“Quirk” is an over-used word in the world of independent film. I’m guilty of applying it a bit more liberally than I really should in trying describe movies that are off-beat and feature some characters that have some un-traditional aspects to their personality.
Usually such movies have highly-stylized marketing campaigns, the better to make an impression on an audience that is inundated by mainstream campaigns meant to appeal to the broadest group of people.
Such is the case with Gigantic. The movie is about a young man (played by Paul Dano) who works as a high-end bed salesman who’s trying to adopt a baby from China. One day a blustery businessman (played by John Goodman) comes in to buy a bed for his daughter (played by Zooey Deschanel), who follows him later in the day. The movie then follows how Dano’s character becomes involved in this family and, more specifically, with Deschanel’s character.
The movie’s one poster strikes kind of a 70’s vibe, largely as a result of the typeface that’s used for the actor’s names and the sort of rounded edge that is applied to the visual elements.
The primary picture has Dano and Deschanel standing in a stark-white living room area, with Deschanel wearing just about only a kimono and some high heels, instantly putting this on the list of top 10 movie posters ever. At the bottom Goodman is seen lying on a floor with a couple pillows under him. Between those two elements is a baby.
So all together, the individual parts of the poster combine to present a movie that is more than a little outside the mainstream. It’s obviously a personality-driven flick with some interesting – and probably funny – characters in it. It’s not going to appeal at all to the people shuttling down the theater hallway on their way to Crank 2 but for those looking for independent-minded movies this will probably strike a chord.
The one trailer opens with Goodman coming in to buy the bed and progresses from there to show the various intertwining relationships that make up the movie and drive its plot. The trailer makes it clear the movie is filled with word-play and neurotic behavior by some emotionally-stunted people and comes off as really funny and clever. It’s presented in what appears to be more-or-less linear order so it makes a solid case for the movie among fans of this sort of flick.
The movie’s official website opens with a version of the poster art. When you enter the site the trailer plays and then you get to dive into the site’s main content areas.
“The Story” contains a one-paragraph synopsis of the film’s plot and does its best to explain in the space available the relationships it shows off. That’s followed by “Press & Photos” where you can download some high-res stills from the film as well as the poster, press notes and PDF versions of various online articles about the film and its various press events.
“Cast & Crew” is just a listing of the film’s players and behind-the-scenes filmmakers. There’s no information about them or filmographies, just a listing of who they are and who they play in the movie. “Now Playing” has information on the limited screenings of the film and links to where you can find it if you’re in those areas.
If you need to get in touch with the marketing and publicity folks working on the movie you’ll find their contact information on the “Contact Us” page. “Partners” has some of the promotional partners for the flick as well as links to the Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube pages for either the film in particular or First Independent Pictures in general.
Finally, there’s a WordPress-hosted blog for the movie that chronicles the film’s production, has some stills and clips and more news about the movie.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
I haven’t seen much, if any, advertising for Gigantic but there are a handful of promotional partners listed on the site, including VenusZine, which is running a chance to win free passes to the see the flick in one of four cities. Hornitos Tequila and NylonGuys.com are also running promotions for the movie.
Media and Publicity
The movie’s gotten a handful of press mentions, mostly in the form of interviews with the cast of the film and mostly in press outlets that are off the beaten path.
It’s a good, light campaign that hits all the major highpoints of the movie in a way that, as I stated before, is sure to appeal to the non-mainstream crowd. The poster, the trailer and everything else put together make a solid campaign that should sell the movie pretty well to an audience that likes a little bit of substance in their movie-going experience. All the components have a ton of personality and character that makes it enormously interesting.
(NOTE: I love when I’m able to review a movie at the same time that I review its marketing campaign. This time it was made possible by a publicity agent who was willing to send me a screener DVD.)
I watched Gigantic after taking a look at its marketing campaign, so my immediate question that had to be answered was: Did the campaign accurately portray and sell the finished film?
The answer is yes, absolutely.
The movie is funny and offbeat without ever descending into parody or a portrayal of quirk for the sake of quirk. Instead, while all the characters act in what would be considered odd ways they never go over the edge into being just ridiculous. More to the point, they all stay true to their motivations and remain grounded in the reality of this film’s universe, which is even more important and the lynchpin of such directors as Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach.
Dano and Deschanel have obvious chemistry and – and this is essential to the movie’s success or could have been a cause of its failure – are able to deliver the highly stylized dialogue in a way that’s natural and believable. That’s a testament to their skills as actors as well as to the accuracy of the casting.
The campaign lays out the movie’s story pretty well so I won’t rehash it again. But let me say there’s a twist that comes in the movie’s last 10 minutes or so that makes you rethink some of the basic assumptions about the characters. It’s an interesting twist but is the one thing about the movie that doesn’t work for me and actually takes away from everything that’s preceded it. I dig, in general, things like that which shake up your beliefs but this movie didn’t need it.
Aside from that, though, Gigantic is a very good flick that, if you’re in one of the areas where it’s screening, is well worth going and checking out.