27 Jun

1. Cars 2/Disney                                            Wknd/$ 68.0            Total/$  68.0

2. Bad Teacher/Sony                                    Wknd/$ 31.0             Total/$  31.0

3. Green Lantern/Warners                         Wknd/$ 18.4              Total/$  89.3

4. Super 8/Paramount                                 Wknd/$ 12.1               Total/$  95.2

5. Mr. Popper’s Penguins/Fox                    Wknd/$ 10.3              Total/$  39.4

6. X-Men: First Class/Fox                            Wknd/$   6.6             Total/$132.8

7. The Hangover Pt. II/Warners                  Wknd/$   5.9             Total/$243.9

6. Kung Fu Panda 2/Dreamworks               Wknd/$   8.7             Total/$143.3

8. Bridesmaids/Universal                              Wknd/$   5.3             Total/$146.7

9. Pirates of the Caribbean 4/Touch            Wknd/$   4.7             Total/$229.1

10. Midnight In Paris                                    Wknd/$   4.5                 Total/$  28.6


Cars 2 opens at number one and while Pixar seems perfect with work like Wall-E, Toy Story 3 and Up in rapid succession, that they’d make such a soulless sequel shows they are not.  I didn’t car for Cars because if you’re going to make an animated remake of Doc Hollywood the least you can do is give Michael J. Fox a job and let him do the voice.  Oh, and it blew.  The reason this gets a sequel while something a bit more worthy like The Incredibles did not was because it sold a shitload of merchandise.  Apparently more than any other Pixar film.  It makes sense. I mean, how can you not sell a bunch of toy cars with a big Pixar film behind them!?!  Toy cars are industry onto themselves even without a giant commercial.  Soullessness and sucking aside the other reason I passed on this was they clearly took the worst thing about the first and actually bumped it up: Larry The Cable Guy.  Seriously?  Who actually wanted more Mater?  And why hasn’t that person been killed?


Bad Teacher opens at number two which is actually somewhat impressive so far as Cameron Diaz’s star power goes, because there’s just no way anything was going to be beat Cars 2.  Unfortunately it seems yet another bad, successful movie under her belt like When In Vegas.  It’s a bunch of amusing moments strung together without much of a plot to drive it. The sole basis of the film seems to be “Oh, look how bad she is” over and over and over again. It’s not enough.  The plot they show in the trailers of her trying to become an effective teacher simply because it benefits her doesn’t start until the film is almost half over.  It also seemingly takes both Justin Timberlake and Jason Sigel forever to show up, so the first half of the film is just us watching Cameron Diaz be a bitch in a tight dresses and high heels over and over and over again. The most inspired bit of comedy is that while she may be a lousy bitch of a teacher, but the others are all just flat out nuts in their own little ways, including both Justin Timberlake as the doofus target of her golddigging and Lucy Punch as her romantic rival who has her perky button dialed up to 11.  So much more should have been done with this.  But the biggest miss is the waste of the kids.  She has in her class a 12-year-old version of herself but the parallel is barely used even when the inevitable “she does a good thing” moment arises when it should have been the focus.  Both she and the over-achiever who craves extra-credit like a junkie are wasted in favor of an overly sensitive poetry-writing boy.  While I give them credit for not have her do a cheap complete 180-degree turn around, they could have more effectively shown how she learns to make her bitch manner work for her.


Green Lantern is down to number three with Warner Brothers putting a brave face for their shareholders who know that Harry Potter is over and Christopher Nolan is leaving Batman, leaving them with no big summer franchise for guaranteed bucks.  They’re insisting a sequel is coming but they said that about the also-disappointing Superman Returns. Ask Brandon Routh how that worked out for him.  As with Thor the best performances in the movie come from the villains, but they are unfortunately not allowed the same chance to shine.  Mark Strong is here as Sinestro who has all the strength and conviction you expect from your hero, but his name and pencil thin mustache let’s you know he’ll eventually go bad—which they have him do for no reason whatsoever in an idiotic post credit sequence, conflicting with everything you’ve seen him do.  It’s a painfully hamfisted set up for a sequel that will never come.  I hope he got a nice paycheck to allow him to do better things, like The Guard.


Super-Spielberg-Wankfest, er, I mean Super-8 is down to number four but this is already a success because it only cost $50M to make and is already at $131M worldwide.  After all, how much do unknown kid actors cost, much less Kyle Chandler who has been bubbling under the radar since Tour of Duty, Homefront and Early Edition in the 90’s?  And even when he achieves some modicum of mainstream success it’s with the cult (i.e., not real) success of Friday Night Lights.  He’s just lucky to be here.


Mr. Popper’s Penguins is down to number five and also in this is Carla Gugino who is clearly financing her extensive indie work with the older female lead in family films, as before this it was Night At The Museum, Race To Witch Mountain and The Mighty Macs which is one of those “true stories” about a women’s college basketball coach in the 70’s.  I suppose this balances out playing porn stars and asking David Duchovny to feel how wet she is on Californication.


X-Men: First Class is down to number six, followed by The Hangover Part II at number seven and Zack Galifinakis has a Johnny Depp-like skill to come across as an outsider while doing the most mainstream pieces of shit possible. I just realized he was alongside Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz in What Happens In Vegas, on the TV show Tru Calling and was also a voice in that horrible G-Force movie about secret agent hamsters.  Then again, Between Two Ferns rocks seriously hard.


