Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. Catch any movies over the weekend, did ya? A lot of people went to see Iron Man 2. Perhaps you were one of them. That is one of those films we hear of being, oh what's the term? Oh yeah, "critic-proof." Doesn't matter what the reviews are. Box office is guaranteed the first weekend and word-of-mouth will take it from there. Only the reviews were pretty reasonable. Not quite the consensus of the 2007 original, which garnered a pretty staggering 211 out of 226 positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. The sequel is only 158-for-213 (74% compared to 93%) as of today. And though I suspect many of the positives were middling passes at best, the proverbial thumb is still pointed in the right direction. So why, oh why, were the early ads cluttered with the same quote whores using the same verbiage over and over again?
We warned you. Just last week. And by "you" I mean both the moviegoing public and especially the studio marketing gurus. What are you doing? It is one thing to say that critics don't matter. But to back that up by using critics who literally DO NOT MATTER only proves how lazy and uninspired you are. This is not 0% financing you are selling us. It is how good your movie is. For all the money your department is budgeted, you can't have a pair of interns scrounge through a couple of early reviews (that you have allowed to break the embargo) to find a sentence or two of prose that might sound a bit more literate than the catch phrases you keep asking junket guys to say -- as if they actually said them?
Last week. It was just last week that we gave you ten critics not to use this summer. Just try it. Take it out for a spin. We showed you that Peter "a total blast" Travers was prone to certain hyperbole. Did anyone have "a rowdy blast" at She's Out Of My League this year? Maybe you saw the research and figured that Travers also referred to Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Kill Bill Vol. 2 as "blasts" and figured Iron Man 2 was in good company even if he also said the same of Camp, Poseidon and Cabin Fever. When he said "Robert Downey Jr. is better than ever", you looked at your charts and saw the following:
"Harry is better than ever..." (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)
"A never-better Jeff Bridges!" (The Door In The Floor)
"A never-better Kate Winslet..." (Little Children)
"The actors could not be better." (Doubt)
"Patricia Clarkson, Peter Dinklage and Bobby Cannavale could not be better." (The Station Agent)
"Phantom, which is still running on Broadway, is a rapturous spectacle and the movie, directed full throttle by Joel Schumacher, goes the show one better." (The Phantom of the Opera)
Wow. Two recent Oscar winners, some acclaimed films and generally good company for Downey in there. We'll just ignore that whole Phantom business. Better yet, let us just ignore Peter Travers altogether and move on to the next blurb.
"Summer has officially begun...so hold on." - Jake Hamilton
The 22 year-old Ben Lyons-in-training is a relative newbie to the quoting business. Ten times last year. Four so far this year. I am still laughing a bit inside when I suggest anyone in the marketing departments does any actual research. But I do like to help, so feel free to use Jake's quotes to date as you will:
"The best film so far this year! Prepare yourself for another Tarantino masterpiece!" (Inglourious Basterds)
"A magnificent film that ranks among the year's very best." (Where the Wild Things Are)
"One of the best films of the year." (Sherlock Holmes)
"Will totally blow you away." (State of Play)
"This is a movie that must be experienced. Simply flawless." (The Soloist)
"Shows future sports movies how it's done." (The Blind Side)
"You'll die laughing." (Death At A Funeral)
"Smart, funny and cool." (Bandslam)
"Hilarious fun for everyone." (Monsters vs. Aliens)
"An epic adventure for the entire family!" (Inkheart)
"Epic! A cinematic masterpiece." (Watchmen)
"A visually awe-inspiring epic that will rock your soul." (The Book Of Eli)
"An emotional powerhouse that will stir your soul." (Remember Me)
So be sure to tune into KRIV Fox 26's 2011 New Year's Eve special, "Rock & Stir Your Soul with Jake Hamilton." Hold on indeed because the summer of Jake may have just begun. The young Mr. Hamilton did not make our list of ten last week as there are bigger sinners of the quote game and we hope that Jake's Takes does grow with age. Precisely what is Mark S. Allen's excuse?
"Even better than the original." (Iron Man 2)
"Amazing, remarkable chemistry and better than the original!" (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2)
"Charming, funny and even better than the original" (Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous)
There you have it, folks. The three names Paramount chose to use to promote their big summer blockbuster. Hyperbole Travers, the soul rocker, and a guy who said the same thing about their film that he did for Miss Congeniality 2. Sure, we can say that the people who put together the commercial had not seen our list of ten in time to avoid them. But at least 34 of the 155 positive reviews posted at Rotten Tomatoes alone were up before the end of April, a full week prior to Iron Man 2's opening. What was wrong with them? A little variety, huh? Not the actual Variety. Their costs for positive quotes are outlandish.
Summer has officially begun (thanks, Jake) and we are already staring down useless praise from two of the reviewers on last week's black list. And you can already look forward next week to examining three more on that list (Shawn Edwards, Jeff Craig and Greg Russell) who are out front and center pimping for Summit's Letters To Juliet next week. Happy Mother****** Day to us all.