Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Couples Retreat: The Genius of Hollywood Marketing

Hollywood marketing gets slagged often (and for good reason) about most everything they do. Trailers give away too much information about the plot; all the funny lines are in the trailers; the advertising for movies is misleading about what the movie is about. There are hundreds of examples for each of these complaints.

But what about when the marketing hits a home run? Why don't people jump up and down and give them the props they deserve (other than for the fact everyone on earth (including marketers) hate marketers).

Well, after seeing the trailer for Couples Retreat (once or twice - did you know it was coming out? I think it showed on my television even once when it was off), I'm about to doff my cap to the marketing team behind this latest Hollywood effort...

First, some disclaimers. No, I haven't seen the movie. No, I'm not getting any money to promote it (though I can be bought). No, I don't think it will be a particularly good movie.

With all that said, however, I'm guessing it will have a big opening weekend - because it is subtly playing to both a male and female audience in its advertising.

For the ladies...
It's a "chick flick." One of those romantic comedies that feature a happy ending (not that kind sicko) where the men and women fall in love, fall in love all over again, or continue on the path of love. The clue? It has the word "couples" in the title. The plot is about attempting to keep couples together - and the best part? By following 4 couples, each one can have a cliched rom-com plot device. The divorcing couple. The cheating couple. The May/December couple. And the couple who doesn't think they have problems but they totally do.

For the men...
Putting Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau together makes the male mind harken back to Swingers, one of the most male centric movies of the last 15 years. And yet Swingers was also a relationship movie told from the male's perspective (with Sega Hockey thrown in). Add Jason Bateman and make sure the women in the movie are attractive, and you can see how this content might appeal to men.

Taken separately, these ingredients would probably make a couple decent flicks that would cater to their specific target audiences.

But put them together...

I can only imagine the meetings where the genesis of this movie was born. I'd be willing to be it had a number of execs "brainstorming" based off of some numbers recent movies made, trying to "crack the code" and make a crossover movie that will appeal to both target audiences.

And you know what? I think they may have found success. No, they don't have the recipe that will create blockbuster after blockbuster, but I think Couples Retreat will do well. Regardless of its content. I think it will do well because of the marketing. It's obvious the commercials are geared toward men, trying desperately to hide the fact that it's about relationships and romance.

So I'm curious to see how well this film does, and I'm willing to give the marketing team a high five if it does well. And yes, I know for some of you that means high fiving the devil.

Links of Interest 9/30

Cleaning out foreclosed houses.

Cool little video about how a team got together to take a picture showing an entire Redwood tree. It’s harder than you think.

I’m certain if Wapner were still on the bench, he wouldn’t put up with any of this shit.

The Russians have a doomsday machine? What is this – a James Bond movie?

Clouds are cool.

If the shit goes down and you’re at the office, you’re gonna need to know how to arm yourself.

Picture of the Lagoon Nebula in super zoom high def!

Quite possibly the best news of September, especially for fans of a certain too-early-to-be-cancelled-sitcom (via popcandy).

The contest is awesome; the winning submission is awesome; everything is awesome about create your own BLT (via kottke).

Don’t get caught with this stuff in your kitchen.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Links of Interest 9/29

Hitler still alive? I’ll jump to that conclusion from this.

Bet you thought the United States would be the #1 carnivorous country in the world. Quick, I’ll take that bet.

In case you want a quick refresher on the Roman Polanski situation.

Interview with Carrie Fisher (via popcandy).

Does the Beatles music hold up with children?

What’s the biggest roadside attraction when on a long trip?

The myths of travel.

8 of the most dangerous places to live on the planet.

Some pretty strange places to enjoy a meal.

Subways no more.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Links of Interest 9/28

So, how is Leno doing in primetime?

Rio’s Shantytown drug gangs!

Looking for some coastal drives? Look no further than these.

Slightly sexist (meaning entirely), 13 reasons to watch television this Fall.

Everyone loves the uncomfortable television interview (via popcandy).

Speaking of uncomfortable, here’s a collection of videos from famous people that absolutely missed the mark of what they were trying to do (via mental floss).

Interview with one of the Mythbusters.

Our lives are soon to become creepy sci-fi horror films.

