‘Spider-Man’ shows that the trailers really do give the movie away

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One reason I don’t like paying $10 to see a movie in the theater — other than paying $10 for a ticket, $15 for popcorn and a Coke and a box of Nerds and sitting in front of people who think they’re at home and talk throughout the entire movie — is the sense I’ve seen the movie already, thanks to the trailers.

If I ran Hollywood, I would decree that trailers couldn’t show scenes that weren’t in the first 20 minutes of the movie.

I mean, with a Hollywood movie, you know the good guy will win. You know the super hero will save the world. You know the lovers will get together and live happily ever after.

You know, because you understand how movies work.

People love “The Shawshank Redemption” (it has 9.2 out of 10 stars and ranks as the most-liked movie on IMDB), but I never got it, because I knew all along that Tim Robbins’ character was a) going to get out of that prison and that b) the evil warden and guards were going to get theirs.

I knew, because it’s a Hollywood movie, and Hollywood doesn’t make movies where a possibly innocent man goes to prison and stays there. I knew, too, because this scene was all over the trailers:

It’s a scene of what looks like redemption, and it’s one of the last shots in the movie. Whatever else happens to Tim Robbins’ character, I knew, sooner or later, he would strike a redemptive pose in the rain, which is Hollywood for “everything will be all right,” and in a movie about a guy who goes to prison, that means getting out of prison.

Hollywood, of course, doesn’t care about spoiling movies, because the studios’ goal is putting people in seats. If that means giving away the ending, tough. 

So, trailers that spoil the movie are nothing new (heck, the original trailer for “Casablanca” shows Rick shooting Major Strasser at the airport), but I think things have gotten out of hand.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a Spider-Man movie coming out this summer. Over the past few weeks, Sony/Columbia has released several trailers and extended scenes to help build excitement and ensure a big opening weekend. (That’s important, because the movie cost a reported $220 million to make.)

Well, someone who goes by the handle Sleepyskunk collected all those random scenes and stitched them together and came up a 25-minute version of the movie that pretty much tells the entire story, from beginning to end. It’s on Screenrant.com (WordPress wouldn’t let me embed the video from Screenrant or other sites that allow embedding, so you’ll need to watch it elsewhere.)

This isn’t leaked footage. This is footage Sony/Columbia released on purpose to promote the movie. It’s footage that’s all over the Internet already.

According to IMDB, “The Amazing Spider-Man” runs 136 minutes, so this 25-minute fan edit represents only about one-quarter of the movie, but, still, that’s too much.

After watching the fan-edited “Ultimate Super Preview,” I’m not sure why I’d want to pay to see the rest of the movie.

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1987 was a better-than-average year for movies

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Raising Arizona

I posted something the other day about how I think the Academy should wait 10 years, at least, before naming the Best Picture of 2011.

I think you need perspective to see what’s really great and what’s merely good … or merely popular or pretentious or politically correct or especially well promoted.

Amy, who blogs at FixItorDeal, commented that she thought “Raising Arizona” should have won Best Picture of 1987.

I loved that movie. I remember skipping class and going to a matinee with my girlfriend at the time. I didn’t know anything about the movie except that it was by the brothers who made “Blood Simple.” I laughed so hard I cried. I’ve quoted the movie ever since, and when I was in Phoenix a few years ago, I made a pilgrimage to the “hayseed bank” Gale and Evelle Snoats robbed in the movie. (“Well, which is it, young feller? You want I should freeze or get down on the ground?”)

Amy’s comment made me wonder, though: Why didn’t “Raising Arizona” win Best Picture?

Probably, I thought, because it’s a comedy, and comedy’s never win, but, also, it turns out that 1987 was a great year for movies.

“Raising Arizona” came out the same year as:

  • “The Princess Bride,” a fairy tale everyone remembers and loves. (“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”) 
  • “Radio Days,” Woody Allen’s look at a Brooklyn family’s life during the Golden Age of Radio.
  • “Cry Freedom,” a politically important apartheid drama with Denzel Washington as Stephen Biko.
  • “The Untouchables,” which earned Sean Connery an Oscar as an honest cop who taught Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) how to do things “the Chicago way.”
  • “Dirty Dancing,” which put Baby in a corner.

