Saturday, April 25, 2009

This Week in Movies

One of the first huge differences I noticed between LA and OK is the amount of movie advertisements. Of course, advertising in general is much bigger in LA than cities like OKC, Dallas, or New Orleans, but the percentage of advertisements used to promote movies is incredible. I'm going to go ahead and make up some figures here. I'd say that in any of those cities, the amount of all advertising alloted for movies is between 7-20%. In LA, I'd say it's closer to 60-80%.

"So what?" you might ask. Well, considering that I drive from Westwood to Hollywood and back six times a week, plus 1-3 runs a day within Hollywood and West Hollywood, I'd say I see this poster at least 15 times every day.

And that's not okay with me. You can get sick of some good posters (Gran Torino), and some you don't mind seeing over and over (The Dark Knight), but a poster like this, or 17 Again, or You Don't Mess with the Zohan (featuring Adam Sandler's photoshop-enhanced bulge) can be sickening.

This poster's design isn't completely bad. It's simplistic, and I find the blue background to be quite soothing. But it does have its problems. 

First of all, Matthew McConaughey is on it. Secondly, this particular shot of the prince of Austin makes him look like a demon. One point for honest portrayal, negative one point for scaring me. I don't know whose decision it was to go with the head-on angle, but it's quite terrifying, if not Jokeresque. Third, what at first seems to be a necktie is actually a giant red scarf. Why? I would bet it has something to do with the length of a necktie and that the poster is likely a photoshop of each star's individual shot, with the scarf inserted digitally. Anyway, it pisses me off. (If you're skeptical, take a look at the many versions of the Get Smart poster or the obvious Four Christmases. If they can do it with hair, a tie, hair the other way, or a ribbon, they can do it with a scarf.) 

The last thing I hate about this poster is that it's for a movie that is probably a huge piece of garbage. Can we be done with the ghost genre already? You would have thought it died with Ghost Dad, but not that long ago we had Ghost Town, with some respectable and semirespectable actors. And now this. While we're at it, let's toss out the body-switching genre. But of course, it won't happen. (17 Again at #1? I know there's not much on right now, but wouldn't you rather just not see a movie?)

If you don't believe me about the demon thing, here's a close-up. It also appears that they've used a different poster for the LA area, which apparently happens a lot. In this case, I actually like the LA version better. The "past girlfriends coming out of oddly posed photos" version is distracts from the focal point (the demon). 

I would also like to suggest changing the tagline,  "You can't always run from your past," to the more accurate, "Does it really matter?"

Monday, April 6, 2009

All Kids Out of the Pool: A Short Retrospective on Adult Swim in its Golden Years, Pt. 1

I know this is going to be hard to believe, but Adult Swim was actually showing quality programming before Family Guy went into syndication. I know, crazy, huh?

It started out (for me anyway) with Space Ghost Coast to Coast. I caught this weird show one late night in middle school and, though I had no idea what I was watching, could not turn away. Confusion led hilarity, and I was hooked. Check out my favorite episode, featuring Bjork, Thom Yorke, and this great exchange between Space Ghost and his new wife:

"You know what? It doesn't matter, because I love you so much...that, it's time for you to go to sleep."

I remember as a freshman in high school trying to convince my older sister that Space Ghost's song in this episode, "Knifin' Around," was hilarious, but to no avail.

It wasn't long until a primitive Adult Swim premiered. One night a week, 13-minute episodes. Space Ghost was joined by a bevy of great new shows: Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law (with a character voiced by Stephen Colbert), The Brak Show, and the less funny but immensely more popular Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Sealab was particularly amazing. The first video I ever downloaded (when YouTube didn't exist and Napster was still king), was an episode of Sealab where a French diver helps the crew find Captain Murphy's Happy Cake Oven: "It's not a toy. It makes real cupcakes, with a 40 watt bulb, and there's icing packets....but the secret ingredient, is love....damn it."

Check out this amazing clip.