See, a Prius couldn’t do that.

As a rule, reporters hate 89 percent of all “localizations” they’re assigned to do. A localization is when you take a big national story and find the local angle. For all the times it’s worthwhile — local people in New York City on 9/11 describe the scene — most times they’re just lame. Worst of all are man-on-the-street reaction stories, which editors believe capture the rough-hewn wisdom of the common man, but almost always boil down to: Ill-informed Morons Find Their Voice.

But every so often, you get one that’s fun to do:

It may not have been another “Bullitt,” but the Ford Expedition has again made the Blue Oval part of Hollywood history thanks to its cameo role in one of the climactic scenes of Sunday night’s final episode of “The Sopranos.”

You know which one: The Phil Leotardo whacking scene.

The camera then shifts again to the Ford logo, this time emblazoned on the wheel of the Expedition. The wheel begins to turn, rolling slowly over Leotardo’s head, which is crushed with a sickening crunch.

I bring this up to single out and mock the expert quoted low in the story, who said:

But automotive marketing expert Jim Hossack of AutoPacific Inc. said there is such a thing as bad publicity, and he thinks the depiction of the Blue Oval in Sunday night’s Sopranos climax definitely crossed that line. “I don’t think that is the way you want to get press,” Hossack said. “I sure wouldn’t have paid for it.”

If you’ve ever wondered how stupid the management class thinks you are, well, there you are. We’d better not buy that car, Martha. Someday I might be getting out of it and someone could mistake me for Phil Leotardo and put a bullet in my head. I have a lot of gray, you know. I mean, you want to talk lousy product placement Sunday night, the people who have something to complain about are the ones at Nissan, who now have millions of people believing their vehicles will burst into flames if parked in leaves.

Nice shout-out to “Bullitt,” by the way. That movie did for Mustangs what “Risky Business” did for sex on trains.

Once again I have a day loaded with appointments that don’t want to accommodate blogging. (Last full day of freedom before school dismisses for good tomorrow.) I have a big picture/roundup post due for this week, so bear with me. In the meantime, let’s doff our hats to NN.C commenter Brian Stouder, whom you are all now instructed to call Jimmy Olson, citizen journalist. I’ll be back in a bit.

Posted at 7:43 am in Media, Popculch |

31 responses to “See, a Prius couldn’t do that.”

  1. MichaelG said on June 13, 2007 at 8:17 am

    The cuts in the Bullitt chase are interesting: Cut!! and the car(s) magically reappear at a location miles away. This minor cavil aside, it truly is the best chase scene ever.

    There have been several instances of play structures being burned in the Sacramento area. I don’t know what the attraction is for arsonists. My guess would be that it’s teenage “pranksters” who are burning them. What’s sad is that, aside from the victims being little kids, many of these structures have been built by mom and pop volunteers with donated materials in communities that just don’t have the money to furnish these things any other way. And it’s tough to start one of these efforts over from scratch.

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  2. brian stouder said on June 13, 2007 at 9:01 am

    Well, as Jimmy Olson would solemnly admit (with head bowed, and at the end of the episode) those photographs absolutely worked to end up in our camera! See, I almost never have the Kodak with me; or rather – Pammy almost never trusts me with it, ever since I lost our camera in Texas last year (but that’s another story!)

    But the other day Mitch Harper had an entry on “road lice” yard signs, with a picture of a yellow (pro-school improvement/reconstruction bond), and THAT got my goat! (the whole things strikes me as very 19th century! Key point – only property owners get a vote; no renters – even if you don’t live in the district, but you have a property within the district). Of course, that issue is yet ANOTHER issue [in and of itself] which we will leave aside for the moment.

    Anyway – I posted a response to Mitch’s road lice entry, which of course didn’t make the cut – but which DID lead to a very pleasant chat on the phone, wherein we discussed whether or not the blue signs (anti-school improvement/reconstruction) were as profusely scattered around the city as the yellow signs, and particularly in the public right-of-ways. Somehwhere in that discussion, I said to Mr Harper that I was certain that the blue ones were thick on the island between Ewing and Fairfield, where they meet Superior (near Nance’s old employer), and I’d take a picture of it. Pam – being as passionate on this whole school bond issue as I am, entrusted me with the camera (!!), and yesterday evening Grant and I saddled up and headed for downtown.

    I ended up with a few unimpressive pictures of yellow signs stacked neatly beneath the elevation, and no sign of any blue signs at all! Mitch had saved me from posting a flatly incorrect response, proving once again that everyone (most especially including me!) needs an editor…in fact, buttressing Nance’s ‘Jimmy Olson’ metaphor, since I started out all set to express an opinion, and then got pushed to expend a little bit of shoe-leather, and THEN fell silent!

    So anyway – that is how it came to be that Grant and I were heading home on State Boulevard with a camera in the car, and then saw billowing smoke ahead and to the right. Grant said something like “looks like a big fire” and I said something like “nahhhh – gotta be a barbecue pit or some such” and then we got to Queen of Angels, and I could not believe my eyes!! Grant said “Call the fire department!!” and I drove PAST and said “It can’t be what it looks like! Can it?” We turned around – and headed back, and we could hear the approaching siren of a pumper from our neighborhood Fire House, #7.

