Remember the halcyon days when Super Bowl commercials premiered, you know, during the Super Bowl?
The whole "I watch for the ads" part of the Super Bowl spectacle is more reputation than reality nowadays since most Super Bowl ads premiere days or even weeks before the big game – and then when the big game actually rolls around, the ad during the commercial break is some cut-down version that directs you to a website in order to watch the actual ad. We're basically watching ads for ads – and that's not even referencing ad teasers, which are quite literally ads for ads.
Super Bowl commercials may no longer have that surprise, everyone experiencing something new at the same time excitement – but they're still half of the fun of watching (especially when the game involves the New England frickin' Patriots probably winning again for the hyperbalillionth time). So here are a few of the ads that you'll probably be talking about Sunday – and maybe even Monday if they did their job right.
It was pretty much a guarantee that politics were going to make their way into the Super Bowl somehow. But while we'll have to wait and see if Lady Gaga flips the bird at President Trump or something like that (which I'm betting on), we already have this ad from Budweiser, following a German immigrant's journey across the ocean and into the beer business. The company – which last year turned heads and flew flags by branding itself as "America" – says the ad isn't political ... but come on.
The beer barons aren't the only ones with an ad that'll have people awkwardly trying not to talk politics at the party or bar. 84 Lumber also created a Super Bowl ad about an immigrant's quest – this time, a Mexican family. A big step on the world's biggest stage for a small company.
2. Bud Light
Bud Light tends to be the king of the Super Bowl ads, or at least the ones consistently putting the most effort into it. This year's campaign involves the ghost of dog spokesman Spuds MacKenzie "Christmas Carol"-ing a lonely dude into showing up to a party and making his friends happy with a 12-pack of Bud Light. It's not a hugely funny spot from the generally bro-y brand, but it works – and it's better than Busch's Super Bowl ad debut, which implies that drinking the brew will irritate everyone and everything around you.
The candy bar will be airing apparently the world's first live Super Bowl commercial – starring none other than Kylo Ren himself, Adam Driver. And a horse, I think?
Hyundai will also be doing something similar to this, filming the commercial during the game and then airing it afterwards. But it's not going to be live. Also: I don't think Kylo Ren is involved. So really, it's nothing like the Snickers spot.
4. Mr. Clean
This sexy Mr. Clean spot, featuring the just on the wrong side of the uncanny valley CGI character handsomely and seductively cleaning a house wearing pants that were probably painted on, makes me feel very uncomfortable. I shouldn't know what the contours of a cleaning product mascot's butt look like ... but now I do, no matter how much bleach I pour into my eyes.
Cam Newton had a very poor Super Bowl last year. This year, however, appears to be going more his way – at least judging by this pretty funny Buick spot. I mean, it's a whole commercial of Cam Newton just destroying a playground of adorable moppets playing football, stiff-arming their souls out of their bodies and launching blazing passes into their sternums. Delightful! I guess if you can't win the Super Bowl, win the Super Bowl ad battle!
6. Squarespace, Tide and all of these celebrity ads
We've now reached the portion of the Super Bowl ads fueled by celebrity appearances. There's always a gallon of these, and most of them fall flat – probably because they spent more money on getting stars than getting a funny script.
Justin Timberlake is starring in a Bai commercial. Negan and Two-Face go to battle in a "The Battle of Evony" ad – and while we're on the topic of mobile games, Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back (groan) for a "Mobile Strike" commercial. A gold Billy Zane is going to try and sell you KFC, though, more likely than not, he'll probably just creep you out a bit. Melissa McCarthy, Steve Carell and a very still alive Peter Fonda will all attempt to sell you cars, while Wonder Woman and The Transporter fight on a food truck in the name of Wix.
In my opinion, the two from this bunch that actually work are the Squarespace commercial, featuring John Malkovich just John Malkovich-ing all over the place, having an identity crisis and getting furious at the same time, and the Tide ad where Jeffrey Tambor had a laundry mishap with Gronk. Who knew that was such a delightful comedic power team?
Oh, and there's also going to be an Intel ad starring Tom Brady, because NO ONE will be tired of seeing his mug on Sunday. Nope. Definitely not.
7. "Ghost in the Shell"
There's not a ton of new material for this sci-fi actioner starring Scarlett Johannson – save for the final shot of the star's face peeling off all creepy. But I bet this ad plays well because there's no doubt every guy half-watching the ad will think the opening shot of the preview involves a naked Scarlett Johannson. Almost as though they did that on purpose.
As for the rest of the movie trailers scheduled for the big game, most of them – like "Baywatch," "Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2" and "Pirates of the Caribbean 5" ... yes, a fifth one – already have previews out and about. Maybe some of them will have some new footage, but as of right now, it doesn't seem like we'll see anything from a completely new movie.
Do you like ... what's the word ... memes? Meemees? Am I pronouncing that right? Well, GoDaddy would love it if you did, because their Super Bowl is all about viral stuff that you loved on the internet about ten years ago – before politics ruined social media for everyone.
I don't think this ad is particularly funny or clever, but you don't pack that many viral internet memes into a single ad like an ad exec desperately trying to prove he's cool to his kids without people talking about it and going wild for a bit on Twitter. But hey, it's a better effort than those years GoDaddy tried to sell domain names using scantily clad women and awkwardly loud kissing sounds.
9. Avocados From Mexico
Sometimes, a good funny commercial is all I need. This Avocados From Mexico ad maybe runs a little long – I would bet the Super Bowl spot is shorter – but the gag is funny, and the final image is a good goof.
Tune back in on Monday morning when we talk about the good, the bad and the Tom Brady from the game, the halftime show and the surprise ads.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.