Film

PROMOTION PALS: Sing is the Populist and Fun Democratized Content We Deserve Under a Fascist Trump Presidency

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PROMOTION PALS is an ongoing series where two life-long pals, W. Logan Freeman and Andy Houldcroft, experience corporate promotional schemes for new Hollywood releases and review them alongside the movie.

The Holidays are a time for painful reflection – the weather’s cooler, the family’s back together, and the hearth is lit. But the Promotion Pals have no time for such bourgeois frivolities, and instead have spent the month meditating deeply upon Illumination’s (the makers of the cultural zeitgeist’s most symbolically-laden public figures, the Minions) new hit movie, Sing, a film notable for featuring a captivating tour de force performance by LA-Based raconteur Nick Kroll.

Admittedly, the Pals have spent little time reflecting upon the holiday season, instead constructing for you this labyrinthian review which you are about to enter. A review which captures the whimsical nature of Sing’s music combined with the bland flavor of this months promotion, Post Foods’ Honey Bunches of Oats!

But what, O benevolent Promotion Pals, could be so different about this review? 

Well, dear reader, allow us to welcome you to the FIRST EVER Promotion Pals ARG, or ALTERNATE REALITY GAME! To save you the trip to wikipedia: An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive networked narrative that uses the real world as a platform and employs transmedia storytelling to deliver a story that may be altered by players’ ideas or actions.” Disclaimer: Be sure to look out for clues within our article so you can participate in the puzzle we’ve cooked up for you.

But before we get into the FUN PRIZES — or rather the fun “prize” (Editor’s Note: They mean a chance at a prize) — you can win by participating in the PROMOTION PALS ARG, we’d like to first give our review for this month’s VERY RARE promotional tie-in for Sing. And away we go…. 


THE TIE-IN: 

It’s difficult for us to imagine a more bland staple of the suburban experience than being a young sprout devouring oats before the bus whizzes by your sad Levitt-inspired house. The Pals had little experience with this breakfast-based mediocrity until they set out to find a promotion adequate for this review.

Sure, there was the easy way out – another drunk-inspired trip to McDonald’s for a cheap piece of plastic crap – but they instead opted for something less obvious. Something more niche. More challenging.

It started with cheap knock-off toys too suspect to be believed before snowballing into the final denominator: cheap-ass cereal running a half-cooked promotion (which you can be a part of!).

See our video review:

Believe us, we didn’t want to review this cereal, but this movie just DID NOT have a well-integrated marketing campaign. It honestly seems like they forgot about tie-ins until a week before the release…. BUT JUST WATCH THE VIDEO, WHY DON’TCHA?

THE MOVIE: 

Logan: So far since Donald Trump has been elected to be President I have cried openly at every movie I’ve seen in theaters. Sing now joins the ranks of Arrival, Silence, Manchester at the Sea, and Moana for making me cry. I am a big fat baby!!!!!!!!!!

Andy: Typically I’d preface this by saying that “Sing is one of those rare films…” and then go into a short bit on how Logan and I were both in tears, but since we started seeing the kids films we have, I think I’ve cried during every single one. Then again, those experiences pale in comparison to the amount of tears shed during this picture.

Logan: I dare venture to say that I have cried at almost every children’s film I’ve ever seen in my life? Obviously not like Norm of the North, but like… the good ones. GET TO THE GOOD STUFF YOU FUCKING NERD. Okay, I’m sorry! Anyways, Sing is a rousing new flick revolving around a large cast of adorable animal friends, each with easily definable personality traits! Yippee!

Andy: I was cautious going into this one because of the ensemble’s size, the emphasis the trailer had made on defining each character’s backstory and motive, but, as you mentioned, it really paid off. And it made for some incredibly rich moments in the film wherein I rooted for people I never thought I’d root for… the example being Seth MacFarlane’s Mike, a pipsqueak crooner who lacks the same heart of gold as his peers (and other cartoon mice such as Stuart Little, Mighty Mouse, Jerry, et al.).