    We parked on State street and finally began snapping pictures, as the pumper arrived and doused the flames. So it was an unusual evening all the way around! Pam went online and submitted some of the photos to the paper, and to our neighbor next door neighbor Channel 15; and – of course – also to Fort Wayne Observed, without which they wouldn’t exist! (all in all, definitely a ‘Jimmy Olson Experience)

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  3. Kim said on June 13, 2007 at 9:08 am

    Brian doesn’t have a Nissan SUV he parked atop leaves/playground mulch, does he?

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  4. ashley said on June 13, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Nissan? I thought it was a hummer. Oh well…that’s just another hummer AJ’s not going to get.

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  5. john c said on June 13, 2007 at 11:55 am

    I’ll have to double-check with the wife, who knows this sort of thing, but I’m pretty sure the Sporanos used to have a placement deal with GM, at least in the early years. That’s why Tony always rolled in a Tahoe. And when Furio picked him up, it was a Caddy. From the Detroit perspective, the great anti-placement car moment had to be Tony’s brief flirtation with Mercedes, when he was courting the wacky, beef-throwing car salesman. If I’m remembering right he was spotted at the dealership and so had to tell Carm he was thinking of buying one. Eventually, when the relationship soured, Carm asked him if he was going to get one. “Naw,” he said. “It makes me look like a p@#&sy.”

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  6. MarkH said on June 13, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Sorry, Brian. You don’t get the Jimmy Olsen job in my book…yet.

    Not until you do the legwork to find out if this fire had anything to do with the playground proselytizers you and your kids encountered a few weeks back. Were they lurking in the area? Did they hate Catholics? Could this be a pattern, as MichaelG says? Did a Mustang chase the Nissan onto the mulch?

    Also a while back, Nancy mentioned another blogger’s list of 10 best car movies. As MichaelG said, Bullitt is still tops; other films can be debated, but Ronin is also tops in my book. In addition to geographic misplacement in Bullitt, there is at least one scene that was filmed from three or four different angles, and these angles are shown as if in sequence. The same cars are in the same positions doing the same things in each cut.

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  7. Ricardo said on June 13, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    How about those Ford Model T flivvers in the silent movies? I have a firm image of one collapsing into hundreds of parts as it sits, upending its occupants. Or how about Laurel and Hardy’s “Two Tars” where they proceed to rip fenders and other parts off of two tin Lizzies with there bare hands? Ford survived the image that old comedies projected of their cars being cheaply made back then.

    Since Bullitt came out, I could never believe that the Mustang could catch up with the Charger Hemi on the open road outside of San Francisco. Just couldn’t happen.

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  8. brian stouder said on June 13, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    Actually Mark – lately I’m more suspect of those parkour palookas. (I spend lots and lots of time on these various playgrounds, mulling these things over)

    Channel 21 says the fire department wants to talk to two kids seen lighting fireworks in the area just before the conflagration…

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  9. nancy said on June 13, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    He said, “conflagration.” See, he IS Jimmy Olson.

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  10. john c said on June 13, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    Favorite car movies?
    “Vanishing Point” for sure. and what was the movie wher the car is stalked on the rural mountain roads by a mysterious truck.
    Also how about “Christine” (great B-movie last line … “God I hate rock and roll.”

    And “The Road Warrior,” of course.

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  11. brian stouder said on June 13, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    ha! I thought that the word “palooka” was more Olsonite; “conflagration’ is more Lois Lane, eh?

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  12. Danny said on June 13, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    He said, “conflagration.” See, he IS Jimmy Olson.

    For some reason, I read that and pictured you with a saying that like Mr. White. With a cigar, of course.

    Get out there Olsen. Get me that scoop!

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  13. Kirk said on June 13, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Great Caesar’s ghost!

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  14. LA mary said on June 13, 2007 at 3:11 pm

    john c, I think the truck movie was Duel, the first movie Spielberg ever directed.

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  15. brian stouder said on June 13, 2007 at 3:31 pm

    And the travelling salesperson driving the little Duster was…..

    …Dennis Weaver

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  16. LA mary said on June 13, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    If you ever go south in I 25 from Pueblo, Colorado to Raton, New Mexico, you might feel you can relate to Dennis in that crappy little Plymouth Duster. No guard rails, steep drops through the Rockies, and aggressive truckers. Aaaaagh.

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  17. jcburns said on June 13, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Gee, Nancy, I’m having dinner with another Jimmy Olsen (that is the correct spelling btw: from our past here in San Francisco. He sends his regards.

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  18. joodyb said on June 13, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    omg, nancy. you make me laugh every day. that riff about being mistaken for phil leotardo is priceless. and sadly, of course, dead on.
    we have the vehicle w/the hot hot hot catalytic converter, you may recall. yipes.

