Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Entertained By One Commercial, Tormented by Another, New Supes Poster, and a New Bit of 9/11 Footage (Emphasis on the "Bit")

I have problems with Wes Anderson as a filmmaker. Early on, he gave films like Bottle Rocket and Rushmore a pleasant sheen of precocity that gave his movies a cool, quirky edge. This cleverness (bordering on, though never really crossing over into preciousness) was a new style of filmmaking: a kind of sad irreverence infused with a detached, too-cool-for-school irony. Post-everything storytelling. In movies like The Royal Tannenbaums and The Life Aquatic however, Anderson's signature quirky-coolness soured into something that felt packaged, boring, and forced. Well, he may have turned things around if his new American Express commercial is any indication. It's very funny and though all of Anderson's distinctive quirks (some might say foibles) are present and accounted for, they all come together perfectly and make for a hilarious couple minutes of filmmaking. You can read a review of the commercial here and you can view the commercial here. (All of it's funny, but a couple stand-outs to look for: the girl shrugging when asked if it's true she's a Wes Anderson fan, and Anderson's line about the birds at the very end of the spot. Brilliant.)

Also, new Superman Returns poster. View it here. I really like it. This is so going to be Shawn's movie of the summer, I just know it. Scratch that. Shawn's movie of the year.

Penultimately: has anyone seen that awful Ford commercial that's been airing incessantly for the past month or so? It features a song called "Beep Beep". (You can view a version of it that aired somewhere in the Carolinas here. It is not the one that's been airing in my area -- mine's longer and more annoying). What puzzles me about this ad, other than it's shockingly tin-eared approach to selling anyone anything, is a lyric the lead singer sings more than once during the 30-second ad:

"You like to go deep!"

What, I ask, does this line have to do with Ford automobiles? Keeping in mind the band featured in this commercial is an actual band (called 13 Stories and based in Atlanta, their website is here), and their single, "Beep Beep" is an actual song they play in concerts, I have to say I don't really know the true context for this lyric other than it's odd, contextlessness in the Ford ad/jingle. It could be a apropo of nothing reference to football perhaps (going deep for a pass?); it could mean that "you", the consumer, "like to go" for "deep" discounts when you're buying an automobile. I don't know. But the old cynical Brian can't help but think that this lyric, coupled with the image of a hot blonde "rock" singer whipping her head around in front of a long, black, cylindrical microphone is meant to subtly, perhaps even subliminally, insert the idea of, dare I say it, sex into the viewer's head while they're being force-fed images of Ford cars. Perhaps the ad agency who crafted this ad thought the subtle, R (to X)-rated aspects of this commercial would trump how mind-blowingly awful the commercial is otherwise. This could all just be my mind stewing in a gutter of filth, I admit. But I think not.

And finally, and totally unrelated to commercials, the surveillance camera video of the Pentagon strike on September 11th, 2001 was released today. Go here to view it. A conservative "watchdog group" called Judicial Watch sued the government for the release of these videos (taken from two different surveillance cameras placed at slightly different angles). Previously, the government has said the public can't see the tapes until Moussoui's trial is over. Well, his trial's over, and so here we have them. In the network news coverage both on television and on the web much verbiage was dedicated to the idea that these tapes should now, once and for all, shut up all of those conspiracy theorists who believe the silver thing that slammed into the Pentagon that morning, glimpsed only in part for a single frame released many years ago, is a missile, not a jet plane. Personally, I think the 9/11 conspiracy theorists give us regular JFK conspiracy theorists a bad name. But if these tapes are supposed to shed new light on the plane strike at the Pentagon, I don't see it. Martha Raddatz of ABC News described the tapes tonight on World News Tonight and reported that the nose of the jetliner, fuzzy and indistinct, can be seen in the lower right quadrant of the frame, for all of one frame (the cameras were "filming" at the rate of a frame per second). I couldn't see it. All I could see was a sliver of silver-white that had to be a trick of light because it sure wasn't any identifiable section of airplane, and in the next second, a massive fireball. When CNN.com reported this afternoon that these tapes were set to be released today at 1PM, I was imagining some new video of the impact no one had yet seen. But the federal government already released stills from this very same video to the public a few years back. Now they're in video form, true, but no more helpful than the stills were in showing visually what actually happened. The more information we can get about 9/11 the better, but the idea that this new frame of information is going to quiet the LIHOPs and MIHOPs (those who believe the federal government Let It Happen On Purpose and those who believe they Made It Happen on Purpose -- the two schools of 9/11 conspiracy thought), is, I think, wishful thinking.

