23 May

 1. Pirates of the Caribbean 4/Touch    Wknd/$ 90.1    Total/$  90.1
2. Bridesmaids/Universal                      Wknd/$ 21.1     Total/$  59.5
3. Thor/Paramount                                 Wknd/$ 15.5    Total/$145.4
4. Fast Five/Universal                            Wknd/$ 10.6    Total/$186.2
5. Rio/Fox                                                 Wknd/$   4.7    Total/$131.6
6. Priest/Screen Gems                            Wknd/$   4.6    Total/$  23.7
7. Jumping The Broom/TriStar            Wknd/$   3.7    Total/$  31.3
8. Something Borrowed/Warners        Wknd/$   3.4    Total/$  31.4
9. Water For Elephants/Fox                  Wknd/$   2.2    Total/$  52.4
10. Madea’s Big Happy Family/LGF     Wknd/$   1.0    Total/$  51.8

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens at number one but the lowest opening of the franchise and with good reason.  As much as we all love Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow the simple fact is he needs a straight man and for three films he had not one but two of them in Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.  Now he has none and you see how tiresome he can very quickly become, especially in the hands of a weak director like Rob Marshall whose success with Chicago is being proven a fluke with every subsequent film release.  A good director of musicals might have had the prerequisite lighter touch these films need.  There’s a scene early in the film where Johnny Depp duels with Penelope Cruz dressed exactly like Jack Sparrow.  This is anything but a serious event.  It should have been quick and light and a continuing play on him fighting himself. Instead it’s shot in the dark (?) and had me fighting sleep with its leaden dullness.  All I could think of was how the duel between Depp and Bloom in the first film was everything this should have been but was not.  The film doesn’t pick up until Ian McShane shows up to chew a little scenery all but making Depp his straight man in the process.  And chemistry is sorely lacking between Depp and Penelope Cruz, so all attempts at romance fall as flat as both the comedy and action.  And to top it all off the freaking thing is two hours long.

Bridesmaids is down to number two and I can’t help myself when I see people fawning too much over something so I find myself increasing my opposition reflexively.  While I liked Bridesmaids and am glad for its success regarding women in comedy let’s not pretend the wheel was reinvented.  This is just a Ben Stiller “Theater of Pain” humiliation comedy in drag complete with a fat slob role for either Jack Black or Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Call it “Groomsmen” about a guy whose life if bottoming out dealing with his childhood buddy getting married and seemingly with a new best friend who is perfect and you have the same. damn. film.  Hell, you run this back to back on USA one Sunday afternoon with Along Came Polly and the similarities are unavoidable.  Humiliated by a lover? Check. Heavyset comic relief?  Check.  Wacky parents? Check. Scene of gastrointestinal distress following by a toilet scene? Check.  Sex scene with a TV star played for laughs? Check.  But still, I am more satisfied with this being the final screen appearance of Jill Clayburgh than fawning over Jake Gyllenhaal in Love & Other Drugs.  Casting her as Kristen Wiig’s mother is nothing short of perfection.  Too bad Judd Apatow wussed out on her lines because he somehow felt her making risqué jokes was disrespectful.  Fucking moron.  Do you think she didn’t know what she was saying or that no one would see it?  She’s a goddamn professional who let herself be filmed having her nipples tugged in her biggest role (An Unmarried Woman) and you think her saying “beaver” is a problem?

Thor is down to number three and yes, that’s Renee Russo as Friggia (worst name ever), wife of Odin and stepmother of Thor (his actual mother is the earth herself but don’t ask how that happened).  Talk about your random-ass casting.  Heimdall being black and Hogun being Asian as Norse gods don’t seem as out of place as Renee Russo and I like Renee Russo.

Fast Five is down to number four and yes, Sung Kang’s name has been Han Seoul Lue in these movies.  And credit must be given to his inclusion in the movie for part of its success.  For all the talk of how Black people make up 25% of the movie-going audience, no one ever wonders what Asian Americans are seeing.  Pretty sure they came out to see an Asian male who was tall, good-looking and not a science whiz or master of martial arts.  And he gets the hot non-Asian girl…but only after Vin Diesel has rejected her.  Small steps.

Rio holds at number five followed by Priest down to number six and also in this is Maggie Q who has a day job on Nikita so she’s not sweating this all that much. One of the many unintentionally funny things about the movie is that in the future women clearly can be priests, complete with being sworn to celibacy, but she still has to fight in high heels, because apparently the Church still needs you to look like a woman.

