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Jack Burton’s Record Scratch

RedbandOkay, now that I have a bunch of fifty year olds in faded Zeppelin shirts listening – this is not about records. It’s not even about scratching them, so if you’re a nineteen year old white rapper I am also sorry, bro. No, this is all about movie trailers, and the name refers to the really bad ones where you hear that stupid record scratch at the midpoint. It signifies an abrupt change of tone, usually toward something that’s allegedly funny and/or heartwarming. And that’s what my opinions should be to you, allegedly funny.

Now here are some heartwarming thoughts about a bunch of trailers I saw this week.

1. Romeo and Juliet

Hey, you know what I’ve been waiting for my whole life? For someone to do something with Romeo and Juliet. You know, that famous story that Jesus wrote thousands of years ago when the Romans put him in jail for having long hair? Two horny teenagers whose forbidden love changed the destiny of two super rich and powerful families? When – I’ve repeatedly asked – will someone make a movie out of that? If only it could get some kind of exposure, or word of mouth. If only someone would get the word out! Well my dream has finally come true. The eagerly awaited film version of this long forgotten story by one of history’s most obscure writers stars Hailee Steinfeld, who was terrific in True Grit, distinguished stage actor Stellan Skarsgård and Paul Giamatti, which is why I am keeping my sarcasm to a minimum.

2. Man of Steel – You Are Not Alone

Not everyone agrees with me, but I’m a big fan of the material we’ve seen so far from Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot. No, nobody really wants another origin story. But in this case, enough time has passed that it doesn’t feel so wrong. Plus, this is supposed to be a significant re-imagining of the most famous man to ever wear underwear in public (sorry Dwayne Johnson).  Also, Superman Returns. This isn’t so much a trailer, or even a “teaser”. This is an attempt at viral marketing that actually does a pretty good job of emphasizing what a departure Snyder’s film promises to be. It adds a touch of backstory and it’s modestly stylish – in a late 80’s pirated cable sort of way.

3. Rush Official Trailer #2

Someone finally bought my script about Neil Peart, the friendly android from the future – sent back through time to teach us about Ayn Rand and tasty drum solos. Wait – no, this is the second domestic trailer for Ron Howard’s racing drama/epic called Rush. This is gonna be a sports movie, all right. The trailer is chock fill o’ race car platitudes like “The closer you are to death the more you feel alive” and “To be a champion, it takes more than being quick – you have to really believe it!”. Of course to be fair, it’s based on the true story of the dramatic rivalry between real life Formula One drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) – who was badly burned in an accident. So, now I feel bad for being a smarty pants.

Anyway, sports picture + biopic = free pass to be sentimental. This plays to Howard’s strengths. Make us feel it, Opie!

4. The Way, Way Back

Fox Searchlight brings us a coming of age dramedy where Steve Carell plays a heel and Sam Rockwell plays a scruffy drifter with a heart of gold. An awkward teen named Duncan (Liam James) finds his life getting more awkward when his single mother’s new boyfriend (Carell) proves to be a poor father figure. And then one day, at summer camp, said scruffy drifter teaches Duncan the importance of believing in himself. Don’t yawn – this might be just what Carell needs to revive a once red-hot career. Writers/directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash get their big chance after knocking it out of the park on The Descendants. Let’s see what they do with it.

5. The Hangover Part 3 – Trailer #2

Lighter in tone and much more informative than the first, this trailer actually makes me want to not see this movie less. Don’t accuse me of being cynical; Part 2 was just a lazy rehash and you felt cheated just as I did. This time, Alan cracks up after the death of his father, and the Gang has to get him to rehab. On the way they will have many adventures with people like John Goodman in places like Tijuana and Las Vegas – bookending the first film – and presumably everyone will learn something about loyalty and friendship. And, we’ll see if Todd Phillips has learned anything about making sequels.

Bruce Hall View All

When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Bruce?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

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