Monday, September 14, 2015

Hollywood Marketing = Fraud

Hollywood pisses me off in many ways. One of those was just done by former Spider-Man “star” Andrew Garfield. Garfield just gave an interview which makes him a lying hypocrite... and he’s hardly alone. Here’s what he said.

Garfield was the lead actor in the last two Spider-Man films, in 2012 and 2014. He has now handed off the role to Tom Holland, whoever that is. In so doing, Garfield gave an interview in which he basically ripped the films while claiming that he struggled mightily to make the films better. Saideth Garfield:
“[The mass-market aspects of making the Spider-Man films was] a bummer, especially for the group of us trying to infuse it with soul, trying to make it unique, something that was worth the price of entry.”

“The pressure to get it right, to please everyone... you end up pleasing no one, or everyone just a little bit. Like, ‘Eh, that was good.’ [The films are] mass-marketed, like, ‘We want 50-year-old white men to love it, gay teenagers to love it, bigot homophobes in Middle America to love it, 11-year-old girls to love it.’ That’s canning Coke.”

“I can’t live that way [with profit taking a toll on creativity]; it sounds like a prison, to be honest, living within those expectations.”
Ok, let’s take this crap apart. First, the idea that creative and profitable are mutually exclusive is false. That's elitist thinking which seeks to affirm its own self-identified superiority by downplaying anything enjoyed by "the masses." It is pure pretentiousness.

Secondly, his choice of words in describing Middle America as “bigoted homophobes” is offensive and asinine. Notice, that like other elitists he paints with an extremely broad brush, i.e. he stereotypes, and he disrespects differences of opinion. This is the equivalent of someone saying “those Hollywood queers,” yet he doesn't see this because he is blinded by his own self-righteousness. Basically, because he thinks that he's morally right, he views name calling and stereotyping as accept from himself.

Even more fundamentally, this shows you his view of the public. Like so many other losers who flee to a place like Hollywood to get away from the rest of us, his view of flyover country is anything but flattering. And we know this is his view because even though he suggests that this was something that is just part of marketing, the truth is that no one in marketing is going to say “We need to make a film that appeals to bigoted homophobes.” In fact, I have to wonder where this came from at all other than being a gratuitous shot at the American public? You know that no one associated with the film said this or implied it. You know there's nothing in the film that isn't entirely pro-gay either. So where would Garfield get this idea that somehow the film was made to appeal to homophobes? Well, there are two possibilities. First, he's lying so he can sound sensational. Given the left's obsession with being victims, this is very possible. Alternatively, as we know this thought was never explicitly or implicitly stated or acted upon by anyone Garfield met, he may just view all of American culture as so wrapped in homophobia that he will see any appeal to Americans (other than his enlightened friends of course) as automatically being an appeal to hompophobia. Either point make me think someone should stuff something large and sharp up his *ss.

Anyways, those aren't even what bothers me about this quote. What really bothers me is the bait and switch in which Hollywood routinely engages. When these guys make a film, they will tell you the exact opposites of the film's flaws. If a film is seen as stupid, they call it the most clever film ever. If it's seen as lost in CGI, they talk about how they focused on the story. If it's seen as betraying fans, then Garfield will tell you that he's a true fan and he'll swear that he worked hard to create something special that will appeal to fans. And that is exactly what he did... all throughout 2012 and 2014. Only now that the checks have stopped, does he admit the true. In fact, he's doing more than admitting the truth. He's basically tearing down the film and the fans he lured to see the film so that he can change his image.

This is fraud. This is a company telling you the opposite of whatever bad press they have received. You cars fall apart? Claim they are super reliable. Your appliances break fast? Call them some of the longest lasting. Half your food is spoiled? Talk about having some of the highest quality inspection practices in the industry. That's Garfield here.

And let me make a key distinction to help explain my point. Crap films happen. That's not the problem. And sometimes, people genuinely like the crap films they made. It's more than fair to have that opinion. Where the problem lies is in the sales pitch were Garfield ran around, as he was happily collecting a huge check, telling everyone things that he now claims were never true. He ran around telling everyone how hard they worked to make this film one for fans and how proud he was of it. That is a specific endorsement with specific meaning. His smug attacks now on the film are an admission that he lied the whole time he gave that sales pitch.

And Garfield is not alone in this. Everyone who worked for Peter Jackson swore that they were huge fans of the LOTR books and that they treated the LOTR books as sacrosanct and followed them nearly to the letter... even as they tossed the books aside for the most part. Nicole Kidman told audiences that she would never participate in anything anti-Catholic and that the anti-Catholic and pro-atheist Golden Compass was in no way anti-Catholic... even as the writer was telling atheist audiences the opposite. And so on. There seems to be a strain of "marketing" in Hollywood that is essentially fraud: find the thing that upsets the critics and swear the film is the opposite even though it isn't. That's fraud, not marketing. At the very least, it's hypocritical for a guy like Garfield or Kidman to tell people something about their films which they later disclaim.



tryanmax said...

