BABY, YOU CAN’T DRIVE MY CAR

18 Sep

 

1. The Lion King 3D/Disney                        Wknd/$  29.3            Total/$  29.3

 2. Contagion/Warner                                    Wknd/$  14.5            Total/$  44.2

 3. Drive/Film District                                    Wknd/$  11.0            Total/$   11.0

 4. The Help/Touchstone                               Wknd/$    6.4            Total/$147.4

 5. Straw Dogs/Screen Gems                         Wknd/$    5.0            Total/$    5.0

 6. I Don’t Know How She Does It                Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$    4.5

 7. The Debt/Focus                                           Wknd/$    2.9            Total/$  26.5

 8. Warrior/Lions                                             Wknd/$    2.8            Total/$    9.9

 9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes/Fox          Wknd/$    2.6            Total/$171.6

10. Colombiana/TriStar                                  Wknd/$    2.3            Total/$  33.3

 

CAN YOU COUNT THE CASH TONIGHT?

The Lion King 3D opens at number one and this is actually somewhat good news for anyone who likes hand drawn 2D animation.  Clearly people still like it.  Granted it’s one of the biggest hits Disney ever had and still makes millions every year in its Broadway incarnation and there are zero other children’s films currently in release (yeah, when I say “zero” I’m fully aware of Spy Kids) but it’s not CGI and people still went.  Unfortunately it also a musical and I personally think it’s the lack of music that aids the success of the Pixar films and its presence help ruin The Princess & The Frog which was simply too slight to bear its leaden weight.

 

DRIVE, FRANCOIS SAID

Contagion is down to number two followed by Drive at number three and if you took out all the slow-motion and long….dramatic….pausing…this movie would be about twenty minutes long.  Seriously.  They’re calling it “European” but what it is is pretentious.  This is more style than substance. It’s a noir that knows its noir.  The only way it could be moreso would be if Ryan Gosling’s dead body was narrating it.  At times it borders on parody taking itself so seriously, especially when late into the film Gosling is walking around with a white jacket covered in blood and no one notices.  It’s also one of those films where cops don’t really exist except when needed to facilitate the plot despite the bodies being left all over the place. When I first heard about this I thought it was a remake of the Ryan O’Neal movie, The Driver, which was also about an unnamed (the other self-conscious touch, the unnamed protagonist) wheelman in LA.  It’s a nice little movie, self-conscious noir in its own right, but that was 2nd generation American (none other than the man who brought you The Warriors, Walter Hill) as opposed to 4th generation European which is a little too precious for its own good.  Keep trying, Ryan. Maybe one day you’ll have a film whose success is commensurate with your current level of fame.

 

YES, SHE WAS ONCE THE TALLEST MIDGET

The Help is down to number four and the call went out indicating a need for an older black actress in a period story about the oppression of black people in America and of course, Cicely Tyson answered.  You kids wouldn’t know this but Cicely Tyson was once the #1 black actress in America.  She was simultaneously Halle Berry and Angela Bassett, being a former model and having serious dramatic chops.  If you wonder why she’s not bigger, know that like Angela Bassett there are certain roles she just won’t play.  She will only play positive black women.  That’s all well and good from a social movement perspective (and she was smack dab in the middle of the Civil Right movement) but it’s not good, for your art, nor your success as some of the biggest stars have found their fame, fortune and best performance in the darkest places.  Not to mention she’s in a movie like this which is hardly uplifting the race.

 

SHE MUST BE DESPERATE. HE’S ONLY AN “8”

Straw Dogs opens at number five and I have to question so much about this film, from why redo it to the casting. In the original, Dustin Hoffman was a mathematician so you can see why anyone and everyone would question why he’d get the town hottie.  Now it’s the severely cheekboned James Marsden and he’s a writer.  A screenwriter no less!  It makes perfect sense why she’d be with him.  Hell on a good day he’s probably prettier than Kate Bosworth.  She basically chose 6’1” and hot over 6’3” and hot.  And Sam Peckinpah was a master of using violence to tell a story, especially one where someone how literally solves problems with his mind is faced with ugly brute force.  Rod Lurie, not so much.

 

SUDDENLY SEX & THE CITY 3 BECOMES MORE AND MORE LIKELY

I loves me some Sarah Jessica Parker, but I Don’t Know How She Does It looks simply awful and not even its short running time could get me to take a chance.  Clearly others felt the same was as it opens at number six.  Or maybe people just don’t want to see their favorite single girl as a harried married.  From what I understand about the book the character she’s playing was much snarkier and there’s clearly none of that going on here. Too bad. If you’ve ever seen Till There Was You, you’ll know that SJP can do bitchy very, very well.  She should embrace her dark side a little more on film.

 

SO WHEN THEY REMAKE MAJOR LEAGUE…

The Debt is down to number seven, followed by Warrior at number eight and how is Nick Nolte playing the father to two guys who look like Tom Berenger and are seemingly doing impressions of Tom Berenger?  Seriously.  What’s Tom doing these days that he couldn’t have done this?  At least you know he’s sane.

 

NOW, TIME FOR THAT CRAPPY SUSPENSE THRILLER

Rise of the Planet of the Apes is down to number nine and now James Franco has the hits to back up his fame. He’s had the Oscar nominated art film hit and now he’s got the big, dumb special effects hit. See, Ryan Gosling!?!  Just hang in there and this will be you too one day.

 

HEY, SOMEBODY’S GOT TO BE “THE GIRL”

Finally, Colombiana closes out the top ten and Michael Vartan is one of those guys whose job it is to support much stronger leading women. Not that you need to be that strong to be stronger than Michael Vartan.  He is, after all, French and pretty.  He was the mancandy for Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, Jennifer Garner’s boytoy in Alias, the victim of both Jane Fonda and Jennifer Lopez in Monster-In-Law; currently Jada Pinkett Smith’s bitch on Hawthorne and Zoe Saldana’s dalliance here.

 

FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON

Death finally came for Cliff Robertson and I don’t mean to sound flippant, but he looked painfully fragile in Spider-Man and that as almost ten years ago.  But my real geek connection is that he played “Shame” on the old Batman TV series years ago.  Though technically Charly, the film he won an Oscar for is also science fiction.

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