Fewer trailers

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 get nostalgic in the toy aisle, get supernatural, wander through the video store, get mixed up with the wrong people, and catch up with Patton Oswalt.

The Deeper You Dig

We covered this film last year, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing it ever since. Directors/actors Toby Poser and John Adams look to have something extraordinary on their hands.

When a girl is senselessly murdered, she proves that love won’t stay buried.

With low-budget anything, the proof is in the marketing. Meaning, if you have accolades, if you have critical acclaim of any kind, now is the time to not hold back. This trailer is a revelation in how well it balances giving us what we want, holding back when it’s necessary, and knowing how to slip in pull-quotes without it ever being distracting. I’m engaged, I’m intrigued, and this is quintessential low-budget. Thrill me and figure out a way to do it on the cheap. Looks like they have.

A Toy Store Near You

Creator Brian Volk-Weiss, who gave us the wonderful series The Toys That Made Us on Netflix, is back with a different kind of toy story.

The series will explore one of the wackiest-yet-tight-knit communities in pop culture as well as how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted these beloved small businesses, and the unique personalities behind them. And the majority of the show’s proceeds will go to the stores featured in its 50 episodes, providing crucial relief to these owners and their staff during the health crisis.

These are the stories that pull on me, emotionally; people who are in business for themselves, people who wanted to make their passions their financial future, and, with something like a pandemic, how that all can be threatened in a matter of months. This looks raw, but I could see no other way to tell these kinds of stories. It’s certainly on my must-see list if only to learn how these purveyors of pop culture weather this storm.

The Last Blockbuster

Just a couple of months ago, we were able to see the first look of what director Taylor Morden was up to with his Blockbuster documentary. He’s back with another peek.

A documentary on the last remaining Blockbuster Video in Bend, Oregon.

It doesn’t get more succinct than that. The trailer is just as straightforward. This is a documentary exploring what it means to be the last Blockbuster, to delve into what made this chain so powerful, and, in the end, why it became a punchline. It’s a joke, sure, to be the last Blockbuster but, to the people who own it, work in it, it’s still alive. These are the kinds of documentaries I adore if only because of how much it feels like a sociological postmortem. And, in these times, it’s nice to be able and reflect on a time that once was and never to be again.

Clementine

Director Lara Jean Gallagher is here with the kind of steamy thriller they just don’t make anymore.

Reeling from a one-sided breakup, anguished Karen (Otmara Marrero) flees Los Angeles for her ex’s idyllic lake house in the Pacific Northwest. There, she becomes entangled with a mysterious, alluring younger woman (Sydney Sweeney), whom she cannot seem to resist. Equal parts psychological thriller and sexual coming-of-age story, CLEMENTINE is a tense rumination on who to love and how to let go.

This trailer is pretty much the closest you’ll ever get to a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of filmmaking. A little creepy, a little moody, a little sensual, it’s the type of under-the-radar movie that I could easily see enjoying if only to experience something fresh. Plus, you’ve got the hint of some violence going down, so there’s that too.

Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything

Yes, I would like to see this, please.

Like the ancient grains of Babylon, Patton provides a healthy dose of witticism in his newest Netflix comedy special, Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything, streaming May 19. Enjoy yourself as the Emmy and Grammy winning comedian reflects on hilarious existential anecdotes after recently embracing his fifties, including attending his daughter’s second-grade art show that cost him the chance to board a full-scale Millennium Falcon or how buying a house is like hiring a suicide squad of superhuman subcontractors. And stick around post-credits for Bob Rubin: Oddities & Rarities, a bonus one-hour comedy special presented by Patton himself!

I appreciate what’s going on in this trailer. I don’t think I’ve been wowed by many comedy specials that Netflix has been pumping out as of late. There is just something about Patton’s delivery, his point of view, that makes this feel less like a comedy special and more like a frank discussion on things with jokes gingerly peppered in.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers for possible inclusion 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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