last movie star posterVic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) is an aging movie star whose best career days are well in the rearview mirror in the new movie The Last Movie Star. He’s pretty much resigned to talking about the glory days and wondering why he isn’t more loved.

One day he receives an invitation to a “film festival” in Nashville where he’s being given a lifetime achievement award. With no real reason to decline he heads down. With a young woman named Lil (Ariel Winter) as his guide and chauffeur, Vic finds there are worse ways to spend your days than telling old war stories to a bunch of young movie fans, thrilling them with tales of the old Hollywood ways. In addition to that, Vic decides to mend some personal fences before it’s too late.

The Posters

Reynolds is stroking his beard thoughtfully in profile on the poster, beams of light seeming to come out from his face, the copy “The best is yet to come” at the top telling us that even though it’s an old man we’re looking at he’s still got some life left in him. It’s kind of a minimalist design in play here with lots of white space around the edge but it works really well to highlight Reynolds and make sure the audience is clear that it’s his show and his show alone.

The Trailers

After some archive footage of Vic (that’s actually of Reynolds), we see in the trailer that he’s now an old man who has received a note about being honored by a film festival in Nashville. Convinced it can’t hurt to go he arrives and finds his driver, a young lady who’s not thrilled with her assignment. The festival, it turns out, is just a local club of film enthusiasts who are ecstatic one of their honorees has actually shown up. Eventually he leans into it and uses the time to revisit some memories, engage with the fans and otherwise keep doing things on his terms.

I’ll admit, it’s kind of weird to see someone like Reynolds who’s been known for his physical presence, looking frail like this. The movie isn’t *about* Reynolds but there are certainly parallels between fact and fiction (reinforced by the use of real archival footage) that convey how we’re only barely staying behind the fourth wall. The star still has swagger and wit, which is what’s on display in the trailer.

Online and Social

A24 created a single bare-bones page for the movie that just has the trailer, poster, cast and crew list, and a story synopsis. The link to “Watch Now” offers a bunch of VOD storefronts where you can purchase the film if so inclined.

Advertising and Cross-Promotions

Nothing I’ve seen, but it’s possible the studio ran some ads aimed at encouraging downloads I just haven’t been exposed to.

Media and Publicity

Reynolds hit the promotional circuit to talk about not just the movie but his career as a whole and how this fits into it. That included lots of his usual self-aggrandizing and swagger, which is what the whole thing is about anyway. Appearances on daytime and late night talk shows went along with feature profiles like this and this that positioned him as the last vestige of an old Hollywood where personality was the coin of the realm.

Overall

What’s clear in the campaign is that this movie is being positioned as Reynold’s career summation statement, a final bow before leaving the stage. He may have another role or two in him, but the meta-context of an actor who hasn’t been a box-office draw for 20 years playing an actor who hasn’t been a box-office draw for a while can’t be missed.

Like Vic, Reynolds obviously still has some fight in him though. The interviews he’s done prove he’s just as ornery as he ever was even if age has taken away a step or two. It may not find a big audience, part of the reason A24 is giving it a VOD-centric release, but it has the charm of its lead going for it.

PICKING UP THE SPARE

There’s a new music video featuring footage from the movie for one of the songs off the soundtrack by Stranger Friends, one of the 12 the young band has on the album.

Written by Chris Thilk

Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist with over 15 years of experience in online strategy and content marketing. He lives in the Chicago suburbs.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.