19 October 2006

Morning Radio Indignance

I was listening to the radio this morning while I was getting ready to go to work and an ad for the movie Flags of our Fathers about the American flag raising at Iwo Jima during the Second World War. Now normally I wouldn’t go in for this kind of Jerry-Bruckheimer-esque-schlock-o-rama, but if that’s your cup of tea, go right ahead —we can’t all like art flicks about suffering Albanian orphans.

However, after listening to this commercial, I’m now on a mission to make sure no Canadian worth their poutine sees this movie. The commercial announcer was talking: “Blah, blah, blah. Schlocky patriotic rah-rah …it was our country’s greatest battle…”

—I have a hard time understanding how the Battle of Iwo Jima could be Canada’s greatest battle since no Canadians were actually there!

Clearly, Warner Brothers just took the American commercial and slapped it on the radio up here thinking everything would be just fine, in a clear lapse of know-your-market advertising. Consequently, I’m calling for a boycott of this film (which you probably wouldn’t have seen anyway) to defend our national honour and to protest American ignorance and steamrollering.

I officially give Flags of our Fathers two thumbs down!

12 comments:

jase said...

i can understand your indignity (it'd be like a New Zealand ad playing in Oz, but that'd never happen since nothing good's ever come out of there. except Xena: Warrior Princess, of course.) but before you go boycott crazy, Clint Eastwood directed a companion movie to 'Flags Of Our Fathers' called the 'Battle Of Iwo Jima', which is from the Japanese perspective (and the dialogue is entirely in Japanese, reality fans!) The two movies intersect in one brief scene and they show a fairly important historical event from opposite views (with, admirably i think, no bias or conclusions drawn as to who was right or wrong.) Obviously, few Yanks will see the Japanese story but I wouldn't go getting your tanty on just yet. it might very well be worth seeing (both.)

Jennifer said...

Actually Jason, I think that it would be more like subjecting the poor New Zealanders to your crap Australian mass market advertising. ;-)

TT, I'm totally on board with your pointless boycot of a film neither of us would have watched anyway. I'm watching a show about the movie right now (can't reach the remote) and Ryan Phillipe looks like crap in his interviews. But 'the master of disaster' from Hackers is in it.

Jennifer said...

Oooh ooh... Maybe you should put the producers of Flags of Our Fathers on notice!

Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jennifer said...

In fact, I think it's time that someone got move up to the 'dead to me' list.
Sorry about the spam above, I posted the same thing a bunch of times.

Praxis Theatre said...

I don't find your argument pursuasive Dan. Clint Eastwood is one of the most interesting American feature film directors currently working within the classical hollywood narrative mode. To dismiss his work as Bruckheimer-esque, if you'll forgive my bluntness, is ignorant. Especially since you're passing this judgement without having seen the film (or even knowing who directed it, I suspect).

To your point, I think you're upset with the film's marketing in Canada. A perfectly valid point of discussion. Good marketers have long known the importance of scrutinizing their message to make sure it's going to resonate with its target. Tell me about it. But you've done your keen observation on this matter a disservice by wrapping it in a half-assed slag of a film director who deserves more thoughtful debate.

Regards,

Ian

tokyo tintin said...

Ian—

Hollywood blockbusters about “our nation’s greatest battle,” —be it Iwo Jima, Vietnam or Gettysburg— are, to me, schlocky sentimental pap. They are a grandstand for flag-waving and gore. I don’t like them. But just because I don’t like this kind of movie, doesn’t mean that they are bad movies, or that other people shouldn’t see them. I even said so in my post.

My real point of contention was with the blank coverage America-rah advertisement. It shows considerable arrogance on the part of the distributors who couldn’t be bothered to change a single word. Changing “our” to “America’s” would have added a fraction of a second to the commercial yet made something that was much more appropriate to be aired in Canada. Now I know how French Canadians felt when they were forced to sit through Candice Bergen dubbed into French trying to hawk Sprint.

