One of my favorite things about the “cinematic experience” are the trailers. When at a theater these previews will sometimes deliver in creating anticipation for the next big movie. Other times they merely serve to delay the actual show. Those are the simple functions of trailers. One of the trailers that played before the movie I was waiting to see this afternoon actually sparked something else in me: shock and disgust. In observation of the reactions of the other audience members, this same shock and disgust grew even bigger.
Most of the time I’ll find myself shaking my head at the moments in popular culture that feed off of exactly the two sentiments I had in that dark screening room. The cultural wasteland is nourished by breaking “taboos”. Where artists in the past would push the envelope, psuedo artists of today unseal it wide open leaving nothing sacred. What is saddest is that most people really are too desensitized to even realize that we as movie watchers, music listeners, etc., are marinating in a cultural cesspool.
The moment of shock and disgust came in the trailer of the latest installment in the misadventures of movie potheads Harold and Kumar. I had seen clips of the trailer on TV but hadn’t really paid a lot of attention. I don’t really care for Harold and Kumar. Their first movie was actually quite good, though. I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it even with the considerably dull acting of John Cho (Harold). (Okay, Cho was actually really good in a short lived stint on Ugly Betty but I digress.) The sequel, however, was below sub-sophomoric. I remember there being a group of rowdy boys in their early teens in the audience for the screening of that particular movie. What was on screen really didn’t seem to be aimed at anyone outside that demographic.
Which leads to my disinterest in this movie. In an issue of Entertainment Weekly it was mentioned that among the cast of characters our beloved stoners would encounter in this the second sequel there were “lesbian nuns”. I already knew that I’d be offended so why even pay any attention?
That’s where the efficacy of the movie trailer hits. I’m sitting there waiting for the movie to start, thinking, “Are these ALL the movies that are coming out? Not a single good one…” Then comes on the screen the full trailer of A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas 3D (sounds like a cheesy Christmas special, huh?). I rolled my eyes but could do little more. Theater trailers are there and cannot be avoided. At home you can flip the channel and estimate when your show will be back on to miss that obnoxious commercial. In the theater you just sit there waiting for the next trailer.
As I sat there regretting not bringing a jacket (it may be 100 degrees outside but they keep that theater cold) there came on screen many a moment to fold one’s arms in disapproval. I figured, “You must be high to enjoy this movie.” Then there was a scene that peaked my interest. It was Lt. Jim Dangle (er, character actor Thomas Lennon) in a clip. He’s shouting at Harold and Kumar, “My daughter is in there!” as they sit in a parked vehicle engulfed by weed smoke. I thought, “Oh, that guy is usually in funny movies. Maybe it’s not so bad.” Then at the 02:23 mark it is implicitly revealed that the daughter in question is a toddler girl. She shouts in high glee, “I’ve got the munchies,” as any good pothead in training would.
My eyes widened. Was that supposed to be funny? Should we expect tie-in t-shirts for babies with captions that read “Lil’ Smoker”? How did the MPAA even approve this trailer?
Shock and disgust. Two feelings not numbed by a lack in outrage either in the theater or elsewhere. As of now the only reference found about the baby high on pot is a blog apathetically referring to the car in the scene as a “hotbox”. As if all consumers were too high off of years of being subjected to the works of a culturally declining Hollywood to even care anymore.