Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Something I've been slowly realizing -- or maybe I should say, suddenly realized, but much slower than most people -- is that trailers on youtube are advertised with the most sexually revealing thumbnail possible.
Call me idealistic, but I think the best thumbnail would be something that, you know, captures the essence of what the movie is actually about.
For example, I still haven't seen This is 40, but I kind of doubt that this would be considered a typical still from the movie:
Then next to it, it lists the stars of the movie as Paul Rudd and Megan Fox. Is Fox even a significant character in this movie? I'm sure if I were Leslie Mann, I'd be pissed.
I'd say it's shameful, but it's also, sadly, effective. I just watched the trailer for the Kathryn Hahn movie Afternoon Delight because of this thumbnail:
I didn't know that was Juno Temple until I actually watched the trailer. She's 24, but I still think of her as a very young person. At least this movie is about a stripper who becomes a nanny.
I'm a heterosexual man, so of course I'm susceptible to this kind of thing. However, I fight it at every step of the way. In a Facebook discussion group in which I participate, I have recently been giving one of the others a hard time for making the physical appearance of actresses too much a focus of his discussions. It's a group comprised of both men and women, so I resent him talking, even in relatively harmless terms, about certain actresses being "hot."
He claims he's just being honest about the reasons we, as human beings, choose to watch or not watch certain movies. I argue that we may have those reasons, but it's part of an unwritten social contract of politeness that we don't refer to the appearance of an actress unless there's a specific reason for it -- like, the character is a sex symbol in the context of the movie.
If these trailers on youtube are any indication, he's being the realist and I'm being the old fogey. Sex sells, and sex leads to more views, and more views leads to certain computations related to advertising and the like. Sex makes the economy go round, and whoever posts these trailers on their youtube channels is only recognizing that reality.
It's inescapable, isn't it? The movies are even being specifically constructed to allow sexually suggestive thumbnails on youtube. Suddenly I have the urge to see Star Trek Into Darkness again ...