Top Six: Movie Trailers

July 14, 2008 at 3:30 am 4 comments

Another week, another Top Six column. Exciting, huh? If you’ve been a fan since Movie Chutzpah’s early days (An entire week ago, haha), you’re familiar with this piece, and since the first installment of Top Six (comic book movies, currently the second most viewed Movie Chutzpah blog post) was such a hit, I’ll definitely keep doing them.

A few days ago, I posted the much hyped trailer for David Fincher’s upcoming “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” and it got me thinking about my favorite movie trailers of all time. What started out as a fun and easy-enough idea turned into a grueling ordeal — I seriously poured over hours of trailers trying to find ones that would legitimately fit for this post. It was a lot more work than I originally anticipated, but it really paid off. This list I came up with is really freakin’ good.

I tried to keep in mind that, in order to be objective, I needed to pick these without any thought about the finished product, which was a very difficult task. I mean, I like every movie on the list, but I’m thinking that’s just a lucky coincidence, because with or without the movies, these trailers are pretty rocking. It’s interesting to me to see how many comedies wound up on the list, but it makes sense when you think about it. It’s easy to get people excited about a flick after three or four well-edited and well-timed gut busters.

As always, I’d love to hear about your favorite trailers in the comment section.

6. Dawn of the Dead (1978.)

I love the old-school feel to this one. Trailers of old routinely employed this news-reporty feel where a narrator gives a backdrop, and I think this ranks right up there with the best of that style. And the pieces Romero chooses to put in are stunning; from the moment the television reporter sternly says “It gets up and kills. The people it kills get up and kill,” I got all excited to see this movie again. The only downside is, if you haven’t seen the movie, I think the end of the trailer may have a pretty big spoiler in it.

5. Adaptation (2002)

It runs a measly two minutes and 28 seconds, but packed as tightly as possible into that time is incredible character development — you feel like you know what these people are all about, and you want to know where their journey is going to take them. Charlie Kaufman (the character, not the writer, even though that distinction becomes very blurry at times) is erratic and nervous and totally self-aware. His brother is pretty much the exact opposite. Susan is fighting a mid-life crisis. But the trailer does a great job of not giving away too much, even though it develops these characters so well. It ends, and you want to desperately find out how their stories will eventually be intertwined.

4. Pineapple Express (2008.)

I can’t tell you how many times I have watched this trailer. At least 20 — most likely more. But every time I laugh, especially when Saul kicks through the car window, and every time I get excited for Aug. 8. The movie is a stoner comedy/action movie, and each of those genres work together seamlessly in the trailer, leaving a hopeful viewer such as myself to believe the actual movie will share that quality.

3. Brazil (1985)

This trailer works on two distinct levels: one, the visuals, lack of speaking and great soundtrack provide this epic feeling, an I-gotta-see-this feeling, that view trailers really accomplish. This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and the trailer was cut in such a way that made me excited to see this movie, as if it was for the first time. It’s brilliantly put together. And two, it maintains a complete “what the hell?” factor, never giving away anything about the plot or storyline, even when producing an epic feeling through the entirety of the run time.

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008.)

This one speaks for itself — it’s visually stunning. It’s well-edited. It leaves me counting down the days until December. I really like this one, but, after seeing what kind of impact comedic trailers had on me, I had to pick one for this No. 1 spot. Sorry, Ben. Your trailer’s good. Just not the best.

1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

It took me an incredibly long time to decide which Wes Anderson trailer was the best — it came down to this and “Rushmore,” but in the end, this trailer had a certain unexplainable charm that entirely enthralled me each time I watched it. Just like the “Adaptation” trailer, it’s got great character development, which makes you want to get to know these characters so well. It gives subtle things away, but in a way that leaves you wanting to find out what happened, instead of ruining the movie for you — the part where Bill Murray punches Owen Wilson comes immediately to mind. I can’t get over how funny and bright this trailer is. Perfection.

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