Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Strange Postscript To "On The Job"

.:A Strange Postscript To "On The Job":.
So even before it showed in cinemas, I already had an inkling that "On The Job" was gonna be awesome, thanks to a friend showing me the trailer for the film. But this isn't a tale about me being all hipster about my love for the movie and telling people that I liked it before it was cool, but of the very odd way the film ended up getting promoted shortly before it actually screened locally.

I think it was the week I watched "Ekstra," actually. There I was, going up the escalator in Trinoma, when I noticed that a crowd had gathered around what turned out to be a leg for the promotional tour of OTJ, and guess what? Gerald Anderson was there.

And he was singing and dancing to One Direction's "One Thing."

OTJ was an awesome movie. I reviewed it just recently, and definitely would be happy to see it a third or even fourth time. It was that good. And while I don't necessarily shun the uniquely Pinoy quirks that we often dismiss as "bakya," it never ceases to amaze me that the only way to promote a movie of this magnitude, no matter how gripping and good, is to have one of your lead stars do a song and dance routine for everyone.

Not that there's anything wrong with doing a song and dance routine in and by itself. I just find it strange that they have to. Every single time. I don't remember Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie singing and dancing to promote Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and I definitely wished Russel Crowe never sang to promote Les Miserables, let alone actually try to "sing" in the movie. It just isn't done in Hollywood. Maybe in Bollywood, but not Hollywood, to be sure.

And it does make me wonder why the Filipino movie-going public is perceived by people as an audience that needs to be pandered to in this way. Would the movie have not appealed to the masses as much? Somehow, I don't think so. I genuinely feel that they could have done away with that entire bit of promotion, and the movie would still be every bit as strong as it is right now.

It's funny, really. Before sitting to write this, I thought I was going to complain about the practice, and then I realized that there isn't anything genuinely objectionable about the practice, at all. It's just something that honestly puzzled me, and something that made me think of how different our ideas of promoting film locally happen to be no matter how much we try to ape the sensibilities of our American counterparts. And there's nothing wrong with that. It just really threw me for a loop that no matter how respected you may be as a performer, if you can't sing and dance and your name isn't Joel Torre, there's little hope for you to be a box-office success in this country.

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