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I Outgrew Aliens: The Blog of Spike Marshall
#1
http://chud.com/articles/blogs/2444/...-Trailers.html

Have at it gents, any feedback would be most appreciated. Especially in terms of tone or length.
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#2
Trailers are a tricky thing to get right, on the one hand they have to make the film appeal to as many people as possible but on the other you actually have to sell what makes the film interesting. You are very right it seems to be a dying art, I can only thing of 3 trailers in the last few months that have made me want to see a film I had not interest in beforehand (which after all should be its job).


Great start Spike, I really liked this blog.
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#3
Cool blog dude.

I've got to say that I've been trying to avoid trailers recently (apart from those for films I've never heard of), and for the most part it's only increased my enjoyment. I'd forgotten how much fun it was entering a film with barely any knowledge beforehand.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#4
Yeah, I’m trying to forego online trailers now just because I like to be surprised by trailers when I go to the cinema. There’s nothing like being sat in a cinema and catching the Iron Man 2 or Dark Knight trailers on the big screen first. I always felt that films like those are inherently cinematic experiences and by watching material on your laptop, HDTV or whatever you’re robbing yourself of a little of the experience.
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#5
Nice job, Spike!

I agree with your point about the experience of viewing trailers outside the cinema diminishing the impact. It doesn't usually stop me from doing it if there's a new one released and I'm curious, but it is an unspoken part of the deal. The trade-off for speed is that little layer of icing being skimmed off the top, the layer that sometimes makes you think "balls to this nonsense, I wanna see that movie now!" at the pictures.

Tron Legacy gave me a very similar reaction, too.
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#6
Wow. Great blog. I feel slightly intimidated with my own efforts after reading that. Having followed some of your comments in the forums for the past few years, I've always found that you bring a really good balance to film discussion. And that has certainly carried over to your blog. Great stuff!
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#7
Good stuff, Spike. I admit I pretty regularly give in to the temptation to check out trailers online, but nothing beats seeing them in a theater. That's undeniable. Even so, a lot of them suck, and some of it is the general style that applies to virtually all contemporary trailers. There's something about trailers from the 80s and earlier, even really bad ones are better than bad modern ones. They don't make em like they used to. Feel the same about posters.
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#8
It's a weird one, because I feel the current wave of nostalgia and remakes is partially responsible for this. When you're adapting or remaking properties already in the public conciousness I think trailer makers feel they only have to show proof of existence. It's like people like Wolverine, so naturally people are going to be excited for a Wolverine film so let's just show Wolverine but give no real energy or passion to the trailer. Same thing with Iron Man 2, it feels like it's preaching to to the converted, to the people who are going to see the film ANYWAY.
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#9
True. I also think it's pandering to the LCD, which even goes beyond the remake and sequel trend. It's yet another symptom of the sort of climate of anti-intellectualism we're in these days. Also the fact that we're movie geeks so we're paying closer attention, whereas for some people "proof of existence" is all that's needed.
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#10
We're talking about the front, man!

In which I discuss the lack of frontmen in modern music. And yes that is a crappy mobile phone picture in the middle of the article.
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#11
Spot on there Spike. The Darkness' brief run gave us our last real frontman. With the exception of older bands there are no real "old school" frontmen left.
Which is a real shame because when you see a band live you do not exactly the same exeperince as the album you have at home.
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#12
Glad you liked it Ken, I fear I waffled on a bit more than I intended but at least I got my point across.
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#13
Quote:

Originally Posted by Spike Marshall
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Glad you liked it Ken, I fear I waffled on a bit more than I intended but at least I got my point across.

You did a great job of going into detail but not over-egging it. Very enjoyable stuff, again. I'm getting used to agreeing with your blogs! Bloc Party's Kele would neatly fit into the Tom Smith category. He, for me, is emblematic of that time (starting around 04'-?) when it became fashionable to fit that "reluctant frontman" persona for a lot of British bands' singers. The fact that I had to think seriously about the last time I saw a band that hues closer to the more traditional, "you come to watch me" frontman mold - Greg Dulli when I saw the Twilight Singers - says it all.
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#14
It's probably a different kettle but aside from the Hidden Cameras the last great front man I saw was Adam Green in January. Now Adam Green is a solo artist, with a backing band of session musicians, but he completely played the front man archetype.

