Every year, Portland's NW Film Center screens 80-plus minutes of British TV commercials as fine art. The British Arrow Awards gets a three-night run, which is more than Citizen Kane for the center's upcoming "Orson Welles at 100" series.
In the States, the equivalent of the Arrow is the Association of Independent Commercial Producers Awards. Here's how we compare in some very artistic categories:
Fat Girls Working Out
U.K.: "I kick balls, deal with it," the English say. Sport England's manifesto "I jiggle therefore I am" in This Girl Can pitches a fuck-you hardball to fitspo with 90 seconds of thunder thighs jogging, love handles at Zumba, and freckled gingers in tight swimsuits.
U.S.: "When my life went one way, my butt would go the other," laments America's successful, suburban mom. Weight Watchers' My Butt follows her ass to a black-tie gala, Bikram yoga and this life-altering epiphany: "My relationship with my butt had nothing to do with my butt and everything to do with my brain."
U.K.: Channeling a Samuel Beckett protagonist, drunk Jeff Bridges swirls Kahlúa and tells a tall tale about a cosmonaut crash-landing in the desert and saving him from speeding villains in The White Russian.
U.S.: An old Hollywood Jude Law sips whiskey on a yacht in Johnny Walker's The Gentleman's Wager. He also masters tap and jazz piano, and performs with a chorus of retro bombshells in a custom-tailored suits. Before returning to the yacht.
U.K.: The Arrows love hidden-camera ads. Spying on parkgoers' reactions to a fighting couple, Mankind Initiative's Violence is Violence shows two types of submissive men. When a guy pushes his girlfriend, a posse of women (and one miniature dog) berate him, threaten to call the police and tell the girl she deserves better. Rewind. When the roles are reversed, people chuckle and raise eyebrows as the girl hits her boyfriend.
U.S.: Hide yo dildos, hide yo guns. In Evolve USA's Playthings, soccer mom No. 1 fetches her son from a playdate and asks, "Did Kyle behave himself?" The boys come out sword-fighting with massive dildos. Soccer mom No. 2: "They're angels."
see it: The 2015 British Arrow Awards screen at NW Film Center's Whitsell Auditorium, nwfilm.org. 7 pm Friday-Sunday, Nov. 27-29. $9.