I just scored some tickets to Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood today. It’t not the type of movie I typically go for, but then again, I enjoy sneak previews. I mention it because I was checking out my Twitter feed, and noticed this Tweet from @IFCFilms:
And Boyhood may indeed be as good as Rolling Stone says it is, though what’s more than likely is that we’re witnessing a bit of hyperbole (It’s early July. There’s plenty of time for another movie as good, if not better, to come along), which is when you describe someone or something in a particularly exaggerated and/or dramatic fashion. And in and of itself there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as it’s not too manipulative. After all, Boyhood is a small movie, competing with others with significantly larger budgets and consumer awareness so positive word-of-mouth can make the difference between box office failure or success.
Though unfortunately hyperbole isn’t limited to just movies and probably has been around as long as there have been humans with reason to exaggerate.
The commercial above is for Paul Masson wines. The intent is, by comparing the four years that Orson Welles says it took Beethoven to write a symphony, with the time it takes for their wines to reach fruition. Now, there may be some truth to their claim, but I get the feeling that there’s never going to be any shortages because their latest batch isn’t quite ready.
Though commercials aren’t the only places where you can find a heaping helping of hyperbole.
If you take a look at the cover of this World’s Finest comic, you’ll probably assume that Superman at some point looses face (literally). The thing is, while there are some people who are rendered faceless in the comic, Superman isn’t one of them.
Though you have to admit that it’s an interesting cover that might make you pick it up if you were in the market for a Superman comic.
And I don’t mean to give the impression that DC Comics are unique, because Marvel does the same thing. If you look at the cover of this well-worn copy of Power Man And Iron Fist you wouldn’t be amiss if you assumed that Chemistro (the guy with the gun) had killed Power Man. While more truthful that the World’s Finest comic above (Power Man was actually shot by Chemistro, though it only affected his shirt, which turned to glass, and shattered when Power Man attempted to escape its restraint) it still takes a bit of dramatic license with what actually happens in the comic.
I have never seen The Greatest Game Ever Played, and for the characters in the movie whatever game they’re playing might be just that. Everyone on the poster is in a really celebratory mood, but for what? You can tell from the way people are dressed that’s it’s a period piece, but what about the game they’re supposedly so happy about? It could be anything from baseball to Parcheesi. But even if it’s not, suppose you’re one of the people angry that Germany beat Brazil at the FIFA World Cup.
If so, no matter what game the people in the poster are talking about, if it isn’t soccer, they’re just not hearing it.
Though with great power comes great responsibility, and the same applies to hyperbole. Because hyperbole can, if used properly, arouse curiosity. If used, or overused, wrong it tends to irritates and can actually drive away interest.
Like the Tweet below, which is as far as I know is unconnected to IFCFilms. Though if it were, and I were paying to see the movie, it might be enough to dissuade me from seeing it.
Because douchy is never a particularly good selling point.
Then again, there are Tweets like this one, which are so remarkably hyperbolic that if someone were to go off on a tear in response to it, I could at least see where they were coming from.
I need to keep in mind that Twitter is a part of the Internet; and by extension means that any silly thought that pops up in someone’s head means that it must be uttered.