Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Report from the Phantom Zone

Dear movie industry liars,

Why have you decided that it is easier to make a bad movie with good advertising than to just make a good movie? You should hire the guys who make your ads to make your movies because they must be super-creative to make your crap look interesting. Almost everyone I know shows up at the movies early to watch the previews because they are actually exciting! Usually the movie is a huge disappointment where people leaving saying things like “all the good scenes were in the ads” or “that is not at all what the ads made it look like”.

(I should probably say spoiler-alter here, but you are probably well aware that all of your movies are more spoiled than Madonna’s baby in a Gap store. Ok I’ll say it any way.)

Spoiler Alert!

Take for example the ads for “Orphan” which make the movie look scary and they actually say it has a twist, well it turns out the movie is a comedy because a) the parents are named John and Kate (ha!) b) you can see a microphone boom in a number of shots and c) the adopted girl is a midget. (Seriously, that’s the twist! How funny is that!)

The “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” ads make it look like a new movie, but most of it was stolen from other movies. The temple scenes were from Indiana Jones, the Terminatrix was from Terminator 3, the scene in the Matrix where Smith implants Neo with a bug was just completely ripped off, the battle in the Smithsonian was like “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”, and even parts of “Team America” were put into the plot of the Transformers! Why are you stealing from bad movies! How can you not be creative enough to steal from good movies?

Recipe for Crap Cake:
* 2 teenage love triangles
* 1 hour of character development followed by nothing
* 22 year old actors trying to play 16
* the ability to do magic, but no action scenes
* a PG rating
Bake 2.5 hours, makes one “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” crap cake.

In order to help you tell the truth about your movies, we recommend developing a whole new rating system. Since most the previous rating systems like the PG scale, thumbs-up/thumbs-down or the “how many” stars system appear to be arbitrary, completely political, or have no meaning at all, we have developed a new system for you. Feel free to implement it as you see fit.

Our new movie rating system is based on the award winning 1980’s television series “The Golden Girls.” As everyone knows, the best part of the series was old women saying inappropriate things. So from now on, movie ads should not say things like “Movie of the decade – New York Times” or “A real popcorn flick – the Boston Globe” and instead they should quote from the “Golden Girls” like:

”Fasten your seatbelt, slut puppy. This ain't gonna be no cakewalk.”-Sophia
“I hope you like it, Dorothy said you would like something crotchless.”-Rose
“I'm not patronizing you I'm mocking you.” - Dorothy
“Eat dirt and die trash.“ –Blanche
“Funny, touching and with a surprise twist ending. I wonder if it was true. Damn that stroke.” - Sophia
“It looks like the road company of Cocoon.” - Dorothy
“I haven't seen that much face-eating since Silence of the Lambs.” - Sophia
“I thought since you look like Yoda you were also wise.” - Blanche
“Try kissing my behind. It's a real peach!” –Sophia

Using "Golden Girls" quotes in movie ads will be just about as accurate as current movie ads, but they will also be funny. Or you could try making good movies, but I doubt that will happen.

Concerned Citizens,
The Aishman

Sunday, July 05, 2009

A Report from the Phantom Zone

I pull over into a gas station that has a fruit stand set-up in the parking lot. You know, one of those stands under a tent with a huge hand painted sign that looks like a Walker Evans photo. Everything is the size of something else. Oranges the size of grapefruit. Grapefruit the size of watermelon.

“It’s all organic. 100% natural.” Says the teenage girl behind the counter without lifting her head to look at me. Bored. Hot. Tired. She looks like she’s been sitting in the Georgia sun all day. Rotting. Or maybe ripening …

“How can this food be organic? It’s unnaturally huge …” I ask.

“I dunno. I’m just supposed to say that or no one will buy it. Everything’s all organic, all natural, all the time at this market. I guess it’s just our culture now.” She replies. “You know that’s true for everything …” She looks off to the side and then back down, as if testing me. Seeing if I’ll take the bait.

So, I do.

“What do you mean?” I ask, knowing I’ve sprung the trap. She’s been waiting all day to talk to someone. Sitting at a boring job can either be mind numbing or time for contemplation. The difference between a roadside fruit stand and a monastery is attitude. I think I’m standing in front of a monk who is just pretending to be bored …

“See people don’t understand that this isn’t simply a “market”.” She says without looking up. ” This is our culture. It’s the culture of the 21st century where the economy dominates everything, particularly the way people think. For food, people want things to be “all natural”; the fact that nature makes the deadliest substances around does not seem to matter. I bet if I told some people who stop through here that arsenic or cyanide are 100% natural (which they are) they’d eat some! Our culture is the manifestation of the ideas that drive the economy. Like what do you do?”

“I’m an artist.” I reply.

“Well the art market is just like this stand. It’s not just a market, it is culture. People have a hard time understanding this because we have no distance from it. It’s easier to look back in time at artists like Michelangelo. The church was the culture of his time, so he painted the Sistine Chapel. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Mikey resented the commission, because his feelings and intentions are not important. All that is left the expression of the culture of the time. All that will be left of this time is the market, unless something changes, which it always does. So what type of artist are you? Do you make work for the market, about the market, or something else?”

“You speak like you’re an artist …” I dodge the question.

She smiles. “Everyone needs a summer job.” She still hasn’t made eye contact. I finally see why. She’s been looking down because she’s been drawing on a pad I could not see behind all of the huge fruit. She’s been drawing me since I walked up. There are stacks of journals and drawing pads behind the tables.

“Do you sell those?” I ask.

“I sell fruit.” She puts the pad down, stands up and makes eye contact. “So are you going to buy some or what?”

Looks like I failed the test. Everything else was all business after that. I ask if I can take a picture and she says no.

So, I buy some 100% natural, all organic apples the size of softballs and drive off.

I don’t know why I bought the apples.

I’m allergic to fruit.

Walker Evans, Roadside Stand near Birmingham,1936

Massive apples by a regular apple.

Mikey’s Chapel painting