My Take by Jim Carl - January 18, 2012
MY TAKE is a blog about my funny life experiences that happened to involve movies, and how I found myself in charge of programming films for a living. I’ll discuss how certain movies came to be responsible for my bad attitude, memories, associations, personal beliefs, and plain stupidity. Yes, I fully intend to trash films considered sacred in certain circles, and will probably offer a poor explanation for doing so. I also intend to squander praise on movies considered awful by most everyone, even if it makes me sound ridiculous, because I have a funny memory to share about them. Again, I’m not writing reviews. All I mean to do here is tell some good stories, and perhaps a clever lie or two. No one has ever accused me of suffering a shortage of ways to make a fool of myself, and because blogging is one I haven’t tried, at least this is one most of my friends haven’t yet seen.
JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY (1984)
Johnny Dangerously was a Christmas release in 1984. Its trailer starting running in February, 1981. It says something that I cannot recall a time during my early teens when, it felt, the trailer for this film was not playing in theatres. Is it possible to see a trailer so many times that it makes you not want to see the film? So many times that you grow to hate the movie? That you feel angry the moment you recognize its opening image? Johnny Dangerously is the first movie that I hated in advance of having seen it, not that I ever would. It was the first time that I realized that, yes, movies can be overmarketed, and that's not the same as raising false expectations, which is something different, and a topic I'll later address. No, I'm talking ad-by-ad coverage here. Not only did I hate the movie, I wished a foul, terrible fate to befall it. On-set accidents, fire, famine, and plague. I wished that The Cotton Club (another Christmas 1984 release) would obliterate it, even though I had no intention of seeing The Cotton Club, either. It was competing against Johnny Dangerously, and that's all that mattered. Eventually, Johnny Dangerously became a fantastic box-office dud, and I was very happy. To this day, I have never seen it and I never will. My life is no worse for it. More recently, I felt the same way about Shutter Island. Could they have run that damn trailer any more often in theatres? I will never see Shutter Island. if only because that’s my revenge for having to sit through the trailer so many times, and because I can all ready tell the entire movie (SPOILER) is happening in Leonardo DiCaprio’s head. Yes, the trailer gives away the entire plot of the film!
Is there a trailer you seemingly watch every time you go to the movies? A trailer that you’re sick of seeing? So sick that you’ve vowed to never see the movie? Tell me about it.
JIM CARL is Senior Director of the Carolina Theatre. He has been in charge of its film program since 1995. Some of his favorite contemporary movies include True Grit, Jaws, Dolores Claiborne, Silkwood, The China Syndrome, The Right Stuff, Aliens, The Fog (1980), and almost anything involving Great White Sharks, Gilda Radner, George Burns, or is set underwater. His favorite movie of all time is Ordinary People. Some of his least-favorite contemporary movies include 300, The Other Guys, Moulin Rouge, District 9, Take Me Home Tonight, The Tourist, Sherlock Holmes, O Brother Where Art Thou?, Scarface (1983) and almost anything involving snarky twentysomethings, British gangsters, gross sexual humor, or extended action scenes in slow motion. His least-favorite movie of all time is Pulp Fiction. He is a film believer in the presentation and preservation of 35mm film and will book any movie he suspects will make money, even if he hates it.