Movies & TV

A Little Bit of Product Placement

reese's piecesIt’s impossible to escape advertising during a trip to the movies. From the cardboard standees in the lobby, to the commercials and trailers before the movie starts, we are inundated with advertisements the moment we walk inside the theater. And that advertising doesn’t stop when the opening credits role. Now, many movies make some of their profit product placement before the film even opens. Product placement is a technique that allows companies to promote their product or brand through unusual methods.

One of the most well-known examples of product placement in film is with Reese’s Pieces in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Originally, M&M’s were considered for the movie, but when Mars turned the offer down, it allowed a deal to be made with Hershey. After the movie hit theaters, sales for Reese’s Pieces, a less-popular candy at the time, went up dramatically.

Of course, not all product placement in movies is as subtle or as seamlessly integrated into the plot as Reese’s Pieces in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. There are some movies, like The Internship (a movie I enjoy but that is not universally appreciated), that feel too much like one long commercial for a product. Other movies blatantly force advertising into the script, like an awkward conversation about the Omega watch in Casino Royale, instead of subtly using it. And some movies, like Transformers: Age of Extinction, are so overrun with product placements that don’t fit the plot or that are targeted toward one market at the detriment of another that it actually detracts from the action.

Below I have listed some of the most well-known products or brands seen in movies. Are there any product and movie pairs that I left off the list? Let me know in the comments!

The Best at Being Bad

An odd thing has begun at the Disney theme parks.  More and more these days, there is a salute to the villains of Disney movies.  The Evil Queen.  Captain Hook.  Maleficent.  Ursula.  Gaston.  Mother Gothel.  Cruella de Vil.  Jafar.  Believe it or not, these bad guys have their own fans.  I’ll admit that I have a favorite: Ursula -- though Mother Gothel is a close second.  My best friend is a Maleficent fan.  We’ve even said how much we’d love to see the stage show of villains at Walt Disney World.

Adult Movie Mania

Join us on Monday, May 23, 2016 @ 1:30 pm for a recently released inter-galactic box office hit. This may or may not be your first time watching it, either way " May the Force Be With You".  For movie title please call the branch at 713-941-2385. Film is Rated PG-13, Duration 136 minutes. Program is recommended for adults only.

If You Can Read This...

Many years ago, there was a very popular bumper sticker that read, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.”

This is Teacher Appreciation Week.  And it’s fitting that we acknowledge those who spend their professional lives working for the benefit of children, young adults, and even older adults.  I’d be willing to bet that almost everyone has a particularly teacher they remember as a role model or mentor.  My favorite teacher is one from elementary school, though I really liked some in high school and college, too.  I have several family members who have taken on the sometimes tough, more times rewarding career in education.  My admiration for them is boundless.

Team Cap or Team Iron Man? Choose Your Side!

captain america funko popHappy National Superhero Day! Next week, Captain America: Civil War, a movie I’ve been anticipating for months, finally reaches theaters. I already have my ticket purchased for opening night, and am anxiously counting down the days. I confess that I am not a huge fan of all of Marvel’s superheroes, but I do love Captain America and will be cheering for him in this newest film.

This latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe finds the superheroes at odds over the issue of government control of their actions. After the experiences of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America and his team want to protect the world without government interference. On the other side of the fight, Iron Man and his team are advocating for more accountability to government.

Whether you’re new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or just want to re-watch old favorites, check out the list below and get caught up before Captain America: Civil War.

And don’t forget to show support for your favorite by voting Team Cap or Team Iron Man in the poll!

Choices
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A Place in the World

What do Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Jane Eyre, Anne Shirley, and Harry Potter have in common?

The answer is rather an easy one.  They are all orphans.

It’s a theme that’s been used over and over again in storytelling, from fairy tales and classic literature to fantasy and comic books.  The child whose parents have died or perhaps disappeared.  The child who often feels all alone in the world.  The child who finds friends or a calling to see him or her through the roughest of times.

After the Apocalpyse

maze runner character cardEarlier this week, I finally had the chance to watch The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the sequel to 2014’s The Maze Runner. Based on a bestselling Young Adult series by author James Dashner, these movies follow a group of teenagers with no memory of who they are as they try to navigate a post-apocalyptic world they don’t understand and stay one step ahead of the organization chasing them.

Novels like these have become increasingly popular over the past ten years, as have movies along the same theme. Some, like The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games, are based on popular YA books. Many, like Elysium and Mad Max: Fury Road, are original concepts dreamed up for the medium of film. Regardless of their origin, all movies in this genre seek to understand what compels humanity to survive and rebuild in the face of utter devastation.

If you’re in the mood for a post-apocalyptic or dystopian movie this week, check out the list below. I have also included a few TV shows that also fit the bill – just in case you’re in the mood to binge watch a series.

Patty Duke (1946-2016)

Patty Duke was a star at 12 years old, taking Broadway by storm in The Miracle Worker, playing young deafblind Helen Keller.  At age 16, she received an Oscar and a Golden Globe for that same role in

College Bound

New to movie theaters this April is Richard Linklater’s newest film, Everybody Wants Some!! (And, yes. The exclamation points are an official part of the title.) A sequel in spirit to his classic high school film Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! follows an incoming college freshman during his first weekend living on campus with the school’s baseball team. The film premiered earlier this month at South by Southwest to stellar reviews, and promises to be lighter and more humorous in tone than Linklater’s last film, Oscar-nominated opus Boyhood.

College has long served as a backdrop for movies. This is no surprise because it is generally a time of immense change. Freedom from parental figures allows teenagers to finally begin to grow up, reinvent themselves, and experience the world on their own. It also, as many movies set in college focus on, means new friendships, new relationships, and parties. The freedoms of college allow filmmakers to approach their movies from a variety of genres, whether serious (Good Will Hunting) or humorous (Animal House), animated (Monsters University) or empowering (Legally Blonde).

If you’re in the mood for a college movie and can’t wait for Linklater’s newest film to reach Houston’s theaters, browse the HCPL catalog and request something off the list below!

Like Mother, Like Daughter

It’s not unusual for children to follow in the footsteps of their parents.  A talent or interest for certain professions seem to run in families.  Sometimes it’s to carry on a business.  Sometimes it’s because the child grows up seeing the parent making a career and wants to do something similar.  Whether it’s farming or manufacturing or being a doctor or a teacher, parents and children will often travel along the same path. 

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