Thursday, November 01, 2007

Negative buzz on the BEE MOVIE

Okay. I get it! The fucking BEE MOVIE is opening. I can’t remember a movie more heavily promoted and as a result a movie I want to see less.

I mean, I’m used to the typical media barrage before a studio picture opens. The self-serving star interviews. Hard hitting entertainment reporter Sam Rubin fawning all over Jodie Foster trying to sell her cry vengeance movie as social commentary or Milla Jovovich describing how RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION is really just a thoughtful film about women’s empowerment.

I’m used to studio hype machines using ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and HOLLYWOOD ACCESS as the tools they are. When ET leads off during the recent LA wildfires that displaced a half a million people with this headline: STARS HOMES THREATENED!!! you know you’re watching the show biz equivalent of the Mustang Ranch.

The obligatory “making of” documentary is a staple of a film’s rollout but unless you have HBO and your remote doesn’t work you never have to see them.

And tie-ins with fast food chains are now commonplace. SAW IV action figures at Del Taco, that sort of cross-promotion.

But nothing prepared me for the onslaught of hype for BEE MOVIE. Talk about using napalm to kill a moth. STOP ALREADY!! I KNOW it’s opening this Friday! I KNOW Jerry Seinfeld is in it! I KNOW it’s a hilarious comedy the entire family will enjoy. Please let me pick up a magazine and not see Jerry’s smug face. If the condition of his guesting on 30 ROCK is two shameless plugs then don’t do me any favors. I’d rather see Tina Fey filling the screen time anyway.

Even Jerry’s HP commercial was laced with BEE MOVIE mentions. Would he do a Flomax spot too if they let him slip in a plug? “If it weren’t for Flomax you’d be pissing in your pants when you see BEE MOVIE!

And the irony of all this is that Jerry takes the stance (in every article in every publication including, I imagine, MODERN BRIDE and MERCENARY LIFE) that he doesn’t have to work. And yet he’s promoting this movie so relentlessly you’d think he’ll be forced to clean Faye Dunaway’s toilets if it doesn’t open.

BEE MOVIE might be terrific. But at some point there’s a backlash from over-promotion. In this case that came on Labor Day.

My biggest fear isn’t that the movie doesn’t live up to all the hype (how could it?), it’s that it does do well and there’s a BEE MOVIE 2. I might have to leave the country.

48 comments :

Anonymous said...

Let's hope the movie carries the Seinfeld curse. It would be good to see Jerry land in a big bowl of soup, drowning himself into oblivion. We could watch Ratatouille wash him down the sink. No Bee Movie 2.

Bill said...

The sad thing is, when I heard about the idea a year or so ago, I was pretty interested in seeing it. Now? Not a chance. Maybe netflixed if the consensus is that it was worth the hype... *maybe*.

l.a. guy said...

I actually saw him on Letterman because I was waiting for the Joe Torre interview. Not only is he promoting his movie, he's plugging his wife's cook book and the Seinfeld DVD collection too. I felt like I was watching a QVC segment.

Jack said...

Yes, nothing says desparate like the overboard shilling. Jerry doth promote too much, methinks.

It reminds me a little of when Andrew "Dice" Clay was on Arsenio like the night before his "Ford Fairlane" movie opened and he was almost in tears saying "On Friday everyone is going to see how wrong they were..." and you got the feeling the tears were for himself.

blogward said...

Calling it 'Bee' movie is leading with your chin.

Tim W. said...

See, this is the advantage of only watching downloaded episodes and not actually turning on the television. I miss onslaughts like this. I did catch him on 30 Rock, but that's about it. I only knew it was opening this weekend by going to Rottentomatoes.com. Ignorance truly is bliss.

[This post is brought to you by the makers of Bee Movie, opening November 2nd at a theatre near you!]

Anonymous said...

^ Tim, too funny!

Will Teullive said...

Ken,
Your commentary is stinging and it doesn't drone on. I don't like the way Jerry is beehaving these days. My honey saw the movie and it doesn't live up to the advanced buzz.

Harley Davidson said...

Where's my can of Raid?

Lizbeth said...

I hate the Bee Movie promos with a passion and I don't intend to see the movie. My kids hate the Bee Movie promos as much as I do. They're begging me NOT to see the movie.

Here's the thing -- I never cared for Seinfeld. I think he's an arrogant tool. But I may have gone and seen the Bee Movie if he didn't remind me he was in it every freaking second of the day.

It's really bizarre that first Jerry went and hid under a rock for like 10 years, and now he's plastered all over NBC. It's also bizarre that he assumes that everybody loves him, when some people (like myself) can't stand to see his face or hear his voice on their TV. Make him go away.

