Episode 382: Getting to Bomb You

On the Overthinking It Podcast, we tackle the pleasures and problems of the legitimate stage, and mark the release of the Star Wars traler by sharing our favorite movie trailer memories.

otip-logo-podcastoneMark Lee, Jordan Stokes, and Matt Wrather overthink the legitimate stage and mark the release of the Star Wars trailer by sharing their favorite movie trailer memories.


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18 Comments on “Episode 382: Getting to Bomb You”

  1. Tulse #

    I’d love to hear a deeper discussion at some point about the whole phenomenon of movie trailers. They seem to be largely unique to this particular medium — one generally doesn’t get just snippets of songs from upcoming albums, or assortments of passages from an unreleased book. (I suppose that we are seeing trailers now for TV shows, especially ones that are serialized.) They seem to be approaching an art form all their own, and studios certainly invest significant money in producing and promoting them.

    I don’t know if this counts as my favourite trailer, but the original Star Wars teaser trailer is fascinating. All the footage is recognizable, but with the ominous music instead of the Williams score, the cheesy voice-over (“The story of boy, a girl, and a universe!”), and even the Star Wars logo set in friction’ Helvetica, it gives a completely different feel — much more dour, and much cheaper feeling. It really doesn’t capture at all what the film is like (at least to me).

    Of course, there is a whole cottage industry of recutting trailers to give a radically different feel from the actual film — I think my favourite is for the “romantic comedy” Shining (completely with the obligatory use of “Solsbury Hill”).


    • Crystal #

      “Teasers” for books are a pretty common thing, at least in the romance genres. They usually feature a super short passage over a static image, and authors will often post several teasers. It’s not quite a trailer but it’s in a similar ballpark– they’re designed to entice you and give you a feel for the tone.


    • An Inside Joke #

      Crystal beat me to my point! Often authors with several books to their name (or authors writing a series) will post the first few pages or sometimes the entire first chapter of their next book at the end of the previous one. The preview chapter for the next Game of Thrones book has been up since April.

      What I find interesting is when books post a teaser for their book inside the book you’re reading (usually romance, as Crystal said, or action books). It’s a 2-3 page excerpt of an unusually exciting passage right on the first page. I guess the reasoning is that if you’ve picked up the book in a store and are flipping through, deciding if you want to buy it, that passage will draw you in more effectively than the usual opening that’s 1-2 pages of world-building.

      I guess I could see why you wouldn’t release a “teaser” for a song. If a song is only 3-4 minutes long, then a teaser clip any longer than ~30 seconds may as well be the entire song. And anything that short will pretty quickly become obnoxious if it’s played repeatedly. Everyone would be sick of the hook before they even hear the whole song!

      When attending touring Broadway shows, I’ve seen trailers for other live shows, usually played on a loop in the lobby until the actual performance begins (I wonder if there will be “commercials” like this for the Broadway streaming site.) Arguably, you could say that when a song is released for radio & streaming before the album drops is like a teaser for the album as a whole.

      Honestly, I can’t even fathom how you would tease something that didn’t have some kind of narrative structure, like a painting or a fashion show.


    • DeanMoriarty #

      I don’t really play many video games any more, so I don’t know if it still happens, but I remember that there was a period in the 90’s when game demos were a thing, especially for PC games. I’m pretty sure I only ever played the one level of Descent that came prepackaged on my family’s Acer computer.
      Isn’t that kind of like a trailer? It is an abbreviated version of the full experience, isn’t it?
      As for songs, I guess you could preview a 15 second hook or beat or something?
      And I find the idea of previewing of a painting kind of hilarious. “Click hear to see the first publicly released one square inch of this painter’s new work.” “Those blues and lines got me really excited to see this new painting!”


  2. bkenz #

    I don’t have much to say about it, but I thought I’d share the first trailer for Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It serves both as an example of a memorable trailer and one that uses music from another work. You’ve got to love watching Link charge into battle while the score from the Schwarzenegger classic Conan the Barbarian plays in the background.



      • bkenz #

        Thanks for sharing! I wasn’t aware that the Ocarina of Time trailer had used Conan music first. I was probably too busy playing Symphony of the Night to pay any attention to N64 trailers.


