Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we work on our lisp, get all kinds of swole, let anarchy reign, talk about regulating guns, and give hope to kids who have some musical talent.

The Strongest Man Trailer

I’m so in.

I have zero idea what filmmaker Kenny Riches has planned with his Kickstarter campaign to make a movie about, well, I dunno, but I am riveted by what’s on display here. The trailer doesn’t tell you a damn thing. No narrative background, no context, no explanation as to why our hero is cruising around town on a gold plated Huffy, why he’s chasing after a chicken, or bursting through walls like he’s the Kool-Aid man. I kind of like that. In fact, I’m smitten by the showcase of disparate moments if only because it adds to the fire of curiosity. What’s afoot and what’s this all about, all questions that are provoked when you take in the moments that are shared here. There is a sublime humor about the absurd things happening not only in this trailer but Riches’ pitch, once the trailer is done, takes things just a few feet further and successfully makes the case why you need to open up that wallet.

Do I Sound Gay? Trailer

Yes.

When I was in my formative years I looked up to comedians like Scott Thompson of The Kids in the Hall who once schooled me on the subject of gay men and lisps. To wit: “People make fun of me because I lisp. Really. Such a lot of fuss over a few extra s’s…” Director David Thorpe looks like he’s going to get to the bottom of this social phenomena and seeing David Sedaris, Tim Gunn and George Takei this seemed to be less about his own personal quest but a journey with many other men who have had to hide or try and alter their speech in order to pass, socially. It’s a social examination that I don’t think has been done before and the trailer is completely engaging in the way it sets up why this issue, which might seem completely innocuous, is a very relevant to a community of people who are only now getting the kind of legal benefits that have so long eluded them. While the donation bucket has long since passed to make this documentary possible, the information conveyed in a couple of minutes is poignant while also contextualizing the paths down which many gay men have had to walk in a life already fraught with anxiety.

Salad Days Trailer

I need to learn.

While my knowledge and experience with punk rock started and ended with just the names that any suburban kid would have casually come across (The Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Bad Brains) I never owned any of their music nor ever fully appreciate the message of their art. Big ups to director Scott Crawford, then, for bringing into sharp focus the geography, the ground zero, for many of these bands who saw the cradle of democracy as the perfect epicenter for raging against the machine that was politics. The trailer does an excellent job in establishing where we are, why we’re here, and then slipping Dave Grohl into the mix to impart the impact of what we’re about to witness. Zero time is wasted here. None. We blast right through the whys and hows while getting a feel for the world Crawford is trying to create. A sweet ode to a time that has gone past, it looks like this is a little monster of a documentary that will show you exactly why these bands had the influence they did on so many musicians that are rocking hard now.

No Control Trailer

Yeah, this will divide some people.

Director Jessica Solce just has to know there would be no easy way out of this. What is great about the trailer, though, is how she balances the message of what people have to say, and what they feel, about this issue. The moments we’re given in this tight trailer are actually allowed to breathe a little bit while we orient ourselves on the nature of what we’re all here to talk about. When it comes to the regulation of guns and how we ought to classify the nature of gun ownership a quick point is made that all the other rights we have under the Constitution of the United States come with strings attached while we get an opposing view on what does a deranged individual have anything to do with someone’s right to gun ownership. These are the kind of valid volleys that, if in the right hands, like what Tony Kaye’s Lake of Fire did on abortion, you can actually have a dialogue about what ills society without either party feeling drowned out by the other. The trailer tiptoes down that line and does it admirably.

Some Kind of Spark Trailer

Ben Niles just warmed my soul.

What you have here is sixty seconds of nothing. Not really nothing, per se, but we’re not given any narrative structure about what we’re seeing. And, like a person being shoved into a dark closet, we have to use our other senses to make reality out of what’s left. Here, then, is that dark closet. The moments we’re given, the music that plays, you have to work in deciphering what’s the real story happening before our eyes. Anyone with a good sense of putting puzzle pieces together can see that the music that plays to the moments of kids making their way through a concrete jungle are there because they’re talented but not are not necessarily from any great means.  The tears, the frustration, the hard work, you can’t fake that and, thankfully, nothing stands between us and feeling that moment when you get that what you’re seeing is the hustle of kids who are trying to make their dreams come true through music.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

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