Seriously, the promos are having a reverse effect. They are convincing people to stay away in droves.

emily litella said...

Oh great... Now we have a MOVIE "about nothing."

Anonymous said...

First Ants, then Bees, next it'll be either Cicadas or (Cock)Roaches. Maybe Centipedes.

Anonymous said...

So you have a history with Jerry Seinfeld? Did he cut in front of you at the deli or something? Or is it that Seinfeld has eclipsed MASH in the minds of the TV-addicted?

Speaking of which, if you can't escape Bee Movie promotion, maybe you're watcing too much TV, eh? While I'm very aware that this flick is coming, I certainly don't feel inundated by advertising for it.

Is it possible Seinfeld doesn't realize the YOU have an EMMY? Not if he reads this blog.

Richard Marcej said...

All I've seen was the trailer in the theatre.

I've seen a couple of commercials recently, but nothing overboard.

I don't watch the talk shows, the ET style shows and when the "Making Of" has popped up on HBO I had no interest in that.

I watch a handfull of TV shows on the networks but have seen none of the promos pop up on the show.

If it hadn't been for this bloghttps://www.blogger.com/captcha?type=IMAGE&captchaKey=1amv9m0eg7kl8 and a glance at the morning paper I wouldn't have realized that it opens this weekend.

Mary Stella said...

Is it possible the studio's worried that the movie could flop? They even sponsored a weekend on CMT (Country Music Television). Promo spots with Jerry Seinfeld and Matthew Broderick slotted in commercial breaks of The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders and I Want to Look Like a High School Cheerleader Again episodes.

Anonymous said...

I still enjoy "Seinfeld" reruns, especially the seasons before Larry David left, and I've always loved Jerry's stand-up. But I'm with Ken on this--the promos have gotten entirely out of hand, and are having the opposite effect. I stopped my TiVo fast-forwarding to watch the first couple, and didn't find anything amusing about them. His appearance on "30 Rock" was lame. Now, I just get mad when I see the promos go flashing by when I FF, and even more annoyed at the promos announcing that the promos are COMING UP. Jeesh! Way to look like a desperate shill, Jerry. I thought the original live-action trailer on that windshield with Chris Rock was pretty funny, and was actually looking forward to the movie. Now, I not only don't want to see it, but I'm ANGRY about it and WANT it to fail.

John said...

Dreamworks animation must really have a lot riding on this -- there's only so long you can get going to the well on the Shrek franchise, and the pretty much started pumping mud and brine up from the bottom with "Shrek the Third" earlier this year. So they need to hype this to make sure there's a market when "Bee-2" "2-Bee or Not 2-Bee" or whatever cute sequel name they conjure up comes out next year.

As for Seinfeld, he may have enough money to keep him in Snapple and Junior Mints for the rest of his life, but it's been a decade now since the show went off the air, and he's in danger of becoming one of those "Great Entertainers of the Past" who you remember for what he did when everyone was much younger. Before "Bee Movie" there was more buzz (sorry) about Larry David than there was about Seinfeld.

This allows him to get back into the spotlight without having to do anything more than voice work for the film -- Jerry gets to go on all the talk shows while putting in minimal time helping craft the movie, and Dreamworks gets a still-fairly-big-name in comedy to front their hoped-for late fall blockbuster.

Kari said...

Thanks to Jerry Seinfeld I now hate Jerry Seinfeld, bees, and movies.

Anonymous said...

I don't get why he's rebranding himself. It's like Madonna wearing a bee suit.

VP81955 said...

Jerry Seinfeld is a superb stand-up comedian, and his sitcom was one of the greats -- but regarding the array of hype for "Bee Movie," just one thing: Remember "Frank TV."

karyrogers said...

john said: "This allows him to get back into the spotlight without having to do anything more than voice work for the film -- Jerry gets to go on all the talk shows while putting in minimal time helping craft the movie, and Dreamworks gets a still-fairly-big-name in comedy to front their hoped-for late fall blockbuster."

I read an interview in GQ with Seinfeld and he said this movie has been his life for four years. He has been involved with every aspect of the film. He conceived it, wrote it, produced it, etc. From the sound of it, it seemed like this is his baby and he has all his eggs riding in the BEE basket.

That said, I have TiVo to fast forward through commercials but still haven't been able to escape the onslaught of promotion for this movie. It has been annoying and turned me off from the movie. But after reading the article and how Jerry talked about putting in the effort on this film, I'd like to see how it came out. So I'll probably rent it.

Todd Mueller said...

