“I haven’t wiped my ass in days….it’s true. Wanna smell?”
Surely if you’ve gone to see a non-talking-moose movie this year, you’ve been subjected to the trailer for Ridley Scott’s A Good Year. I just discovered that it’s actually being released next week…hell, that shit crept up on us like athlete’s foot. What this means for film culture, besides that another steaming pile of Ridley will be dropped on screens imminently, is that we will no longer be able to enjoy A Good Year’s three-minute Preview of Coming Attractions, which is so packed with every ludicrous cliché and hilariously streamlined textbook cut and musical cue that it becomes nearly self-reflexive in its predictable idiocy. There’s barely a difference between this and “Shining,” that masterpiece trailer parody that took the internet by storm last year by reconfiguring The Shining into a sappy Cameron Crowe-esque tale about “finding yourself…in the most unlikely of place.”
As with “Shining”’s Peter Gabriel cribbing, it’s the music that makes it: Moving from a Franz Ferdinand radio blaster (to back its montage of aggressive banker assholes buying! Selling! Crowe: “Today is greedy bugger day!” High-larious), to a sobering, Thomas Newman-inflected orchestration (when Russell Crowe’s hilariously named Max Skinner finds out his uncle, Albert Finney in tripple-chinned flashback, has died and left him his chateau and vineyard), and then finally to a heavily percussive, maybe Coldplay (?) piece of poperatic earnestness, the trailer for A Good Year is more capital-C crap than I can handle in such a brief period of time. So compressed is the idiocy that even the innocuously silly double meaning of the title seems throat-scorchingly nauseating in its finger-gingerly-touching-side-of-lip adorableness.
Of course, it’s everyone’s favorite human slop pile, Russell “I’m Just One of the Earthy Commoners (When I’m Not Hitting Hotel Clerks, Bus Boys, or Pages with Heavy Objects)” Crowe, who really puts this thing over the top: with a vaguely effete stab at brittle British upper-crust (though he really just sounds like himself mincing through his “Southern” accent in A Beautiful Mind: “There must be a mathematical explanation for how bad your tie is!” nyuk nyuk), Crowe once again reminds me of how much I’d like to see his smug face smeared in dog shit.
But ah, the memories: As Max SKINNER (I’m laughing right now, seriously) says, climactically, “They’re not good…they’re grand!” Undoubtedly this trailer will forever stain my memories of this (not so grand) movie season: The sheer audacity of the Good Year trailer’s dumb-dumb construction will certainly only be outdone by the actual film’s sure-to-be-LOLable depiction of the blessings of provincialism vs. the curses of industry, the need for the soulless corporate stooge to get back with the dusty real people (in this case, of course, a gorgeous Italian woman—a “villager,” perhaps—whose earthy sassiness is only outdone by her smart designer wear and perfectly coiffed exotically black hair). Add to that GPS jokes (“Oh, shut up!”), a plot point that seems to pivot on whether Crowe will sell the vineyards away from some locals (and their “last chance at eeeemortaliteee!”), and lots and lots of dialogue that reiterates that Crowe will grow a heart before the pic is through (“It is not this place that doesn’t suit your life, it is your life that doesn’t suit this place!” or my favorite, spoken by everyone’s favorite rat-faced sidekick, Tom Hollander: “Max Skinner doesn’t do weekends! Max Skinner makes money!”).
Grossest of all is that Crowe (unlike Scott, who’s probably too preoccupied with the mounds of coke he’s ingesting in preparation for, gulp, American Gangster—which will be in the imdb top 250 before it even comes out) in all likelihood thinks he’s making a statement of import. Get ready for the talk show circuit: “It felt really good to just make a nice, little personal character study.” Variety’s Todd McCarthy’s already labeled it a “divertissement,” and “a light rose from Ridley Scott compared to the hefty cabernets he usually turns out.” Gag. But…if the choice is between this and the latest director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven, four hours and counting…
In any case, consider A Good Year reviewed.
Done. Move on.