|Brevity Is the Soul of Wit
It seems that good old Billy Shakespeare himself could have penned a few movie taglines in his day.
Taglines are those punchy epigrams that accompany a film's poster that attempt to encapsulate the feel and flavor of a flick. They are the essence of marketing, with many taglines being more memorable than the films they promote.
"This time, it's personal."
This was one of the more memorable taglines, unfortunately, it had more legs than the film it was tacked on to. Can you recall which one it was?
This summer, films are jockeying for position in the crowded market, so a pithy bundle of words can help etch a film into your mind weeks and perhaps months before the film's release.
And some go on to be mini pieces of pop culture (like the above quote, which was from the instantly forgettable Jaws IV: The Revenge).
Take for example Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds, which touts: "They're already here," echoing the classic Spielberg-produced Poltergeist tagline "They're Here."
"It's the first step in building awareness," Paramount vice chairman Rob Freidman said in Variety magazine of his studio's War of the Worlds tagline. "It makes people go, 'Wow, I know what this is about and I want to go see it.'"
Well, not all the time.
Some films don't rely on them, and let commercials and voiceovers do the work. This past year's critical darling Sideways slid in with nary a word to sum it up aside from its title.
But you can test your knowledge of how well you know your movies by browsing through this list of lines (the answers follow):
1 "Protecting the Earth from the scum of the universe."
2 "They're young, they're in love and they kill people."
3 "You'll believe a man can fly."
4 "Be afraid, be very afraid."
5 "Just when you though it was safe to go back in the water"
6 "This is Benjamin. He's a little worried about his future."
7 "Whoever saves life, saves the world entire"
8 "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
9 "Some memories are best forgotten"
10 "...look closer"
11 "Mischief. Mayhem. Soap"
12 "On every street corner, there's a nobody who dreams of being a somebody."
13 "From the moment they met it was murder!"
14 "Off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush..."
15 "It's all about womenand their men!"
16 "In space, no one can hear you scream."
17 "...all it takes is a little Confidence."
18 "A nervous romance."
19 "Every man dies, not every man really lives."
20 "In Vietnam the wind doesn't blow. It sucks."
21 "The man...and the motion picture that simply do not conform."
22 "Uncle Leo's bedtime story for you older tots! The things they do among the playful richOh, boy!"
23 "The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman!"
24 "The first casualty of war is innocence."
25 "He's having the worst day of his life...over, and over..."
Rob Rector is Co-Founder and a current Board Member of the Rehoboth Beach Film Society.
1 Men in Black, 2 Bonnie and Clyde, 3 Superman, 4 The Fly, 5 Jaws 2, 6 The Graduate, 7 Schindler's List, 8 Star Wars, 9 Memento, 10 American Beauty, 11 Fight Club, 12 Taxi Driver, 13 Double Indemnity, 14 L.A. Confidential, 15 All About Eve, 16 Alien, 17 The Sting, 18 Annie Hall, 19 Braveheart, 20 Full Metal Jacket, 21 Cool Hand Luke, 22 Philadelphia Story, 23 The African Queen, 24 Platoon, 25 Groundhog Day
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 1 February 11, 2005