Does anybody recall the Ben Stiller spot on American Idol Gives Crack? Remember how he not-so-subtly works in the names of all his many hit movies to great comedic effect? (He did a similar bit in his EXTRAS spot.) I suspect the original BEE MOVIE marketing campaign was aiming for something similar. Comedy God shamelessly pushes his new project and comes off as a clown in the process. All of the BEE JUNIOR spots for NBC seem to be built on this premise. Jerry sits at a cheap desk introducing 'making of' clips that invariably show him (and his team) in a foolish light. Then, just in case the audience didn't get it (which we didn't), they cut back to Jerry at his desk and something falls apart: his lamp, his chair, his twilight years.

Tiny Writer said...

Whew. Let me jump on the bandwagon of hate.

I agree that the only remotely funny thing the Bee Movie publicity behemoth was the live action commercials a year ago.

But I don't watch much TV and I can't get away from the ubiquitious ads. Makes me want to just iTunes all the NBC comedies for the next few weeks instead of watching them, even on Tivo.

Oh, wait.....

30 Rock was disappointing, but Seinfeld was TRULY obnoxious on "Letterman" calling out the woman who wrote the other cookbook.

What an ass.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I love Jerry and think his show was one of the best that really modernized the sitcom, but wow, was he a jerk on Letterman. he called a woman who wrote a similar cookbook to his wife's, who had been polite about it but concerned about the similarities, a wacko. he called her a wacko over and over. really came off as jerky and arrogant. so now i won't see his movie (although a friend went to the premiere and said it was better than expected. although he had amazingly low expectations.)

Book of Don said...

Hubris -:

Hubris is unfettered arrogance; Hubris is thinking you are smart when in fact you have been lucky. Hubris is forgetting the randomness of life;

Hubris can feel good. But punishment will necessarily follow. That is where Tragedy, Shame, and Humiliation come in.

(Schadenfreud too)

jbryant said...

I guess I've been spared most of the promos, thanks to DVR. What little I saw didn't exactly whet my appetite. But the proof will be (bee?) in the pudding, won't it? Lots of great movies have been made by a-holes. Maybe most of 'em.

It'll be interesting to see if the box office is affected by this hive mentality of hate.

Alto2 said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, although I probably will take my kids. Early reviews are very mixed: half like it, half hate it. Head over to Rottentomatoes.com for a good overview.

Anonymous said...

The other night hubby turned to me during a commerical break and said, "Is it me, or is Jerry Seinfeld not funny anymore?" When I agreed with him on this observation, he asked, "When did Jerry turn into an unfunny asshole?"

How prophetic.

The next day I started to notice all kinds of news articles asking those very questions. A lot of people have noticed and have been blogging about it on newspaper sites.

There seems to be more Bee movie commercials airing than there were Soprano series ending commercials. I wish they would just knock it off already. It would be one thing if they were funny, but they're not. Not even remotely!

Speaking of the Letterman interview, here is a link. http://www.avclub.com/content/hater/jerry_seinfeld_now_officially

Watch it and tell me he isn't going to looking down the barrel of a defamation suit very soon. I would sue his sorry, unfunny, smug ass in a heartbeat if I were the woman he called a whacko on national tv and basically spun a story like he did over how the woman handled the situation with Jessica Seinfeld, a trained PR specialist. Jerry's wife should police everything that comes out of his mouth after this interview. Disgusting. He deserves to loose all of his money, and then have to return to work, for what he said about the author in question.

Stacey

Anonymous said...

Trying the link again in a second comment...

http://www.avclub.com/content/hater/jerry_seinfeld_now_officially

Stacey

Anonymous said...

The end keeps cutting off. Sorry.

_now_officially

Stacey

Anonymous said...

What Seinfeld needs is good writers - oh...

Anonymous said...

Not to go against the grain here, but I saw the movie and liked it. It's kinda funny

Jim Endecott said...

Watch the video where Larry King asks Jerry if his show got canceled.

http://www.yahoo.com/s/725354

Priceless.

Note: Short commercial first.

-Jim

Anonymous said...

great clip Jim...hadn't seen it.

"DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM ??"

The answer ??

"Yes, Jerry. We do."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post. I am thoroughly sick and tired of Jerry Seinfeld and Bee Movie. I liked 30 Rock well enough, but everything else is just too much. Does Jerry have photos of Jeff Zucker in compromising positions or something?

I think the final straw, aside from the lame, unfunny Bee Movie Juniors segments, was how Seinfeld turned an HP commercial into a commercial within a commercial. It's really enough to make your head explode.

I don't understand the desperation. Seinfeld's gotta be worth nine figures. Does he need another building to house his Porsche collection or something?

Frankly, I enjoyed Seinfeld the show; it's a classic of the genre and in the top five sitcoms of all time, but watching Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm and what Jerry's done since the show ended (some clever American Express commercials, mostly), and it becomes pretty obvious where the talent was in that series.

