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Friday, August 6, 2010

Giving Credit to "The Other Guys"

Giving Credit to "The Other Guys"

You know how when you go to the movies, there are always a few people who insist on staying in their seats and sitting through all of the credits?  Well, count me as one of those people.

Part of the reason I stay is because I find it fascinating that so many people have so many different talents to provide and tasks to perform --to make it all happen -- and the other reason is, I'm paying my respects to all of those people and their willingness to collaborate. Perhaps I'm more sensitive to this because I spent years producing material for television both as an advertiser and as a producer myself, and remember how little it takes to makes things go all-wrong.

How could I forget producing the cooking show segment where the lovely Home Economist had gone out drinking with the Celebrity Chef the night before the taping, and was so hung over that she prepared a dozen turkeys for a shoot that I had cut the turkey segment from: two weeks earlier?  She was so exhausted (and hung over) from prepping and dressing all of the turkeys, that she was in the bathroom throwing up, and unable to get the pies made we were supposed to shoot that day, on a very expensive sound stage.

Or the time I was producing an On-Air Promotional spot, that the chimp took a particular liking to me and could only be mollified and cooperative if I held him while he gave me a hickey on my belly, between takes?

Or the time I was on a beach in Malibu with a film crew, a Santa Claus in his Summer Jammies and Surfboard, and one of two trained reindeers,(this one was Princess) available for commercials, that had been flown in the night before from Vancouver; and calling my office in Florida only to be told that the whole promotion had been killed by the President of the company and it was up to me to tell the 80 people working for me, cleaning up Reindeer poop as it dropped along the shoreline, that this spot would never see the light of day?

So, I do understand the miracle when it works, all too well, and stay in my seat to honor that miracle.

Today was no exception.  I went to see The Other Guys, basically a string of gags strung together by a feeble spoof of cop movies, providing an opportunity for Will Ferrell to be very funny.  In this, the film does not disappoint.  Will is very funny.  Mark Wahlberg has his moments of very funny.  The film however is not very funny.

The premise is that Will uncovers a scheme by a British financial-advisor type who is bilking people out of their money, very large sums of money; much like a Bernie Madoff.  By the end of the movie, we are supposed to believe his victims include a large generic American Corporation under the leadership of a manic Anne Heche, some badass Nigerians, and a group of style-challenged Chechnyian Rebels.  They are all in line to be paid off by his duping the fool in charge of the $34 billion New York Police pension fund.  This does not make for very funny.

If the movie had ended there with credits, I would not have felt compelled to write this blog.  But what happens next is the weirdest thing I have ever experienced as a moviegoer, at the end of a comedy.

As the credits appear so do a series of very bold and clean graphics that detail how a Ponzi scheme works, as well as statistics "ripped from the headlines" charting our recent financial meltdowns. Whether citing the figures from the AIG bailout or TARP payments made or the growing disparity between Goldman Sachs employees to regular working schmoes (now topping off at over 300%!) and then letting you know that the average Wall Street executive earned $4 million last year and that 92 executives from AIG were given bonuses with the bail-out money paid with our tax dollars, I was less than amused.  In fact, I was mighty pissed off.

I just sat through over two hours of cars blowing up, exploding store fronts, mayhem of the highest order and this movie maker has the audacity to think his millions thrown up on the screen provide him with a platform for reminding us how we have been bilked?  How we have been made fools of?  Save the Morgan Spurlock act for the investigative journalists.  I feel like a jerk for paying the admission fee, hoping to be entertained and forget about the stupid state of the world for a couple of hours.

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