Not 100% sure that Hollywood turning to literature is newsworthy, but apparently the Wall St. Journal does – and who am I to question them?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It’s Been a Busy Week Here at the Popcorn Trick (Week 3 Picks)

As some of you know, we are both part of a company (The Nectar of the Gods) that specializes in short films and Internet viral marketing. We recently won a short film contest to promote the delicious beef products of Vincent Giordano. On Wednesday, we travelled to the Acme in Bala Cynwyd to accept a giant novelty check for a large sum of cash, thus enabling us to cross off accepting a giant novelty check for a large sum of cash from our life’s to-do list.


And yesterday we filmed scenes for another short film competition to promote Black Box Wines. Without giving too much away, let’s just say it got messy. At the rate we’re pulling coin for this shit, we’ll be giving our collective 2 weeks notice any day now.

And to prove that good things and bad things happen in threes, I discovered this video. Steve Lavin could never be a part of our acting troupe since he can’t keep a straight face. Maybe I’ll work with him on putting his tongue in his cheek to avoid such unprofessionalism.

Week 2 Wrap-Up

You can see the overall standings here. Not a great week for either of us, but predictably, I have taken an early lead over Goose:

Cline: 7-9 (.438), -$360

Goose: 6-10 (.533), -$560


Cline: 16-16 (.563), -$320

Goose: 15-17 (.563), +$520

My Picks In The League Where They Play…

…For Pay!

WASHINGTON (–6.5) at Detroit

GREEN BAY (–6.5) at St. Louis

SAN FRANCISO (+7.5) at Minnesota

ATLANTA (+4.5) at New England

TENNESSEE (+2.5) at NY Jets

Kansas City at PHILLY (–9.5)

NY GIANTS (–7.5) at Tampa Bay

Cleveland at BALTIMORE (–13.5)

Jacksonville at HOUSTON (–3.5)

CHICAGO (–2.5) at Seattle

NEW ORLEANS (–5.5) at Buffalo

PITTSBURGH (–4.5) at Cincinnati

DENVER (+1.5) at Oakland

Miami at SAN DIEGO (–5.5)

INDIANAPOLIS (+1.5) at Arizona

CAROLINA (–9.5) at Dallas

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Best Tweets of the Week 9/18 - 9/25

Every week I go back and post my favorite tweets I got during the preceding week. Want to be included in the lunacy? Follow me and be funny, interesting, or threatening! As always, here are the rules:

  • I skew toward the amusing
  • I won't publicize anyone's stuff if they are locked unless they give me permission (the KChop rule)
  • @ replies rarely get on here unless their self explanatory and don't need set up
  • I do love me the setup and punchline stuff, but if they span over multiple tweets, I'm not inclined to include them.
  • Diplo is immune to any of these rules (and now so is Yoko Ono).

Ok, let's go to the tweets...

CaissieMartha just gave her audience KitchenAid grinder attachments saying, "Hope you all have KitchenAids." I don't think she really gives a shit.

BlueLanugoMy girlfriend doesn't try to push her vegan lifestyle on me. Tonight, she's making lasagna. It's going to be half vegetables, half MURDER!

WadetoBlackI'd have an easier time finding a dead unicorn who was a victim of a rainbow dust drug deal gone bad than finding Wi-Fi in Baltimore. FUCK.

diploI lov the thai alphabet its like dancing little clowns at a party on drugs

NotGiamattiWeather today is perfect. I'm going to open the windows and watch TV. ALL DAY!

calindromeLeveraged buyout! Hostile takeover! Cashflo- Wait, what? Are you sure? Oh. I thought it was Talk Like a Corporate Pirate Day.

RexHuppkeThis scotch would taste a lot better if it didn't have my son's T-ball practice around it.

adamisacsonBroke a shoestring. I hadn't budgeted to buy a new one. I'm on a-- I'm sorry, I don't recall the expression.

DoucheLarueyahoo headline: can robots make ethical decisions? uh, hello? ever seen a film called robocop?

mrdavehillThere's something about sitting here in the Port Authority men's room with nothing but my knife and my gin that makes the world seem crazy.

adamisacson"Two caramel macchiatti," I said to the barista, using the correct Italian plural, as something inside me quietly died.

apodixisDrunken realization: twister is just really slow dance dance revolution.