And what’s funny is that those movies weren’t even nominated for Best Picture, because 1987 was also the year of:

  • “Wall Street,” Oliver Stone’s indictment of corporate greed. “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”)
  • “Full Metal Jacket,” Stanley Kubrick film about U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War.
  • “Good Morning, Vietnam,” with Robin Williams as an irreverent disc jockey on Armed Forces Radio during the Vietnam War.
  • “Empire of the Sun,” Steven Spielberg’s film about an upper middle class English boy (a young Christian Bale) living in Shanghai who is separated from his parents and placed in a Japanese internment camp.
  • “Roxanne,” Steve Martin’s charming take on “Cyrano de Bergerac.” (“We haven’t had any irony here since about, uh, ’83, when I was the only practitioner of it, and I stopped because I was tired of being stared at.”)

And none of those movies were nominated for Best Picture, either.

The Best Picture of 1987 was “The Last Emporer,” a beautiful epic about the last emporer of China before the Communist revolution.

The other nominees were:

  • “Broadcast News,” a brutal smackdown of the network news business, disguised as a romantic comedy. (“I’ll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time.”)
  • “Fatal Attraction,” a thriller about a mistress who stalks her boyfriend after he breaks up with her.
  • “Moonstruck,” a romantic comedy that won Cher a Best Actress Oscar. (“Fear of death?”)
  • “Hope and Glory,” about a London family during the Blitz. 

I read somewhere it’s almost impossible to make a great movie, because so many pieces have to fall into place, but sometimes the gods smile, and on this, the 25th anniverary of 1987, it’s pretty clear 1987 was a great year for movies.

Stream this tonight: ‘Local Hero’

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About a year ago, I posted something about my favorite movie, a 29-year-old Scottish film called “Local Hero.” It’s the kind of movie most people missed when it came out, but those who’ve seen it love it.

Cover of "Local Hero"

I have the movie on DVD, but, still, I was disappointed to learn from a commenter that it’s out of print, at least in the States. I thought that was a shame, because it’s a sweet little movie that deserves an audience.

So, I was happy when I stumbled upon the movie on iTunes. It’s on Amazon Instant Video, too, and it’s back on DVD as part of a 4-movie collection of Burt Lancaster movies.

If you haven’t seen it, stream it tonight.

Burt Lancaster plays Happer, who runs a big American oil company that wants to buy a Scottish fishing village and replace it with a deep-sea port and massive refinery.

Happer sends Mac (Peter Reigert), who everyone assumes is a Scot, but as Mac tells a guy he works with, “My folks changed their name when they got off the boat from Hungary. They thought that ‘MacIntyre’ was American … I can’t even pronounce my last name.”

If this was a Hollywood movie, Mac would be seduced by the village and find his true love and band together with the locals to defend the village against the evil oil company that wants to destroy it, but this isn’t a Hollywood movie. The locals want to sell. As someone tells Mac, “You can’t eat scenery.”

Pennan today (via Wikipedia).

So, who is the local hero? It’s hard to say. It might be Mac, even though he isn’t local (or even a Scot). It might be Gordon (Denis Lawson), the village lawyer-slash-innkeeper who negotiates the deal that’s going to make everyone “stinkin’ rich.” It might be Ben (Fulton Mackay), who lives in a shack and, it turns out, owns the entire beach and doesn’t want to sell. I suppose it might even be Happer.

What I do know is that there’s a scene near the beginning of the movie. Mac is visiting the company’s lab in Aberdeen, and there’s a pool with a model of the village, Ferness.

One of the scientists is explaining the refinery project when he picks up the village and hands the model to Mac. “Here, hold Ferness a minute, would you?” he says. When Mac’s ready to leave, he tries to give the model back, but the scientist says he doesn’t want it. “Take it,” he tells Mac. “Keep it.”

And that’s basically what the movie is about. Mac gets to hold Ferness for a minute.

When the movie’s over, I guarantee you’ll want to visit the Scottish village where it was filmed (that would be Pennan), and you’ll want the soundtrack. Here’s a live version of Mark Knopfler’s closing theme, “Going Home.”