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You Had Me at Woof, by Julie Klam (Riverhead)
Celebrities cannot save some book trailers, including the ones that aren't funny. Denis Leary gets in a good laugh here, but it's with a joke that Shteyngart's trailer presents and eclipses early on.
Sophomoric Philosophy, by Victor David Giron (Curbside Splendor Publishing)
Victor David Giron has big ideas about Chicago; namely, that he's a Chicagoan now "having lived in the city since I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in accounting" and "moved to an area of the city called Wicker Park because I at times aspire to be some sort of artist and wanted to be surrounded by more artistic types." His self-deprecating humor is inviting, but when he imagines a movie about Chicago that tops "sissy" Manhattan, his trailer turns into a fan video for "Cherub Rock."
Dark Prophecy, by Anthony E. Zuikier (Dutton)
Written by the creator of CSI, Dark Prophecy is the sequel to Dark Origins, whose 2009 trailer was honored by MobyLives as Biggest Waste Of Conglomerate Money. The production values are as good as ever in this sequel—as are the melodrama and white gimp mask—but someone at that that conglomerate spoke up. This one's half as long.
Social Lives, by Wendy Walker (St. Martin's Griffin)
If you thought the score to Shutter Island was intense, get a load of the trailer to Wendy Walker's Connecticut-set drama. End-of-the-world strings only get louder as white-on-black text alternates with illustrative images of a woman bathing in dollar bills. "She was a wife", reads the trailer—cut to our heroine bathing in money—"and mother"—cut to more money. Wait, doesn't a baby mean less money?
Dark Guardian, by Christine Feehan (Avon)
A lot of people hate on "Twilight" when what they really have issue with is Twilight fallout—the "Paranormal Romance" section in Barnes & Noble, the repackaging of Romeo and Juliet as "the original forbidden love...". The Dark Guardian trailer asks readers "Are you tired of the same old vampire love story?" before showing us pirated images of Avril Lavigne and that guy from Heroes as star-crossed lovers Kara and Richard. Yes, we're tired.
The future looks bright for book trailers. Advertising platforms, once established, rarely die, and today's authors are more eager than ever to brand themselves and get attention for their low-margin product. With costs of video production, animation, and celebrities continuing to drop, we can look forward to watching these things long after we've stopped reading actual books.