Jim_HamiltonI bet most of IMDB's traffic comes from cell phones in the ladies rooms of West Hollywood.

yokoonoClimb up a ladder to reach the sky. Try ladders of different heights. See if the sky looks any closer from a higher ladder.

sportsguy33No Welker for Pats today. I don't think I could be more afraid of this game if it was standing in my doorway holding an ax.

shareyourdonutsMe: Can I buy your leftover chicken to feed that poor, starving dog? Viet Man: That's MY dog. Me: Ah... so, can I pay YOU to feed him?

Girl11ElevenBeing that it's Sunday, it was very apropos that I found God with this plate of nachos.

Jim_HamiltonPackers lose, but my fantasy team is going to win. That's like saying I didn't score but I masturbated to her memory. That happened, too.

therealcherilynlast 2 hours i have been trying to empty the dishwasher using the jedi-mind trick. all i've accomplished is making the dishwasher nervous.

Jim_HamiltonMost people wouldn't drink a 40 at work. Most people aren't working on Sunday so fuck you.

navanaxWhen I was a kid I wanted to be the first person to ride a war giraffe into battle. Kinda still do.

jwiltshireThis saxaphone player looks familiar, in that he looks like every saxaphone player ever.

CcSteff"Just buy your vacuum-packed turd so we can get back on the road." Jim pores over the beef jerky display like it's the Ruth's Chris menu.

AnthonyDeVitoJon Cryer is like Tony Randall without the Tony Randall.

Girl11ElevenCleaning out closets tonight and not sure how or why, but I own 3 sombreros. So next time you stop by, bring tequila.

unsupervisedI didn't know there were rules against starting a public pants-off dance-off. Laws, even.

FartSandwichToday marks the fourth time this month I've come to work with my fly open. There are other ways to get a raise, but they aren't as good.

debenhamWe know birds are just tiny, feathered dinosaurs. So why aren't we exterminating them? They're just biding time, waiting to kill us all.

supmisterTried to explain Twitter to Pops. Told him a lot of people have it, it's easy to get. Pros: He doesn't care. Cons: He thinks I have an STD.

xrayedmanMan Sought in 'Horrific' Murder of Wife, 5 Kids--Yeah if I decide to kill wife and 5 kids it will be a *civilized* non-horrific event.

westoflondonWhen I get home from work i'm gonna rip off the wife's underwear. The bra is far too tight and the thong is cutting me in half.

seancorcoranAnd the #1 place not to take your maniacally screaming child: Outside the house.

amynicole21I need a seeing-eye dog. But one that will lead me around when I'm really tired or drunk or acting irretrievably stupid.

GooseHonkI feel like crying & I feel like punching someone. So I'll combine them & serve someone punch made from my tears. Then I'll also punch them.

biloonA guy just got on my flight wearing an h1n1 mask. Scratch that. EVERYBODY! A NINJA JUST GOT ON MY AEROPLANE! #betterstory

kolchakDavid Hasselhoff is disappointed to have fallen off the wagon this week, particularly after learning the wagon was going to Carl's Junior.

garbagetime2Pac got his start dancing in Digital Underground. I start my day dancing in an underground parking lot & humping a convertible's upholstery

muchtyFuck you Oprah. How can I love myself when two Dos Equis and a snippy waitress is all it takes for me to call myself The Nachosen One?

muchty45 minutes delay, but the plane's finally ready for takeoff. Aaaand there's the smirk that tells you which stewardess banged the pilot.

navanaxI found the cat's stash behind the couch. 3 mauled mice and 1/2 a bird. I'm both proud and offended that he's been keeping secrets from me.

Aimee_B_LovedI'm just a girl from Kansas with a dream in her heart. And that dream is to join the Harlem Globetrotters.

AngelaDoveTurning in early tonight. My rock is totally fraggled.

michaelianblackDrove through Trenton tonight, which was as close to being Mad Max as I ever want to be.

artichokedNow that we know the origins of Michael Myers & Jason, it was time for CSI to unveil the secret history of Caruso's sunglasses. #yeeeeeah

mhgloverAccidentally closed drawer on cat's paw. The cat is pissed, the wife is distraught, and the dogs think I'm hilarious.

kolchakIn ancient Rome there was more incentive to get up in the morning. Doughnuts AND seeing peers torn apart by lions. Win.

hotdogsladiesOnly three more American Apparel orders and I get a free creepy mustache. Nice.

westoflondonPro tip: Asking "Does a bear shit in the woods?" does not end an argument. Answering "Polar" does.

adamisacsonI like when they play reggae at Whole Foods. Feels like I'm on the streets of Trenchtown circa 1973. Only with a better frisée selection.

