I saw Iron Man 3 at the theater last weekend. It was a good movie, but that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about an ad before the movie which starred this fine gentleman:
One of the trailers was for the upcoming G.I. Joe movie. Once the trailer had ended, there was a commercial for G.I. Joe pens. I didn’t pay much attention to the details of this Amazing Pen Offer, but it was very Japanese. So very Japanese that they used a clip of Bruce Willis saying “Nice,” in the movie, subtitled in a bubbly pink font with a heart at the end.
My fellow expats and I, of course, burst into laughter (myself the hardest; I was laughing right up until the credits started rolling). It was so at odds with Bruce Willis’s badass reputation. We were the only ones in the theater laughing, though. To the Japanese, there was no incongruity. Pink is not an emasculating color in Japanese culture.
Not all trailers (I suppose that wasn’t technically a trailer, but whatever) which suffer such unintended reactions do so because of cultural differences, though. Last night, thinking about this particular incident, I recalled one of the trailers my best friend and I saw when we went to see Death Race.
This story requires a bit of setup, so please bear with me for a moment.
My best friend loves movie theaters, and occasionally invites me to go see random $3 movies with him just because he wants to go watch something. This was one of those times, and we went to see it at the end of its $3 dollar run, so we were two of about half a dozen people in the theater. The two of us were at about the center of the theater, with two people in front of us and a couple of people sitting up at the front.
Shortly after the trailers started, one of the guys in the row in front of us got up and went to the lobby. The next trailer was for a gore-horror-thriller flick about murders in a subway at night. The movie was obviously bad. It was clearly terrible. The real kicker, and the thing that made my friend and I laugh, though, was the title: Midnight Meat Train.
When we saw that, we couldn’t help but laugh. It was hilarious. Eventually our laughter died down. But in the middle of the next trailer, when the guy who had gone to the lobby came back, his friend turned to him and said in a matter of fact tone of voice, “You missed the meat train.”
I think the people in front thought my friend and I were crazy when we exploded with laughter again.