6 Similarities Between JJ Abrams’ Super 8 and Super 8 Motels

    June 9, 2011 at 6:00 am

    super8-movie-kidsThe JJ Abrams/Steven Spielberg summer blockbuster Super 8 opens in theaters tomorrow, and moviegoers are craving a piece of that old-school Spielberg alien movie action. We decided to compare the movie Super 8 to the only other thing we can think of (besides Super 8 cameras) that has “Super 8” in the title: Super 8 Motels. To be clear, I’m coming into this article with two expectations: 1) that the Super 8 movie is going to be enjoyable, and 2) that every Super 8 Motel in the country is as horrific as the few that I’ve stayed in. Having said that, here’s are the similarities between JJ Abrams Super 8 and Super 8 Motels:

    It’s Incredibly Messy

    Super 8 is a movie about some kids who witness a train crash in their small town, and then a mysterious creature escapes from that train and basically tears the town apart. Similarly, every Super 8 Motel looks a train just crashed into it. Sure, there may not be an extraterrestrial monster running around destroying the vending machines in your motel, but it’s safe to assume that something in your Super 8 Motel recently beat the crap out of the nearest ice machine. Maybe it wasn’t an alien monster, but whatever destroyed that machine was definitely on PCP, and on a scale of destructive force that’s just one small step below “alien monster”.

    It’s Littered with Unsupervised Kids

    The main characters in Super 8 are a rag-tag team of middle schoolers bent on making a movie, so they do what kids do: they run around at night next to railroad tracks with a Super 8 film camera playing make believe. This is exactly what you’ll find at any Super 8 Motel: a bunch of unsupervised kids running around and doing whatever the hell they want. The only difference is that, instead of running around at night by railroad tracks, the kids in your Super 8 Motel will be running up and down the hall outside your motel room, and instead of trying to make a movie, the kids in your hallway will be trying to literally destroy the motel that they’re currently occupying by relentlessly pounding everything in site with whatever stupid blunt object souvenir they got from whatever crappy amusement park/mini golf course/pizza parlor they came into town to visit.

    Nobody Will Tell You Anything

    The marketing campaign for Super 8 has been completely based on J.J. Abrams “Mystery Box” tactic, which he’s employed for a number of past projects. Basically, the tactic works like this: don’t give anyone any information as to what your movie/tv show is about, and even if it’s crappy they’ll pay the full ticket price just to find out what it is. To his credit, J.J. Abrams rarely disappoints, so he’s definitely got the skills and creativity to make this tactic work. The Super 8 Motel is exactly the opposite. They try to utilize the “Mystery Box” tactic by not telling you anything. Where can I get more towels? Why does the motel’s room numbering system seem to be completely chaotic and without any clear pattern or structure? What is that sawing sound that’s coming from the room next to you? Why is this motel the only one on the planet that still uses actual keys instead of key cards? Don’t even bother asking, because no employee will be able to give you a decent answer.

    It Feels Like the Late 1970’s

    Super 8 feels like the late 1970’s because the film is set in Ohio in 1979. The setting and characters look, sound, and act like they were taken right from the late ’70’s because that’s what they’re supposed to do. When you go to a motel, you expect to have at least some of the modern commodities that you’ve grown accustomed to over the past 30 years, but if you’re staying at a Super 8 Motel, you can throw all of those hopes and dreams right out the window (if it’ll even open). The room decor looks like they were stolen from the set of Dazed and Confused, the television only has 5 channels that play either an infomercial for The Clapper or a re-run of All In The Family (depending on whether it’s an odd or an even numbered channel), and there’s a good chance the phone is still sporting a rotary dial. Oh, and if you’re looking for Wifi access, don’t even bother. It hasn’t been invented yet in either of these Super 8 universes.

    It’ll Make You Really Want to Watch The Goonies

    The movie Super 8 is centered around a rag-tag team of teenaged kids who find themselves sucked into a rip-roaring adventure, so it’s easy to see the parallels between Super 8 and The Goonies. Add to that the fact that Steven Spielberg produced both movies, and the comparison becomes an obvious one. Your Super 8 Motel experience, on the other hand, will make you want to watch The Goonies to see how the titular characters survived their adventure through a filthy, disease-ridden labyrinth without contracting the flesh-eating disease that your pretty sure you just got from your motel room shower.  In The Goonies, Mikey spends a long time talking to a dead pirate skeleton, so you can definitely pick up some helpful tips before you head off to talk to the front desk manager about getting some clean towels.

    There are Aliens In It

    Like it or not, the Super 8 Motel you’re staying in probably contains at least a few aliens. Not aliens of the extraterrestrial kind, though. The Super 8 Motel aliens are more of the “doesn’t necessarily have legal documentation to work in the U.S., but still does a bang up job of making a Super 8 Motel room appear habitable” variety. Unlike the movie Super 8, your Super 8 Motel isn’t based around the alien presence that’s been unleashed inside of it. Instead, the aliens in your Super 8 Motel play the most integral role of all. They keep it as clean and tidy as a Super 8 Motel can possibly get, and without them the motel would probably start to just grow teeth and consume the other structures around it, much like an undiagnosed tumor in an incredibly fat person’s abdomen. In short, Super 8 Motels suck and the movie Super 8 is going to be awesome.


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