We watch... so you don't have to.

The Evolution Of a 30-Second Movie Trailer Critic

God Bless Television.

Thanks to what our proletarian comrades in the late, lamented Soviet Union used to call The Blue Screen, my innate anti-social "tendencies" have finally reached full flower, even as my attention span and short-term memory hurtle toward the abyss side by side, as if Galileo had dropped them together into the burning maw of hell. "Gravity acts equally on all objects, regardless of mass," sayeth the Heretic, lo those many eons ago.

Well, no duh! Thanks for running around the 14th Century, or whenever the hell it was, yammering on and on and on and on, annoying the shit out of everybody with your great discoveries and revelations concerning the obvious and the mundane. You were a pimple on the ass of the Holy Roman Empire, Galileo. The Pope had your number, home boy, and if he hadn't finally busted a cap in your ass, God knows what stupid stunt you would've pulled--something like, say, inventing radio, founding the Excellence In Broadcasting network, and fouling the airwaves of the Renaissance with three daily hours of Mega Dittoes about what the fucking sun does or doesn't revolve around.

Like it really matters. It shines, doesn't it?

Now, if Galileo had really wanted to leave a legacy that his many bastard children could've been proud of, he would've gotten off his ass, put the cork back in the wine bottle, and done something truly useful. Like inventing television. And the 30-second movie trailer.

Especially the 30-second movie trailer.

I had this revelation, neither obvious or mundane, a few weeks ago. I was sitting in my living room, cleaning my illegal assault rifle, minding my own damned business, when the wife dared speak to me unbidden. Blessed chemicals have blurred the memory of that most unfortunate lapse, but as I recall the conversation went something like this:

Wife: How come we never go anywhere together anymore?

Me: Urp.

Wife: We never do anything.

Me: Beer.

Wife: Can't we at least go to a movie sometime?

Me: Where the hell's that damned beer?

Wife: Movie blah blah blah blah Movie blah blah blah blah Affair blah blah blah Lawyer blah blah blah Divorce blah blah blah I WANNA GO SEE A GODDAMN MOVIE! Blah.

Me: I done told you not to go around hiding my beer.

So, having thus decided that we were going to see a movie, it was left only to decide which movie. And, for that, we turned to our dear friend, the magic box through which passeth all knowledge, our television. Surely, it would lead us through this little rough patch in our holy and consecrated union, and allow us to resume our mutual journey along the path of wedded bliss together.

And such is the beauty of the 30-second movie trailer. See, a 30-second movie trailer is, in fact, the entire damned movie, in miniature. Reduced to its elemental essence, like a haiku of a movie. Free. Beamed straight into your own little out-of-the-way, isolated, heavily-fortified compound, as it were. No sticky floors, no overpriced tickets, no sickening stench of buttered popcorn, no squalling children. And, most importantly, no lengthy attention span required.

At first, wife was reluctant to credit my most logical and evolved reasoning. More blah blah blah, more kvetch kvetch kvetch. But then, we watched the trailer for "Mission to Mars" together, and soon enough it all became clear to her.

Wife: "Mission to Mars" looks interesting. Let's go see this one.

Me: Well, there's Gary Sinise, floating around in a spaceship. Wait, now there are dinosaurs and mastodons running around. A picture of human DNA. Oops, now they're all floating again. Now they're in a big white room watching a comet hit the earth. Woah--a giant Sand Tornado Monster is eating Gary Sinise! Now he's drowning. What's that charbroiled alien thing holding out in his hand, do you suppose?

Wife: Huh?

Me: Exactly.

Wife: OK, no "Mission To Mars."

Me: Well, I did sorta like the idea of grievous harm coming to Gary Sinise. And that big white room was intriguing--I wonder if Brian DePalma got hold of some "2001: A Space Odyssey" outakes at the Stanley Kubrick estate auction?

Or take the trailer for the new Julia Roberts movie, "Erin Brockovich." Some mid-cult pop song by Sheryl Crow starts playing. Some face shots of Julia pop onto the screen, showing her full range of acting talent--bemused yet flustered, and flighty yet coy. Then she makes a comment about hating lawyers, but working for them anyway. Then she says something about her boobs having magical powers to elicit information about something from someone. Next, Julia is in an office, the frame freezes, and "Erin Brockovich" flashes up on the screen--it's at this point when I thought Julia's appearance on Law & Order last year was just a precursor of a sickening career slide into ill-conceived and oft-cancelled spring replacement series on Fox. Hell, what I really expected was for the words "A Quinn Martin Production" to suddenly appear underneath the words "Erin Brockovich."

But, alas, that didn't happen. Instead, there are more pictures of Julia acting her tight little ass off, promising to help some unfortunate in need, and then she slumps against an office door, a look of tired but winsome satisfaction pasted on her face by the makeup department of whichever studio wants us all to experience the slow death of fingernails rasping against the chalkboard of our aesthetic sensibilities. Julia looks cute, Julia flashes cleavage, Julia gets job, Julia does something good but really hard, Julia gets really really tired, Julia is happy.

In other words, it's her autobiography.

And, thanks to television, thanks to the 30-second movie trailer, I didn't have to waste one red cent on it. Didn't have to leave my compound unguarded and dangerously exposed. Didn't, in fact, have to move one lazy bone in my body.

How sweet is that?

So, will I ever bother to sit through a whole movie again, now that I have uncovered the secret of the 30-second movie trailer? I plan to. Actually, once I establish my libertarian dictatorship, I'll be able to arrange my own private screenings of all the latest and greatest Hollywood flicks in that spiffy screening room in the basement of the White House--the very same screening room that luminaries like Gary Sinise brag about getting invited to when they go on The Tonight Show.

When I establish my libertarian dictatorship, I expect I'll do a whole lot of things. You're gonna regret that Cousin Humper remark, Chris Rywalt, yes sir you are--no invitations to the Willie Nelson Memorial White House Rooftop Hempatorium for you, boy, or for any of your ilk. And as for that foul-mouthed, chain-smoking, liquor-swilling vixen bitch Shannen Doherty, well... every maniacal libertarian dictator worth his jism needs a mistress. You just tell El Presidente what you want done with mean old Aaron Spelling, honey, and remember to leave those spike-heeled shoes on when you come to bed tonight, yes yes.

But until that bright and happy day arrives for us all, I'll always have the 30 second-movie trailer to see me through the lean times. The seed times. The times all who would rule by cruelty and caprice must go through, that their bile might be up to destiny's demands.

Did I say it before? Hell yeah, I did! And I'll say it again.

God Bless Television.


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