Sunday, July 12, 2009

America Kicks The Will Ferrell Habit

This is a bit dated, but I wanted to follow up on it and add a few things. The question originally posed was, "Is America over Will Ferrell" and the answer was a resounding: Yes, it is:

The receipts are in. “Land of the Lost” opened this weekend in a distant, disappointing third place behind “Up”($44.2 million) and “The Hangover” ($43.3 million). “Lost” hauled in a mere $19.5 million, which may not sound like an epic train wreck until you consider that its budget and marketing costs were reportedly close to $200 million and it had one of the biggest stars in Hollywood on its poster.

You could say that the warning signs for Will Ferrell first appeared on Friday, when the nation's critics blew raspberries and dogpiled on the comedy. Our own critic, Owen Gleiberman, gave the movie a C, writing, "the film's only conviction is its investment in its total lack of conviction." That's gotta sting.

Still, I would argue that Ferrell's box-office fate was sealed long before the movie even came out. For months, the trailers of the erstwhile SNL star's riff on the not-very-good-to-begin-with '70s Saturday morning kiddie TV show have been greeted by mild chuckles at best. It had the stink of death on it long before this weekend. If you found yourself laughing at all at the trailer, it was more out of conditioned response to Ferrell's previous track record than the actual goods being sold this time around.

You can only go to the well so many times before things get stale. Trust me, I'm living in that well right now, sir. Gaaack. Fortunately, I can revive my creative side simply by sending unsolicited messages to celebrities on Twitter. Nothing has made this a more egalitarian society than Twitter. Except for maybe the Internet, the Blog, Facebook, MySpace, or E-mail. And I don't even Tweet anymore. I have a person doing that for me now.

Well, I'm not really paying him, I'm threatening him, but you get the idea of my predicament.

In the case of Ferrell, what he doesn't get is what I already know--the Internet is the solution to all of your creative and financial problems. I know that because I get E-mails touting this reality all day long.

How does one share and distribute brilliance? With a blog. How does one get their ideas into the mainstream? One buys favorable reviews or engages in some nasty forms of blackmail with sneering, deserving media figures. Many people do not realize this, but in what used to be "the radio business" in this country, hit records weren't made simply by having people call radio station disc jockeys to request certain songs. Entire careers were made simply by giving said disc jockeys drugs in exchange for playing utter tripe and crap. Listened to any Journey lately? You get my drift.

That being said, poor Will Ferrell. When someone doesn't understand that it is their time to go off and make a movie with Kevin Costner about being old and in love with a quirky girl a third of their own age, they turn into Richard Gere. I can see the Richard Gereification  of Will Ferrell coming on a distant horizon.

 It is a fearsome thing to know.

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