Messing with the audience, stage diving, chatting, dancing like a motherfucker. Generally just acting like ye olde rock star. Maybe that's the new paradigm, solo artists with backing bands.
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#15
If The Darkness counts, surely Dick Valentine of The Electric Six must count as a throwback-y, "true" frontman.

In the friendliest way possible, I want to suggest (to a stunning number of blogs, but right now I'm here) that spellchecking isn't the same as proofreading. You have good stuff to say; it deserves to be conveyed properly.
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#16
Thanks Phil, I was actually re-reading it this morning because it felt 'off' and realised that one in five of my sentences are kind of mangled. Really need to work on that, because it looks like pathetic.

Yeah Dick Valentine definitely counts. I still have fond memories of seeing Electric Six and him just getting bored during a guitar solo and just doing a bunch of push ups on stage.

Thom Yorke's another interesting case because even though he plays Guitar, now, he still views himself as primarily a vocalist and I've heard that he HATES the crowd singing along to songs because it invalidates what he's doing.
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#17
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil
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If The Darkness counts, surely Dick Valentine of The Electric Six must count as a throwback-y, "true" frontman.

I'm not saying I think this is right, but I'm pretty sure that Electric Six's gimmicky, "comedy" feel kept them from being perceived in the same way as the kinds of bands Spike mentioned (and I added to) by a lot of people. I can see where you're coming from, though. His influences are very apparent from their videos.
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#18
I think The Darkness operates in that same self-aware jokey miasma that Electric Six embraces. As Spike says, it's the live shows where his frontman attitude is mostly apparent.
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#19
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil
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I think The Darkness operates in that same self-aware jokey miasma that Electric Six embraces. As Spike says, it's the live shows where his frontman attitude is mostly apparent.

I'd go along with that, but there was still a pretty marked distinction between the two when they first arrived. I remember being the only person from our group who didn't want to see The Darkness at Reading in '04 (when they were at their absolute peak) and getting lots of "what? why not?!"'s. How could someone not want to see such a fun, throwback band? People would also listen to them in their own time. However, Electric Six were always the kind of band that most people would see at a festival for the songs they knew from the radio and TV and that was about it (like the Dandy Warhols.) They were mentioned in much the same breath as Tenacious D and other "guilty pleasures."
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#20
I think given time The Darkness might have evolved into a more serious band. I saw them as the next Queen in many ways and it's a shame we didn't get to see if that was true.
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#21
I'm digging your blog dude. It makes some good points. The only band I've caught recently that had an electrifying front man was OK Go. They're best known for their gimmicky videos, but onstage Kulash pretty much had the audience in the palm of his hand.
I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#22
Salieri Is My Soulmate

In which I explain how in becoming a self destructive champion of medicority Salieri became truly relatable to me.
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#23
Great blog Spike. What's interesting is you have touched upon two of my own personal theories. The first (and one I used in a novel I'm writing) is that not everyone can be world class at something, so in order to be happy you have to find the right kind of "normal" to fit into.

As for Salieri, his depiction in the film always made me think he would have made a better philosopher than Composer.
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#24
Thanks for the feedback Ken. I was worried that I might have sort of lost the point I was trying to make halfway through, but I apparently got it out there.
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#25
These are cool Spike, I think you do a pretty bloody good job of expressing your points. On Salieri; I wonder if there isn't a better way to describe him than as a 'mediocre man'. The way 'Salieri spends weeks agonising over a piece' that Mozart would spend mere minutes perfecting shows a paucity of talent compared to the great man, but compared to a truly mediocre man Salieri is a beast of determination. Wouldn't a truly mediocre man have quit without even trying to take Mozart on?

As for frontmen, where the 80s had the preening and peacocking Bono, Bon Jovi and Stipe, and the 90s had the scowling, prowling likes of Vedder, Cornell, Gallagher and De La Rocha, the 2000s did manage to spit up the magnificent Howling Pelle Almqvist and the less manic but nevertheless oddly charismatic Brandon Flowers and Julian Casablancas. If there was a defining band of the 2000s it was The White Stripes, for whom Jack White is every inch the brilliant front man, although if we're only counting dudes who don't wear a gat or keyboard he's out of the picture. Almqvist though is an utterly superb showman. He's of the lineage of James Brown, Mick Jagger and Iggy Pop, a pure force of wild-eyed swagger and condensed sexual potency. I can't disagree with your point that his type seems more rare these days though.
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#26
I think it's the way that Salieri tries to take him on that creates a sense of mediocrity. The film goes out of its way to showcase Salieri as being forgotten and formless. He's lived long enough to see his great works forgotten by the public and he's come face to face with the realisation that determination is nothing next to talents gifted by a cruel god. Him slinking away into a corner would be an act of mediocrity, but him using his status and his influence to destroy something that he truly loves also comes across as the act of a man who is desperate to ignore his own unworthiness. He has an acute sense of his own lack of raw talent next to Mozart and seeks to remove the threat through means that don't require talent.

