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No Country for Product Placement

May 22, 2008

I remember when there was a big deal about Ted Turner going in and colorizing old movies. That’s nothing compared to what they can do with computers these days.

Now film companies can put product placement anywhere in any movie, and unless you saw the original in the theater you’d never know it.

Let’s look at a movie I saw in the theater and then rented for home viewing on DVD: No Country for Old Men.

At the beginning when Llewelyn Moss comes across the drug deal gone bad, instead of various old trucks on the scene they have all been digitally changed into the new Hummer H2.

Or like when Anton Chigurh is talking with that guy at the gas station. Instead of a coin flip, now he asks “What’s the most you ever lost in a game of Pop-o-Matic Trouble?” And then they play Trouble for fifteen straight minutes. In one take.

“Don’t put it in your closet. It’s your lucky board game from Milton Bradley. Anywhere not in your closet, where it’ll get mixed up with the others and become just another board game… which it is.”

Or like how Tommy Lee Jones has been replaced by the GEICO lizard.

“There was this boy I sent to the ‘lectric chair at Huntsville here a while back. My arrest and my testimony. He killt a fourteen-year-old girl. Papers said it was a crime of passion but he told me there wasn’t any passion to it. Told me that he’d been planning to kill somebody for about as long as he could remember. Said that if they turned him out he’d do it again. Said he knew he was going to hell. “Be there in about fifteen minutes”. I don’t know what to make of that. I surely don’t. The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it. I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job. But, I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He’d have to say, ‘O.K., I’ll be part of this world.'”

Yeah, that speech isn’t quite as a powerful when it’s 1)spoken by a CGI gecko with an overly polite Cockney accent, and 2) is immediately followed by the phrase “But it won’t save you any money on your car insurance.”

Now maybe I shouldn’t be watching movies after having a hot fudge peyote sundae, but you tell me when the best time to have a psychotropic dessert is. Yeah, how about you provide some solutions for once?

Now let’s pop the DVD of that new version of Hotel Rwanda that’s just one giant Old Navy advertisement.

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