Aimee_B_LovedThe upside of being so pale is that no self-respecting homicidal tranny would be caught dead wearing my skinsuit after Labor Day.

DolaniteKnow that bear that chases you at work? Your progress vs deadlines is how close it is to eating you each week. Well Im camping on my period.

FlamenkersWhat my fortune cookie should have said: Beware of eating at Chinese restaurants that constantly have health violations before work

misocrazyWife: "why does our son stick his hands down his pants while watching tv?" Me with hands down pants watching tv: "because he's awesome"

hotdogsladiesWe need to buy smaller glasses or weaker bourbon. Right, Hallucination-of-Abe-Lincoln-Eating-Corn? WHAT?! You think you're *BETTER* than me?

sherrivaThe only thing creepier than watching Tom Delay dance is if he showed up in a van and offered me candy.

diploon ROUTE TO space shower TV and then ttlab tokyo to play a lil bit of RAGGA!!! come thru and eat fugu milkshake with your BWOI! jPOPPIN off

CaissieSaw the old lady from "Wings" on the subway. She wore giant shades but I still recognized her, so I screamed & tore sleeve off her blouse.

hotdogsladiesMust be hard for Leonard Cohen to get through a McDonalds' drive-thru without getting laid. Man's voice is like a maple-flavored roofie.

tjI can tell when she's expecting company because suddenly the toilet paper rolls have to go on the dispenser. As if we're French royalty.

hotdogsladiesI'll be honest; without the stock art of a guy on a cliff pumping his fist at sunrise, a lot of self-help lists might seem like bullshit.

FartSandwichHaving two cell phones means you're obviously twice as awesome as everyone else. That means Carrot Top has four. Twenty creepy phones too.

isplotchyUppathestairs yields no Google results! Did I make up a word that hasn't been made up yet? Checking Urban Dictionary for fisting synonyms..

Links of Interest 9/25

What did you think of ABC’s FlashForward last night?

Director Werner Herzog is completely insane, and completely awesome. And now, you can be too, right next to him.

Handwriting is slowly becoming extinct.

Fake movie products we all wish were real. SO the ironic t-shirts would have more validity of course.

Interview with David Lynch (via popcandy).

The magic of the Internet brings us the magic of Route 66.

If you’ve ever seen a picture of Malcolm Gladwell, this article is that much more awesome.

It pains me to read about drive through services and see nary a mention of Swiss Farms. A Delaware County, PA treasure, the glory of Swiss Farms knows no bounds.

A list of things the Internet is doing no favors for.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

What is the defining movie of the 2000s? PART 7: 2006

If you haven't been following, but would like to catch up now, here are the earlier parts...

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Something tells me people aren't going to be happy with this part. Well, less happy than the usual unhappiness these posts generate. But I tried, people, I really tried. I even dropped my standards a bit and was open to letting in a few borderline movies.

But I have to say, this year was a terrible year for defining movies. And I think I came up with 2. 3 if I want to add what people will probably consider a "controversial" one. But I'll let you judge...

Remember, this is not a list of good/great/your personal favorite movies. This is a list to see if we can find what the definitive movie is of the decade. The criteria, as with most internet lists is subjective and vague in its definition. It has to be recognized by a majority of people (that means no art house films), and has to have a positive buzz. It has to be considered by the mainstream and have cultural significance.

Based on that, I have to say 2006 sucked nuts. For example, let's take a look at the Oscar nominated films:

The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Ok, taking nothing away from the quality of these films, do any of them strike you as a memorable film that people continue to bring up? The Departed felt like a pity Oscar given to Scorsese after his masterpieces kept getting beat out. No one wants to bring up Babel in conversation because the next phrase uttered will be, "I want to slit my wrists." Letters from Iwo Jima isn't even the best Eastwood film about World War II from this YEAR; The Queen is quaint but I doubt too many people are arguiing it defined a decade.

And that leads to Little Miss Sunshine. Aside from a genuinely funny dance number, the movie lived on the hype generated from the people who saw it early. What could have been a nice little cult favorite blew up way too much and couldn't live up to the expectations that were heaped upon it.

