Summer movie season means a lot of things.
Big-budget action adventures in the mutliplexes. A shortage of dental floss because of all of the popcorn kernels stuck in people's teeth. And, of course, an endless array of movie tie-ins around every corner.
Just today, I went to buy a cool, refreshing Diet Dr. Pepper and there was old Indiana Jones bullwhipping my thirst into submission on the bottle.
Gosh, thanks, Indy. I was feeling too parched to fight the Soviets, but now I'm good to go.
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Say I wanted to quench my thirst with a Slurpee as big as my head from 7-Eleven. Well, I'd be in luck, because the convenience store has an Iron Man head-shaped Slurpee cup for my drinking pleasure.
Good thing they're made of plastic or I'd worry about heavy-metal contamination.
But, wait, now I want a snack to go with my delicious beverages.
No problem. I could pour myself a nice bowl of "Speed Racer" Cheerios. Soon, I can also crunch down on a tube of "The Incredible Hulk" Pringles or savor the sweetness of a Bat-symbol-shaped Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
Now that I'm full, how else can movies help me part ways from my money?
Well, if I'm feeling particularly well-heeled, those "Sex and the City" gals would love to sell me a brand new Mercedes-Benz. I fear, however, that my IRS stimulus check won't stretch quite that far, so I might have to opt for a "Get Smart"-approved Vespa.
Some of the tie-ins are indeed clever. Swiss Army for "Get Smart." Esurance for "Speed Racer." GNC nutrition drinks and "The Incredible Hulk."
But so many other are just, well, why?
Why does Iron Man have anything to do with an LG phone? Why would the Dark Knight make me want to eat Domino's pizza.
And, for heavens sake, why would I want to eat Sargento cheese with the Incredible Hulk on it? Will this cheese turn me green? Has it been hit with a near-lethal dose of gamma rays? Does the FDA know?
Movie product tie-ins are nothing new. But it seems that with each summer, the stream of tie-ins grows larger and larger.
Subway. Domino's. Nestlé. NHL. LG. Nokia. Burger King. McDonald's. Kmart. Target. Safeway. Sam's Club. Crown Royal. Puma. Skyy Vodka. Giorgio Armani. Six Flags.
But the real question is, will any of this rampant cross-promotion actually make me want to see the movies more? Not really. And, I'm kind of terrified by that cheese.
In a culture where seemingly everything is an ad for something, we've almost grown immune to the marketing. Perhaps that's why there is even more of it -- call it the law of diminishing returns.
Still, sometimes, it'd be nice to just be able to drink my beverage in peace and not be reminded that "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" opens May 22!
I've bought the soda, do I really have to buy a ticket, too?
Elsewhere around the Scene:
Catch a lot of good music for good causes this week.
First, Community Hospice Foundation holds its seventh annual gala Saturday. The Hawaiian-themed event will feature music by popular party band Notorious, as well as Hawaiian dancers, dinner, an open bar and more. All proceeds will benefit the patients and families of Community Hospice.
Party starts at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails, 7 p.m. dinner and 8:30 p.m. entertainment at the home of Nick and Els Blom (directions and address will be provided to ticketholders). Tickets are $100. For reservations, call 578-6370. ...
Then on Thursday, check out the start of the four-part Music Over Meth series at the Queen Bean Coffee House in Modesto.
Musician Kate Trompetter has organized the concert series. Kicking it off will be Sapo Sueño and Not an Airplane. The other shows are June 26, July 24 and Aug. 28. Visit myspace.com/ queenbean_booking_modesto. ...
Blues fans have another chance to see guitarist Chris Cain. Catch the Chris Cain Band Blues Party with opener Joe Barreta on Sunday at Clayton's. Tickets are $15. Call 522-7811. ...
And finally, mark your calendars for May 24 and the return of smooth-jazz shows from John Griswold.
The longtime area music promoter, who retired from promotion in February, has been lured back for a series events this summer dubbed Johnny's Jazz Parties. Performing May 24 will be Native Vibe,
June 14 Willie Royal (of Willie & Lobo) featuring Bill Macpherson on guitar and Aug. 1-2 Slim Man. Check www.e-artsnews.com for venues and prices.