Random Factoid #378

10 08 2010

Have you seen the trailer for “The Switch?”  Looks kind of ehh, right?  Typical late summer fare that will have to pass for entertainment (at least for those of us not fortunate enough to have an independent theater).  Just so we are all on the same page for the rest of the post, I’ll embed the trailer below.

The poster to the left doesn’t really make you want to see it much either.  The gasp on Jennifer Aniston’s face and the pretentious-looking sniffle that Jason Bateman is doing sure doesn’t tell you much about the movie.  But look closer…

Did you notice the pedigree of the movie?  It’s from the people who brought us “Juno” and “Little Miss Sunshine.”  Does that add to your anticipation at all?  It shouldn’t, given the murky relationship between “The Switch” and the two Best Picture nominees.  I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about the reference given that Jason Bateman was in “Juno,” but The Los Angeles Times did some investigating:

The studio’s marketing wizards are plugging “The Switch” as being the movie “From the people who brought you ‘Juno’ and ‘Little Miss Sunshine.’ ” But who are these “people”? The film’s directors, Josh Gordon and Will Speck, had nothing to do with either of those films. Nor did the film’s screenwriter, Allan Loeb. The film’s producers, Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger, were producers of “Little Miss Sunshine” but had no involvement at all with “Juno.”

It turns out that those “people” are the people at Mandate Pictures, the production company that was involved with both “Juno” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” as well as such films as “Whip It,” “Drag Me to Hell” and the “Harold and Kumar” series. I’m sure all the folks at Mandate are really nice people, but it feels like a big stretch to use such a tenuous connection to lure us into the theater to see a film whose writers and filmmakers had nothing to do with “Juno” or “Little Miss Sunshine.”

Do you feel cheated at all?  If you were really going to spend $10 to see this movie because you could mention it in the same sentence with “Little Miss Sunshine,” you ought to up your cinema smarts.  I don’t ever use poster connections to tell me what movies to see, largely because I will have figured out what movies my favorite filmmakers have chosen to involve themselves in.  I especially could care less for romantic comedies and mindless action movies, both of which are genres whose success is driven mainly be stars, not directors.  Sorry, David Frankel, I saw “Marley & Me” because I love dogs and Owen Wilson, NOT because you directed “The Devil Wears Prada.”  Meryl Streep is the reason that movie is good.

Fun little closing note: there is one movie that could have used “from the man who brought you ‘Little Miss Sunshine'” on its poster.  That movie?  “Toy Story 3.”  Clearly it didn’t need to tout that name to make any money.





REVIEW: Away We Go

12 08 2009

At the request of a dedicated reader, I decided to bump up my review of “Away We Go.”  I drove 45 minutes away to a remote suburb of Houston back in April to be one of the first people to see the movie, and I was not disappointed.  Two months later, I was there to see it again on its first weekend playing at an art house theater in Houston.  So needless to say, I really enjoyed the movie.  It is well-acted, featuring star turns from John Krasinski (Jim from TV’s “The Office”) and Maya Rudolph (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”), but it is really buoyed by its phenomenal supporting cast.  The film features a very heartfelt screenplay from Dave Eggers (author of “What is the What”) and his wife Vendela Vida.

Burt (Krasinski) and Verona (Rudolph) are a gentle, loving couple expecting a baby.  As all good parents do, they want their child to have a better life than they did.  So the two of them set out on a journey to find what they never really could: a home.  They visit old friends and family members, seeing broken relationships, marital tension, and lives that they don’t want to lead.  They discover that all they can do is love each other and hope that everything else works out. Read the rest of this entry »