The Crutnacker said...

The Bee Movie Juniors shorts reminded me of reading Zippy the Pinhead comics. I felt like the joke was on me because it wasn't funny.

Watching Jerry on every show these past few weeks has been like watching the Seinfeld finale stretched to epic form. Boring, painful to watch, and makes you question why you liked the series in the first place.

It'll be interesting if the movie tanks.

Dwacon® said...

I COULD go for Jerry doing the Enzyte commercial.

You bee BIGGER in the stinger when you take Enzyte.

Dwacon® said...

I also like the Cicada idea. Jerry plays a terrorist bug named Al-Cicada.

VP81955 said...

Frankly, I enjoyed Seinfeld the show; it's a classic of the genre and in the top five sitcoms of all time, but watching Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm and what Jerry's done since the show ended (some clever American Express commercials, mostly), and it becomes pretty obvious where the talent was in that series.

If you're only considering "sitcom Jerry," you're probably right. But "standup Jerry," which is where he made his name and probably where he's still most comfortable (part of him probably still bristles over being deemed a sitcom rather than standup star) is where he's most genuinely talented.

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt he's talented onstage, but, from what I've seen of him on network TV, his material just isn't my cup of tea... it's kind of boring and edgeless.

Anonymous said...

As Carson once said... they giveth... and they taketh away...

Jeez Louise, the guy's still one of the cleverest word craftsmen of his generation. Yes, he's gone overboard hyping the movie. But he's still among the few on comedy's Mount Rushmore.

What, you'd prefer maybe Dane Cook??

Anonymous said...

The hype has turned me off.
Out of principle I'll avoid Bee Movie...oh and that Frank guy on TBS...geesh

Anonymous said...

Ken, please don't leave the country...

# 2 at the box office, sez the bean counters.

Tom Galloway said...

While I'm also throughly sick of the Bee Movie overpromotion, I have to give it at least some credit for the NBC Junior where Seinfeld sung the entire Super Chicken theme song.

Anonymous said...

HE HAS NEVER BEEN MY FAVORITE, BUT THE LETTERMAN INTERVIEW DID IT FOR ME. I MEAN REALLY!
JERRY SEINFELD INSULTING A CHEF TRYING TO MARKET HER IDENTICAL FIRST PUBLISHED BOOK AGAINST THE WONDERFUL JESSICA.
I HATE BEES!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious Ken! I thought it was just me who thinks that Seinfeld is promoting this movie like he owes the mob for making it and they are going to break his knee caps if it doesn't make some serious bank. Sad...

jslr.2 said...

This is from Robert Reich's blog. I hope I haven't violated any copyright rules by posting it here:

I was supposed to appear on the Daily Show tomorrow night. But I won't, because the Daily Show will be doing reruns tomorrow night. That’s because the show’s writers have gone on strike.

This may look like the kind of strike that used to cripple American industry years ago when big labor was really big. But look more closely and you find an issue more closely related to Chinese pirating of American movies and CDs.

You see, entertainment is coming to be a larger and larger part of what skilled and creative Americans do for a living. Watch the credits at the end of movies and try counting the names. Add in all the people involved in producing musical recordings, animated computer games, books, magazines, advertising. And the ever expanding numbers doing all this and more on the Internet – through streaming media, webisodes, downloads.

Entertainment is also becoming an even larger portion of America’s exports. Depending on how broadly you define it, about 12 to 15 percent of what we sell to the rest of the world.

In short, entertainment is among our most valuable properties. But it’s intangible, weightless. Easily expressed in digits, it can be sent anywhere around the world in a second. And the cost of reproducing it is close to zero. So who’s entitled to the money that comes from the sale of creative, digitized products? That’s what we’re trying to negotiate with the Chinese and developing nations around the world.

That’s also what the writers for movies and television are trying to negotiate. They want more of the revenues from sales of DVDs, webisodes, and other forms their creations now take – forms they couldn’t possibly have anticipated years ago when their contracts were last negotiated.

Whether the clash is with the writers’ union or the Chinese, the underlying issue is the most basic of capitalism: Who owns what? And in this new digital age, the answer has to be negotiated anew.
Robert Reich 11/05/07 7:32 PM Robert Reich

Buy Viagra said...

I would like to say that you really made my day, it's wonderful when you just look around the web
and find something like this, reminds me of that ''How to make a dinner for a romantic...'' by Elsa Thomas,
you're a wonderful writer let me tell you!!! ñ_ñ

James Maverick (maverickhunterjames@gmail.com)
3453 Rardin Drive
San Mateo, CA 94403
Project Manager
650-627-8033