Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Please consider this image for a moment.

This image was attached to the front cover of the free weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian (and, I assume, similar weekly papers in other urban markets in the US). It's part of a folding advertisement for the forthcoming film Cyrus, a mainstream film from mumblecore mainstays the Duplass Brothers. In the film a hapless, aging bachelor finds his shot at happiness with The Perfect Woman challenged by her contentious, maladjusted, probably lethal son (Jonah Hill, pictured above).

The image captures well the awkwardness and danger our hero finds himself in, but your blogger can't help but regret the censorship on the sign. Granted, even on the cover of a progressive weekly like the Guardian in a city like San Francisco it's unlikely you're going to see the word "FUCK" so prevalently featured. Would that we lived in a more fearless, less-litigious society. One would think from the trailers that Cyrus himself would actually inscribe the word on any sign displayed to a rival for his mother's heart (given the film's R-rating, perhaps he does). So the choice of this image to promote this film is an unfortunate one - it's edgy enough to suggest the rough, homespun indie cred of its makers but the absence of bad words comes across as a reassurance that the movie won't be too edgy, and thus safe for the mainstream viewer. I don't fault the Duplass brothers for the realities of marketing in America, but I can't imagine they're pleased that such an ultimately safe image has been chosen to announce their film.

The DIY misanthropy I've perceived in the press of the mumblecore features hasn't drawn me to them, but the sanitizing that this promo suggests has taken place in CYRUS (confirmed in at least one review I've read of the film) isn't terribly appetizing, either. We will see how the film does, and what doors it opens for its filmmakers.

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