Bridesmaids is down to number eight, followed by Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides at number nine and Midnight in Paris hanging around at number ten.


The summer TV season as started and it’s as mindless as we hoped…if you’re like me and still missing Buffy you can’t help but be draw to supernatural teen adventures like the revamped Teen Wolf and the 9 Lives of Chloe King.  Teen Wolf is better, but that makes sense because dogs are better than cats.  But neither is as bad as you’d expect and actually a little better….USA makes two kinds of shows: good shows about smart, cynical professionals with an actual touch of realism (Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, White Collar) and bad shows trying to cash in on those shows about earnest annoying people that might as well have robots they’re so ridiculous (Royal Pains, Covert Affairs, Fairly Legal).  One guess which one Suits is given it’s about a super-smart con man working for a law firm helping people?  If you guessed the latter give yourself a gold star…once upon a time Steven Spielberg said he’d never make a movie about bad aliens.  Clearly time has hardened him as that’s all he does now and Falling Skies comes with him as an executive producer.  Honestly, I just can’t watch another alien invasion TV show. It’s got to be a movie where I know it ends. I can’t get invested for something that could get cancelled tomorrow with no  hope of resolution…I didn’t know the reason Fran Drescher and her husband got divorced was because he was gay.  I am, however, not even remotely surprised they made it into a sitcom.  Yes, it’s just as clichéd and hokey as you’d imagine.  But some people want just that.  Me, the only thing worth watching about The Nanny was her series of tiny skirts…Wilfred is an adaptation of an Australian TV about a man who sees a man in a dog suit while others only a dog.  Basically a live-action Calvin & Hobbes.  Calvin & Hobbes is funnier…and while many of you welcome the return of True Blood, I’m happy to see The Glades back.  But we should all be outside, drunk and fucking. I’m just saying…


So once again I had another man’s wife visiting in the city, but this time with much more sobriety and less art. I’ve known the French Girl for over 25 years now….and that sentence took me an hour to write because I had to lay down and have a panic attack over my impending mortality.  Fuck I’m old.  She was actually headed to a conference in Connecticut, but stopped over in NYC for a bit of a holiday, staying in a hotel in SoHo.  We met there then did a little shopping—meaning I made her go shopping.  What can I say? I had an agenda.  I’ve been toying with khakis for a few weeks now because jeans get a little hot in the summer, but have always been hesitant because Gene Kelly aside, only the most fucking boring people wear them.  As my current movie buddy says they’re also “boring fucks” and I trust her in this.  However then I remember who wore khakis and wasn’t fucking boring and probably not a boring fuck: James Bond.   More specifically, Daniel Craig in Casino Royale is seen in what look like khakis not once but twice.  And with a polo shirt no less. Usually that’s the sign of the most boring WASP imaginable, but he makes it work.  Still, I was hesitant so I thought I’d go with “training khakis” which is to say “cheap khakis” from Old Navy. If they worked out then we’d think of doing some upgrading.  Well, they’ve changed since I wore them last as I can wear them as they were meant to be worn: flat fronts.  Usually my balls stick out but no longer.  We also stopped by H&M so I could pickup some Superman underwear that only they seem to carry.  While there I couldn’t pass up on some nice $20 raw denim jeans and while waiting on me to try them on she found a nice embroidered dress whose only drawback is it was a tad translucent.  I told her to “French up” and wear it with nice underwear and dare ‘em to look, but she’s going to put a lining in it.  Coco Chanel is turning in her grave over such a failure by one of her countrywomen.  After that we visited a few more shops (including a shoe store I’ll have to visit in the fall for new boots) before stopping at Vosages to pick up some chocolate. They’re the people who make the holy concoction of bacon chocolate though this time I went with caramel (her treat) and she picked chiles.  We met her friends for dinner at an Italian place on Lafayette and I’d forgotten how much fun it was to people watch. SoHo is great for that even by New York standards because people are putting their shit on display.  My favorite had to be the woman in Daisy Dukes and knee-high boots (it’s June) walking her dog.  I liked it, so I’d put a ring on it.


So I’ve done my bi-annual computer replacement, moving from an severely obsolete computer (a Powerbook) to a slightly less obsolete computer (a MacBook Pro). I sold my old one for $350 and bought this latest one for $500, making my actual outlay only $150.  This is how I get down.  eBay is my bitch.  It’s not perfect, but it’s barely three years old, meaning I can actually watch video on it, rather than what looks like a flipbook.  Also games like Farmville actually fucking move now.  But most of all, I CAN UPGRADE MY FUCKING SOFTWARE!!!  Which means I can continue to upgrade this website.


Death has been on a bit of a roll lately with James Arness who was The Thing in the only version of that movie that was any good.  Fuck you James Carpenter fans and that special effects nightmare.  Jeff Conway finally ended his suffering and it’s gonna be hard to watch Grease without thinking of how miserably he ended his life.  I totally overlooked Michael Sarrazin a few months back; Gil Scott Heron who some say originated rap died, but he didn’t.  It was spoken word poetry. Clarence Clemmons passed, as did Peter Falk who was more than Columbo, people.  Finally, as a geek I must mention that comic book artist Gene Colan who was one of the co-creators of the Blade character also died.  But you know what’s really sad?  That girl who was big black girl in Road Trip died. I don’t know what of but given she was 300 pounds when she died it’s easy to guess.  She was so young and that just makes it really sad.  James Arness was 83. He was ready to go, but people that young shouldn’t die.

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