About 40 years ago a movie was made that set the standard for overhyped and underwhelming films. It was “The Great Gatsby” starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Redford was the hottest thing in Hollywood at the time and Time Magazine ran a cover story on the film. When it was finally released it completely bombed.
When I saw it later on TV I was shocked at how bad it was. To be fair, I also read the book and wondered how it could ever be deemed a “classic” or make a good movie. I’m even more amazed Hollywood recently did a re-make with Leonardo DeCipario. Apparently it wasn’t enough to make a bad film once.
Anyway, the moral of the story is not that Hollywood likes to beat a dead horse. It’s that it’s best not to listen to hype and anticipate what you will think of a film. The publicity surrounding it can be very misleading.
All this brings me to a recent “blockbuster” called “The Butler.” Rarely have I heard a so-so film get such rave reviews from so many commentators. Maybe they were fawning over Oprah Winfrey who was in the film and made the rounds promoting it. After all, this is the lady who has the Midas touch. If she recommends a book it becomes a best seller. If she makes a negative passing remark about beef she gets sued by the industry because her opinion carries so much weight.
On the surface “The Butler” sounds like a truly impressive film. “Inspired by a true story,” in other words we don’t know how true it is, a poor African American rises up from poverty and managed to land a job as a butler in the White House. He gets to know several presidents and serves in his capacity for 30 years.