  3. kosinski #

    Good podcast, guys. It was nice to hear a discussion about something other than fanboy media. Don’t get me wrong: I love how you bring a high level of discourse to that stuff, but not being a fan of that genre I find it gets a little repetitive after a while. Variety is good.


    • Mark Lee OTI Staff #

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed the discussion! Just so I understand you correctly, what do you mean by “fanboy media”? Star Wars, superhero movies, etc.? Stuff that fanboys gravitate towards?


      • kosinski #

        Yes. I was looking for a term to encompass superhero films, video games, comic books, that sort of thing. The stuff you might see at Comic-Con. It’s a pretty broad genre, and I don’t mean to disparage all of it, but it does consume a lot of bandwidth in media criticism these days.


  4. kosinski #

    BTW, the movie trailers that had the biggest emotional impact for me were the ones for LOTR. Seeing those scenes I’d read 20 years earlier realized so faithfully made me weep tears of joy.


  5. Rich #

    I saw the Futureworld trailer many times five years old. I was at the drive in every week in the summer and this trailer was on all summer long. I could only imagine how cool the movie would be.


    This is one of the early marks of my love of movies. In searched video stores for years looking for Futureworld. It took me 10 years to see the movie. It turns out the trailer was better than the movie.


  6. Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

    I am considering trying to get people onboard a “trailer-free pledge,” for movies they are already excited to see. I’m more and more convinced that a trailer, even a good one that’s not overly spoiler-filled, always robs the movie of some of the thrill. They still have an important role for movies that you’re not sure about. But in the case of Star Wars, trailers are basically spoiler-filled pinatas.


    • Count Spatula #

      The trailer for the first Avengers movie was incredibly spoilerific. I doubt anyone in the cinema was wondering how Iron Man would survive that fall at the end. Definitely overkill for a trailer.


  7. DeanMoriarty #

    I saw the fb post about why can’t theatre be more like Gwar and I wanted to bring something up.
    One of my all time favorite ‘theatre,’ or perhaps theatre-like, experiences was Point Break Live. If you don’t know the concept, it’s very much not serious and it certainly uses audience participation heavily. They sell ponchos b/c during the surfing scenes the audience gets sprayed with water. And the role of Johnny Utah is always played by someone from the audience ( when I went, it was one of my friends). The guy playing Busse’s role is mostly just trying to out-Busse the original. It’s a real blast. And it was, like, twenty bucks.
    Is this theatre? There is, nominally, acting and narrative involved and it all happens live in front of an audience. Or do fluids being sprayed at the audience put it in the Gwar category?

    By the way, for many of us who don’t particularly like musicals (I’m sorry, don’t kill me!) Theater seems much more limited and much less of a popular art form, even in LA where we have surfeit of acting talent.
    If I want to go to the theatre (which I sometimes do), but I don’t want to see Wicked (or whatever’s playing at the Pantages at that moment), I basically have two options: I can to pay a lot of money to go see ‘serious’ plays full of ‘serious’ actors and have to approach the work as ‘serious’ art. Or I go see some tiny production in one of the tiny theaters on Santa Monica because one of my friends’ friends is in it and I just have to hope it’ll be good (I’ve seen really good ones and I’ve seen horrendous ones).


  8. Crystal #

    The more I actually do work with the intention of getting paid as an artist (I’m an indie novelist so I never *know* if my books will make money), the more I identify with Matt W’s feelings about art/media needing to be entertaining first. Sometimes, it’s like this podcast is the only place where people realize art can be entertaining and have all the themes and depth we associate with high-brow entertainment. You guys are also doing a great job balancing social justice issues. It feels like most of what I see on the net is either claims of everything being too PC or articles about how some piece of media is evil because it’s racist/sexist/whatever.

    Keep being awesome. As said upthread, I’m also in favor of less podcasts about “geek culture.” As long as you don’t start talking about the paleo diet again.


    • kosinski #

      Hear, hear. Your handling of social justice questions is quite deft. I think it stems from your policy to try to be as non-partisan as you can. Or, if not non-partisan, at least non-judgmental. Very refreshing in internet discourse.


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