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Lack of Driving in Ryan Gosling-starring Drive Prompts Michigan Woman to Sue

Posted on the 12 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Poster for Ryan Gosling's

Ryan Gosling's Drive has a car this promotional image, but does it have enough driving in the feature? Photo Credit: FilmDistrict

If you go to the movies to see something that you think is going to be about driving, but that turns out to be a story about a loner falling in love and a mob deal gone wrong, what do you do? Walk out? Ask for a refund? Sue the distributor? Well, if you’re Michigan resident Sarah Deming, you sue the distributor and the cinema that you saw it in. That’s right, Deming is suing FilmDistrict Distribution LLC, claiming that Ryan Gosling-starring Drive was promoted “as very similar to the Fast and Furious series of movies” but that it “bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film … having very little driving in the motion picture.” While she’s at it, she might also want to sue A.O. Scott at The New York Times, who in this review spends quite a bit of time talking about the driving in the film — indeed, he says, “to watch [Gosling’s character] steer through Los Angeles at night is to watch a virtuoso at work.”

In addition, Deming tacked on a charge of anti-Semitism to the claim, saying that the film depicts “extreme gratuitous defamatory dehumanizing racism directed against members of the Jewish faith, and thereby promoted criminal violence against members of the Jewish faith.”

On an open thread at The Guardian’s Film Blog, the public has generally answered resoundingly in support of the distributor. Daniel Silver’s “Trailers of the Week” column at the entertainment blog Grantland tries to predict the film from the trailer, so one would think that it’s generally accepted that adverts don’t always represent the film they advertise. But do they have an obligation to do so? Here’s what the commentariat has to say:

What are you smokin’? Drive “is fantastic” said celeb blogger and only Deming and a couple of “loons” could ever believe that it’s anti-Semitic. Besides, he sniped, “which trailer was she watching!?!”

The trailer does admit to the film’s horrifying violence. On The New Yorker’s Front Row Blog, Richard Brody praised the trailer for being honest about the film’s “horrifying violence.” Later, he criticised the trailer for The Big Year which, he said, “makes no explicit reference to the sport of bird-watching” even though it is based on a nonfiction book the subject of which is birding.

Get over yourself, Deming. Hadley Freeman over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free blog said that Deming’s complaint of anti-Semitism and not enough driving in the film remind her of “the old Jewish joke about a woman complaining that the food in a restaurant was terrible and the portions too small.” Besides, misrepresentation is the least of the movie industry’s crimes — Freeman vented her ire on adverts that give away the plot and nonsensical film titles.

The lawsuit is vague and doesn’t make sense. Reporting that Deming had opened proceedings, The Huffington Post said her claims are confusing. The anti-Semitism angle jars most, they said, before adding, “as is often the case with frivolous lawsuits, they don’t make total sense.”

Not anti-Semitic in the slightest. Jonathan Portsky at Jewish lifestyle blog Heeb calls her accusations of anti-Semitism “completely bogus” and said that claiming that movies that depict violence against Jews are anti-Semitic as a rule is ridiculous.

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