From Jim Emerson and Chuck Tryon comes word of the latest viral wonder, a little bit of movie satire that’s funny (and slightly depressing too) because it’s true!
It’s not video essay film criticism, exactly-- it’s video essay movie trailer criticism. Here before you is the most generic possible mishmash of every movie trailer cliché, and by extension the deadened ambition and tidal wave of conservative creative choices, that has plagued Hollywood (and indie) movies since around the time the sun began to set on the ‘70s. That’s about the time when movie marketing geniuses became the gurus who began speaking directly to their potential audience in the kinds of great, simple blocks of text (and subtext) this short parody skewers so perfectly, and when the studios and a certain stripe of filmmaker (you know, usually the ones who heavily courted and eventually won Oscar’s favor in the ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s) could be relied upon to “give the audience what it wants.” The “trailer” is dialogue-free, replacing the words that might come out of the characters’ mouths with perfectly crystallized phrases that represent with skin-crawling accuracy every trick in the modern movie trailer’s bag to simultaneously attract the viewer and to satiate the supposed desire to see the film without actually having to see it. (All the better for risk-averse ticket purchasing, you see, because it’s documented in some marketing guru’s manual—it must be somewhere, right?—that audiences don’t care to go into a movie not knowing exactly what they’re going to get.)
See Jim’s comments column for lots of smart reaction this clip, and of course feel free to leave your impressions below. Personally, as funny as this piece is, I don’t think I ever want to see another trailer again.