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  19. Mitch Harper said on June 13, 2007 at 5:56 pm

    I’m thinking Brian has more the makings of a Fort Wayne Weegee than Jimmy Olsen.

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  20. Connie said on June 13, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    While Brian’s pics made FWOB, scroll down to see a remark re Ashley’s blog raising link traffic to FWOB as well. Strange coincidence? Or all Nancy’s fault?

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  21. brian stouder said on June 13, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    The weegee article was quite interesting; thanks for the link. We’re rolling east to Hershey/Lancaster/Harrisburg/Gettysburg in a few weeks, and it would be neat to dip down into Cincy on the way back to see the display….although I suppose all the dead gangsters face-down in the gutter would give the young folks (and dad!)nightmares!

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  22. basset said on June 13, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    You *sure* that was a Duster? I remember it as a Valiant… and, I know, the Duster started out as a Valiant sub-model in much the same way as the Nova started out as a Chevy II… but “Duel” is still the only Spielberg movie I ever found to be halfway interesting. Haven’t seen most of ’em, and don’t care to, but the Weegee exhibit that showed in Nashville a few years ago was fascinating.

    Best car movie, hmmmm… I’d have to say “Vanishing Point.” Or “Magical Mystery Tour,” if buses count and you’re really, REALLY high…

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  23. john c said on June 14, 2007 at 7:50 am

    basset … are you from Detroit? Your assessment sounds like it could come straight from around any backyard grill in Detroit. As in … “Wrong. The car they whacked Billy Bats in in Goodfellas was a Bonneville.” “No. It was a GTO. Look at the taillights when Henry is washing out the trunk.”
    And Duel is great. The scene I’m remembering now is when Weaver pulls into the truck stop thinking he’s lost the truck. He’s at the counter and in the background you see the truck pull in.
    How about Repo Man as a great car movie? Maybe a stretch.

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  24. brian stouder said on June 14, 2007 at 8:06 am

    One of my favorite car movies – a movie that is a deceptively major car movie – is Bonnie & Clyde. Lots of Fords in that one

    I seem to recall a Ford commercial (years ago) that touted a letter they got from some bank robber (Dillenger?) lauding Henry’s fast cars.

    So the old Blue Oval doesn’t seem to have ever really minded the Bold Moves that some of their notorious customers make!

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  25. MarkH said on June 14, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Actually, Brian, that legendary letter was from Clyde Barrow.

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  26. MarkH said on June 14, 2007 at 9:30 am

    …and here it is:

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  27. brian stouder said on June 14, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Mark – thanks for link; very cool!

    I cannot swear to it, but I seem to recall the following passage being in Ford ads

    I have drove Fords exclusively when I could get away with one. For sustained speed and freedom from trouble the Ford has got ever other car skinned and even if my business hasen’t been strickly legal it don’t hurt enything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V8

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  28. Mitch Harper said on June 14, 2007 at 9:55 am

    Actually, we can’t quite give Ashley or Nancy credit for causing huge numbers to roll up on the Vimeo odometer for the “Fort Wayne Mardis Gras” video.

    Seems Vimeo was recording every view of a webpage containing an embedded video as a “view” of that video.

    An enterprising young blogger in Fort Wayne came up with that observation. Once he mentioned it, we checked the numbers for the video, and – sure enough – the daily increase corresponded pretty well with the visitors to FWOb.

    This may not last for long. Vimeo may be at work on changing that as I write.

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  29. brian stouder said on June 14, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    Well, it made it into the News-Sentinel!

    And you gotta love my slightly rightward leaning

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  30. basset said on June 14, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    no, I’m not from Detroit although I did work upstate in Cadillac for a couple of years… originally from Martin County, Indiana, been gone quite awhile though.

    meanwhile… ran across “Slap Shot” while channel-flipping the other night and had to explain to my wife at some length that Paul Newman was driving a Le Mans, not a Cutlass like her brother used to have even though it looks like one… and not a GTO either, which I thought was a subtle touch . I mean, the coach of a failing minor-league hockey team would probably have the aftermarket loud pipes and wheels, but the real GTO package would be too expensive .

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  31. Ricardo said on June 19, 2007 at 11:49 am

    Coppola, Jeff Bridges, and George Lucas used their own cars along with mockups when filming “Tucker, A Man And His Dream”. I also liked the cars featured in “Godfather” and “Godfather II”, very correct in the time frame.

    When my mom was a little girl, she lived around the corner from Preston Tucker on O’connor Street in Lincoln Park, MI. My grandfather built a lot of houses back then and the Fort Park house was one of them. Tucker’s kids were my mom’s age and she got to go to special parties at the kid’s wealthy grandparent’s farm in Ypsi (depicted in the movie). This was in the late 1920’s – early 1930’s. I pumped my mom for all of the information I could get about the family. She remembered a limo picking up the kids in the neighborhood, and pony rides at the farm. Preston did not look like Jeff Bridges IRL.

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