Jewish World Review May 14, 2002 / 3 Sivan, 5762

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

Entangled in Spider-Man's web!? | Spider-Man finally opened, to the great relief of those among us who were waiting on tenterhooks, with baited breath, on pins and needles, for yet another movie based on a comic book character we stopped paying attention to about twenty years ago.

For reasons known only to the gods, it opened big, setting yet another box office record for an opening weekend, even though the reviews made it sound like the old web slinger may have been better off staying between covers under the protective plastic in your safe deposit box at the bank.

I guess if you're going to sell the original Spider-Man comic on eBay there needs to be something out in the real world to drive up its value. A Spider-Man movie is as good as anything else.

And movies today, of course, aren't really there to bring people into the theatres, though that's always nice. Movies today exist mainly to sell tee shirts, action figures, key rings, baseballs caps, and all the other bizarre gimcrack gewgaws that marketing types love to stuff into our Happy Meals.

Without Happy Meals, Hollywood would collapse like a house of cards. The house of cards has got to have Spider-Man's face on it, or nobody will even touch the deck.

Which makes me wonder: the promotional tie-ins for Spider-Man have been a little thin, in my opinion. There was one for a cellular phone. What would Spider-Man do with a cellular phone? And where would he put it? He doesn't have pockets.

And the fast food tie-in is with Hardee's and Carl's Jr. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you were giving a black tie ball for fast food chains, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. would not be on the A-list, all right?

Dr. Pepper is the beverage of Spider-Man's choice, and Hershey's has some kind of deal--we all know how human arachnid mutants love their Almond Joys. Still, it all seems a little random, doesn't it? As if the big promotional guns had decided to shoulder their weapons and sit this one out?

Will things get worse when The Hulk hits the big screen? What if his only promotional tie-ins are with a walkie talkie maker, Nehi orange soda, and Der Wienerschnitzel? It depresses me just to think about it.

JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.


05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales