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Hype Hype, Hooray!

by The Cranky Media Guy

Lemme see here...Hillary Clinton says that Bill cheats because when he was a boy, his mother and grandmother didn't get along. You mean that's all it takes to justify infidelity? You want dysfunction? I got your dysfunction, pal! Hell, my mother and my father's mother got along like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr! Using Hillary's logic, I should be able to screw the Mormon Tabernacle Choir if I wanna. I mean, in the right light, those choir robes look kinda HOT! Get a guy all worked up, if you know what I mean (and I think you do). Ah, but I digress.

What I really wanted to talk about was hype. For the purposes of our little discussion today, we will define hype as "stuff that's made out to be a lot bigger than it really is." You know, like...well, like damn near everything in American life anymore. Ask yourself, what's the last movie you saw that lived up to the hype that preceded it? Star Wars, Episode One? Puh-leeze! Here in the D.C. area, there was a guy who actually quit his job so he could see Star Wars on Opening Day! Trying explaining that to a case worker months later when you're applying for food stamps!

Every now and then, I'll see somebody on TV talking about how audiences today are "too sophisticated" to fall for the kind of stuff that Hollywood used to do in the old days. Yeah, right, a movie that has a horny teenage boy poking a pie is sophisticated, state-of-the-art, millennial stuff, all righty. I guess in the old days, the Hays Office would have ordered the filmmakers to show him with one foot on the floor while he made love to the filling. How far we have come! Bottom line: technology may get more sophisticated, but people don't. A recent survery said that 56% of American adults thought that fairies with blow torches made their toaster work. OK, I made that up, but would you really have been surprised if it was true?

So, the First Lady did an interview with a magazine in which she said that Bill is a horndog because the women in his family fought back when he was a crumb snatcher. Everybody's going nuts over this thing. Why? Did anybody think she was going to say, "He's always let the little head do the thinking for the big head?" I'm at a loss to figure out why her remarks are such a big deal. I know August is traditionally a slow news month, but come on! If she had said, "I've had it with that hillbilly pipe-laying son of a bitch!", THAT would be news! Plus, it would have been really funny! It would have been almost as funny as hearing that Jerry Springer is considering a run for the Senate. (Speaking of Springer, isn't it amazing how the guest fights, which the show staff swore they absolutely did not instigate, stopped cold as soon as the producers decided they needed to take things in a different direction? Boy, didn't that work out well?) Anyway, I nominate Hillary's interview with Talk Magazine (which nobody has even read yet, because it's a new magazine) as a primo example of Grade-A Hype.

Want another one? I've got four words for you: The Blair Witch Project. Was this made by the same guys responsible for that Alien Autopsy scam Fox milked to death a few years ago? What you have here is a $32,000 movie, shot with hand-held cameras about some student filmmakers who are "investigating" a local legend about a witch. They disappear and, a year later, the film is found in the woods they vanished in. The lost-and-found footage is what you're supposedly seeing. You're trying to tell me that people actually believe this load of manure? Um, do they smack you on the back of the head with a two by four as you enter the theater? Don't you think that if several student filmmakers had disappeared, you would have heard of it before this? Wouldn't this be just the kind of thing that Hard Copy thrives on? I saw a news story on AOL the other night that had a headline that said something like, "Some suspect Blair Witch story made up by filmmakers". Gee, do you think?

Strip away the B.S. and what you have is a brilliant way to hype a cheesey student movie. These guys have managed to find a way to turn something that would normally have been condemned to play campus film festivals into an actual theatrical motion picture. I admit to some admiration for what they've pulled off here. If you're gonna work some hype, REALLY WORK IT! No George Lucas big-budget promotional campaign here. These guys did it the old fashioned way: they lied! Maybe Lincoln was right that you can't fool all the people all the time. You can, apparantly, fool enough of 'em to do $28 million at the box office in your first week, though. Now that's hype!

 

 

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