Putting the fraud aside, I've noticed a building trend of Hollywood stars trashing their own films after they've flopped. Lot's of stars have been accused of being spoiled brats, but this particular behavior takes the cake. It's one thing to be a demanding diva on set. Sometimes you can get away with biting the hand that feeds you if nobody really sees. It's quite another thing to make a public show of trashing your livelihood. Now you've stirred the pride of powerful people who choose to never hire you again. I find it astounding. Of course, types like Garfield would be quick to whine about how they were blackballed merely for speaking the truth, and probably gain more support than they deserve.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I suspect this is a combination of elitism and of face saving.

The elitism is when they trash their big commercial projects -- whether they make money or not. You can get away with that because everyone in Hollywood likes to think of themselves as "arteeeests," so it's acceptable to attack commercial work because that just gives you smug-cred with the rest of them. "Sure, I made lots of money, but I'm better than money... I'm an artist."

Attacking the failures is about disassociating yourself from the blockback. That probably works because the director/studio usually ends up the fall guy and the actors can then get away with saying they had no control... even when they had a lot of control.

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid comic books were looked at as frivolous so we didn't get them all the time. Every once in a while when Mom was in a good mood we could get a quarter out of her and buy a comic book. I always bought Spider Man. I just loved him. I loved that Peter Parker was an introvert and that his id, Spider Man was a smartass. I loved the villains he fought. I loved everything about it, and the fact that I got them so rarely made it even more of a treat. So come 2002 when Spider Man with Tobey Maguire was released I refused to see it because they made his webs shoot out of his wrists instead of out of artificial webshooters like in the comics. I happened to catch it on tv a few years later and was I surprised! As far as I'm concerned they really nailed it. Tobey Maguire embodied Peter Parker, repressed sexuality, haircut and all. Kirsten Dunst did a great job as Mary Jane Watson and J.K.Simmons was wonderful as J. Jonah Jameson, over the top without being hammy. That's a hard line to walk and he pulled it off.The movie was like a tribute to the comic books.
So when the Andrew Garfield movie came out the only reason I saw it was that it was a summer release and every summer my wife and I try to go to the drive in. As you know the drive in is a rapidly fading piece of Americana and we're lucky enough to have one reasonably close to our house.
It just sucked. It was one of the worst and most unnecessary remakes of all time. The whole thing just sucked, including Mr. Garfield. And here's the thing. He knew it was a big budget summer blockbuster when he signed up and when he did the sequel. Nobody drafted him. If he was serious about preserving his purity as an arteest he'd be doing independent films or stage acting or writing poetry. He wanted to reach into the ink bucket to get the pile of money at the bottom of it but he didn't want to stain his hands.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, Exactly! He knew what he was signing up for. This was not going to be an art film or some passion project to make "the real" Spiderman. He signed up to do an exploitive cash-machine remake. So whining about how it was just this big ugly commercial project meant to hit demographic buttons is asinine. That's like getting a job at McDonalds and then whining that you never got to make 4 star cuisine.

What's more, he knew this the whole time he was out there pimping for this movie telling people that he's a super fan and how they did their best to make the movie something special when that was never the case. He lied through his teeth to get rich. He got rich. And now he's full of crap as he tries to disassociate himself with what he did so he can pretend to be an arteest. He's a whore, not an arteest... deal with it, Garfield.

Jason said...

Eh, Garfield should just shut up and go back to kicking Odie off the table…oh wait, wrong Garfield. :)

It’s comments like this that make me long for the old studio system days, when the studio bosses had stars under contract and would keep them from making stupid comments to protect their investment. I think this chap would be thrown out on his ear in the 1930s if he dared insult a good swath of America (i.e., movie ticket buyers) like that.

AndrewPrice said...

Jason, I kept thinking about the cat too.

I agree with you. It strikes me that in the past, you never really heard from the stars, so you didn't hear the idiocy that comes pouring out of their mouths and you didn't spend half the time going, "What did that ass say?!"

Could you imagine Jimmy Stewart running down his films? Or Bogart going on about how we were waging WWII for oil? Nope.

PikeBishop said...

I remember sitting in a theater, something I almost never do anymore in 2012 and I saw a preview for the "new" Spiderman film.

All I could think of was, You F**king brain dead idiots, you just shelled out money to see this exact same film with Tobey McGuire only 10 F**king years ago! The whole origin story again! My God, how stupid can you be.

Well, as Andrew once pointed out, movies today are marketed at teenagers and "adult morons" who swallow this crap hook line and sinker.

Yeah, I hate Hollywood too.

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