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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Intentional Obfuscation?

I'm pissed. I feel like I've had the wool briefly pulled over my eyes, seemingly purposefully. Now, it is slightly possible that the effects I'm about to describe were purely coincidental, or accidental, but I can't help but feel that that is a bit of a naive way of thinking. Here's the deal...

So, I'm sitting at work, and the radio is on, and a commercial comes on. It starts with an awesome Bob Marley groove ("Could You be Loved," though it sounded like a cover version), and my head naturally starts bobbing. It should be no surprise to those who paid attention to my last post (in which I mentioned my affinity for a certain band) that I am also a big fan of Bob. Then again, it is pretty rare to find anyone who doesn't like him!

Then the voiceover begins. It describes a movie in rather vague terms, but talks about the hero being a family man, accused of a crime he didn't commit, and then turning into the hero of a nation. It is described as a true life story. And the kicker? The movie is entitled Catch a Fire (which, of course, is also the name of a famous Bob album).

So hear I am, thinking, "Awesome! They've finally made a Bob Marley biopic!" I did find it odd that Tim Robbins got top billing, but I figured he played the record company dude who "discovered" Bob. And in fact, I got a little uppity about the fact that he got the top billing over whoever was playing Bob Marley, in "typical American fashion."

But oh boy, did I get it wrong. The friggin' movie has nothing to do with Bob Marley! It's about some guy in apartheid-era South Africa! Now you tell me... was I making a foolish mistake, or were they purposely trying to fool me with their advertising? Seems really fishy to me. Bottom line though, if they were not intentionally fooling me, then they just did a really poor job of advertising the film. Regardless, I'm angry, and I won't go see the film for that reason alone!

And will someone please make a Bob Marley movie already? And, a good one at that!

Thanks. :-)

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Blogger MaryAn Batchellor said...

Well, the film and Bob Marley's song "Slave Driver" from which "catch a fire" comes are both about overcoming oppression. The "could you be loved" song puzzles me though because it's about being judged and speaking out...maybe that fits the film too. Dunno. Just spit ballin'.

1:57 AM  
Anonymous Ted said...

I'll add my, "Yah, mon. Peace and respec'" to ya.

2:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" about being judged and speaking out... "
I attended a screening, and yes, it was about the main character being judged, wrongly; and his speaking, or acting out.

Good movie.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous The Moviequill said...

I just did a 10 year search on Done Deal and you are correct, no Marley film planned as far as I can see. There is one coming out on Marvin Gaye, but Marley needs one for sure

6:02 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

MaryAn -- Just to be clear. It wasn't the title that made me think they were fooling me pruposely. Because lots of times they name movies after popular songs or the like, and they usually aren't the best titles, or at least have nothing to do with the artist. e.g. "When a Man Loves a Woman" or "Let's Give Them Something to Talk About."

But once they named it that, to then go and add a different song by the same artist in the commercial, and use a vague voiceover that COULD apply to the artist in question as well. That was what made me feel cheated. And as I said, if not, then it is just poor advertising, IMNSHO! :-)

10:33 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

There is a Bob Marley movie in development with Mos Def being mentioned to play Bob. It's set up at Warners at the moment (been in dev since 2001, I believe.) The movie's being adapted from a book called...wait for it...Catch a Fire!

5:32 PM  
Blogger Shawn said...

Check that -- it's been in dev at Vanguard since the early 90s, looks like.

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Laura Reyna said...

Yup, i thought it had something to do w/ Rastas or Jamaica ... but not necessarily Marley.

Like Hendrix, Marley's estate is contentious. If there was a Marley bio pic comming out, i think we would have heard about it.

Still, think they should have used another song. Since "Could you be loved" is used in the ad, this makes me think they had permission from the Marleys to use Catch A Fire as a tile.

8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a similar gripe, I noticed way back when that Ronald Reagan's campaign used "Born in the USA" as an uplifting rah-rah rally song, every Republican obviously being totally oblivious to the lyrics. Since then I have listened for advertisements where that happens -- Tommy Hilfiger using Fortunate Son and most recently some computer related company using Baba O'Riley particularly stand out. As this relates to your observation, my guess is that they may or may not have have been trying to fool you, but they definitely did a really poor job of advertising.

10:33 PM  
Blogger mernitman said...

seconding Shawn on this, the Marley bio-pic's been on the burner for years, and his estate is evidently very difficult re: rights... meanwhile, you might get a grin out of this post:

1:07 AM  

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