Monday, October 8, 2012

Property Damage

I am a man, and I am not afraid to admit that I’ve cried while watching my share of movies. My emotional response is usually limited to glassy, bloodshot eyes. Usually. Once, it escalated to full-on tears, upper-body shaking and that raw, sandpapery irritation at the back of the throat.

In Marley & Me, this animal lover lost it when — SPOILER ALERT — John Grogan, played by Owen Wilson, had to put his beloved dog to sleep. A year before the movie’s release, this Owen had been in the very same situation as the character played by the wealthier, well-known Owen. I could relate. (I miss you today as if you left yesterday, Prime, and it’s been more than five years. I love you.)

If we’re monitoring Marley & Me from start to finish with an electrocardiograph, looking for signs of heavyheartedness, the strongest reading comes near the end, when Marley dies. But pay attention to the heart monitor a few minutes in, just after the opening credits roll, and you’ll notice another blip. It’s an overlooked melancholy moment from David Frankel’s 2008 tearjerker:

Reporter Jenny Grogan (Jennifer Aniston) is reading a Sun-Sentinel article written by her husband, John, a fellow reporter. While she’s doing so, a full-page ad is visible. It’s for Florida Electronics Wholesale and, doggone, this improper prop requires wholesale changes. The ad makes me sad, for three reasons:

1. What’s with the slipped “disc”? Discounted has been reduced. I must dis the prop person for not saying yes to an s. (Full disclaimer: I missed the “DICOUNTED” mistake when I watched the movie and learned of its existence when I was checking out a site detailing South Florida filming locations. Can you blame me? It’s difficult to focus on a prop newspaper when it’s in the hands of Aniston, who, like a dog in retrieval mode, is fetching.)

2. Stop the prop presses! It seems someone has co-opted the role of the unruly yellow Labrador and taken a bite out of your. You and I have a problem, prop person, because you and r aren’t together. Why you’d take out the r? You can’t take it with you, so leave it with you.

3. You may be a super store, Florida Electronics Wholesale, but I’m fairly certain you meant to identify yourself as a superstore, which is a large store offering a wide variety of merchandise. To paraphrase the reggae legend who inspired the canine’s name, let’s get super and store together and I’ll feel all right. While we’re at it, let’s insert a hyphen between super and cool. Can we do that? We can? Super.

No animals were harmed in the making of Marley & Me. I can’t say the same for the phony newspaper ads. It’s a prop chop shop, for crying out loud, where words are stripped for parts. So sad. 

Pass the tissues!

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