18 Apr

1. Rio/Fox                                                        Wknd/$40.0                    Total/$ 40.0

2. Scream 4/Dimension                               Wknd/$ 19.3                     Total/$  19.3

3. Hop/Universal                                           Wknd/$ 11.2                     Total/$  82.6

4. Soul Surfer/TriStar                                   Wknd/$   7.4                     Total/$  20.0

5. Hanna/Focus                                              Wknd/$   7.3                     Total/$  23.3

6. Arthur/Warners                                         Wknd/$   6.9                     Total/$  22.3

7. Insidious/                                                     Wknd/$   6.9                     Total/$  36.0

8. Source Code/                                               Wknd/$   6.3                     Total/$  37.0

9. The Conspirator                                          Wknd/$   3.9                     Total/$    3.9

10. Your Highness/Universal                        Wknd/$   3.9                     Total/$  16.0


Rio opens at number one and I just had to give this a pass. I simply can’t take another colorful CGI animated film with a bunch of stars with no real character content (I’m looking at you Despicable Me, Megamind, etc).  This looks hella-pretty and has as its lead voices Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway, but the fact that it’s coming from the creators of Ice Age (which is nothing to brag about, honestly) means it’s going to have depth of character that can only be measured by a saucer.  Not a real saucer either, but one used in a Barbie playhouse.


Scream 4 opens at number two and I have never seen any of the Scream films and I’m not about to start now.  Yeah, I get they’re post-modern spoofs of the slasher flicks of the 80’s, but somewhere down the line I lost my taste for watching even the dumbest teen get butchered.  Not to mention the first film opened with Drew Barrymore being gutted while crying and begging for her life. How is that supposed to be fun?  And how is it Neve Campbell hasn’t turned into Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2 after all she’s been through?  The woman should be armed to the teeth and spent the last decade studying krav maga.  As soon as whomever the hell is in the mask this time (given how they’re all related to her somehow, I’m thinking it’s her fourth cousin on her dad’s side she wouldn’t play with at a family picnic 30 years ago) shows up he should have both his kneecaps blown off before having his neck snapped.  Clearly she’s the new Jamie Lee Curtis in that no matter what else she tries she’s still bound to the genre movie that made her famous to begin with. But it could be worse.  She could be in Wild Things: Foursome—and you wish I were making that up, but I’m not.  And still worse, she could be with Denise Richards in Cougars, Inc.  Again, not making that up.  Not that this could have ever beaten Rio, but it wouldn’t have hurt to have better known young cast.  When Hayden Panettiere is the best you’ve got, you’re in trouble.  This should have been filled with Gossip Girls & Boys and Twilight kids getting hacked to pieces.  I know plenty of people who’d have paid to see Blake Lively or Robert Pattinson get a blade in the neck.


Soul Surfer is down to number four and also in this are Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt, who I like to think are both beyond caring too much about being at the top of the heap after 30+year careers.  For them this was getting paid to go to the beach for a few months and a movie their kids could see them in.  It’s just a win all around.  And Dennis Quaid continues to taunt other men with washboard abs well into his 50’s.  But clearly the deal he made with the Devil for that body was having a crazy brother.  Do you think he and Emilio Estevez exchange sympathy calls? And conference in Alec Baldwin?


Hop is down to number five and I realize most women look less pretty standing next to James Marsden, but let’s be real; Katy Cuoco was never some great beauty to begin so this is just borderline cruel.  Betcha she was glad to get back to the set of The Big Bang Theory where she felt like Megan Fox again.


Hanna is down to number five and also in this is Eric Bana as the CIA agent who trains Hanna pretty much from birth to be a killing machine and since his much heralded entrance to the American movie scene in The Hulk didn’t pan out, he’s gone from being a leading man to the male lead to female stars. Natalie Portman & Scarlett Johansson (The Other Boleyn Girl), Rachel McAdams (The Time Traveler’s Wife) and here to both Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett.  He can take a seat on the bench next to Mark Ruffalo, Dermot Mulroney and David Strathairn.


Arthur drops to number six to no one’s real surprise and also in this is Jennifer Garner who also didn’t quite make the jump to big screen female lead despite doing the prerequisite cookie-cutter romantic comedies (one of which co-starred Mark Ruffalo).  Her role in the universe has actually been filled by another tv-to-film star, Katherine Heigl.  And honestly, isn’t Jennifer Garner the answer to the question “What if Hilary Swank were a little more attractive and a little less talented?”


Insidious is down to number seven and everyone is getting cheese on their whopper after this. $1.5M budget with a $36M return so far.  And few are happier than Patrick Wilson who is a talented theatrical actor and been in good indie work (Little Children, Hard Candy) but his mainstream Hollywood work hasn’t panned out quite as well (The Watchmen, The A-Team, Lakeview Terrace).  This is why you see young actors and actors whose careers have taken a stumble doing genre films.  They’ve got a built in audience who can help get you an easy win, but you don’t get blamed if it fails, because it usually sucks anyway.  But as far as I’m concerned any man whose past work includes being married to Jennifer Connelly and cheating with Kate Winslet (in graphic sex scenes) has already won big time.


