Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The world is full of deception. We all know that. As a consumer, you have to have your head on a swivel. You have to evaluate almost every purchase because someone's always trying to get dat money. And, as the money gets sparse, the scam gets more deceptive. When the economy's bottom falls out and into oblivion, people hold their money close. So, to get that money, they have to devise new ways to deceive you, to get you to open that pocket book.

The worst at this is Hollywood. And I'm col' fed up. This weekend, I insisted we go see the new M. Night Shamalamadingdong movie, The Happening. Billed as suspenseful cliffhanger and, like a brand you can count on, there will be the twist, this movie had a good bit of promise. Problem is: nothing happened.

This movie absolutely blew. It was laughable. My nightmares are scarier. My dog's nightmares are scarier. M. Night's crafty trailer filled the late show on Saturday and, probably, ever show before that on its opening weekend and, within the first twenty minutes, half of the theater was laughing (I mean laughing) at how ridiculous this movie was. There was no plot, the was very little climax, there was no hardcore twist and it wasn't scary. Oh yeah, and the acting was so incredible juvenile. Does M. Night do everything on one take?

And he's not the only one guilty of it. In fact, finding a writer or director that's not guilty of it is fairly difficult. They cut a two-hour product down to a thirty second lure, run it to the masses, fill the theaters for the first two nights to make as much money as they can because, if it sucks, there is no second weekend, essentially. Imagine if we were this forgiving with every product we buy. Here's a product that they charge more and more for every year. Hell, we even complain about it costing $10 to see a movie, but we still pay it. And unless every movie you see is the greatest movie ever made, you're getting ripped off. I don't know, maybe you're the type that blows $10 at a time. I'm not. That's not even to mention that a decently sized soda costs you $4.00 and, unless you specify, it's 60% ice and 40% soda.

I demand that Hollywood be held to the same standards of all consumer goods. You should be able to walk out after the movie has completed and get your money back if you were satisfied. I want to be scared and if I see the whole movie and I'm not scared the least bit, then I'd like you to refund my money. I don't want to be shamed for it. I don't want to be questioned. Your movie just didn't work.

Think of the millions of dollars of revenue made off of a single bad movie. Sure, their cost of goods is much higher than, say, a kitchen mop, but at least a kitchen mop can do what it's advertised to do and what it promises to do.

That's why I like sports. There's no promise because it all happens right in front of you. There's no pre-packaged good. You can't cut together a trailer. You just watch and, occassionally, you'll see magic. Back in 2004 when the Sawx came from an 0-3 deficit to beat the Spanks and then go on to sweep the Cardinals in the series...you couldn't write that drama. And, every night, you witnessed greatness unfolding right in front of you. There was no deceiving trailer or packaging. They just told you when and what channel. What happens from there comes down to performance, competition and will. Plus, it's free.

Tonight, I'll watch my beloved Celtics host the False Fradulent Fakers in Game 6. If I could write a trailer for it, it would sound something like this: "Watch as the Celtics, led by Paul Pierce and a phenomenal bench, beat the crap out of the Lakers in Boston to seal their 17th championship. Kobe will act like a prick and Phil Jackson will hold the league liable in the wake of their loss. Also watch as Lamar Odom is exposed for overrated player he is. Some crappy Boston musician will sing the National Anthem, but hey, at least we know it won't be James Taylor."

I call a Celtic victory: 92-88. I'm not making any guarantees so don't demand your time back.

Oh yeah, M. Night Scamwhatever, you lost your touch, homie. Be a director or be a writer, but you suck when you try to do both. Not every movie you make can be Sixth Sense or Signs. Stop frontin'.


K-Fleet said...

I agree with the refund idea, but should the same refund policy be allowed for movie rentals and DVD purchases? I'd hate to see our company's expenses for that.

j3 said...

shut up...

K-Fleet said...

Ha, some of our customers would think that's a great idea. I don't know how many times I've said, "Sorry, but we don't guarantee quality..." And yeah, M. Night blows, even though I liked The Village, which got hammered by critics. But, Hollywood is all about misleading trailers and DVD is all about misleading covers.