Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Patty has something to say that you might be interested in reading if you don't have anything really important to do right now

Call me a cynic, but I've found that most things hyped as the Biggest! the Best! the Unforgettable! tend to be not so great, or at least not nearly as great as billed.

A noteworthy example: The movie "Howard the Duck". Based on a Marvel Comics character, produced by George Lucas, using Industrial Light & Magic special effects and starring the red-hot Lea Thompson, the movie received extensive pre-release hype.

Have you seen "Howard the Duck"? Probably not, actually—it was a box office failure, grossing about $15 million on a $35 million budget. Critic Leonard Maltin described it as a "hopeless mess...a gargantuan production which produces a gargantuan headache". In other words, it was bad. It was really, really bad.

It was also the movie Jef selected for our first date in 1986.

So much for the hype.

More recently (two days ago), I needed to be in Frankenmuth, Michigan's Little Bavaria, for work. Because I was spending the night there, I felt compelled to try one of world-famous chicken dinners offered by one of Frankenmuth's two world-famous chicken-dinner purveyors (The Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder's of Frankenmuth).

Because I was dining solo, I missed out on the "family" aspect of the family-style chicken dinners. But I ordered a two-piece white-meat dinner and got 1) one large split chicken breast half that had been cut in half to make two "pieces" before it was batter-dipped and fried, 2) an ice-cream scoop's worth of mashed potatoes and an ice-cream scoop's worth of stuffing (think high-school cafeteria) covered in turkey gravy, 3) some overcooked green beans, yellow beans and carrots and 4) a white-bread dinner roll, all served by a friendly but mildly demoralized-looking high-school girl in a dirndl.

I wasn't impressed. I ordered dessert and called that dinner after picking at my famous  but mediocre chicken.

So much for the hype.

I've always liked the business advice, "Under-promise and over-deliver." "Howard the Duck" wouldn't have been a better movie without the hype, and my famous chicken dinner wouldn't have been any less mediocre without the hype. But maybe I wouldn't feel quite as ripped off by the whole experience...


Lars Larson said...

One word about chicken...Stroud's. This place in Kansas City is what the places in Frankenmuth say they are. No doubt. Hype, hype, hype.

Ed Rush said...

I remember really enjoying Howard the Duck. But then, my tastes frequently disagree with those of "accepted" movie critics.

David said...

Wouldn't a first date with Jeff amount to a night that over delivered, regardless of the quality of the movie?

Netagene said...

I tried to comment yesterday and somehow got blocked! What you wrote is kinda like "new and improved", which often simply means "less ounces and costs more"! "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" is my way of thinking! I immediately think of some of the older, cheap dish detergents, and the old Coca Cola and such (though I HAVE changed my favorite soft drink from Coca Cola, to diet CC, to diet Dr Pepper, to diet cherry DP!)

La Professora said...

While "Howard the Duck" didn't live up to the hype, seems Jef did -- 24.3 years together would indicate so.

If it helps, the movie was such a bomb, Lucas was so strapped for cash that he had to sell his CGI unit, which became Pixar. Thus, good things can come from bad experiences.

Liz H. said...

I think the goal with hype is to get you to buy the product once, and they make their profit there. You might hate it and never come back, but at least they got you to buy it once. I suppose they're gambling most customers will feel too foolish to ask for a refund.

"World famous" is one of those ad phrases that sounds cool but doesn't have much to do with quality. Kinda like George Lucas (ahem).