Movie Trailers – Then and Now

Every once in a while, there won’t really be a movie that piques my interest enough to shell out my dollars (sorry, Kate Beckinsale/WhiteOut and Sandra Bullock/lame stalker romcom).  So when this situation occurs, I’ll muse about the industry or try to come up with some entertaining angle.

*Speaking of which, if you haven’t answered my movie survey question on Facebook, please do so.  If you had ONE movie to recommend to someone, what would it be.  Top of your head.  GO!  (no judging to your face).

So what’s on my mind?  MOVIE TRAILERS.

The Setup:
Since there have been movies, there has been someone promoting them.  From the days when actors would actually try to get people in theatre line-ups into their show to the multi-billion dollar ad campaigns they bombard us with now, movies need your attention.  The most frequent tool is the movie trailer, which in my opinion has gotten too revealing.

Remember when trailers enticed you to go to the theatre?  Didn’t reveal too much so you still had something to look forward to?  I recently saw a trailer for a new Jennifer Aniston movie, “Love Happens.”  I certainly don’t need to see the movie now.

IT GAVE AWAY EVERYTHING!  There’s actually a narrative to the trailer.  A beginning, middle and an end…tada!   Where’s the mystery? Trailers that cover too many bases are counterproductive to getting asses in the seats for two reasons.

1)   the economy sucks for everyone, everywhere right now so disposable income isn’t easy to come by.  Jennifer Aniston in a romantic comedy is pretty standard so what’s going to make us go to a movie?!  Well not knowing the storyline helps.

2)   We have A.D.D.  We can’t watch an hour of television without checking a website or sending a text.  If you are going to provide us star-studded 2.5 minute movies…Thanks!  Saved us time going to it so we can watch Dancing with the Stars…and check our messages…and re…hey, a squirrel!

What were trailers like in the 80s?  40s?  Here’s a few examples:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – 1986

Arsenic and Old Lace – 1944

I thought it might have something to do with length but it seems the standard time for a movie trailer is 2/2.5 minutes.  There are “teasers” which generally run less than a minute but these are for big movies which are just to generate word of mouth.  I wish these were the trailers but they don’t usually reveal enough (i.e.  building the Starship Enterprise with a generic Spock voiceover) and you can still expect a full trailer even after the teaser a few months later.

So pretty please, faceless movie industry marketing moguls, I’ll even go to your crap Jennifer Aniston movie if you don’t lay out the story like I’m a 3 year old.  I don’t want protagonists, antagonists, a plot and resolution all before I’ve seen your shiny new movie.  I just want a little mystery in my life.

Randomly Recommended
I’m basing my picks on movies that are not only great, but have great trailers:

Dark City – no false advertising here.  Dark, dark, dark.  Just the way I like my cities.  This is Jennifer Connelly before she was JENNIFER CONNELLY and before Kiefer Sutherland had Jack Bauer in his life.  It’s twisted,retro, sci-fi creepy which should really be it’s own genre.

Out of Sight – a movie I recommend any chance I get.  Sorry, I’m a sucker for George Clooney and yes, I know he plays basically a variation of the same guy in most of his movies.  Here he’s an unlucky bank robber spicing up some chemistry with Jennifer Lopez (pre-crazy diva baby factory).  Sexy as hell.  And with more big stars in it than I can list, see it.  It’s good for boys and girls.

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  1. You know Russel, I usually read my friends blogs because it seems like the nice thing to do. BUT I have to say that I truly enjoyed yours (shhh don’t tell my friends that)… I see a reacurring spot in a newspaper in your not so distant future.

  2. Kind words Triple L. I rediscovered my love of writing and…tada! a movie reveiw blog.
    I won’t tell a soul that you like my blog better than your friends blogs.

  3. Sheldon Johnson says:

    Bang on Russell…bang on. I have this feeling that we were watching the same trailer at the same time…and you were telepathically rooting around to steal my thoughts on it.

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