destined to become a classic

Talladega Knights (6.7/10.0 imdb) was great. I give it a solid A.

I started liking Talladega Knights when I found out it had broken a record for product placement (think: The Truman Show). That is crazy stuff. And brilliant. Everything is about consumption.

Now I know I can’t fit everything in my thesis – but I really do want to write about how individual contemporary identity is basically a collage of corporate logos: i.e., I drive a Hyundai, I talk on a pink Motorola RAZR, I wear Abercrombie Fitch pants, Guess shoes, Limited II tank top, Victoria’s Secret underwear, a ring from Tiffany’s, a watch from skagen… Remember Tom Cruise in Minority Report? He enters a Gap with his new eyeballs and he is greeted by an automated voice, who asks him how his last purchase of capris worked out for him. He is known, identified by his consumption. In racing, the drivers are identified by the companies they represent – there is a great moment when Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) has sold the space on his windshield – so even better that this movie can be identified by the corporate advertising it has sold. Given that this movie cost 75 million to make (Will Ferrell has reached stardom!) it must have felt like hitting jackpot to think of this scheme.

I was stunned when the Applebee’s commercial started…completely perfect, seeing as how Applebee’s is the epitome of a faceless corporate presence that enters a community (like Yucca Valley) and immediately insinuates itself into the good graces of the town by plastering its walls with pictures of the kids’ swim teams, soccer teams, football teams, etc. The first thing Bella noticed in the Yucca Valley Applebee’s was that she could find people she knew on the walls. She found pictures of herself. She loved that.

I can’t even think of my favorite moment of the movie. Everytime I noted a potential favorite line – or scene – it was one-upped a few scenes later. Perfect acting line-up: John T. Rielly was fabulous (I like him in pretty much everything), Ricky Bobby’s mother was perfect (remember her in the fuck buddy scene in 40-Year Old Virgin?) and even an appearance by Amy Adams (who gave what I considered the performance of the year as a pregnant teenager in Junebug.)

Can’t wait to watch it again.

P.S. In a similar vein, the nytimes frugal traveler mentions a store called G.O.D. (Goods of Desire!!) in his blog this week.

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