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Broken promises

February 23, 2010

Sunday, I wrote that:

I even went out to the theatre for the first time in several months, and saw, in succession, the three worst trailers I’ve ever seen – a new Clash Of The Titans film, a new Miley Cyrus film, and a new Adam Sandler film. Apparently, this is going to be a lean spring for movies.

And then I went out and saw another movie, which was proceeded by one great trailer (Greenberg, written & directed by The Squid and the Whale’s Noah Baumbach), two intriguing ones (Polanski’s The Ghost Writer and Cyrus with John C. Reilly) and one for a Steve Carell film that was watchable. Maybe the spring won’t be so bad after all.

(There was also a trailer for a concert film, Kenny Chesney: Summer in 3D. When an artist I’ve never heard of gets his own 3D concert film, it’s a pretty good reminder that even though I’m inundated with massive amounts of pop culture day, there are still large amounts of it, even in America, that I am still ignorant of.)

So goes our strange relationship with movie trailers. There’s no guarantee that a good trailer will lead to a good movie, while a bad trailer… usually leads to more badness. The best trailer I’ve ever seen was for Michael Mann’s Ali with Will Smith. Unfortunately, the trailer turned out to be better than the movie. The cycle of being consistently disappointed but rarely/never pleasantly surprised gets wearisome.

And yet… it was pretty exciting when trailers first starting appearing on the internet a few years ago. I used to watch them all the time at Apple’s website, though since I don’t like watching them in theatres I’m not sure why I sought them out online. Just the novelty, I suppose… and the promise that, if trailers were appearing online, then it was only a matter of time before better things started to appear.

Sure enough, the novelty wore off; I haven’t watched any online trailers in a couple of years. The promise that online trailers once offered isn’t close to being fulfilled, but we’re slowly getting there; I’ve already expressed my enthusiasm for www.nfb.ca, and the number of high-quality films available online is steadily increasing.

The other promise that trailers hold – that Iron Man 2 might be awesome – is as dicey as it’s ever been.

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