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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 17. The crap before films.

OK, imagine the scenario. You're sitting in the cinema. The lights have gone down. You are already thinking that perhaps drinking a litre of Pepsi Max in one go and not going to the toilet first may have been unwise. You've bitten the heads of half a kilo of jelly babies and are feeling slightly sick.

First off - 15 minutes of adverts for perfume, cars and - inexplicably - the Royal Marines. Next it's "Trailers that we have specially selected for your enjoyment". Mostly for films that you have never heard of and, strangely, never actually see advertised at the cinema in the coming months. Next it's an mildly amusing advert for Orange mobile phones, culminating in the gentle reminder to switch your phone off. Finally, up comes that black certificate with the intelligible signature, certifying that the PG certificate film contains no swearing, moderate violence and no buggery.

The screen darkens. Good you think, the film is about to start. The camera zooms down a CGI-rendered lava tube - an unusual start to a romantic comedy you think. BANG! A deafening fanfare of trumpets starts and you realise it is just a trailer informing you that the film is presented in digital, surround, 10.1, dolby, nicam, computerised sound. Whoopie do! The camera pans to a blue summer sky with a beautiful mountain top - then stars appear and the logo Paramount pictures, followed by a short clip of a boy fishing on the moon, a desert road with a thunderstorm, a running unicorn... need I continue?

What is it with all that shit before films?

Perhaps its my own fault. I like to be on time for things, and if there is one thing I hate it is getting comfortable, then having to get up again as some arsehole decides that they want to sit in the middle of the row and therefore need you to let them past. Thus, I try to get in BEFORE the lights go down, so I don't piss of somebody by doing the same thing myself.

The adverts piss me off most - why is it that adverts that are shown a million time on TV, becoming part of the background, suddenly seem so annoying when projected onto a 30 metre screen? And who is that twat at the back of the cinema who laughs raucously at adverts that ceased to be funny 2 years ago when shown on telly, as if seeing them for the first time?

The trailers don't bother me too much - in fact, I rather like them. I enjoy seeing teasers for films that I am looking forward to, and perhaps make a note to see ones that I hadn't previously considered. My parents, who like to be contrary, make a note of films that they definitely WON'T be seeing. For my Dad, that includes any film that has a large explosion in the trailer. It's not that he has anything against action movies - he simply believes that any film that requires a large explosion in the trailer to drum up interest is guaranteed to be shit. And he won't be told otherwise.

The Orange phone adverts aren't too bad. Anything that involves taking the piss out of former Hollywood celebs desperate for a paycheck is fine by me - but they do get tiresome after a few showings. And we really need to be a little more forceful with the reminder to turn off your mobile. I suggest "Don't be an inconsiderate fucker- turn off your mobile you baseball-cap-wearing cunt", would be a reasonable wording.

But what really really gets my goat are the production adverts before the film. Hands up - who gives a flying fuck if the film is shot using Dolby or SDDS or Nicam or 2 tin cans and a piece of string? Have you ever looked longingly at a billboard and said to yourself - "I WOULD go and see that critically acclaimed blockbuster from my favourite director - but wouldn't you just know, the silly sausage has gone with SDDS rather than Dolby". Ironically the reels for these self-indulgent pieces of crap have been played so many times at my local multiplex-that the sound is all scratchy anyway.

Finally why do film studios feel the need to advertise their involvement (usually by means of a cheque book) in a film, with a short promotional clip and logo? The choice of director may well tempt me to see a film - but do I really care if the $50m budget came out of the pocket of Paramount or Fox? Umm... No. British films are the worst, since they are usually part funded by a consortium of charities, government agencies and US studios- before being distributed by another US studio - the credits at the beginning can last longer than the movie itself. One recent effort had more than 6 of these clips (I lost count). Everytime you thought the film was about to start another sodding production company shoved its logo up. Who gives a shit? Seriously? It's like the trailers - who gives a toss who the key grip is? I understand that casting directors may use the credits to identify the good looking extra playing 3rd passenger on the No 42 bus - but surely they can find out with a phone call? Besides, how many casting directors or movie financiers are actually sitting in on the saturday afternoon showing of Toystory 3 in the Bognor Regis UCI anyway?

Still, it does have its upside - on more than one occasion I have completely forgotten what it is I'm supposed to be seeing, and had a pleasant surprise when the film actually starts.




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