January 15, 1990 12:00 PM

In an early scene of Always, an otherwise irrelevant brand name soft drink container, beautifully lit and placed where you can’t miss seeing it, co-stars with Richard Dreyfuss and Holly Hunter. In Back to the Future, Part II, the on-screen plugs fly faster than the jokes. And these are only two recent examples of the invidious, plugola-ridden commercialization of movies. Are things so tough in Hollywood these days—days when ticket prices for movies have hit $7.50 in some places—that such directors as Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis have to sell advertising space in their films? Do we want movies to turn into nothing more than big screen TV with subliminal advertising? Why risk the distraction of having people start wondering if, say, Holly Hunter really drinks Blankety-Blank beer? (Or whether Blankety-Blank beer just came up with the highest offer.) Couldn’t we get a little respite here?

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