ROCK ‘EM, SOCK ‘EM ROBOTS

11 Oct

 

1. Real Steel/Disney                                    Wknd/$  27.3            Total/$  27.3

 2. The Ides of March/Sony                        Wknd/$  10.4            Total/$  10.4

 3. Dolphin Tale/Warners                           Wknd/$    9.2            Total/$  49.1

 4. Moneyball/Sony                                      Wknd/$    7.5            Total/$  49.3

 5. 50/50/Summit                                         Wknd/$    5.5            Total/$   17.3

 6. Courageous/TriStar                                 Wknd/$    4.6            Total/$   15.9

 7. The Lion King 3D/Disney                       Wknd/$    4.6            Total/$  86.0

 8. Dream House/Universal                         Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$   14.5

 9. What’s Your Number?                              Wknd/$    3.1            Total/$   10.3

10. Abduction/Lions Gate                             Wknd/$    2.9           Total/$   23.4

 

HOW CAN YOU BOND WITH THAT OTHER PARENT GETTING IN THE WAY?

Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots, er, Real Steel opens at number one and this is actually based on a short story by Richard Matheson called “Steel” which was used as an episode of the Twilight Zone way back, so its origins aren’t nearly as bereft of genuine inspiration as one might think.  That said, this is a Disney movie from Steven Spielberg (executive producer) and that pretty much says it all. It has lots of fun special effects and a heart-warming family center where mom is dead.  Seriously, the Disney thing about dead mothers never stops being creepy. In this case as a former boxer with poor impulse control, Hugh Jackman cuts a bargain with the husband of the sister of his now-deceased girlfriend that he’ll take the boy for the summer in exchange for $100K so he can buy a new fighting robot.  Needless to say, the boy is actually excited to be part of the world of robot boxing and unlike his father, does have some degree of vision and impulse control, so when they find an old sparring robot and put it into the ring, success soon follows to the inevitable showdown with the champion.  The only cliché left untouched here is the one Hugh Jackman where almost destroys their chances by reverting to his old ways just once more and honestly I can’t say that I miss it.  It’s not a bad movie, but certainly not an ambitious one either.  You can’t help but wonder if they’d just set their sights a bit higher they might have had an exceptional science fiction fantasy family film instead of just an pleasant one.  In retrospect it’s amazing that Hugh Jackman is allowed to be such an unrepentant asshole for the first third of the movie.  Or that at the core of the film is the blasé acceptance that the reason there is robot boxing is because the human need to see violence exceeded what they could get from humans without them becoming actual death matches. But don’t most Disney films have a really dark center when you think about it?

 

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MORONS

The Ides of March opens at number two and this is supposed to be a political suspense thriller but it stumbles because for it to work the characters we’re supposed to accept as being smart and savvy have to do very dumb and naïve things.  Ryan Gosling is supposed to be a brilliant whiz kid who is Number 2 in running George Clooney’s campaign for president, yet everything is set in motion when he does something utterly stupid and follows it with something else stupid and even when he does something smart, he does something utterly stupid right afterwards, because if he does what a smart, seasoned political person would do, you’d have no movie.  At one point they actually have Paul Giamatti give us an entire monologue about how smart and skillful Ryan Gosling is—as Ryan Gosling is doing something utterly stupid.  And it doesn’t stop there.  Evan Rachel Wood is the daughter of the Democratic National Committee Chairman but acts like she just got off the farm with her behavior because again, if she’s as smart as she’s supposed to be, you’d have no movie. If you can get past that, it’s a movie filled with nice performances from pretty much everyone involved, especially seasoned vets like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei and Jeffery Wright.

 

BUT NOTHING’S PRETTIER THAN AN OSCAR, PHIL!

Dolphin Tale is down to number three, followed by Moneyball at number four which gives Phillip Seymour Hoffman two films in the top ten where the lead is a less-talented pretty boy.

