Ancient Chinese Proverb: Be wary of TV pull quotes.
If you took more than a passing glance at his Twitter feed or Facebook profile, you'd know that Steven Cuellar is your average gay Texas dude with a dead boyfriend working at Dave & Busters who loves his nephew, Justin Bieber, and margaritas… In that order.
One thing Steven Cuellar is not is a movie critic, either professionally or even at an amateur blogging level. You wouldn't know that from a recent spree of TV commercials for the Wayans Brothers atrocity "A Haunted House," because they use a quote from Cuellar's Twitter account, which currently has 43 followers.
The quote? "Funniest Movie Ever!"
Not to knock a cheap "Paranormal Activity" parody before having seen it, but it's fair to say Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Woody Allen, Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, Eddie Murphy, Bill Murray, The Zucker Bros, The Coen Bros, The Farrelly Bros, Judd Apatow, Chris Tucker, and even motherflippin' Burt Reynolds would have a word or two with Cuellar around the subject of "hyperbole."
That's beside the point, though, because Open Road Films is the culprit behind this sleaze-a-rific promotional move. They apparently just grabbed the quote, presumably because Cuellar is the only person in the universe that would like it enough to make that statement (and want to see it again to boot).
At first Cuellar was tickled by it:
"OH THE CELEB THAT I AM. They put my name on the commercials for the trailer #AHauntedHouse cuz of the tweet I posted."
Then the Twitter trolls swooped in to bombard him, like Jared Tikker who wrote:
@cuellarsteven27 you should see the footage of my dad's colonoscopy, you'd piss yourself laughing so hard. #funniestmovieEVER
Now its gotten to the point that Cuellar's 15 minutes of fame has turned into 15 minutes of pain, as when someone asked him how he got in the commercial:
"@Mr_Alexius I have no idea.. I had no clue... The past two days I've been getting attacked by everyone by that. I had nothing to do with it."
Poor Steven! You didn't know that before they start reviewing movies most professional critics are taken for a two-week boot camp where they're berated by fat internet nerds and beaten with bars of soap inside a sock. We're conditioned for this kind of punishment, and you are not. If only Open Road had warned you…
Of course this is not even close to the first time a studio has tried to scam the public through TV commercials, with Sony using a made-up guy named "David Manning" to promote pictures like "The Patriot," "Hollow Man," and Rob Schneider's comedic excrement "The Animal."
Even when the quotes are "legit," they're about as sincere as Pinocchio in a bordello. Hell, I personally have been quoted positively in an ad for a movie I only saw half of. For reals. If you're curious about the process by which pull quotes are divined by the cosmos, let me take you through it:
1. A film journalist gets invited either personally or through his/her outlet to a screening, taking discreet sips of whiskey (smuggled in a Vitamin Water bottle) throughout.
2. After the film is over they take two Dramamine, then the bus home to their sh***y one-bedroom apartment where an e-mail from a studio rep asks, "Hi! Would love to hear your thoughts on the film!"
3. The weary journo writes: "It's like if Batman held a nursing home hostage and cried the whole time, and then Nicole Kidman made him magically not dying of cancer all of the sudden."
4. Studio writes back: "Thanks! Can we have permission to quote you in some advertising? We'd like to shorten the quote slightly to read, 'It's the next BATMAN! Nicole Kidman is sensational!'"
5: Journo writes back: "Fine."
And here's Steven Cuellar's fifteen characters of fame, as it hatched:
So given the BS process through which studios go fishing with dynamite for quotes, is using random Joe the Plumbers off Twitter in commercials all that much more disingenuous? All I know is, in an age when we invite our privacy to be invaded through social media, this has been a big week for Steven Cuellar. Also, he's getting a birthday tattoo on Sunday. Good for you, buddy!