When Netflix first broke into the mainstream I was somehow able to convince my mom to sign up for the plan that allowed you to have two DVDs in circulation at once. That way, by maintaining a strict regimen of watching a new movie every single day we’d be able to manipulate the mail into delivering a new DVD every day. One of the ways I kept the queue stocked was by watching movie trailers, which eventually turned out to be a mistake.
Simply put, for anal-retentive-Cheetos-and-comedy-movie lovers like myself in this crazy world of ours, trailers give away too much. The people who edit the trailers want to put asses in seats, so why wouldn’t they put the best jokes and explosions in trailers. I haven’t seen Project X but since I saw the trailer I won’t be able to go in fresh. I know a car gets driven into the pool and the SWAT team shows up eventually. I’m sure this sounds ridiculous but imagine if major plot point of The Departed showed up in the trailer, or if audiences saw Darth Vader’s helmet start to come off in the trailer for Empire Strikes Back. Now, every trailer seems to attract people by condensing the movie into a 2 minute mini-film. What’s been lost somewhere is that people actually want to watch movies to see what’s going to happen.
Which brings us to 2012. Django Unchained, The Campaign, Gangster Squad and quite a few others that are coming out soon look great. Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master looks like the most interesting, though, and that’s because of the trailer. Here’s the first one that came out just over a month ago:
It’s partly because of the music, partly because of Joaquin Phoenix, but The Master looks so intense because no one watching has any idea what the hell is going on. There’s no big scoop, no twists revealed, and certainly no jokes. The trailer isn’t the only ploy Anderson and his promotion team are using, though. The earliest promotion was a poster depicting only a shadowy man and now the website is making people wonder by only posting the two trailers that have been released so far. Here’s the latest:
Yowza. What was the “episode?” Why does Joaquin linger in bus stations? What is Philip Seymour Hoffman even talking about? It looks like an exhausting movie to watch, maybe as much so as P.T. Anderson’s last film There Will Be Blood. Even if it’s a snooze (it won’t be), at least some weird kid in the future looking for a movie to watch on the inside of his eyelids won’t know what to expect when he turns it on.