Jumping the Broom is down to number seven and also in this is Gary Dourdan in case you’re wondering where he disappeared to.  From the hottest show on TV to a role listed only as “Chef.”  Damn, that’s a hard fall.  Just say “No” to drugs, kids.  But because he’s pretty I’m laughing at him.  Also because the last time we did see him he was partying with none other than James Blunt on a yacht with a bunch of skanky women (I list sucking on each other’s fake breasts for male amusement as “skanky”).  And he was out-of-shape and pot-bellied.  My schadenfreude is unending.

Something Borrowed is down to number eight and if you wonder why this blows as much as it does know that the director (and I use that term loosely) prepared for this by watching chick flicks like Beaches.  Not say, reading the book, talking to the author or maybe, you know, women. He watched another movie. Is it any surprise that his other works include The Girl Next Door about a high school senior who falls for a porn star and The Animal, which starred Rob Schneider?  Not that it could have been saved regardless, but there was no woman who could direct this movie, but this idiot could?  That’s like ignoring every black director for Jumping the Broom for white guy who watched a Tyler Perry movie.

Don’t cry for Reese Witherspoon, Argentina.  This is coming up on $100M worldwide from a $38M budget.  This is why Ryan Phillipe can talk about retiring from acting; he’s got some alimony money to fall back on.

Finally, Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family closes out the top ten at number ten.

So I’m almost done with my new bed project.  I bought the new frame a month or two ago when the women in my life shamed me by saying they’d never have sex with some guy with a couch bed futon.  But honestly, the damn thing was 20 years old and needed to go anyway.  So I’ve got my nice new bed frame, but the now the suckness of the at least a decade old mattress was apparent.  Like a frame a good one is fucking expensive so I had to break it up into separate purchases.  One sign I’m old is that there aren’t cheap futon places all over the place like there used to be. They once had their own page in The Village Voice there were so many.  But also because I’m old, I’m not going from some cheap-ass futon anyway.  Grandpa needs both soft and firm for a body that needs more comfort and support than it used to.  The days of being able to get a good night’s drunken sleep on a floor with no repercussions is long over.  As is sleeping on a regular mattress with springs. Two decades of futon use as permanently converted me.  The upside is they aren’t as expensive as regular mattresses.  The downside is, not by all that much, especially when you have a queen-sized bed with no interest in downsizing.  Luckily, the supposed top of the line futon (which has springs) didn’t feel as nice as the one right below it.  In fact, it’s so wonderful I feel I must issue an apology to everyone who slept on the old one.  And I’m seriously sorry to anyone who had sex on it.  You shouldn’t have had something stiff on your back as well.  I also bought new pillows, which is also an education for those of us who stole all of ours from our parents.  A good pillow is also far from cheap and finding the right balance of firm to softness is another challenge because it’s not like you can lie on it in the store like a mattress.   You just have to hope that pushing on it a few times in the store will be good enough and I did okay, mainly because I’m a label whore and went with Ralph Lauren and Nautica.  My only hiccup was being stupid enough to think I’d actually bought 1000 count cotton sheets at a street fair. We’ve all seen them, but until now I’d never gone for it. I should have followed my instincts.  As soon as I unwrapped them the label proclaimed “100% percent polyester.”  I had to laugh.  Sometimes you deserved to get ripped for not remembering the golden rule of shopping: “If it seems too good to be true, it is.”

“I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight” got a big laugh in The Devil Wears Prada because we all know the benefits of a quick, but nasty sickness.  Well, it wasn’t a stomach flu, but two days of not feeling well actually did accomplish that for me because after the initial 10 pounds I dropped last year, I’ve been unable to return to the rigid dietary menu that made it work (no sweets, very little cheese, hell on earth) to get that last five and if anything have to fight my sudden jumps up thanks to things like Dark Chocolate ice cream. Even stepping up my workout plan over the last few months hasn’t made much of a dent.  But two days of not really eating and still going to the gym (yes, I know; I shouldn’t have) got me back to 185…and I held onto that for almost two days before going up to 187 and I’ve been bouncing back between that 2 pound difference ever since.  But belts that I bought when I gained weight are now useless as I have to go the last loop on them.  Even a pair of jeans I bought a month ago are loose fitting which is briefly ego-boosting though ultimately means nothing as I simply cannot get rid of the little pudge belly because I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate ab workouts. They are the most boring type of workout on god’s green earth because you have to do a million of them to accomplish anything.  It’s not like weight training where you just pile on more weight.  It’s just more and more and more reps. Ugh. This is why so few people have flat stomachs, not the food, not the laziness, but the complete and utter boredom of getting and maintaining one.  Brad Pitt has the most boring 30 minutes on earth each and every morning.  Is Angelina Jolie worth it? I’m not so sure.

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