Jesus, that sounds positively Randian.

In regards to frontmen. One of my abiding gig memories was seeing The Hives in Manchester and watching as Pelle attempted to work his magic on a crowd who were having none of it. I think that might be one of the reasons why you don't see many classical frontmen today, a fear that an audience might not take kindly to that arrogance and ostentatiousness. I mean look at the public reaction to people like Chris Martin. I've never seen The White Stripes live so I'm not sure how he represents himself but the snippets of live footage I've seen suggest that he's more of a Matt Bellamy style awe inspiring musician rather than a showy leader.

Thanks for taking the time to read these.
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#27
Re: Salieri - That's fair and well said, I just don't find 'mediocre' to be the right word because mediocre people don't have the passion and dedication of Salieri. On the other hand I can't think of a better word so you're one up on me anyway.

Re: The Hives - Please tell me they were only playing support when that Manc crowd turned their retarded noses up at Pelle's shenanigans. I can understand a certain type of imbecile/hipster turning their noses up at the Hives' stylish wildness, but an actual Hives fan rejects all that tired, ironic detachment and embraces the bejesus out of the pure sexual dynamism of rock'n'roll. I've never seen the public reaction to Chris Martin though, what is it you mean by that?

Re: Jack White/Matt Bellamy - I've seen Muse and The White Stripes in the flesh and while Bellamy is a very skilled player and a likable guy I find as a front man he doesn't have a lot of natural charisma. That band works live because of the sheer force of the melodrama in their tunes and stageshow, not because there's a compelling personality to it. Jack White is a very different state of affairs, not the Pelle/Iggy/Jagger type of strutting showman but nevertheless possessing the kind of rock'n'roll blues voodoo swagger that makes him a very compelling presence. To put it another way, Bellamy seems like he got his skill practising for thousands of hours in his bedroom, while Jack White seems like he made a deal with the devil.
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#28
No the Hives were the headliners and the Manc crowd just hated them.

At one point Pelle shouted 'THE HIVES ARE GOING TO TEAR THIS BUILDING DOWN'

And some guy shouted out 'HAVE YOU GOT PLANNING PERMISSION FOR THAT' and the entire crowd started a 'YOU'RE ALL WANKERS' chant. It was kind of hilarious and utterly frustrating.
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#29
The Terror of Logic

In which I discuss why in terms of cinem the quiet unassuming psychopath is, for me, infinitely scarier than his manic bretheren.
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#30
Some great points there; if you haven't already done so I suggest you check out the TV show Dexter, he is a great example of what you are talking about here.

I think, for me, the reason the logical serial killer is scarier is that he is more believable. When you watch something Friday the 13th or one of the Nightmare films you know in the back of your mind you could never meet a character like this in real life. A serial killer however is a very real possibility and to make it worse you have no way of distinguishing them from a "normal" person
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#31
Dexter’s an interesting case actually because the show uses his rationality as a way to justify his actions. That show makes us an accomplice to his actions and even then Dexter can be absolutely terrifying as a character at times. Even understanding the root of his pathology and being inside his head doesn’t ‘soften’ his character as much as it probably should.
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#32
What I love about Dexter is just when you start to warm to him and sort of forget what he is the writers hit you hard with something to reminded you.
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#33
A new blog, in which I talk about how Donnie Yen saved Kung Fu cinema from the knees and elbows of Tony Jaa
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#34
I really don't know enough about Asian cinema, great blog Spike very informative.

Side question, if I wanted to dive into this world what would be the best film to start with?
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#35
As a litmus test I'd suggest watching Hard Boiled, Project A, Fist of Legend, House of Flying Daggers and Infernal Affairs.

That should give you an idea of the tonality of HK cinema, if you like any of those get back to me and I should be able to work from there.

.
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