Trailer Hitch
By Kim Hollis
February 18, 2009

I'm the #1 fan of Heroes! I know that's hard to believe...

Welcome to Trailer Hitch, BOP's look at the latest movie trailers to hit the Internet. This week: We decide whether we love Beth Cooper.

I Love You, Beth Cooper

When I read the novel I Love You, Beth Cooper several months ago, I knew that it was a perfect set-up for a film. And in a lot of ways, this made a great deal of sense. Author Larry Doyle has plenty of experience with writing screenplays and scripts. He's been involved in a lot of things I really, really like, including Beavis and Butthead, Daria and The Simpsons, but he also delivered the screenplays for Duplex and Looney Tunes: Back in Action, so perhaps there should be a sense of Buyer Beware.

Really, though, the short novel I Love You, Beth Cooper is a coming-of-age treasure, and one of the most fun books I've had the pleasure of reading in the past few years. It tells the story of a nerdy teen named Denis Cooverman, who inexplicably decides during his valedictory graduation speech to blurt out, "I Love You, Beth Cooper". Beth Cooper is the beautiful cheerleader for whom he's pined during his high school years, and he decides that it's now or never to get his feelings about her out there. Soon, things escalate as she shows up at Denis' house for an impromptu graduation party, pursued by her super jealous older boyfriend from the military. Like many teen comedies, lots of hijinks and sweetness ensue.

For me, the trailer makes it look like writer Doyle and director Chris Columbus have gotten the tone just right. The movie looks like a lot of fun and is reminiscent of all kinds of earlier comedies (Nadine, Can't Buy Me Love, Can't Hardly Wait, American Pie) while still staking out a place all its own. Hayden Panettiere seems just about perfect for the role of Beth Cooper (which I hadn't been sure about prior to the trailer) and Paul Rust, who I apparently saw in Semi-Pro but fortunately don't remember, feels right as Denis Cooverman. I'm hoping this one will spark an interest that goes beyond simply people who loved the book. Either way, I suggest you go buy it or check it out from your local library right now.

Grade: A

Phoebe in Wonderland

This trailer tells us exactly nothing about what this movie is about. And yet, it had everything in it to tell me that I want to see it. Essentially, the preview is a two-minute song and dance number featuring Elle Fanning as Alice (of Wonderland fame) and a number of other kids. It's obviously a school production being headed up by Campbell Scott. And that's all we know.

Still, the singing and dancing are really pretty darned good, especially when you consider that these are all children. And I love Campbell Scott, so seeing him watching the kids with a look of consternation on his face is enough to make me curious. The play seems like it's going great. So why would he seem so troubled? I'll definitely be watching Phoebe in Wonderland so that I can find out.

Grade: A

The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

This is a very slickly produced trailer that is going to get a lot of people interested in this film, I think. For me, though, it's...well, it's a Tony Scott film. The trailer makes that very clear thanks to all the explosions and guns and quick edits back and forth from one character to another. Also, Denzel Washington is here!

A remake of a 1974 film, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 definitely ramps up the action and intensity. The trailer's problems lie in the fact that we're supposed to buy Denzel Washington as an ineffectual schlub who is really up against it when he encounters some bad guys, and also in John Travolta's unbearable over-acting. This is the Travolta of Swordfish, or Face/Off or maybe even Basic. When he plays the heavy, he's just intensely annoying to me. So much so that I'm distracted from trying to decide if the story is engaging or interesting.

Grade: C-

Sin Nombre

Right from the outset of this trailer, things seem a little dubious because of the Generic Trailer Voice Guy narration. Yes, Sin Nombre is a foreign film and yes, it has subtitles. But sometimes I think the people who cut these things don't have enough faith in their viewers - especially people who tend to like art house and foreign films in the first place. We don't see much about the story here, but it feels sort of reminiscent of Slumdog Millionaire in a lot of ways, just set in Mexico. The trailer tells us that Sin Nombre was a winner at Sundance for Excellence in Direction and Cinematography, and also that it was produced by Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal. None of these things really convince me that this is something I'm dying to see, but I'm intrigued enough to keep it in the back of my mind as a rental, perhaps.

Grade: B-

Inglourious Basterds

Well, it's finally here. The trailer for Quentin Tarantino's hotly anticipated Inglourious Basterds has arrived, and all I can say is that I'm...whelmed. It's mainly comprised of Brad Pitt doing a soliloquy in his best Billy Bob Thornton voice (Angelina must have coached him). He tells us that his name is Aldo Raine, which immediately distracts me because I think that he has said Aldo Ray, and I get to wondering whether Tarantino has named this character after the actor who appeared alongside Humphrey Bogart in a film I liked a lot called We're No Angels. But that's not the case at all.

I'm further distracted as Lieutenant Raine asks for eight volunteers to go fight Germans in occupied France. One of the volunteers is Neal from Freaks and Geeks. And hey! There's Ryan from The Office! Soon, though, things devolve into a Peckinpah-esque mesh of nihilism and violence. For some reason, there's a shot of Hitler near the end that doesn't quite fit, either. I'm pretty sure Tarantino fans are going to be geared up for this, but I'm very dubious about the whole thing. And the misspellings in the title are going to drive me insane until this movie finally gets a release.

Grade: C