My Conversation with a "Georgia Rule" Poster

Bloggified by Jake on Saturday, June 16, 2007

I was at the Costco in Spectrum Mall today, the mall that features Costco, Petsmart, and Walmart as its anchor stores. The Dillards outlet store was the other main store until it was bulldozed about a year ago, and even the dollar movie theater bailed on the mall. That's kind of like having Mel Gibson leave your birthday party because you got drunk and made some anti-semitic remarks.

As you may imagine, advertisers aren't exactly climbing over one another for the valuable space on the mall directory kiosks there. Most of them feature some kind of non-profit organization poster or a public service announcement, many of which have been in the kiosks for so long they are yellowed around the edges. When a legitimate ad gets placed in one of the kiosks, it stays there until another advertiser buys the space, meaning there are almost always outdated ads reminding you to watch the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon in the middle of November or beat back the Hun by purchasing US Victory bonds.

For a few months, I've been staring at the poster for Georgia Rule, which was released five weeks ago and has since earned less in 36 days than bombs Stomp the Yard or Epic Movie did in their opening weekends, and today I could contain my contempt no longer.I feel for the poor schmuck who had to put together the ad campaign for this dreck, but it needs to be said that this poster makes me want to see this film less than I've wanted to see any film since Maid in Manhattan*. In fact, when I look at this poster, I just want to punch it--not in the "Fuck you, Hanoi Jane! I spent four years in a tiger cage and was called a baby killer and splattered with pigs blood when I got home from the 'Nam while you were cozying up to Chiang Kai-shek!" way that the homeless guy who appears to have made a corner of the abandoned Mrs. Fields storefront into his bathroom does--but in a "how dare you even imply I might have any interest in this film?" way.

I am angered and insulted by this poster for it's blatant dishonesty. The purpose of any ad is to convince me I might want to purchase whatever it is selling, but this has about as much chance of convincing me to come check it out as a two-for-one coupon to Gary's Chop 'em Off Castration Clinic. This poster's attempt to tell me I might want to see Georgia Rule treats my intelligence with about as much respect as when my daughter's tells me her brother hit her in the foot with his face.

"Hey," says this poster. "You should go see Georgia Rule."

"No," I protest. "I'm pretty certain it's going to suck."

"Couldn't be more wrong, friend," insists the poster. "Garry Marshall's directing it. Funny, funny man. He directed Pretty Woman and Princess Diaries."

"Didn't he also direct that awful 'retarded Juliette Lewis wants to marry retarded Giovanni Ribisi' stinker and Raising Helen, the movie that proved Kate Hudson could be even less likable than she was in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? Wasn't he the director of Nothing in Common, the film that convinced the world Tom Hanks should stick with comedies like Turner and Hooch because he didn't have the chops to be a dramatic actor?"

"I don't remember. What I do remember is that he created 'Happy Days' and 'Laverne and Shirley' and 'Mork and Mindy' and 'The Odd Couple'--"

"Neil Simon created 'The Odd Couple!'"

"We'll just have to agree to disagree."

"Garry Marshall wrote one episode of 'Love American Style' set in the 50's because American Graffiti sparked a national interest. That episode snowballed into 'Happy Days,' which was good for a year or two, then dumped nine more years of shit into our living rooms every week. Everything else he did was just a spin-off of 'Happy Days.' Laverne and Shirley were two characters created by show staff writers, but Marshall took credit and rolled them into their own show, which again was good for a year or so then went to crap that culminated in Cindy Williams leaving the show, but its still being called 'Laverne and Shirley.' Mork made his debut on 'Happy Days'--because if there's one thing I associate with the 1950's, it's coked up, stream-of-consciousness aliens.

"Marshall's only signature touch," I continue, "is his obsession with characters having catchphrases. Some worked, like Fonzie going 'Aaaayyyy' or Mork's 'Nanoo nanoo' and 'Shazbot' or the widespread 'sit on it' but Richie finding an excuse to sing 'I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill' every fucking episode was stretching it. Having Carmine Ragusa sing, 'You know I'd go from rags to riches' made no sense 99% of the time, and after a while he just resorted to noises, like Big Al's 'Yep yep yep yep yep...' and Chachi's 'wah wah wah!'"

"It appears we agree that Garry Marshall is very talented, but he's not the only luminary gracing this film. Check out that cast."

"Wow, Jane Fonda and Lindsay Lohan. Those have to be two of the most divisive, polarizing actresses you could put in a film right now, and you've paired them up. I haven't see a poor casting decision like that since... well, since Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in Monster-in-Law. Who's that other woman in the picture with them?"

"That would be Emmy-winner and Oscar-nominee Felicity Huffman."

"What? I've seen 'Sports Night' and I'm pretty sure Felicity Huffman's face is made of flesh."

"Nope. Fine porcelain.""Damn, I used to really like Felicity Huffman. I know she's been doing that 'Desperate Housewives' garbage, but she deserves better than being stuck in this movie with Fonda and Lohan. Costarring with them is like taking your safe and weight bench kayaking. Couldn't you get Britney Spears or O.J. Simpson or the fat little Dixie Chick to be in this too?"

"Yeah, it's a great cast, but wait until you hear the story. It's a multigenerational story about three women. I know what you're thinking: 'Do they just sit around talking and getting along the whole time?'--"

"I wasn't thinking that at all--"

"Well, let me allay your fears. These women have attitude!""Yeah, I kind of guessed--"

"All of them! Normally, you might expect one--maybe two--to have attitude, but this movie shatters that preconceived notion with the promise of all three women having attitude!"

"That's really not that shocking. In fact, I can't think of one multigenerational movie about moms and daughters where the characters were rational and carried on anything resembling a well-reasoned conversation unless one of the characters was on her deathbed. Terms of Endearment, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Because I Said So... I'd include Joy Luck Club, but I've never actually seen it to know for certain that's what happens. It does stand to reason, though, that if your mom is a total bitch and your grandma is a total bitch, you probably would be too--"

"Um, I didn't say 'bitch.' I said 'attitude'--"

"Right, which raises the question of why that is a selling point. Has the term 'attitude' had any meaning since Dr. Dre left NWA? 'Attitude' is to the late-80's what 'extreme' was to the mid-90's, a nebulous term that seems to imply an edginess but lost all definition due to overuse. I think 'attitude' officially hit its nadir when the ads for Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 spotlighted the line, 'I'm your worst nightmare, a small fry with a big attitude,' as a reason to see the film."

"But this kind of--

"While I'm on the subject, 'your worst nightmare' is another of those overused phrases that's just not funny anymore, right there with 'I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you' and 'uh-thank you... thank you very much' delivered with an Elvis drawl and sneer."

"As I was saying, this kind of attitude is about female empowerment."

"I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess all these women are unmarried and the movie will try to play it off like that's due to inconvenience, choice, or men who have wronged them instead of acknowledging that when you have 'attitude' and your mom has 'attitude' and you've raised a shitty kid with 'attitude,' most men steer clear."

"This movie is more about their relationships with one another than with men."

"But I already know about their relationships and frankly I don't care. This is like when the Red Sox play the Yankees or the Raiders play the Cowboys. There's no one to root for because you hope both sides lose. Whenever out-of-control teen Lindsay Lohan tries to argue with overbearing grandma Jane Fonda, I'm going to carefully weigh both sides cases and hope a meteor hits the house, killing everyone inside."

"All right," concludes the poster, "enjoy the film! Don't forget to look for the DVD in a few months!"

*Dear Douchebags who created Maid in Manhattan,
There is surprisingly little manufacturing in Manhattan. Thus, you are infinitely more likely to see a tag reading "Made in Hong Kong," "Made in Singapore," or "Made in USA" than you are to see "Made in Manhattan." Thus, your clever pun is ruined. Now, if you'd set this film in Pyongyang and called it
Maid in Korea, you might have had something. Specifically, you would have had a movie named after a throwaway joke Jack Davis included in a Mad Magazine M*A*S*H parody 25 years ago.

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