LITTLE RICH BOYS IN SPACE!

9 May

1. Thor/Paramount                                         Wknd/$ 66.0            Total/$66.0

 2. Fast Five/Universal                                    Wknd/$ 32.5            Total/$139.9

 3. Jumping The Broom/TriStar                    Wknd/$ 13.7            Total/$  13.7

 4. Something Borrowed/Warners                Wknd/$ 13.2            Total/$  13.2

 5. Rio/Fox                                                          Wknd/$   8.2            Total/$114.9

 6. Water For Elephants/Fox                          Wknd/$   5.6            Total/$  41.6

 7. Madea’s Big Happy Family/LGF              Wknd/$   3.9            Total/$  46.8

 8. Prom/Disney                                                Wknd/$   2.4            Total/$    7.8

 9. Soul Surfer/TriStar                                     Wknd/$   2.1             Total/$  36.7

10. Hookwinked 2/Weinstein                         Wknd/$   1.9            Total/$    6.7

IF I HAD A HAMMER…

Thor opens at number one and it’s become the rule over the past few years that all superheroes need to be angsty and dark.  Even the recent Superman movie was correctly derided as “Emo-Man” and judging by its poor returns, clearly people didn’t need every superhero subscribing to this pathos. Well, fear not because into the mix comes Thor, who has always been as two dimensional as the paper he was printed on and this fairly light-hearted movie is no exception.  Based on the Marvel Comics character, he’s the arrogant son of Odin who is cast to earth to learn a little humility.  In the comics this meant being forced to spend a lifetime as lame surgeon, Dr. Don Blake, before discovering his true identity when earth is invaded by…Stone men from Saturn.  Oh, shut up.  No of you fuckers who worshipped Lost can ever criticize a comic book again.  Here however, Thor is cast out to spend 48 hours depowered in New Mexico and while I’m sure there are those who’d be humbled by this, it really isn’t enough to provide the character change needed to make the film work. He basically goes from being a slightly arrogant, but well-intentioned lunkhead to just a well-intentioned lunkhead all thanks to not being able to get his toy back (the hammer) and the pretty face of Natalie Portman, who falls for Thor basically because he’s a hot, muscular god.  In Iron Man, Tony Stark changed thanks to a deeply traumatic three-month ordeal beginning and ending with people dying to save him.  Thor, however, is like a rich kid who gets his Porsche and allowance taken, then meets a cute townie and then suddenly he’s better.  Hell, even the guy from The Prince & Me had to clean grease traps for a few months.  But if it’s complexity you want, there’s Loki, Thor’s younger brother who brings all of director Kenneth Branagh’s best Shakespearian instincts to light. Loki is basically Super Iago.  His jealousy propels the film, but unlike Thor he’s a conflicting mass of keen intelligence, stupid decisions, deep love, consummate betrayal, total arrogance, utter insecurity and thanks to a plot twist, self-loathing.  Had this movie been about his journey to becoming a hero you might have had something epic.  As it is you just have a not unpleasant way of passing the time for about two hours.

OR ME VS. YOUR MOM

Fast Five is down to number two and for geeks like me seeing this as a giant superteam up came naturally.  They even have the tried and true comic book selling point: having your big guns fight. Vin Diesel and The Rock (sorry, Dwayne) facing off is like making a movie where The Hulk fights The Thing or Thor fights the Silver Surfer or Superman fights Wonder Woman or Batman (yeah, I know. How can they fight? But to please Batman fans they’ve been making this happen for 70 years). What’s sad is, that as well as this has done, it’s still representative of the disappointing return of both the action careers of Vin Diesel and The Rock that they not only have to team up, but be part of an ensemble.  Both men started off as over-hyped film stars with nothing to really back it up, both were humble by the disappointing return of potential franchises (Scorpion King, Chronicles of Riddick) and both wound up doing family films.  I really don’t care because both men are also half-black and would pretty much die before acknowledging it.  That’s 12% of the population and 2.3 billion entertainment dollars you’re blowing off so you get the career you deserve.  Paul “Pretty Boy” Walker’s leading man career didn’t exactly work either, but Walker actually did his time in second banana roles (Varsity Blues, She’s All That, The Skulls, Pleasantville) honestly doesn’t give a shit. You never saw him doing family films just to stay on top.

LET’S MAKE THIS CLEAR: JESUS DOES NOT WANT YOU TO SEE THIS

Jumping The Broom opens at number three and three guesses to what I think about shit like this?  The very fact Mike Epps was cast is proof of how worthless it is.  Yes, I know it’s irrational given I did like  Something New and he was in it, but he was the worst thing about it and I can’t take any film seriously that would take him seriously.  Not to mention this hackneyed plot of the “earthy real people” who are being joined to the “rich, forgotten-who-they-are people” by marriage.  It’s not a bad story itself. It’s only bad when it falls back on the worst clichés and this clearly looks like it does.  And to make matters worse, this comes from Bishop T.D. Jakes who has made his money on the same chitlin circuit that inflicted Tyler Perry on the world, which means at the heart of this is a good, Christian lesson to be learned.  Let me put it this way: he appeared in one of Kirk Cameron’s nutjob Christian movies about the end of the world.  Yeah.  Exactly.

FREE US FROM BLONDAGE

Something Borrowed opens at number four and is anyone consistently making more bad movies than Kate Hudson?  Even Jennifer Anniston isn’t this bad. Not just bad B-movies, but bad A-list movies that go into wide release.  I am a romantic comedy whore from way back, but even I will not see anything she’s in. Much less one of these movies set in an affluent, painfully white Friends view of New York City. Now, I’m not going to say this world does not exist.  It’s called “The East Side” and begins at 17th and Park and extends pretty much up into the 90’s.  It’s where most of Sex & The City was set which is why that show never bothered me.  What bothers me in movies like this is that they don’t set their films there. They act like all of NYC looks like this.  At least this film doesn’t try to pass her off as the lovable lead, but the narcissistic “frieniemy” of the lovable lead played by Ginnifer Goodwin.  Evil blonde roles is what she probably should have been playing all along and given that the very ambitious Blake Lively is leading the charge of new 20-somethings to take her place (Kristin Bell failed miserably in a movie so bad I can’t believe Kate Hudson wasn’t in it) and Katherine Heigl clearly has all but dethroned her as the queen of shitty romcoms, it may be time to make that move.

AT LEAST THE GODFATHER WAS A WELL-MADE FILM

Rio is down to number five, followed by Water For Elephants at number six and Madea’s Big Happy Family at number seven and I want to be happy that there are two money-making films with primarily Black casts in the top ten, but I can’t. It’s like asking an Italian to be happy about two movies about the Mafia are in the top ten.

THE “HEY, AT LEAST IT’S THEATRICAL” EXCUSE SIMPLY ISN’T WORKING

Prom is down to number eight followed by Soul Surfer at number nine and Hoodwinked Too: Hood Vs. Evil closing out the top ten at number ten and let’s look at the cast list and see who’s collecting a quick paycheck.  Now, Anne Hathaway was in the first, but now that she’s a real Oscar nominated star she’s jumped ship for A-list animation like Rio and who steps in her place but Hayden Panettiere, whose fame creepily seemed fade the more legal she became. Shudder.  People like Glenn Close, Cheech Marin, Joan Cusack, Martin Short and Amy Poehler are basically doing this for their kids. Either to give them something to see or to pay for their college tuition.  Hayden Panettiere is the only person in the cast who needs this as a win.  She must look at Blake Lively and think, “What the fuck? Wasn’t that me five seconds ago!?!”

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