Source Code is down to number eight and speaking of talented Broadway and indie actors, also in this as “the brilliant yet, cold scientist who creates the device that sets everything in motion” is Jeffery Wright, who didn’t really need a win since he became Felix Lighter in the Bond films.  Then again, maybe he did since they were put on hold thanks to MGM’s perpetual bankruptcy.  Seriously.  I can’t remember a time when they weren’t in trouble for some reason.  Thanks for nothing, Michael Cimino.  The evil that was Heaven’s Gate lives on long after your career has gone.

The Conspirator opens at number nine and funny how a movie involving the legal system and Abraham Lincoln isn’t the one called “The Lincoln Lawyer.”  Okay, maybe not funny “ha-ha” but…oh, shut up.  This is the story of the only woman put on trial for the murder of Abraham Lincoln, which is admittedly news to me, but not so interesting I’d ever want to see this. I’d be more inclined to watch a History Channel or A&E documentary than a dramatic telling. And now the game of who doesn’t belong in the cast: Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Danny Huston, Justin Long…what?  Yeah, the Mac guy—and I’ve got no problem sticking him with that label—in a period drama.  Even Alexis Bleidel and Rachel Evan Wood don’t stick out like that. You can see them in period dress and it not seem weird, but that doofus?  How the hell does he end up in a film directed by Robert Redford?  It must be a favor to get Drew Barrymore in another movie.  Or did they think this would “Get the kids in”?


Your Highness closes out the top ten at number ten and did they really think this was going to  make money theatrically when its audience is clearly potheads?  And even they are going to be disappointed, because that was a movie about pot from beginning to end, whereas this is not.  Any hope for backend  money is going to be a huge disappointment.


Is there someone at ABC watching too much porn?  How else do you get one sitcom called “Cougar Town” and another called “Happy Endings?” What’s the next, “Sodomy & Blowjobs” (hopefully not in that order)?  That said, “Happy Endings” isn’t bad.  You gotta love a sitcom that advertises itself as “Another sitcom about people in their 30’s hanging out” or “Like friends, but not as white.”  Also funnier.  I hated friends for its lily-white depiction of New York, but what I really hated it for was being so successful and so un-fucking-funny.  This is a bit uneven, but the one-liners are non-stop and mostly on-target.  They pretty much had me when one character described another as “What if Paul Rudd gave up?”  That’s razor-sharp and to the bone.  Not to mention a gay character who’s just a guy and not stereotype and the second episode was actually spent mocking women who want a typical TV or movie “Gay Best Friend.”  I’ll enjoy it for as long as I can before ABC again breaks my heart the way they did with the also too-clever-for-its-own-good, Better Off Ted.


So I wound up in Brooklyn again on Friday for a combination birthday and dissertation celebration.  As usual, it was one of the women I know from Jezebel who was getting her PhD in Drama.  Not sure what you do with that (“Well, I won’t be sure until I get the tests back, but I think it’s a severe case of lacking a third act.”)  The celebration was at a beer hall at ground zero of annoying hipsterism: Williamsburg.  It’s been a long time since I wanted to punch so  many young people for simply being young. Actually it was only 24 hours, but you get my point.  Being a beer hall meant two things: all kinds of sausage and giant beers.  Seriously, it’s amazing the Germans lived long enough to start two world wars eating and drinking like that.  You’d think we could have just waited them out until their diets killed them.  My beer was literally 1.75 liters in a mug the size of pitcher. It was like something out of a cartoon. Normally I workout on Friday nights, but every time I took a sip, it was like doing a curl and the “Ride of the Valkeries” was playing on permanent loop in my head. We might as well have been drinking from a horn.  I was there until around midnight and in that time all I could consume was one of those and one glass of whiskey (yes, we’re still doing that).  But my night of annoying hip young people was not over. Oh, no.  I’d also been invited to another birthday party by a co-worker who wears some seriously amazing boots on a regular basis, and given I think I was the only person from the office she invited, I felt an obligation (but mostly it was her boots).  This took me to the second most annoying mecca of NYC hipsterism: Nolita to a place called The Back Room, known for having dickish doormen and even more obnoxious bartenders in its heyday (they wouldn’t let you in if you were wearing a fur coat).  Now, you’d think a party that started at 11:00 would just be getting into high gear at 1:00 am which is when I arrived, but they were already gone. You kids today…where’s the endurance?  But the upside is I got go home, but still get points for showing up.  Win-win.  Well at least until the morning, where I felt like shit even though I didn’t get drunk and wasn’t out all night. I feel like my body is taunting me in these instances for not partying my ass off when I could handle it.  Much in the way it taunts me for trying to be athletic now, rather than in my teens. Every ache and pain screams, “Oh, no, muthafucka. You had your chance.”

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