Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hidden gems

I don't know about you, but I have come to realize that marketing can be huge.  Sometimes the power of say commercials can cause a television network to dump an otherwise successful show, or can doom a movie to be a flop simply in the short clip presentation.

Lately I have become aware of the priceless nature of finding the hidden story.  Lurking out there are stories that someone should be reading, and movies we should be watching because you will walk away feeling happy, enriched, and perhaps even appreciating life a little bit more.

This week, I have encountered two such movies.  The first was "We Bought a Zoo."  My guess is that the people putting the clips together to advertise on television latched on to exactly two plot points:

1) There is a cute little girl.

2) There are zoo animals.

Cute girl + zoo animals = schmaltzy kids movie.

WRONG.  So wrong.

These are NOT the point of the movie.  If I were to give a fair summary, I would say this movie is about reinventing yourself after tragedy.  It is about family.  It is about determination.  It is about hope.  It is not about cute kids and parading animals.

While I personally love superhero movies, things exploding, and spies jumping off of skyscrapers, in a world as tense as ours is these days we need things that keep hope alive.  That celebrate the goodness in people.

Love and determination I believe are themes that we can't dismiss.

And not Hollywood love, either, but demonstrations of loyalty, courage, and generosity.

Which brings me to my second undervalued movie this week, which is "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel".

What I believe this drama suffered from was an older cast.  What should be an asset, in the eyes of marketing, becomes a hindrance.   While the movie stars what I consider to be some of the best actors over the age of 50 out there, they are all older.  And the movie is about being older, but also about getting out of your comfort zone and living life to the fullest.

However, we've seen with successful television shows like "Harry's Law" that unless it appeals to an audience of 18-49, you don't exist.  Nevermind the fact that baby boomers are over 49 and assuredly financially are 18-49 year olds.  We're all a little more cash poor than we were a few years ago.  Money is money.

I really believe that were this film marketed more and better it would have appealed to a wider audience, much like "We Bought a Zoo."  And much like the other movie, theater patrons would have been treated to solid acting, interesting dramatic plot, and a definite feeling of warmth and goodness to carry with you.

Truly there is value in film, much like literature, that leaves its mark on you for days and years afterwards.

Shouldn't we all be striving to take in films that enrich our lives?


  1. Agree! I loved Harry's Law. I think Kathy Bates has only gotten more beautiful as she has gotten older. And in a lot of ways she reminds me of my mom. I'll be sad to see the show go. I thought the "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" looked interesting to me but "We Bought A Zoo" didn't appeal to me all that much. Your blog is a lesson to look beyond the trailer and make decisions for yourself!

  2. I'm totally going to miss "Harry's Law." I agree with your assessment of Kathy Bates, too. I really think she just gets more beautiful. And Harry was such a fiesty character. It was doing well in the ratings and critics liked it, but it was all about the stupid advertisers. Because they only got a small fraction of their key demographic, they pulled advertising and basically the network caved to their demands. I personally don't understand why they didn't just get different advertisers. Throw in a few more Cymbalta, Viagra, Sunsetter Awning, and BenGay commercials and let me keep Harry!