This Week's Trailer: It's time for Men, Women & Children, the latest film from Jason Reitman, which follows a whole bunch of people as they deal with the loneliness of the Internet age. Among the isolated are Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, and Dennis Haysbert. (The movie premieres next month at the Toronto International Film Festival.)
This Week's Tune: A dreamy, alt-pop version of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," as performed by Plantains.
How Literal Is It? On its own, this cover of "I Feel Love" is spacey and beautiful, in a "background music at the day spa" sort of way. But in this trailer, it's forced to become ominous. Here's what I mean: Based on what we see here, Men, Women & Children is going to be the one billionth work of contemporary art that frets about how the internet and texting and social media are tearing society apart. We see the requisite scenes of teenagers sexting with dead eyes, grown ups IM'ing about how disconnected they feel, and a schlubby husband ordering an escort online even though his wife is right there. And like... we've got it, okay? Yes, the internet can sometimes push us further apart from each other and damage our sense of well-being. But do we really need to be reminded of that in 2014? There were Law & Order episodes about this in the '90s, for cripe's sake. Yet this trailer acts like the movie is making some groundbreaking observation. The preview seems even more recycled because it "cleverly" uses a slowed-down version of a dance song to make its supposedly subversive point. Plantain might be singing "I feel love," but none of these people CAN feel love! A sexy anthem has become a lament! How ironic! How non-literal! Please ignore the fact that the trailers for Maleficent, Birdman, and Fifty Shades of Grey used this exact same technique just a few weeks ago! So while this song choice is non-literal in superficial ways, it is actually the most literal selection possible for a movie that believes it's blowing the whistle on our cultural behavior.
How Emotional Is It? In this context, the song creates cool remove more than actual feeling, but that's probably the point.
Will We Associate It With This Movie? I doubt it. Donna Summer's version is a classic for a reason, and this can't compete.
Overall Trailer Tune Effectiveness: I have loved several Jason Reitman films, I've loved several Jason Reitman films, so for now, I'm keeping faith that the movie will dig deeper than this song choice.