Now your contention that I likely didn’t know who actually directed this movie is mean-spirited low-blow. Let’s try to keep things civil, hmmn? You think I just slap things up here without any research? I certainly did enough to find out that Warner Brothers was the Canadian distribution company and that Mr Eastwood is directing a parallel movie, as Jase pointed out, called Letters from Iwo Jima / 硫黄島からの手紙, which shows the same battle from the Japanese perspective.

I think the intersection of these two stories would be cinematic, and I would be especially interested in seeing a Hollywood take on ‘the Japanese perspective.’ Unfortunately, because of my boycott, I won’t be able to. I guess you’ll have to tell me all about it.

(I know that technically my boycott doesn’t include Letters from Iwo Jima, and it’s probably unlikely that Warner Brothers will cross-advertise the Japanese commercial in Canada with a line “…our nation’s greatest struggle”, but I feel that I should take the moral high ground and boycott both films).

tokyo tintin said...

jenni-

i'm working on a post about pope benedict which will certainly move him into the Dead to Me section.

gawd he is such a lizard-face troglodyte!

Praxis Theatre said...

"Hollywood blockbusters about “our nation’s greatest battle,” —be it Iwo Jima, Vietnam or Gettysburg— are, to me, schlocky sentimental pap. They are a grandstand for flag-waving and gore."

This reads as a generalization. How do you know so much about Hollywood war movies to be able to make a statement this broad? I can understand not liking a particular genre, but as a reader, it's alienating to read obviously sweeping statements qualified with a "that's just my opinion" clause.

"My real point of contention was with the blank coverage America-rah advertisement. It shows considerable arrogance on the part of the distributors who couldn’t be bothered to change a single word."

I agree. It may, however, have been an honest mistake on the part of the canadian publicity firm (because I'm pretty sure there's a Canadian marketing development budget for this film). This doesn't excuse the error, however.

"Now your contention that I likely didn’t know who actually directed this movie is mean-spirited low-blow."

True. I'm sorry. That was ignorant. Apologies. When we spoke about the film on Wednesday, I misunderstood.

The source of my frustration with your post is that it appears to attack a film without running it through fair filmic criticism. There are many kinds of war movies, and the genre has been explored by lots of great filmmakers (Kubric, Stone, Spielberg, Scott, Coppola, Zwick, et. al.). Mostly, they are directed men. Many are problematic. But there's a lot there, and much of it has value.

I have problems with much of Bruckheimer's work, though the Mogadishu-set Black Hawk Down (which he produced) is excellent. He's also produced the emmy-award-winning The Amazing Race. I mention this because it seems critically unsound to represent a genre by its worst contributor.

Anyway. I enjoy your posts. And have commended your articulate and pursuasive arguments on them in the past. This is one of the reasons I felt comfortable engaging in critical debate on this one.

Best,

Ian

tokyo tintin said...

Ian-

Of course I have not seen every Hollywood war movie ever made. I doubt many people have. However I have seen enough of them to form an opinion. My opinion is that I find them to be schloky gore-filled testostoramas. It’s just not my bag.

If someone tried Thai food dozens and dozens of times and at the end of the day they felt that they didn’t like Thai food, I think they can stand firm in their conviction that they, in fact, don’t like Thai food. It doesn’t mean that Thai food is bad, or other people shouldn’t eat Thai food, it just doesn’t suit his or her tastes.

Now you are right that I am unfairly judging something which I haven’t seen. I’m sure it’s possible that if I kept giving Hollywood war movies a chance, I might eventually come across one that I liked. And if I kept watching movies starring the Olsen twins, I might come across one of those that I liked too. But it’s not going to happen. It’s unfair that I don’t give Jerry Bruckheimer or the Olsen twins or Flags of our Fathers a chance, but fairness isn’t what life’s all about.

I resolutely stand by my two thumbs down for Flags of our Fathers. Like it or lump it baby, that’s the way it is.

Praxis Theatre said...

Dan,

I'm not trying to pursuade you to like war movies. I'm asking you to temper your rhetoric on a genre that deserves thoughtful debate.

I don't think you're hearing me on this one. So I'm ready to move on. Best of luck with future posts.

Ian