The most famous movie mistakes can range from funny and silly to downright disrespectful to the audience’s intelligence. Gun silencers don’t make shots sound like whispers; you likely can’t crawl through an air duct very easily; and most movie journalists are dumb, scandal-obsessed, and unethical.
Movies make other more insidious errors often by using work as shorthand for a character’s personality. In the movies, the job is often not the story. This was surprisingly common in ‘90s entertainment. The lead starts off with a major position at a company, a mishap occurs, and act two begins.
The jobs that were popular in the ‘90s were white collar, upper-middle class positions at banks, law offices, and marketing firms. Here’s what Hollywood misses about what it’s like to work in marketing.
Renaissance Man/What Women Want: It’s All Down to The Big Presentation
Movie dads are almost uniformly bad. They have lessons to learn through the course of the film, like the fact that finding love, and bonding with your teen daughter, are more important than an ad campaign.
Take Danny DeVito at the start of Penny Marshall’s Renaissance Man, stuck in a traffic jam and forced to give a major presentation to clients over a cell phone. Both Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt are majorly stressed-out about presenting new material to Nike in What Women Want.
In short, they’re all worried about The Big Presentation. Presentations are a part of office life, but it’s hardly the most stressful thing during the day. Any job involves a good deal of stress, and, according to people who actually handle presentations, they have ways of dealing with it.
The day-to-day of office work is often more than enough to drive wedges between family members. Movies tend to just make them more dramatic.
Crazy People: There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Truth in Advertising
Being honest in advertising is important and often beneficial. When Avis decided to centrepiece the fact that they were the number two rental service in the country, it turned into one of their most successful campaigns.
Marketers always stress the importance of being honest with consumers, but it’s all in the approach. Avis was charming and self-deprecating. Movies often take this to extremes for comedy’s sake.
In Crazy People, Sir Dudley Moore is a marketing executive who checks himself into a mental institution after suffering a nervous breakdown. While there, he learns the value of true bluntness from patients, who concoct blunt slogans they’d like to hear.
There’s no way to track how well “Boxy, but good” would go over with the people at Volvo, but given Volkswagen’s real-life success with “Ugly is only skin deep” for their Beetles, that one may have been a hit.
The same can’t be said for the film’s more sexually explicit and crude slogans. A travel agency probably wouldn’t have much luck telling customers that the French can be rude, so go to Greece instead, they’re nicer. In real life, the truth can actually hurt.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer