The Friday Fillip

I don’t go to the movies much, partly, I guess, because I’ll eventually watch the good stuff on DVDs at home, and partly because I’m hypercritical of the genre. This addiction to the “good stuff” means that when I do determine to see a flick, I wind up vapour-locked in the aisle at Blockbuster or glazing over at the movie section of the paper because the choice is so… all-fired important. Dumb, I know. But there it is.


Which is why sites like Apple’s movie trailer page are helpful. I get to sample a bit from the various contenders without the angst of commitment. And if I’m wooed successfully, then woo hoo. Here you’ll find nearly a hundred of the latest and maybe-greatest efforts from the studios, many of them in HD and all formatted for viewing at work on your computer, on an iPod or in iTunes.

All of this is on Apple because they’re retailing films in their iTunes Store — in the U.S. but not in Canada. (Someday a long post on what’s NOT available in Canada that can be had in other places.)

By the way, ever since I was a kid I’ve wondered why they call them “trailers.” Teasers, I could see. But trailers trail. They come after. That’s what the hitch on the back bumper is for. So how come? Huh?


  1. I had heard once that it originally had something to do with using up extra film on the reel – so trailing. Wikipedia agrees, and even cites a source (The Chicago Reader’s The Straight Dope):

    The term “trailer” comes from their having originally been shown at the end of a film programme.[1] That practice did not last long, because patrons tended to leave the theater after the films ended, but the name has stuck.

    1.^ Gfactor (2007-11-06). Why are they called “trailers” if they’re shown before the movie?. The Straight Dope.

  2. When I was a kid growing up in Southwestern Ontario in the 50s and 60s we called them previews, which of course is what they were and are: a pre-viewing of (the enticing bits of) the movie. I guess that term has been taken over for showings of the entire movie before its official release date, but since that didn’t happen where I grew up, we didn’t need a name for it. I didn’t hear the term ‘trailers’ till I went to the UK in about 1970 and have always thought it was a UK term – but perhaps not.

  3. When I was growing up in northern Alberta in the 70s, my friends called them previews. But my parents, who grew up in (British, for some of that time) India, always called them trailers. So perhaps there is something to the British angle? Anyone want to look up the etymology of the term?