Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., March 10
Michigan Woman Sues FilmDistrict Over Drive's Deceptive Trailer
Pictured: Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks in Drive.
While curating the film program at MoPA, there was an ultra-stingy board member, let's call her, "Johnnie," who owned a paper pass with strings attached. Johnnie would sit through an entire feature, and if it didn't meet with her approval, cheerfully ask to have her pass refunded.
In Johnnie's case, we were taught to be extra nice to board members, but after the fifth time, my eagle-eyed box office person called her on it and refused to reissue the pass. Johnnie went to far as to complain to the museum director, but I stood by my ticket-taker's call.
Do distributors and exhibition chains have to start printing "BUYER BEWARE" on the back of every ticket?
Apparently so, for Sarah Deming, a resident of Novi, Michigan, has filed a lawsuit against FilmDistrict, faulting the trailer for Drive for not living up to its promise of delivering another Fast and Furious. There have already been five installments in the F&F franchise that, with the exception of the mind-blowing art of Tokyo Drift, are pretty much interchangeable. Is there really someone out there begging for more?
According to the suit, "[The studio] promoted the film Drive as very similar to the Fast and Furious, or similar, series of movies. Drive bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film... having very little driving in the motion picture."
It's one thing to ask for your money back halfway through a picture, but to see it through to the end and ask for a refund is just plain nervy. I have demanded my money back more times than I care to remember, but it was always over focus or sound issues, not film quality. While managing a multiplex, I'd gladly fork over a pair of passes to come and see something else, but cash would never be refunded over a taste dispute. This is a movie, not a pair of shoes that didn't fit once you got them home. If your favorite sporting team was touted as having their best year ever, yet they lost the one game you attended, do you have the right to demand your money back? If you don't like the movie, better luck next time.
As if a misleading trailer were not enough, Deming was also taken aback by what she called Drive's, "extreme gratuitous defamatory dehumanizing racism directed against members of the Jewish faith." She went so far as accusing the film of promoting "criminal violence against members of the Jewish faith."
As a Landsman, I'm personally offended that Italians get all the juicy roles in mob movies while the Jews are relegated to bit parts as accountants. Marty opened the door with Casino and Albert Brooks could be on his way to an Academy Award nomination with Drive. Abi Gezunt!
Deming is suing over the cost of her movie ticket and calling for a ban on "misleading movie trailers." Perhaps one of the conditions of the settlement, once the judge throws this out of court, will be that Ms. Deming seek psychiatric care. Frankly, that punishment would not suit the offense. Strap her to a chair, prop open her eyelids with toothpicks, and force her to watch Speed Racer and Talladega Nights on an endless loop. That oughta' entertain her.