Anyway. That's it for your Tuesday hodgepodge. More tomorrow.


Speck said...

The Life Aquatic was brilliant.

That is all.

harwell said...

Ha - that Ford commercial's being killing me for weeks. We've been watching the Carolina Hurricanes games on satellite and they probably air that at least six or seven times during the course of a game. It's maddening. I really would advise against using logic in trying to understand why Ford thinks this could possibly help them sell cars. I imagine they set out to find a song that was A) cheap and B) would make you want to kill yourself. Combining A and B Ford probably figured they might get a few people thinking that C) buying a Ford is slightly more appealing than killing one's self. Something like that.

Anyway, nice Tuesday hodgepodge, Crane. The Wes Anderson commercial's a jewel. Love the bayonet on a handgun idea. I'm also a fan of some of the new Burger King commercials. My least favorite commercial other than the Ford monstrosity though is this TGI Friday's disaster where the Oh Face guy from Office Space yells "Poorrrrkkk!" That dude's in one out of three commercials. And nearly every one of them are horrible. Coincidence?

That Superman poster is also great. Really, I have no problem with you wanting to love this movie, Crane. You have fun with it. Maybe even dress up when you go to the theater. No? Why not? Because that would be dorky? Wait, I don't understand. What's that? It's only cool when the main character of a big budgeted film does it? Ohhhhhh. Okay. That makes total sense now.

Speaking of 9/11 footage, the trailer for Oliver Stone's movie about the World Trade Center, which is ingeniously titled "World Trade Center" is up at apple. I could tell you it looks terrible, but then how could you not already know that? They named the movie after a building.

As for the real footage, I just find it convenient its release comes at a time the administration is scrambling to defend their illegal privacy invasion on our phone calls. They (and Oliver Stone apparently) just want to make sure we remeber 9/11 since so many of us have clearly forgotten. Want us to remember that all they're doing is trying to protect us from the bad guys who are calling bad people using Bell South's flexible international rates.

You know what would really help me remember 9/11? CATCHING BIN LADEN. I'm sure he and his Al Qaeda frat brother's enjoyed the new mix tape from the Pentagon. And I'm also sure they're not talking about it on the phone.

Craig Moorhead said...

First of all, yeah -- I've seen stills from that video. And that video doesn't do shit. Bully for Judicial Watch and all, but I'd feel pretty sore if I busted my ass suing the government and then got that lump of crap.

Second - why the hell is the Pentagon employing frame-per-second security cameras? They ain't a McDonald's over there. What is DV quality? 7MB a second at 720x480, 29.97fps? So that would be, what... 600GB of video a day per camera? We've got terrabytes of storage where I work and we'll barely fill that up in a year. We can spend $300bil on a war, but no money for a couple of storage drives? Feh. Anyway...

Captain Mike said...

Watching Wes Anderson movies is akin being trapped in an elevator with a hyperactive smartypants who won't shut up... he just keeps yapping and yapping in the hopes that you don't notice how sad he really is.

blankfist said...

The Life Aquatic sucks bum, but The Royal Tennenbaums was a decent flick. But, Bottlerocket and Rushmore are certainly his funniest to date. Everytime I watch Owen Wilson breaking into the library with that silly tape on his nose, it makes me laugh - especially when Luke Wilson asks, "what's the tape for?" and Owen says with all the excitement of a child getting away with stealing a cookie from the cookie jar, "Exactly!"

Genius! The best line, though, was when Future Man made fun of Owen Wilson's yellow jumpsuit, and seeing Owen's feelings are hurt, Luke offers, "But, did you see what [Future Man] was wearing?" Owen nods and gives Luke a knowing glance before saying, "I know, it's pretty cool, huh?"

It's funnier when you see it in context, I guess. Anyhow. LIHOP = Likey the International House Of Pancakes. And, Paul, dude, you have to say something, because it sounds like Crane is calling you out, brutha. All Crane left out was the name "Paul". But, his slam on MIHOPS was a direct dis on you. Say something, dude. Don't go quietly into the night.


harwell said...

Second best Bottle Rocket moment:

KUMAR: I don't know, I lost my touch

OWEN WILSON: Did you ever have a touch to lose?!?

Third best Bottle Rocket moment:

KUMAR: Who is that man?

OWEN WILSON: That's Apple Jack, Kumar! What are you talking about?!?

