COWBOYS & REVISIONS

7 Aug

1. Rise of the Planet of the Apes/Fox            Wknd/$  54.0            Total/$  54.0

2. The Smurfs/Sony                                          Wknd/$  21.0            Total/$  76.2

3. Cowboys & Aliens/Universal                      Wknd/$  15.7             Total/$  67.4

4. Change Up/Universal                                   Wknd/$  13.5            Total/$  13.5

5. Captain America/Paramount                      Wknd/$  13.0            Total/$143.2

6. Harry Potter & The Deadly Hallows 2       Wknd/$  12.2            Total/$342.8

7. Crazy Stupid Love/Warners                         Wknd/$  12.1            Total/$  42.2

8. Friends With Benefits/ScreenGems           Wknd/$   4.7             Total/$  48.5

9. Horrible Bosses/Warners                              Wknd/$   4.6             Total/$105.2

10. Transformers 3/Paramount                        Wknd/$   3.0             Total/$344.2

YOU DAMN SMARTY APE!

Rise of the Planet of the Apes opens at number one and I while I’ve seen literally every one of these movies, I couldn’t bring myself to see this because even for science fiction it was just too unbelievable. The basic premise is just too ridiculous.  No, not that smart ape part but the location of the beginning of the rebellion being San Francisco.  If this took place in Africa I’d buy it, because they’d just get free and begin breeding, but a group of apes in the middle of San Francisco somehow ultimately taking over the planet?  No matter how smart they are they’re just one machine gun away from being a problem solely for the sanitation department and a probably a cause for PETA.  Ask any native tribe on the planet who eventually tried to get those pesky white guys with guns to leave, which is an apt comparison given how race has always been an undercurrent in the series.  Aside for the entire thing being a metaphor for white man’s fear of losing the world, there was the fact the lightest apes were still in charge while the darkest apes were the most brutal and did the dirty work.  This is a vague remake of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes where the intelligent ape son of Cornelius and Zera leads apes to rise up against humans who have turned them into slaves.  That made some sort of sense because apes were in every part of human society all over the world.  Now, Haight-Asbury may be many things, but a launch point of global conquest it is not.  If a bunch of apes could take over the world from San Francisco, Deadheads would have done it decades ago.

SMURF YOU, SMURF YOU, SMURF YOU, YOU’RE COOL AND SMURF YOU.

The Smurfs is down to number two after tying at number one with Cowboys & Aliens last week and I blame you hipster dickwads who went to see this “ironically.”  Well, at least that’s what you claimed, but let’s not pretend this wasn’t a significant part of your youth and while most of your friends laughed, stoned out of their minds you sat there quietly secretly overjoyed to see your childhood fully realized on the big screen.   You know who you are.

REMEMBER WHEN WE USE PLAY SHOOT ‘EM UP, SHOOT ‘EM UP, MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU…

Cowboys & Aliens is down to number three and this is basically a western with some aliens in it.  Seriously.  It’s far from high concept.  In fact it should have been called Cowboys & Indians & Aliens as yes, Native Americans are in it in all their typical Hollywood noble savage glory, which is a nice way of saying well-written this is not. It’s as basic as any summer blockbuster can get.  You know there’s going to be a problem when you see five screenwriters in the opening credits.  That’s never a good thing.  This is why you have Harrison Ford one moment as a vicious and cruel cattle baron with a sociopath for a son he won’t allow to be punished and then another moment the Harrison Ford who has to be a nice guy for the paying audiences who don’t understand why Indiana Jones just dragged a man behind a horse.  For telling the truth no less!  Likewise Daniel Craig is a wanted criminal but we know he’s still “good” because he kills bounty hunters who scalp people.  Basically, our two heroes are essentially bad guys who now have to fight something worse than each other and that concept was clearly lightened up by one of the four people who revised the original story.  There’s even a little boy and a dog so no movie trope gets left untouched.  At one point the alien has clearly killed the dog offscreen, but you cannot kill a dog in a big mainstream summer movie so sure enough the dog emerges somehow still alive.  Best to ignore all this and concentrate on the actions scenes and enjoy them.  It’s what I did.

