Let’s take a look at that new super bowl ad with Matthew Broderick:
Now at first glance, this appears to be a parody of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But it isn’t. A real parody takes something you recognize and puts a comedic twist on it. Okay yes, traditionally the purpose is to mock the original work which isn’t exactly happening here, and technically maybe this is more a pastiche or whatever. But my point is this is supposed to be funny. You’re supposed to laugh when you see present day Matthew Broderick doing a parody (or whatever) of his role in Ferris Bueller. Only there aren’t any jokes in this.
It’s not bad. It’s a reasonably competent commercial. But every potentially funny moment is just a carbon copy of a moment in Ferris Bueller. The sick day call, the parade, the stuff with the car, all straight up lifted–and this is the important part–WITHOUT any new twist. They could have shown Broderick failing at all his wacky antics, playing on the fact that he’s not a kid anymore but his fancy Honda makes him feel like one anyway. In that scenario, you’re taking something familiar and changing it a little to get your joke. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the original pitch. Instead we get exact scenes from the original movie, and you’re expected to laugh just because you remember it.
I like to call this the Family Guy Maneuver because that show does it all the time. Let’s check out an example in high quality taped-off-TV-o-vision…
So yeah it’s an exact recreation of the Power of Love part of Back to the Future…and nothing else. This is basically the same as the drunk guy in the bar trying to reenact the standup routine he saw last week. Listen, I love parodies. But before you laugh, please double check your parody contains jokes.
Happy Monday, folks.
Happy Friday from loyal reader, Todd:
I’m not much of a Star Wars fan, but I’ll join the cool kids and tell you that the prequels sucked. I used to blame George Lucas’s increase in creative control and decreased collaboration with more talented filmmakers. Until I learned the truth…
I probably should have posted this on Memorial Day, but if you’re feeling that mid-week slump and need a little inspiration, try this video on for size.
Damn you, Arnold! I was all excited about your return to film and then you go and retroactively have had an affair, complete with love child. Now the Daily Beast reports that you’re putting your career on hold and that that wonderfully goofy Governator cartoon has been scrapped. I waited for however-many long years you were in office to get another taste of your unique brand of goofy machismo and just when the prize is in sight you decide it’s time to focus on your multiple families.
Look, obviously the Schwarzeneggers are going through a tough time, and I hope they work it out and get through this. But in the meantime, wouldn’t it be healthy for Arnold to lose himself in his work a little? And by his work I mean movies where he’s a violent robot, alien hunter, or undercover spy.
Until then, we’ll have to look elsewhere for over-the-top performances and badly written dialog. Like, say…video games!
…is sadly not online yet. [UPDATE: Yes it is! See below.] But I saw it before Pirates this weekend and I can confirm that it’s got just the tone I was looking for. I’ll update this post with a link as soon as it becomes available (I’m hoping sometime today). Until then, here’s an awesome custom-made theater policy ad that Sesame Street did for Lowes Theatres. Judging by how quiet Ernie and the other Henson characters are, I’d say this was just after his death:
UPDATE: Here it is!
As a casual Star Trek fan, I started watching this SFW trailer for the porn parody out of mild interest. I did not expect to actually be sucked in by the PLOT of a porn. And if you ignore the goofy facial hair and budget Klingon makeup, the production values are actually crazy high! Like, higher than some of the early episodes of the show it’s mimicking. The team was clearly full of Trekkies who put a lot of (hot, steamy) love into their work.
And you’re telling me they get naked too? I AM SO THERE.
[via Wesley Crusher himself, Wil Wheaton]
No podcast today, folks, but check back next Wednesday for our extensive look at the Scream series, including Scream 4. Until then, let’s have a look at some Britishy trailers, starting with Dan Radcliffe in ghost story The Woman in Black.
Obviously it’s a teaser, so there’s not much to see. But I hear great things about the book so my hopes are high. Just like they are for the new season (or “series”) of Doctor Who.
Time to play my favorite cartoon-turned-live-action-movie game: Gag Ratio! It’s simple and you can play along at home. Step one, watch the new trailer for The Smurfs. Let’s do that now!
Did you do it? Great. Now mute the audio so you don’t have to listen to that godawful commercial. And by the way, Yahoo! and its advertisers: You think you’re so cool with your non-skippable advertising embedded into my site? Well, your product is terrible and nobody loves you. There, I’ve cleverly countered your marketing with counter-marketing. Game. Set. Ryan.
What were we doing? Oh right. Now that you’ve seen the trailer, you count up all the jokes and put them into three piles. Pile 1 is for slapstick jokes where people fall down or get hurt. Pile 2 is for dick and fart jokes, anything scatological or sexual. Pile 3 is any other joke. Aaaaaannnnd GO!
How’d you do? Here’s what I came up with:
NOT FUNNY: 4
Oh, did I forget to mention the pile for derivative, unfunny bullshit? Well, on my third viewing of the trailer, I decided there needed to be a fourth pile. Anyway, this summer don’t forget to Smurf the Smurfin’ Smurf! RADICAL!
Happy Monday, kids. Here’s another batch of stuff that fell through the cracks…
Badass Digest reports that Shane Black, writer of Lethal Weapon and writer/director of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang may direct Iron Man 3. Good news, I say. I’m usually a fan of Black’s stuff, and he’s got just the sense of humor (and reporre with Downey Jr.) for the job. Of course, this would be his first comic book flick. But as you can see below, he’s been studying up:
Speaking of comics, /Film reveals that the producers for that Godawful Spider-Man musical have hired a new writer to fix it. They wanted someone who really understood the character of Spider-Man. What makes him appealing both from a visceral, action-focused perspective, as well as an emotional character-focused perspective. With that in mind, they’ve hired ANY 15-YEAR-OLD IN AMERICA.
I’ll tell you who needs his story rewritten (segue!), Tommy the Green Power Ranger AKA Jason David Frank. And yes I knew that name from memory because I saw it every weekday morning for a good four years straight. Sadly, according to Geekologie, JDF’s in a bit of a jam after cracking some dude in the jaw so hard, his teeth came out. To be fair, this was during an officially sanctioned mixed-martial arts bout. To be EXTRA fair, this was NOT the guy he was supposed to be fighting, but some random employee of the gym. Apparently he forgot the Power Ranger’s rule of escalation: start out with harmless gymnastics, wait for the bad guy to power up BEFORE you morph.
Hey, know what else was green and a part of my childhood? Gremlins, which was a horror comedy directed by the great Joe Dante. And now it looks like Dante may be returning to the genre with a new Vampire/Werewolf comedy called Monster Love. Yeah it’s kind of a tired concept at this point, but if anyone can inject some new life into it, it’s him. /Film’s got the pres release.
It’s a great video, but of course it’s missing one of Logan and my favorites, featuring a very-pre-famous George Clooney: