine the person in charge of selecting the trailers before this movie simply threw up his or her hands, said “Fuck it,” and pulled out the dartboard. The only common thread I can imagine is that teens are watching Vampires Suck as well, but even that doesn’t work completely. I’m going to take you through the trailers I saw, also assigning a Teen Relevance Index (TRI) between 1 and 10; 1 meaning least relevant, 10 meaning Justin Bieber. Let’s get this party crunk!
My Soul To Take
Look, I’m not a horror guy. Never have been. A lot of horror plots are ridiculous excuses to get a bunch of teenagers (or the late-20s actors who play them) onto some deserted island to kill them all. Yay. This plot seems especially insane, though: a serial killer dies, and then he hunts down the seven kids who were born on that day? Why? “Argh! I hate February 12, especially because I died then! RAWRG.”
But, it is a Wes Craven joint, so maybe it’s better than the usual? Also, it’s in 3D, so it’s like the killer is severing YOUR head! Wonderful.
TRI: 8. Teenagers, parties, bonfires, murder, zombie killer (I think?), loud music, dreamy lead actor. The teens may actually turn off the iPhones for this one. Watch for a small spike in sales for whichever PG movie is released the same weekend.
Paranormal Activity 2
I haven’t seen Paranormal Activity, so I can’t attest to how scary it is or isn’t. It looked like a bunch of doctored surveillance footage with mysterious figures skulking around or jumping at the camera or whatnot. It cost a nickel, and made gozillions. Just like Blair Witch. And like Blair Witch, this sequel is a fantastic idea.
I think the one (ONE) saving grace of Blair Witch 2: Witch Addiction is that it was a completely different style of film; an objective narrative instead of a faux-documentary. I don’t know how successful Paranormal 2 will be. And if they keep going to that same well, the series won’t last long at all. “Hey, look! It’s surveillance footage of an FAO Schwartz! A HAUNTED FAO Schwarz! WOOooooOOoo!”
TRI: 6. Horror is always good for capturing the youths, but I don’t know how many youngsters have the patience for static nightcam shots of dogs sleeping, then not sleeping. Expect a big opening weekend, then cries of, “OMG that movie was BOOOOORNG!!! LOL! Lets c my soul 2 take AGAIN!!!”
Given that no one saw Grindhouse, least of all teens, I don’t think the awareness of the Machete character is all that high. And marketing is all about brand awareness. However, knives and guns and violence rarely misfire with teens, so we may be on to something yet.
As it goes with Robert Rodriguez, each successive film (that’s not a kids movie) is a weirder and weirder fever-dream reboot of El Mariachi. El, for all its lunacy, was a somewhat grounded revenge fantasy / narco action picture. Desperado got crazier with the set pieces. Once Upon a Time in Mexico barely held itself together. I can only imagine by the end of Machete, Danny Trejo is able to magically fly. How am I so sure? I’ve also seen the red-band trailer. That part where Machete swings out of one window into the one below? He’s hanging off a guy’s intestines. Case closed.
TRI: 5. On one hand, violence. On the other, Jeff Fahey? He hasn’t been in Tiger Beat since NEVER.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Ah, the inspirational, quirky semi-indie. For every Juno, there are about 10… um, not-Junos. Movies where offbeat stuff happens to offbeat people in offbeat situations while offbeat music plays. In the end, they learn lessons in offbeat ways.
Keir Gilchrist of “United States of Tara” gets the lead role of a kid who commits himself in a hospital where, because of renovations, the youth wing has been folded into the adult wing. Is that even legal? What if someone gets raped? Emma Roberts plays the “Suicidal Pixie Dream Girl,” and I guess that works. Someone’s gotta be the hot girl, even in a mental ward.
Concerning, though, is Zach Galifianakis, who takes on the “troubled father figure” role. I don’t know if America’s ready for semi-serious Zach yet. I don’t think he wants Jim Carrey’s career right now. I don’t think Jim Carrey wants Jim Carrey’s career right now. At least Zach’s not married to some burned-out nudie model who thinks vaccines are made of ground-up autistic kids. Tread lightly, is what I’m saying, Zach.
TRI: 5. This may be the kind of sweet, left-of-center movie some teen girls will crush hard over. However, a lot of people may be wondering why Alan from The Hangover isn’t doing goofy shit.
Help! Someone mixed up the titles! This is the title for some bullshit chick-movie starring succubus Kate Hudson, but the trailer has Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis! Police!
Anyhoo, this is from the same director as The Hangover, and it looks it. I’m not feeling the same Hangover magic from this trailer; then again, I didn’t feel that magic with the actual Hangover trailer. I didn’t bother seeing it until this past New Years. I’m still not convinced it’s the answer to comedy, but it’s grown on me with repeated cable viewings.
I’m fairly sure this will be a hard-R comedy, so the better material may not be available until the red-band trailer. But, I’m not seeing much comedy gold, and ending it on “Check yourself before you wreck yourself” isn’t a home run. We’ll see.
TRI: 4. It’s Tony Stark and Coherent Alan on a roadtrip. That should be teen-friendly, but it’s not firing on that cylinder, as far as I can tell.
The hot(ter) chick from Superbad stars as a girl who allows people to think she’s banging all these dorks to make them seem cooler. Also, there’s a Scarlet Letter parallel shoehorned in. “Hester Prynne iz TOTES SLUTTY! OMGLOL!!!1!”
First of all, Emma Stone is not ugly. Is she the prettiest girl ever? No. But Hollywood really needs to stop with the attractive girls cast in the “no one notices me” roles. Trust me, makers of Easy A, Emma Stone would have NO trouble getting noticed. And Amanda Bynes seems to be the more popular girl than her? THAT ain’t fuckin’ happening.
Though, credit is due for taking the weird religious angle with it. And Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson are there to class up the joint. Otherwise, it’s teen flick business as usual.
TRI: 7. “Teen flick business as usual.” It’s set in high school, and there are parties. It only trails My Soul to Take because of a lack of murders.
Look, there are many Tony Scott fans out there, especially of his collaborations with Denzel. But this looks insane (and not the cool insane, the ridiculous insane). There’s an unmanned train, speeding out of control, coincidentally with eighty bajillion tons of nuclear AIDS hitched to the back, and it’s barreling toward a field trip train full of children. If this were SyFy, it’d be called MegaShark vs Exploding Train.
And who’ll stop it? Denzel Washington and Chris Pine? OK.
So: gruff elder statesman training hotshot young cadet? Check. Unbelievably dangerous situation (as in, I cannot believe this situation)? Check. Kids in danger? Check. Gruff guy has family back home he may not see again? Check. Hotshot has troubled marriage? Check. Rosario Dawson monitoring the situation from far away? Check. Company man proclaiming he’s not putting his company on the line for non-company business? Check. Weirdly unnecessary catch-profanity?
Let’s run this bitch down!
TRI: 3. I originally wasn’t giving it that much, but when Chris Pine entered frame, the two tween girls sitting behind me swooned. So, I guess there’s that.
And that’s what I got to deal with before sitting through Vampires Suck. I know you’re jealous. I just feel blessed.
‘Til next time, then!