Better a Witty Fool than a Foolish Wit

Inner Workings of My Twisted Mind.

I See You Shiver With Antici…………Pation

In the wake of the big Twilight push I got to thinking about anticipation.  Specifically, anticipation in marketing.  It seems like a phenomenon that has cropped up in the last decade or so (I’ll be blaming Star Wars in just a second), that often times the anticipation of a movie or cultural event far outweighs the impact.  Though, Twilight has been removed from the latter part of that sentence after it’s record breaking $70 Million dollar opening weekend (that would be better than Sex and the City in case you were wondering).  
So let’s go back to the very beginning (a very good place to start) when in 1997 a little movie called Titanic was realeased (on my birthday I might add).  Before Titanic, trailers for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode I aired and many teenage boys (and those boys that will forever be teenagers) bought tickets to Titanic simply to watch the trailer.  Let me reiterate that; people bought tickets to a movie (back then they were about $8) and only stayed to watch the trailer.  Of course, that seems archaic now because we can just go online, but youtube had yet to be invented in 1997 and we had to kick it old school, by watching in theaters.  
Since then movie trailers have picked up release dates of their own.  Studios post a teaser than a trailer then the full movie trailer on the website, advertising the date that each will happen and thousands upon thousands of fans log on to view the new 30 second clip.  Conventions such as Comic-con build nerd hype (which is apparently the only trustworthy hype there is anymore) for movies like Iron Man (made $300+ Million Dollars) or Watchmen, everytime they release a trailer we sell out of the book at the book store.  
Of course, there’s the movies that are all hype and no delivery, like this years Cloverfield, which did well opening weekend, but was killed by bad word of mouth (I didn’t see it so I won’t comment on my thoughts).  Or Snakes on a Plane, which was all hype and did pretty well in the theaters but not the record breaking numbers that they thought it would do.  Even still, you could have Samuel Jackson call your friends and tell them all about the Motherfucking Snakes on the Motherfucking Plane.  While Cloverfield’s M.O. was just confusion…after viewing the trailer you walked away going, what the fuck did I just see?
The problem is, people are now becoming immune to the hype.  Sure, you probably saw any of the dozens of news articles and pieces that showed thousands of 16-year-olds screaming for the Vampires of Twilight this weekend, and I must say I had a good time sitting back and watching them freak out at the midnight screening I went to on Thursday night, but I already knew what the movie was.  I knew the phenomenon that it’s become.  If I hadn’t known, I would have run screaming away from it (because let’s face it thousands of teenagers is basically my own personal hell…add in children, fundamentalists and dogs and you pretty much have everything I can’t stand in one place).  If I hadn’t known about the movie, the hype probably would have dissuaded me from watching it on opening weekend, and only with good word of mouth would I have gone to the film.  
In this age of constant build up it is impossible not to be disappointed by many ‘events’ that we are told we should be excited about.  In a time when movie trailers have a release date, when clips are strategically leaked on the internet, how do we know what is real and what is hype?  
It doesn’t just apply to media either.  What about Obama?  I voted for him, I cried on election night and the day after, I was so happy, but for two years people have been building him up like he’s superman (look around L.A. and you’ll actually see pictures of him dressed as superman), like he is going to just swoop in and take care of everything in a matter of minutes.  Does he represent hope?  Yes.  Is he going to ‘save us’?  Maybe.  Is he going to do it quickly, without change from 300 Million Americans?  Absolutely not.
Our problems are much bigger than hype and hope, they need real solutions, which Obama seems poised to give.  Even still, they hype is never going to live up to the reality, because hype is simply that…it’s hype.
Batman was great.  Was it the best movie of all time as many of the critics said?  No.  Was it the best superhero movie?  Perhaps.  Was Heath Ledgers performance amazing?  Yes.  Was it Oscar worthy?  No.  But still, we’re hearing about it here in L.A. (yes, Oscar buzz is starting down here in la la land).  
My question is, how is hype effecting us as a people?  How are we changing, becoming more savvy, more naive because of hype?  I can’t say I have the answer.
Peace, Love and Build Up,

December 5, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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