Rant Of The Week: Godfather Vodka

9 10 2009

Ok, Hollywood now you’re just pissing me off.

I can deal with product placement in movies, as tacky and poorly handled as they often are. I’m fine with you making more money off of merchandising too. If someone wants to buy a Spider-Man action figure that’s their business, at least it’s tangentially related to the product (and where would itsjustsomerandomguy be without them). But when I have to walk down the aisle a see Godfather-brand vodka that’s where I draw the line.

Vodka from The Godfather? I’m sorry I must have missed the scene where Vito and Michael went out for White Russians. Does Paramount think you’ll get drunk and suddenly start speaking Sicilian and start a crime syndicate? There is no excuse for this whatsoever. When you mess with my favorite movie like this don’t think I’ll just sit idly by and take it. It’s not like they haven’t tried to stick The Godfather name on everything else from clothes to video games, but those were all at least partially defensible on some level. This is not even close.

More distressing than trying to sell us alcohol however, is Hollywood’s continuing policy of selling us movies with toothless plots. From re-writing the end of I Am Legend to My Sister’s Keeper, Hollywood refuses to trust its audience with stories with any complexity. They’ve convinced themselves we don’t like something that we’ve rarely been given the chance to try.

Couples Retreat opening this week is just the latest example. The trailer for the film played out your standard, take-no-chances romance-comedy where everyone ends up happy, with one surprising exception; two of the lead characters Jon Favreau and Kristin Davis actually cheat on each other. As frowned upon as infidelity is in the real world, in Hollywood it’s one of those pointlessly taboo subjects that only the black hearted will try. Watch Wedding Crashers or Old School and all we need to know that Bradley Cooper and Craig Kilborn are the bad guys is that they cheat on their girlfriends.

Sure enough, this angle was apparently removed from the final cut (according to Movieline), and the couple are only tempted to cheat. I understand studios are worried that things like this will turn off their target audience, but when you start taking away all moral ambiguity from your scripts you aren’t left with much of a story. Plots are supposed to have rising and falling action, it’s called drama and it’s the reason we are care about what happens to the characters. If there is no tension, no argument, there is no point in watching.

Please, Hollywood stop selling your audience short. We’re more mature than you give us credit for. Not every movie has to be dark, but if you tried offering more interesting stories I think you’d find we’ll buy what you’re selling.




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