 

SUNDAY MONDAY, HAPPY DAYS/TUESDAY WEDNESDAY HAPPY DAYS…

50/50 actually holds at number five and also in this is Bryce Dallas Howard and you know you’re old when you’re not only on your second generation of a Hollywood family (her father is Ron Howard, so yeah, ginger bred ginger), but you actually remember when the first generation was young.

 

JUST CAN’T WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO BUY THIS FOR MEEEEE!

Courageous is down to number six, followed by The Lion King 3D at number seven, dropping like you knew it would after the DVD came out—not that you fuckers bought me a copy.

 

OH, IT’S OKAY TO STEAL JOBS SO LONG AS YOU’RE PRETTY?

Dream House is down to number seven and also in this with Daniel Craig are Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz stealing jobs from American workers as neither of them is playing British or Australian.  I can understand why Naomi Watts isn’t because that would just be odd in a small New England town, but why is Daniel Craig playing a Brit, but Rachel Weisz as his wife (they move there from NYC), is not? Did they flip a coin and loser is the American?

 

PERSONALLY I BLAME THAT HORRIBLE SPIKE LEE MOVIE

What’s Your Number is down to number nine and also in this is Anthony Mackie who is also in Real Steel giving him two films in the top ten this week as well. Remember when he was the “Hot New Young Black Actor” of the moment? I’m sure he does too.  That was before everyone found out he was only like 5’6”.

Also, judging by his film roles, he does lean towards the smaller, indie stuff.  I can only assume he’s here for this because he had car payment due and wanted to give a finger to the gay rumors by playing closeted gay guy.

 

THE END

And again, Contagion closes out the top ten.

 

BOOKS ARE FOR LOSERS

The Fall TV roll out continues and this week it was An American Horror Story.  Now, you know normally I don’t do the scary, but I’m trying to watch everything and I do like looking at Connie Britton. I mean, never enough to watch Friday Night Lights, but enough for one episode of this.  For me it suffers from the basic flaw in all horror movies: stupid people doing stupid things.  Now, I’ll give you not believing in ghosts, especially when Dylan McDermott is a psychiatrist, but when weird shit begins happening in the house where the last residents committed suicide and you’ve got Jessica Lange chewing scenery as the weirdest neighbor and a previous resident tells you he murdered his wife and children because the house told him and you still choose to stay?  No, this is just too dumb for me to watch.  The big moment of contrived stupidity was the creepy housekeeper who appears young and beautiful to him, but old to his wife. One normal exchange about her would have revealed they were seeing two different people, but it never happens because then your show would be over…But I must issue a “mea culpa” for Terra Nova, because I actually forgot I didn’t see the whole thing (a clear indicator of just how memorable the show as a whole is). I lost a half-hour in the middle and that’s apparently when they do discuss the idea that they’ve gone into an alternative timeline.  This just pisses me off for all new reasons, the primary being that an entire generation of mainstream science fiction entertainment is being dictated by the crappy Star Trek: The Next Generation in that all time travel means the creation of an alternate timeline. It’s science-fucking-fiction. The “fiction” meaning the “science” does whatever the fuck you want it to…also a mea culpa for Hart of Dixie, which is every bit as ridiculous a I said with the bad accents, story situations and sheer implausibility, but it still charmed the shit out of me, which is twice the shame being that I was born in Alabama…Two Broke Girls has fallen out of favor with me thanks to declining laughs and a nonstop barrage of casual racism that I’m supposed to find funny, not the least of which is the heavily accented Asian owner of the diner.  Then again, it is about young white hipsters who believe Brooklyn belongs to them, so maybe they’re just keeping it real.  Just as well. The DVR is already full even though this year I’ve also dropped House (no Lisa Edelstein in push-up bras and fuck me pumps? I’m gone), Glee (just wore out its welcome too quickly with too much preaching) and yes, Gossip Girl (it was pretty much over the second they left high school, but I actually liked the closest thing they had to brown in the cast and now she’s gone).

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