Logan: While I can’t say I ever rooted for the creator of Ted, I was shocked during my watch of this film by just how… populist the whole enterprise was. Obviously, an audience likes to see itself reflected in cinema, and Sing does this by essentially giving its story about ten main characters, each with a clearly delineated goal and motivation. This condenses a lot of the character beats and emotional arcs but, by reducing the amount of time given to each character and forcing us to emphasize with them all, it really makes the finale pack a punch.

Andy: The finale provides such a remarkable payoff wrapped within a heartwarming message for its viewers. If I could describe the thematic weight of this film properly I would have to veer in the direction of art marking the purity of the “human” soul. Which is ironic because, well… these are animals.

Nonetheless, these are animals who sing for themselves, much to the applause of an expanding audience of proud parents, awakened husbands, and a once-negligent, now-sincere paternal figure (the likes of which packed the largest emotional wallop). I can’t say I’ve seen the power of song packed within such average delight. You can have your La La Land (2016) and other flowing movie musicals, but Sing proves that true musical prowess lies behind stories that feel grounded, relatable, and plausible for all types.

Logan: My favorite character is the Monkey. I have had a lifelong obsession with our most common ancestor since I was a child watching Transformers: Beast Wars, in which Optimus Prime was a monkey. But now my fascination has reached a fever pitch with this beautiful singing monkey voiced by the guy from Kingsman. Though it is of little note to you, dear reader, I expect my monkey obsession to reach a crescendo in the summer with the release of Kong: Skull Island and the new Planet of the Apes movie.

W. Logan Freeman pictured above.

Andy: I was equally obsessed with that character, and with Taron Egerton’s surprisingly wonderful singing voice. His performance was as convincing as it was charming. Of equal note is the range they provided his character in terms of musical selections. Of course he was given the soulful beauty of a recent hit like Stay with Me by Sam Smith but, in a choice that baffles me (and has me revisiting some classic hits), they concluded his arc with Elton John’s I’m Still Standing, a tune which encapsulates this character’s journey and functions as one of many incredible song choices in the film.

Logan: Uh… Honestly, I don’t even know what else to say. I was in kind of a weird headspace for the movie (NOT DRUNK, JUST EMOTIONAL), so all I really remember is the crying. That and John C. Reilly’s turn as an apathetic, upper-middle class sheep. HE WAS #FUNNY.

Andy: Reilly has an incredible character who contributes little musically other than a strange Cat Stevens-fueled montage, but has some great laughs. But I agree… this is seriously the film I needed during a post-holiday slump – something that was upbeat, escapist, and sincere. It’s no colorful beauty like Trolls or surrealist journey like Storks; rather, Sing is a representational symphony in which all voices play their own beautiful part. If you need a pick-me-up and want to hear a soundtrack that mixes hits both old and new, then this is a great alternative to cranking that dry, visionless Spotify playlist out of your ever-vigilant Amazon Alexa.

Logan: Basically, Sing is uplifting entertainment that, much like the singing competitions it emulates, reflects the more emotionally resonant parts of existence, while simultaneously hiding them within a fun poppy veneer. It’s not as challenging (or theological) as Silence (2016), but if you’re looking for some pure escapism that presents an uplifting view of humanity (even its most vile breeds) then sing along TO SING!


FINAL RATING:

Andy: This was a surprisingly affordable trip to the cinema, thanks to some gift cards I acquired over the holidays. The only dough I had to shell out was for a good ol’ fashioned popcorn and sodie pop. Suck on that, crapitalism!

Logan: All I paid for was the Uber to the theater…. Which was originally a T RIDE to the theater but SOMEONE forgot their charlie card didn’t have any money on it…. And, well, let’s just say Andy’s had a troubled history with ordering Ubers… So the ball was in my court. Luckily, I purchased Uber flat fares for commuting to work, so it was only like 8 bucks. Great deal! See the movie!

Sing
2016
dir. Garth Jennings
110 min.
Now playing… everywhere!

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