I'm with Heath on Tennenbaums and Aquatic. The former was much better than the latter. I didn't like the criticism against Aquatic though; everyone seemed to complain about Wes Anderson doing the exact same things everyone raved about in his previous films. The reason it didn't work for me was just because it wasn't that funny. That's all.

Anonymous said...

Tisk Tisk Crane...You believe too much of the corporate media.

Look at history - Gulf of Tonkin, Pearl Harbor, our "invasion" of Hawaii, etc... all of these false flag operations to justify our use of force.

I love you man but if you think that this video solves anything you are mistaken. I can't tell what the hell that thing is - maybe a plane...don't know because of crappy video quality.

The people who have most to gain from this terrorist attack is the Bush Admin - and even now with his approval rating at an all time low - the only thing that could possibly help is another planned terrorist attack on our soil.

One must begin to wonder....



Brian O'Malley said...

KUMAR: Who is that man?

OWEN WILSON: That's Apple Jack, Kumar! You met him last night at dinner!

blankfist said...


Speck said...

Willam DaFoe is awesome is L.A.

And Jeff Goldblum gets shot in the chest, and is then RUNNING around for the rest of the movie. How is that not awesome???

Nathan said...

Crane, I'm never clicking on a link you put up again. One of the nice things about living outside of Bushland is that I don't have to see commercials like that Ford atrocity. All the bad commercials here are easy to ignore. And the annoying thing about learning the language is that they become harder to tune out.

That fucking beep beep song is rattling around in my skull and I just know it will be there all day.

Planning on finishing my story today (not to mention starting it) Where the hell is everyone else's. I think we should post Brian O'Malley's just to have SOMETHING up.

blankfist said...

Don't post Brian O'Malley's story, dude. That thing is offensive. I think I'm going to stop talking to him because of it. Oh, and Speck... "Willam DaFoe is awesome is L.A." Yes, Dafoe is awesome is LA - this is true is as is we to is is (low blow), but the movie is boring. I tried watching it ONCE (only once), and I was so bored I couldn't finish it. Seriously, if I can finish watching Chicken Little (or worse, Practical Magic!), then this should tell you something.

harwell said...

Hey, take it easy on Practical Magic...

Nathan: I like to go beep beep. BEEP BEEP!

blankfist said...

Shawn, Practical Magic is the worse movie ever put on film. Period.

Speck said...

worse then waterworld?

blankfist said...

Yes, it's worse THAN Waterworld.

harwell said...

Worse than Barb-Wire? Or Tank Girl?

blankfist said...


blankfist said...

Even worse than Black Death.

Peggy said...

Actual Lyrics . . .

Kitty Cat and Cheri D, rev it up, let’s go, Beep! Beep!

Oh yeah, get in gear, fire it up, steer clear!
Oh yeah, oh yeah, fire up!

Fire up, rev it up, shift it up, floor it now,
And do you wanna smoke a Cuban cigar?
Fire up, rev it up, shift it up, floor it now,
And then we’ll take our lovin’ out to my car…

Do you wanna get in first? Let me know,
Come on and punch it, Beep! Beep! Beep!
Peel out in second, oh no! You love to go Beep! Beep!
Beep! Beep!

Fire up, rev it up, shift it up, floor it now,
I’m all in your trouble, and I don’t care,
Fire up, rev it up, shift it up, floor it now,
Let’s make out in my ride, babe, just let ‘em stare…

Then we slide up in third, I like that clutch,
You keep me movin’, Beep! Beep! Beep!
Take the fourth now, I like that touch,
You race me, baby, Beep!
Beep! Beep!

Don’t get ahead, don’t fall behind, stay between the lines, you know what I like..
Your foot’s like lead, what did you think I said!?
I hear a siren all hot wirin’, ooh, slide up the wall, don’t miss that turn!
Shift quick, baby, and make that rubber burn!

Fire up, rev it up, shift it up, floor it now,
We took the top down, baby, with buildings tall,
Fire up, rev it up, shift it up, floor it now,
You took my top down, baby, and that’s not all!

You wanna chase me? Come on, let’s go!
I got your fifth gear, Beep! Beep! Beep!
Come on and get me, your motor’s heat,
I’ll tailgate you, Beep! Beep! Beep!
You need a jump, or you wanna stop?
I’m on your bumper, Beep! Beep! Beep!
The flag is shakin’, I feel your steer,
Sweet love we’re makin’, Beep! Beep! Beep!