Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's a sham of a mockery of a parody!

I've got a problem: I think that half of the movie previews I see look so asinine that they must be SNL-style parodies... until the movie actually opens and I realize that it's not a joke at all.

I'm not even talking about previews for movies that are blatantly commercial, superficial, and trend-driven. We all know that Hollywood is money-grubbing and will always use the proven formula rather than deriving something new. Thus, for instance, every romantic comedy these days seems to be a parody of the last one that opened (27 Dresses, Made of Honor, Bride Wars--it's the new "the more weddings, the better" school of filmmaking). I suppose you can laugh at previews for these movies. But they are almost too banal to be awful.

No, what's worse is when I see a preview for a movie that is meant to be an earnest drama, but it only makes me want to burst out laughing. Recent examples include the preview of The Boy in Striped Pajamas--which I felt sure was a parody of Oscar-baiting, British-accented, cute-kids-suffer-under-the-Holocaust movies. And the preview for Flash of Genius--which had to be a parody of inspirational biopics about "little men with big dreams," because who would ever go see a serious movie about the guy who invented windshield wipers?

Obviously I am not the only person who has this problem. I watched Tropic Thunder last night, and the three parody trailers that begin that movie might just be the funniest thing about it. As if to prove my point, the least amusing of the three trailers belongs to the crass commercial movie (five Jack Blacks, in fat suits, farting at each other) and the most hilarious trailer is for the earnest drama (Robert Downey Jr. and Tobey Maguire as gay medieval monks). People who take themselves too seriously are always funnier than people who know they're half-ridiculous to begin with. Which is why Robert Downey's whole performance in Tropic Thunder is so good, and so funny. But I digress.

I know older people say that people of my generation love irony too much, that we want to mock everything that society once held dear. Well, maybe that's so. But dang it, it's only because so many of today's movies and celebrities and goings-on seem like sitting ducks!

P.S. It may seem like my blog has been all about movies lately. That's because I go in cycles, like the moon: I have a Movies Phase for a few months, then a Theater Phase, say, or an Opera Phase... It's just the way I am.

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