' ' Cinema Romantico: Adventures in Movie Posters, part 235

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Adventures in Movie Posters, part 235

True story. When I was compiling my list for Monday’s post about what movie would mark my triumphant return to the theater, I initially included “Stillwater.” After all, it made my Middling Thriller Movie Preview of 2020, posted on March 5,2020, when things seemed so innocent, six days before the world ‘ended.’ I have been desperate to see “Stillwater.” I mean, read this synopsis and levitate: “An American oil-rig roughneck travels to Marseille, France, to visit his estranged daughter, in prison for a murder she claims she didn't commit.” But when I went searching for a promotional still of “Stillwater”, there were none to be found. Most articles mentioning “Stillwater” utilized a still of Matt Damon from “Ford v Ferrari” resplendent in a cowboy hat which seemed to befit an oil-rig roughneck showing up in Marseilles. You can see it, right? It would be a little like Josh Brolin from “Everest”. But without a proper accompanying image, I left “Stillwater” off the possible contenders list. And then, as if by fate, a day later, there it was. Glory hallelujah.

My God. Sculpt this poster in marble outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. You know in “Bowfinger” when Robert Downey Jr.’s bigwig movie producer reads the first and last page of “Chubby Rain” and then says, as if a marketing angel tapped his forehead, “I just saw the poster”? If he read “An American oil-rig roughneck travels to Marseille, France, to visit his estranged daughter, in prison for a murder she claims she didn't commit” he would instantly envision this poster. Let us hope - let us hope - Damon gets to say “Gotcha suckas” when he finally springs his daughter from the clink.

It’s Damon, of course, cutting the image of a certain kind of college football fan, the kind that’s positive there was some sort of conspiracy to keep 2014 TCU out of the playoff and is looking at you like you just told him there wasn’t. But it’s also the tagline, Secrets Run Deep, a hoary chestnut so faux-majestic you can imagine, to paraphrase Roger Ebert, the marketer sitting “back from his word processor with a contented smile on his face, another day's work done”, rhyming with that image of body floating in the water; it’s a metaphor! (There is a trailer too but I haven’t watched it. I don’t want to watch it! I want to let this poster speak for itself for awhile.) True, “Stillwater” was co-written and directed by Tom McCarthy, an Oscar-winner who is no hack. But that merely piques my curiosity even more. Is the poster simply the work of an ostensible ad wizard and misrepresentative of the film itself? Or is “Stillwater” McCarthy’s “Runaway Jury”? And are these trick questions? Isn’t the answer to each one a resounding OK!

One more question. Would “Stillwater” have usurped Those Who Wish Me Dead for my Triumphant Return to the Theater? Doubtful. There is the July 30th release, of course, but also The Jolie Factor which is just too strong with this blog. But now another question emerges. What do I see first on July 30th? “Stillwater” or “Jungle Cruise”? Decisions, decisions. What is it the cool kidz on social media keep memeing about these days? Nature, it’s healing.

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