August 3, 2009, - 1:37 pm
False Patriotism: “G.I. Joe” Director Says Vietnam Vets are “Steroids” Users, Not “Elite”, not “the Best”; Removes America From Foreign Ads
So far, Paramount–the studio behind “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra“–hasn’t scheduled a critics’ screening in my area, a sure sign it’s a dud. Another sign it stinks: it’s being released in the movie graveyard of August. The movie opens Friday.
“G.I. Joe” Director Stephen Sommers Disses Vietnam Vets
But the dim prospects of this movie haven’t prevented the likely lackluster movie’s director from dissing Vietnam veterans as steroid users who aren’t “elite” and aren’t “the best” and saying his military-themed movie isn’t for Republicans (it’s for Obama-niks).
When it comes to selling “G.I. Joe” outside the U.S., the message is “this is not a George Bush movie — it’s an Obama world,” director Stephen Sommers said. “Right from the writing stage we said to ourselves, this can’t be about beefy guys on steroids who all met each other in the Vietnam War, but an elite organization that’s made up of the best of the best from around the world.”
Yup, all Vietnam vets are steroid-using average guys who aren’t exactly the best or elite–that’s the view of those in Hollywood who got their baloney Vietnam war history from movies like “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July.”
Oh, and the studio deleted all references to American patriotism in the movie ads . . . you know, to please America-haters overseas.
Overseas, where big action films often earn 60% or more of their ticket sales, rah-rah American sentiment doesn’t play well. So those references have vanished from the advertising.
Um, just who do they think “G.I. Joe” is–a Muslim from Riyadh? I suppose Elvis’ real name is Ahmed Al-Presley, too.
And while dissing veterans who bravely fought–and many of whom gave their lives or limbs–and America itself, that doesn’t prevent the studio from hypocritically marketing the movie to . . . the military.
Nearly 1,000 service members and their families at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland got to see something Friday night that very few people in Hollywood have seen — “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” the last big-budget action movie of the summer.
Paramount Pictures gave the movie its homeland premiere at the base for Air Force One, flying out its stars Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller and Marlon Wayans for a helicopter tour, meetings with the base commander and airmen, and a red carpet replete with paparazzi and billowing American flags.
Launching the film to a military audience is just one part of a highly atypical marketing and publicity campaign for “G.I. Joe,” which opens nationwide and in most foreign markets this Friday. Paramount is sidestepping the traditional Hollywood showcase and courting of the national print media in favor of taking the picture directly to America’s heartland.
“G.I. Joe” is embedded in the Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd concert tour, advertised at the Country Music Television Awards and excerpted on giant video screens at Minnesota’s Mall of America. It is bombarding Kansas City, Charlotte, Columbus and Grand Rapids on new digital billboards.
The subtext is none too subtle: Critics are likely to roast the film, and fanboys of the original toy line and comic book may be indifferent, but if you’re a flag-waving, Nascar-loving American, it’s practically your patriotic duty to see this movie.
Paramount’s decision to focus so heavily on just one segment of the audience illustrates — in a market increasingly fragmented by demographics and swayed by word of mouth via Twitter, text messages and Facebook updates — the lengths to which studios will go to maximize early exposure among audiences most likely to embrace a film and minimize it for everyone else.
“Our starting point for this movie is not Hollywood and Manhattan but rather mid-America,” Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore said. “There are a group of people we think are going to respond to the movie who are normally not the first priority. But we’re making them a priority.”
Ah, diss the middle American military types who fought in Vietnam . . . and then market your fake patriotism to them. That’s the ticket.
I will be seeing G.I.Joe: Rise of the Cobra for review (even if the studio doesn’t pick up the tab). And I’ll keep all of this in mind when I review it.
Remember the saying, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”? If the guy we’re talking about is director Stephen Sommers, that trite adage is the understatement of the year.
Tags: "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra", Channing Tatum, Dennis Quaid, False Patriotism, G.I. Joe, Movie Reviews, Paramount, Sienna Miller, Stephen Sommers, Vietnam Veterans