Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I have it on good authority that Short Term 12 is a very good film that I have a very good chance of liking.
However, if I see the trailer one more time, I may not go at all.
It's finally set to open in Australia on Boxing Day, which is probably the biggest release day on the Australian calendar (and actually happens to coincide this year with Australia's traditional release day of the week, which is Thursday). I say "finally" because, of course, its U.S. release was August 23rd. But I also say "finally" because the build-up for it has been almost intolerable.
Four straight weeks now I have seen a movie that showed the Short Term 12 trailer beforehand. Three Mondays ago I saw Ain't Them Bodies Saints, and it played before that. Two Mondays ago I saw Enough Said, and it played before that. Last Monday I saw How I Live Now, and it played before that. Then yesterday, I saw The Spectacular Now, and sure enough, Short Term 12 ushered me in.
Actually, I may have seen it first before The Butler four Mondays ago, and then not seen it during one of the intervening weeks. But it hardly matters.
It's been proof that even seeing trailers for movies made from certifiably good materials can slowly drive a person crazy, if they see them too often.
It's a shame, too, because this looks like the kind of movie behind which I want to throw the full weight of my support. Brie Larson is doing some of the best work these days of any actor in the 20-25 age bracket, male or female, and this looks like the kind of indie that's smart and earnest, but not sickeningly so.
However, I have indeed started to become a bit sickened by the Short Term 12 trailer -- in part because I think it gives a lot away, and I definitely can't forget what I've seen after four viewings, and in part because that indie earnestness does start to get a bit sickening and precious the more you see it. That song "Montana" by Youth Lagoon sounds a bit more twee every time it touches my ears. (And what's with indie movies that have either real or simulated whistling as part of the songs in their trailers? Drinking Buddies, also a late bloomer in Australia on Boxing Day, followed, and contained whistling as well.)
Instead of being positive, I start resenting when the guy jokes about it being his cupcake that got smashed in Larson's face. Instead of being charmed, I start rolling my eyes over the impromptu rap that busts those two for trying to date. Instead of being delighted, I start to heave when the guy tells Larson she's the "weirdest, most beautiful person I've ever met."
It occurs to me, over the course of this rant, that while no movies are probably well suited to repeat viewings of their trailers, indie films are particularly poorly served by the process. That's because such movies are frequently treading a fine line between clever and cute, between joyous and intolerable. What will charm you once will make you want to stick your head in the oven after the dozenth time.
So, if Short Term 12 is indeed a bit tainted for me, here's who I blame:
1) Cinema Nova, for not having enough trailers in their rotation to show advertisements for any of the dozens of other movies opening there within the next month;
2) Me, for going to see a movie at Cinema Nova every Monday.
When all is said and done, whether I see Short Term 12 in the theater (in time to rank it with my other 2013 films) has everything to do with whether my wife has given birth by then. In fact, any day now it could be my last $6 Monday movie for a while. She's not due until January 10th, but the baby came 11 days early last time, and it could come even earlier this time. If her age put it her at risk of complications last time, it does so even more this time, when she's three years older.
So in the end, my wife's third-term pregnancy may torpedo Short Term 12 even more than its trailer has been doing.