Other Stuff: At the Movies

(Note from Kevin: this another diversion of writing for me this week as I move away for a bit from education and slip into other important stuff: like watching movies, or watching the crap that comes before the movies. I hope the sarcasm drips into your RSS . I added an audio of the essay, too.)


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I was so blissfully happy the other day to have found myself in a cold movie theater, just in time to watch the commercials. Back in the day as kids, we would scramble to the 99 cent movies early so that we could not only glimpse coming previews but also the periodic “short” movies that only Pixar seems to create these days. In place of those little bits of entertainment, we are urged to relax in our comfortable chairs, dark and cold on a hot summer day, and soak in product endorsements. You would think that a seven dollar ticket would buy you just the movie! But no. We get some bonus minutes, too. They are just too kind, those corporations with my own interests at heart.

I laughed with everyone else as some hip-hop hamsters danced and rapped about “this” and “that.” I knew it was a car they were selling me and I was buying, except the popcorn, candy and water sucked the green out of my wallet. Instead, I swayed my head to the song and relished the day when small furry animals might be able to make music along with the rest of them. It never occurred to me until later that there might have been people in those costumes. Now that’s what I call entertainment.

The Coca-cola commercial was just as interesting.  Some dude was calling on scientists to figure out the time travel that we have always been promised in our books and movies. Darn right, I wanted to shout at the screen. What good is a man in space? I want to see the future. This fellow wanted to travel back in time to woo his girlfriend. All I wanted was a cold drink of sugary soda that I seemed to have forgotten at the counter. Is that so bad?

Down the hallways, the movie “The Last Airbender” was underway, but wouldn’t you know it? We got ourselves an inside look at the video games that come with the movie. On a screen as large as the one in front of us, and with the sound cranked up, it was as if I were in the game itself. I almost left the theater right then and there to rush out to the nearby game store to buy the Wii edition. I didn’t, but you know, I wanted to.

As the commercials ended, I almost got up to leave, thinking I had just gotten my money’s worth and completely forgetting that I was there to see a movie. I sat back down, sitting through eight previews, and then could not help noticing some very helpful product placements in the movie itself. Man, when they talk about synergy of media, this is what they mean, right? I was so thankful to be part of that experience. There’s nothing like a hot summer day to get bombarded with advertisements. And to pay for it, too? That was just icing on the cake.

Peace (in the dark),

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