Rewriting DVD Marketing Blurbs #2: Syriana

What the back of the DVD says:

Big oil means big money.  Very big money. And that fact unleashes corruption that stretches from Houston to Washington to the Mideast – and ensnares industrialists, princes, spies, politicos, oilfield laborers and terrorists in a deadly, deceptive web of move and countermove.

George Clooney (Academy Award and Golden Globe winner as Best Supporting Actor), Matt Damon and Jeffrey Wright lead a stellar cast in a lightning-paced, whip-smart thriller written and directed by Traffic Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan.  From its very first scene, Syriana grips your mind and nerves with an intensity that doesn’t let go for an instant.  What is the price of oil?  This “engrossing, insider’s tour of the world’s hottest spots, grandest schemes and most dangerous men” (Richard Corliss, Time) has a jolting answer.

What the DVD should say:

Movies about big oil mean mediocre money for the studios that invest in them.  Very mediocre money.  And the fact that some liberals of convenience who work over at Warner Brothers wanted to make a message film unleashes a convoluted corruption plot that stretches from Houston to Washington to the Mideast which are three places you probably don’t care to visit – and ensnares industrialists, princes, spies, politicos, oilfield laborers and terrorists who all eventually blend together until you can’t tell them apart in a confusing, hard to understand web (Spiderman makes webs) of move and countermove and counter-countermove and then back to regular move again.

George Clooney (Academy Award and Golden Globe winner as Best Supporting Actor, an honor which the Hollywood elite could have given to him for a number of other films that are easier to understand but lack that certain “importance” that an average moviegoer might refer to as “pretentious”), Matt Damon and Jeffrey Wright lead a stellar cast and Amanda Peet in a sporadically-paced thriller that thinks it is more whip-smart than it is, written and directed by Traffic Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan (who won his Academy Award for something other than direction, because someone else entirely directed Traffic.)  From its very first scene, Syriana grips your mind and nerves with an intensity that doesn’t let go for an instant, unless you count the times you’ll look away from the television to look at a bird outside your window.  What is the price of oil?  Currently like three bucks a gallon which is insane.  But, back to the movie.  A critic might say something like this movie is an “engrossing, insider’s tour of the world’s hottest spots, grandest schemes and most dangerous men” (Richard Corliss, who writes for a weekly news magazine that hasn’t gotten any respect from the journalistic community in decades) but he’s only saying that because if he admits he didn’t quite understand what was happening the entire time then people might think he’s stupid.

Lots of love, Tonn Slingdog

4 thoughts on “Rewriting DVD Marketing Blurbs #2: Syriana”

  1. Wow. Spot on. I can’t take issue with any part of that. This is one of those movies that I walked out of saying, “Well, I didn’t really care for it, but it SEEMED good. Maybe I’ll give it another chance on DVD.” But I never have. The plot was very choppy; it never seemed to gel. And the performances were intense without having well-written dialog to be intense about. I don’t recall the details now, but that one lawyer who makes the big speech to the black guy who isn’t important seemed like he was going for a Gordon Gecko “Greed is good” moment, but I just totally didn’t buy the bullshit he was peddling.

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