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Monday, January 09, 2006

Would you like the eye-gouging or the spine saw?

Hostel: Presented by Quentin Tarantino was this weekend's number one film according to a Reuters story. According to the story, the film is about "hapless backpackers who are sliced and diced at a Slovakian torture chamber by paying customers." No word on whether the torture menu included repeatedly subjecting victims to showings of Bio-Dome (as depicted here.) That might have got an NC-17 rating here in the US.

According to some observers, one reason the film may have opened so well is because viewers thought it was directed by Quentin Tarantino. While a film about people paying to watch individuals being maimed and tortured might someday make a pretty convincing autobiography of the Pulp Fiction auteur, most experienced cinemagoers know the difference between directing a film and presenting it. Directors rehearse and guide actors through emotional scenes; storyboard, set up and lead the execution of complex shots; as well as oversee the editing and continuity of the film. Presenters, on the other hand, have the highly complex and detailed process of slapping their name up on the film in gigantic letters once the adverts start.

Of course, this sort of confusion happens all the time with the average cine-goer. For example, this year alone the following confusion has occurred at the box office:

  • Viewers stayed away by the millions from Aeon Flux, because they mistakenly though it was an overintellectual European film about watchmakers.
  • Viewers poured out to see Rumor Has It, with Jennifer Aniston, because they it was a documentary about her highly publicized breakup with Brad Pitt, as produced by The National Enquirer.
  • People avoided The Family Stone because it sounded way to much like "The Family Jewels" and as filmgoer Franklin Quatloos of York remarked, "Who bleedin' wants to see that?? If I'd wanted to see family jewels, I'd shuffle 'ome and 'ave a look at me own!"
  • Viewers are staying away in droves from The New World, starring Colin Farrell, because they are still healing from the psychic scars from Alexander.
  • Viewers are avoiding Fun with Dick and Jane because they are under the mistaken impression that it is an "adult" film. Other viewers, mostly clad in long overcoats, are selling out screenings for the exact same reason.
  • Viewers stayed away from the adaptation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, entitled She's the Man, and starring Amanda Byrnes, because they thought it was titled She's A Man and starred Jaye Davidson as Viola.
  • Viewers neglected to Cheaper by the Dozen 2 because they assumed it was a film about egg production and were afraid of contracting salmonella poisoning.
  • Viewers flocked in droves to see Brokeback Mountain because the media description of the film as being the "gay cowboys movie" made them think it was a remake of the Busby Berkley musical scene in Blazing Saddles.
  • Viewers have not turned out in expected numbers to see King Kong because of a news leak that Jack Black's character is killed in the first five minutes when he steps into an open manhole on the way to the boat.
  • Viewers completely ignored Memoirs of A Geisha when they discovered that the kimonos worn in the film are not in fact early 20th-century era, but are instead early 17th-century era. A riot broke out at the premire and at least seven studio wardrobe personnel had to treated for gunshot wounds. Also, Chinese actress Ziyi Zhang's mispronounciation of the Japanese word for "poodle" during the submarine scene, meant the actual line read "All your base are belong to us," which creates an international incident concluding in the Japanese boycott of all Chinese production of those cheap little plastic toys that come with your child's fast food dinner.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what kind of confusion erupts when X-Men 3: The Revenge of the Sith comes out.

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