“Goodbye Stranger,” and hello, Joaquin Phoenix. The Oscar-winning Joker star is back with another story to scare the popcorn out of us: the upcoming horror film Beau Is Afraid. And the new trailer, which A24 posted on YouTube on Tuesday, Jan. 10, puts a creepy spin on the Supertramp track “Goodbye Stranger” as it promoted the April 21 release.
In Beau Is Afraid, which A24 describes as a “bold and ingeniously depraved new film” (per Variety), Joaquin plays the title character, “a paranoid man [who] embarks on an epic odyssey to get home to his mother.”
And fans are loving the trailer’s needle-drop. “The (very inventive!) use of Supertramp's ‘Goodbye Stranger’ … in the Beau Is Afraid trailer tapped into something pretty cellular on an excitement level for me,” Criterion Collection curatorial director Ashley Clark tweeted on Tuesday.
What’s the meaning of Supertramp’s “Goodbye Stranger”?
If you’re already not familiar with the song, “Goodbye Stranger” is a 1979 single from the album “Breakfast in America” by Supertramp, which was an English pop-rock band. The song peaked at No. 15 in the United States and No. 57 in the United Kingdom, according to Chart-History.
As Songfacts explains, “Goodbye Stranger” is about the fleeting nature of one-night stands, as well as the freedom thereof. “Was an early morning yesterday / I was up before the dawn / And I really have enjoyed my stay / But I must be moving on,” Rick Davies sings in the opening verse. “Like a king without a castle, like a queen without a throne / I’m an early morning lover, and I must be moving on.”
Naming it Supertramp’s fourth-best song, Ultimate Classic Rock’s Nick DeRiso hailed “Goodbye Stranger” as “a snarky kiss-off from Davies” which “showcases the band’s predilection for the Wurlitzer [electric piano].”
‘Beau Is Afraid’ isn’t the first Hollywood project to use “Goodbye Stranger” for a trailer.
In 2019, Apple TV Plus used “Goodbye Stranger” in a trailer for the first season of The Morning Show, the drama series starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, and Steve Carell … perhaps not realizing that the song had a prominent placement in another of Steve’s TV shows, The Office.
In that NBC comedy’s Season 4 finale, Michael Scott, Steve’s character, sings “Goodbye Toby,” a parody of “Goodbye Stranger” dedicated to Michael’s HR punching bag, Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein).
“Oh, my gosh, when I saw that [Morning Show] trailer, I was like, somebody should have called me and said, ‘Do you want to flag anything about this?’” Steve later told Entertainment Weekly with a laugh. “I was like, ‘Guys, you can’t put that in the trailer and not have people raise one or two eyebrows.’ … It would have been an easy thing to red-flag. Oh well. I don’t believe that they did that on purpose.”