So where does that leave us? Looking for crumbs really. I came up with these 3 candidates for defining movies...

I know it has a longer title but I can't be bothered. This is the one movie from 2006 I feel is a legitimate candidate. A movie that blended a documentary style with a mad cap comedy, Borat scoffed at the conventions of PC comedy and gave us an original piece of art that also had a social commentary. Difficult to do, it caught like wildfire and created cliched catchphrases that people still use.

Casino Royale
Now we're getting a little reachy. Made for the times to "update" the Bond franchise and compete with the Bourne series, Casino Royale on the surface looks slick, but falls apart a little when held up to the traditional Bond movie formula. And yes, I get that they were trying to move away from that, but I don't know why they had to. The slick stunts and gritty realism they introduced could have lived civilly with meglomaniacal bad guys wanting to take over the world and seemingly indestructible henchmen. Regardless, Daniel Craig did a great job taking Bond in the direction they wanted to take him and the movie looked cool. And it got the press it so desperately wanted.

Children of Men
Children of Men seems to be one of those barometer movies; people use it to gauge one's opinion of film. An interesting movie that no only introduces themes and concepts few current movies do, it also is technically ridiculous in places. The car chase in particular is just crazy.

Still, I'm not sure I can consider it a candidate for a defining movie of this decade. While I think the content of the film speaks a lot to the current global political climate, unfortunately not enough people enjoyed it and so it's destined to become a cult movie in the future.

But I'm also not sure I can completely rule it out, so I'll leave it to everyone out there. If you have an opinion one way or the other about the movie Children of Men, let me know. I'll consider all opinions.

Unfortunately, whereas 2006 didn't have a lot of potential defining movies, it certainly had a plethora of other movies...

The Pink Panther
Some of my earlier memories were of watching Peter Sellers deliberately butcher a French accent and fight with his butler Kato. So the Pink Panther series has a special place in my heart. So call me a hypocrite for bashing Steve Martin's Pink Panther movie without seeing it, but I just can't bring myself to do it. The specialness of the Sellers' Panther movies was that everyone else played it fairly straight, allowing Sellers' Clouseau to be the highlight of the movie. Of the previews and commercials of the new Pink Panther didn't really give me the same vibe. In fact I'd suggest it was one sight gag after another, loosely tied together with a non coherent plot.

Speaking of non coherent plots...I mean, c'mon. It's obvious the director of Ultraviolet wasn't concerned with the plot, choosing to make an extended music video with a hot Milla Jovovich in a billion diffferent skin tight outfits kicking ass. Need to masturbate and this is on TNT? You're good to go. Want the movie to do anything else for you? Uh, good luck.

Warning: this CoM special contains some spoilers, so please, if you haven't seen the movie, don't watch it. And then go watch the movie. And then come back!

Superman Returns
2006 did have a finished Superman film, something that had been in the works for over 20 years. The story of this film finally making the big screen is a movie in and of itself, filled with weird Superman choices, A-list directors and a giant spider.

So when this movie came out, there was a certan level of anticpation usually held for things like presidential elections, the Olympics, and Terrance Malick releases. And people saw it and...


Of all the things it could have been, a touching movie that was seemingly directed by Death Cab for Cutie, was not at the top of the list for most fans.

Snakes on a Plane
So much potential; so much failure.

On the surface, the experiment of going directly to the internet for input and suggestions is a great idea and probably a peek at the future. I mean, what is the internet if not a huge test audience? The problem, as I see it, is "tapping" into the internet seemed to be the gimmick, and instead of taking some of the comments to heart to create a great spoof and parody on action/thriller/monster movies, the producers took a few token suggestions, threw them in, and hoped.

The movie was bad. Not in a good bad way either, which is obviously what they were going for. Unfortunately, they couldn't find the line and made it too inconsistent. The ingredients were there, the recipe may have even been there, but the chef wasn't. And that's too bad, because they had a chance to do something special. What we got was a big budget disaster movie of the week.

The Fountain
Oh boy. Give a crazy director complete control to film his own vision and you get something like The Fountain. I hate to bring up the word pretentious when critiquing an artist, because we all have a vision and who am I to suggest something like that, but still...To suggest you are unlocking the keys to life's meaning? Yeah, I gotta plead pretentious.

Anyway, here are the candidates from 2006:

Casino Royale
Children of Men?

Up next: 2007.