IT NEVER RAINS ON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BILLBOARDS
On the day before yesterday, I saw “The Day After Tomorrow”. And the minute after it was over, I was just about as grateful as I’ve ever been. I’m not familiar with the production process of this film, but there are two things you can assume must’ve happened along the way. About two years or so ago, some studio executive decided that America was ready to kick back and have a giddy fun old time watching the destruction of New York City again. Then, they decided to forget the fun part and hired Roland Emmerich to write and direct it.
I won’t go into a lengthy diatribe about why Emmerich stinks, since I don’t want to sound like an Ain’t It Cool message board poster. And I’m not asking for sympathy when I knowingly went to see a movie whose trailer has been giving off the whiff of dog doo for months. But I would like to stipulate that I only sat in a theater and watched Dennis Quaid struggle through two separate scenes where he tried to save a colleague who’d fallen through some ice, because of that obscure section of the boyfriend code that says that every once in a while, you have to do something for no other reason than because he wants to. Kiss today goodbye, the sweetness and the sorrow, I’m not proud of what I did for love.
I’m not angry about the movie sucking, though. I’m used to seeing movies that don’t deliver. What really freezes my metropolis is when a marketing gimmick fails to deliver. See, there’s this billboard on Sunset Boulevard that rains and snows on a group of actors hired by the studio to stand there and get wet. Anyone who can bring weather to SoCal and degrade some struggling actors in the process should either win an award or get attacked by hungry wolves inside an abandoned Russian battleship, I’m not sure. (If you get that joke, my apologies to you, too.)
The thing is, it apparently only does those things when news crews are around. Every time I go past it, there’s no rain, no snow, no actors thigh-high in melting crud. It’s just a lame billboard in the middle of Billboard City, one you’d barely notice if you weren’t desperately searching the strip for some climatological anomaly that wasn’t there. I get the feeling Fox set it up, had KTLA come by and do a puff piece, then packed up and went home. What happened to the days when “Armageddon” was premiering at Cape Canaveral, when a “Last Action Hero” logo was emblazoned on a rocket, when “The Blair Witch Project” was using its website to make people think their movie was a true story? What happened to the days when marketing gimmicks delivered and actually made bad movies seem better?
If you can’t trust the marketing people, who’s left? Who, I ask you????