Bad Trailer/Good Trailer: “Brothers” and “The Crazies”

I saw F. Gary Gray’s Law Abiding Citizen last night, and saw two incredible trailers, which prompted this aside:

The purpose of an advertisement is to make me want to buy your product, Hollywood. If I don’t see a trailer for your film, I’ll at least feel neutral about it. If I see a compelling, provocative trailer, I may well want to see the film. But if I see a trailer that gives away the whole damn plot (or at least gives me that impression), it will leave me utterly uninterested.

Whether we’re talking about a cheesy, but potentially enjoyable armored car heist or Tom Hanks forging a deep friendship with a volleyball, this has been a problem for a while.

But it’s rare that I’ve seen such an egregious offender as Jim Sheridan’s Brothers:

I don’t need to see this movie. Ever.

Remarkably, in the same evening, I saw an absolutely balls-out-audacious trailer that gave away a TON about its film – Breck Eisner’s “The Crazies” – and yet still left me wanting to see it:

Story structure exists for a reason. You can pitch me a movie without revealing every twist. It’s okay. Really.

Both of these films have their selling points. The acting looks solid in Brothers, and I’m quite pleased to see someone acknowledge the uncanny resemblance between Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire. I approve of the The Crazies‘ shameless appropriation of Gary Jules’ “Mad World” (originally written for Donnie Darko), and it looks like potentially fun cheese (although I’ve been burned by that assessment before).

These films may be good or bad, and that’s really not the point. We’re talking about the difference between a book jacket and the Cliff’s Notes.

Tantalize me, Hollywood. Give me a little, and leave me wanting more, and I may just buy a ticket.

*There are two exceptions to this rule:
-Romantic comedies. The quantity of “spoilers” in the trailer had no bearing on my decision not to see Love Happens.
Marley and Me (only obliquely related, and thoroughly spoilerific).

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