Super Bowl Sunday! It’s here at last, the national holiday when we’re forced to sit through football in order to watch so many beloved ads. For the 10th straight year, Yahoo Sports is grading the Big Game’s commercials. Liz Roscher (@lizroscher) is here to escort you through the dizzying array of celebrity cameos, awkward jokes and heartstring-tugs of this year’s contingent of ads, updating live as they air.
Toyota’s Super Bowl commercial hallmark is athletes overcoming adversity, and they hit the mark this year. They tell the inspirational story of skiing brothers Brian and Robin McKeever, who worked together after Robin began to lose his vision to win 10 paralympic medals in Nordic events. Their story deserves to be told, and with everything going on in the world right now, it’s a welcome reminder that good things can come out of bad things.
Dolly Parton is a national treasure and she’s finally in a Super Bowl commercial that’s worthy of her. She is pitch perfect in this mock “Save the Children” ad — she even pulls a full-sized phone out of her ample cleavage. Never leave us, Dolly.
Hologic, “The Science of Sure”
Seeing a celebrity like Mary J. Blige in a doctor’s office getting her annual checkup and screenings is really striking. It’s not something we ever see celebrities do; most people probably don’t even think about it. It’s really important though — especially for Black women — and hopefully Mary J. can help remind some people to make that appointment.
Universal Pictures, “Nope”
I’m not sure what’s happening in this trailer for Jordan Peele’s latest horror movie, but I know one thing: If it’s from the mind of Jordan Peele, it’s worth seeing.
This ad is effortlessly cool. Those are two words that have never been applied to Peyton Manning, but it all works because he doesn’t speak. Alex Morgan, Jimmy Butler, Brooks Koepka, and Nneka Ogwumike also don’t speak. In fact, the only person who speaks is Steve Buscemi. “Effortlessly cool” has probably never been used to describe bowling either, but with a Serena Williams kicker at the end of this ad, bowling finally manages to seem cool.
Rocket Mortgage, “Barbie’s Dream House”
Most kids don’t stop to think about how Barbie may have gotten her dream house when they’re playing. If she had to buy it like everyone else, the always modern Barbie would almost certainly use an app. When can we buy the Better Offer Betty doll?
Amazon Prime, “Thursday Night Football”
Ah, the life cycle of football. We’re all about to spend seven months in the NFL-free desert of the offseason, and there’s no way to make that better. But even though it’s just a dim little pinprick at this moment, there’s light at the end of that dark February through September tunnel. Football will return! Tables will be broken! Drums will be banged! Horns will be blown! Gongs will be gonged! And all that jazz! Hold tight, football fans. We’ll make it through.
NFL, “Live Ball”
If the NFL doesn’t immediately make a movie featuring the tiny computer football players, the world just isn’t fair. The NFL never fails to make interesting and funny Super Bowl commercials, but this one might be a new high.
Lindsay Lohan? Sure, why not. She has a sense of humor about her messy past, and it’s actually conceivable that she might go to a Planet Fitness given, well, her messy past. It’s hard to know if the public will ever take her seriously again (it will take a long, long time to atone for “I Know Who Killed Me”) but if they don’t, this is as good a place for her as any: lightly funny commercials that trade on her history as a teen star who fell from grace.
Amazon Prime, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power”
The only problem with this ad is that we have to wait until the fall to see the show.
It’s not entirely clear if the robo dog in this commercial is chasing the guy who owns an electric car, or the electric car itself, but it doesn’t matter. Even robo dogs deserve to find their forever homes. And setting it to Bonnie Tyler’s dramatic “Total Eclipse of the Heart” is the perfect touch.
Everyone who has eaten a can of Pringles down to the very last crisp has probably experienced the “can stuck on your hand” issue. Yes, you could just tip the can over and pour it into your hand, but then you’d be dealing with a mound of Pringle crumbs. Pringles addresses this very real problem (the guy in the casket with the Pringles can on his hand was laugh out loud funny) with a commercial that far surpasses their Super Bowl campaigns from the last few years.
If QuickBooks doesn’t release “All I Do is Win” by Cat Lady ft. Cat, there is no justice in the world.
Jerod Mayo randomly tackling people in their homes and suggesting a recipe to cut down food waste is just magic. Credit goes to Mayo for throwing himself into the role, both literally and figuratively. And if you’re someone who has never liked Pete Davidson, his line at the end of the commercial is just for you: “I’m very hittable.”
Commercials for beer aren’t usually this poetic or full of such symbolism. It’s simply gorgeous, and tells the story of one of Budweiser’s famous clydesdales recovering from a leg injury — something that horses don’t typically come back from. It’s hard not to feel even a little hopeful watching the horse galloping free.
There’s some irony in a series about the rise of the Lakers being released when then current day Lakers are sinking pretty quickly. But that, along with the massive cast of stars playing the many real life characters of this story, makes this series a can’t miss. Release it now. The world is ready.
Disney Plus, “Moon Knight”
The newest series from Marvel stars Oscar Isaac and looked like the trailer for a horror movie before it made its purpose clear. Honestly, “Loki” was so good that Disney/Marvel have earned the benefit of the doubt, even though it looks like the titular Moon Knight is dressed in a mummy’s castoff bandages.
Couldn’t you just listen to Ewan McGregor (using his real accent!) talk all day? This is a simple ad, but it makes its point: Ewan McGregor should use his real accent more often. Wait, no, that’s not it. Let’s try again: Stuff isn’t as important as listening to Ewan McGregor’s real accent. Sorry, that’s not it either. One more time: Don’t buy stuff, buy experiences instead — experiences to go visit Ewan McGregor so you can hear his real accent in person. Close enough