YOU KNOW THAT ACE VENTURA FRANCHISE IS JUST LAYING AROUND…

The Change Up opens at number four making this a disappointing summer for Ryan Reynolds, but it’s his own fault for not running in the other direction when someone said, “R-rated body switch comedy” that required him to return to his Van Wilder douche persona that never really made him more than a B-list star.  What put you over the top, dude?  The Proposal, where you were the nice put upon guy.  You need to be making another generic romantic comedy where your leading lady does the heavy lifting, like Cameron Diaz did for her male co-stars this summer.  I used to wonder why someone tall, good-looking and funny wasn’t a bigger star. Now I wonder how the hell anyone could ever see someone so vanilla as a star.  He’s like alternative to people who find Jim Carrey too gritty.  Not to mention there’s only been one good body switch comedy ever and it was Freaky Friday.  Even the remake was good because it realized it had to grow somewhat.  Don’t see a lot of that in this movie.  I mean the trailer contained not one but two jokes about shit.  Two!  Pretty sure urbane wit is not on the menu.

THE BIGGER, GEEKIER PICTURE

Captain America is down to number five and also in this is Dominic Cooper who plays Howard Stark, as in father of Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, which has become in a reoccurring problem in these movies, as they’re so determined to set up an Avengers movie (a superhero team of Iron Man, Captain America & Thor) they forget to make this movie first.  Of course Howard Stark has to be the guy to build weapons for Captain America.  Of course the power The Red Skull wants comes from Odin who is the father of Thor, and as everyone knows by now, of course Samuel L. Jackson shows up at the end as Nick Fury as he did in the Iron Man and Thor movies.  Iron Man utilized the whole concept of a shared universe (the SHIELD agent who turns up throughout) but it never really interfered with the movie or took you out of it.  Every time Howard Stark shows up it’s more than just an in-joke like The Red Skull’s Raiders of the Lost Ark reference to Hitler looking for trinkets in the desert (director Joe Johnson worked on Raiders of the Lost Ark) or the fact the Golden Age Human Torch shows up in a background scene (in the comics Captain America and the Golden Age Human Torch were on super-team in WWII together and Chris Evans played the modern Human Torch in the Fantastic Four movies).  It’s a continual reminder this is just a set up for something else and when push comes to shove, they’ll sacrifice this movie for that one.

IT’S A DAMN SHAME WHEN HOLLYWOOD BE WASTING A PERFECTLY GOOD WHITE BOY LIKE THIS

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Pt. 2 is down to number six, followed by Crazy, Stupid Love at number seven and I do still mean to see this, but I’ve been choosing sleep over most things recently.  Not to mention I’m a little burned out on Ryan Gosling who is, let’s face it, the Jon Cusack of his generation.  That one actor that smart girls and cheerleaders and bad girls all love equally.  He poses like a pseudo rebel while making mostly mainstream studio films and while smart and funny is borderline dickish.  Yes, he is the new Jon Cusack, except by this point Jon Cusack had Say Anything, The Sure Thing and even Better off Dead.  Gosling only has The Notebook and he should never stop apologizing for it.  Yeah, he’s got critically acclaimed work like The Believer and Half Nelson, but nothing you’re going to want to watch with your girlfriends during a sleepover.  Or ever.

COMING THIS FALL, TOPHER GRACE IN “WE’RE JUST BONING”

Friends With Benefits is down to number eight and clearly Natalie Portman wins this weird bet she had with Mila Kunis on the set of Black Swan.  Or maybe it was a bet made on the set of That 70’s Show between Kunis and Ashton Kutcher?  Either way it also slows down any assumptions that Mila Kunis or Justin Timberlake are stars.  Bad Teacher is now clearly the success of Cameron Diaz alone and he needs to get his ass back in the studio and make some music and stop taking roles from actual actors.  It’s fitting given how down Timberlake wants to be with Black people that he’s taking roles from actual actors they way Black musical stars take roles from actual Black actors.  This probably would have gone to some dude who usually plays a vampire if not for him.

EVERYBODY GETS CHEESE ON THEIR WHOPPER

Horrible Bosses is down to number nine and at $105M domestic this is an unqualified hit and everyone involved is happy.  Jennifer Anniston is happy because almost all her movies are shit.  Colin Farrell is happy because he’s  in the middle of a minor comeback.  Charlie Day and Jason Sudekis are happy because it begins their transition from TV to movie comedy stars as the guys you go to when Bradley Cooper and Zack Galifianakis are busy.  And Jason Bateman is happy because he’s in The Change Up and this will hopefully wash the stain of that away.

THOUGH THEY COULD HAVE CALLED IT TRANSFORMERS: MONEY

Finally, Transformers Dark of the Moon closes out the top ten at number ten and it took me forever to realize this was “Dark of the Moon” and not “Dark Side of The Moon” like the Pink Floyd album. I’m sure their lawyers made sure this piece of shit wouldn’t be connected to them in any way.

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