Friday, June 7, 2013

A Fistful of Product Placement! (Brad's Picks)

Show of hands, how many of you out there in Internetland are actually excited for The Internship?  Probably the same folks who are still waiting on that Wedding Crashers sequel.  Well, it's been eight years and Vince Vaughn hasn't appeared in anything worth your time.  At least Owen Wilson has Midnight in Paris and The Darjeeling Limited.  So this weekend's release of The Internship & The Purge marks the most lackluster release date of the summer; we're all just biding time till Man of Steel, and you're just going to see Furious 6 again anyway.  The only thing of note about The Internship is that it's one big commercial for Google - suck it Bing!  And it got me thinking about my own favorite bits of product placement throughout cinematic history.  The Ninth Gate proved the importance of Shell gasoline.  Captain America won the war thanks to Harley Davidson.  And we all recognize that Back to the Future was jsut about Marty chugging Pepsi.  But the below hidden commercials are the ones that had the most effect on me.  I saw these movies and I immediately hit the ABC store, the fast food chain, the gun shop, and the gas stations to get me a little taste.  U-S-A!  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

5.  James Bond's Favorite Scotch (Skyfall):  Trapped on Silva Island, James Bond is forced to partake in a deadly game of William Tell.  Before he takes his shot, the villainous Raoul Silva presents a glass of Macallan as Bond's favorite brand.  It's true!  At least if you've been paying attention to this latest outing.  Bond's already taken a splash of Macallan earlier in the film, and even Judi Dench's M gulps the brand.  Skyfall certainly worked on me.  After stepping out of the theater I found a 16 year old bottle for my own pantry, and I'm still saving up my pennies for the 1962 vintage seen in the shot above.  Give me a few years, it will be mine.  Sucker born every minute.

4.  White Castle Sliders (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle):  After smoking some serious chiba, Harold & Kumar venture out into the night for an epic quest for White Castle's teeny tiny burgers.  But at every turn they are denied the greasy confection.  By the time this film completed its epic quest my mouth was watering, but growing up in the hell of Northern Virginia, there are no White Castles to invade.  To this day, I have never eaten at a White Castle.  It's on the bucket list.

3.  Taco Bell (Demolition Man):  Sylvester Stallone awakens in the utopian garden of San Angels in the happy, joy-joy year of 2032.  He discovers a saccharine future in which profanity has been outlawed, physical contact frowned upon, and Taco Bell is the only restaurant left standing after the devastating Franchise Wars.  I know what you're thinking, "Sounds good to me!  Burrito Boxes for Everybody!"  But the Taco Bell of the future is not simply dedicated to various wraps of ground beef.  They've finally branched out into proper fine dining.  What's my boggle?  Nothing, as long as I can still scarf a heap of delicious, powdery Doritos Locos Tacos.

2.  "The Most Powerful Handgun In The World" (Dirty Harry):  I'm not a gun guy.  Never gone to the range, never had the desire......well, that's not entirely true.  Movies can warp my brain.  Die Hard, Red Heat, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Terminator, Robocop.  I watch a few fictional assaults and I get to craving the NRA.  But no movie has me contemplating fire power more than Don Siegel's Dirty Harry.  The urban nightmare surrounding Det. Harry Callahan is in desperate need of a vigilante clean sweep.  It's a world impossible to understand without your Smith & Wesson at your side.  It's wrong-headed, angry, and totally captivating for a peacenik like me.

1.  "That's One Big Twinkie" (Ghostbusters):  Armageddon is coming.  New York's psycho kinetic energy is rising astronomically, but how do you describe that impending doom to your latest Ghostbuster recruit?  With Hostess, of course.  I fear to describe to you how grotesquely gluttonous I become when I hear Egon describe the 35 foot long, 600 pound yellow behemoth.  Every time it sends me running to the gas station down the street.  Alas, Hostess has gone the way of the dodo.  But I'm told that the recipe survives, that one day another devilish company will produce the spongey delight.  We can dream.


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