16 Oct

1. Real Steel/Disney                                    Wknd/$  16.3            Total/$   51.7

2. Footloose/Paramount                            Wknd/$  16.1             Total/$   16.1

3. The Thing/Universal                               Wknd/$    8.7            Total/$     8.7

4. The Ides of March/Sony                         Wknd/$    7.5            Total/$   22.2

5. Dolphin Tale/Warners                            Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$   58.7

6. Moneyball/Sony                                       Wknd/$    5.5            Total/$   57.7

7. 50/50/Summit                                          Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$   24.3

8. Courageous/TriStar                                 Wknd/$    3.4            Total/$   21.4

9. The Big Year/Fox                                      Wknd/$    3.3            Total/$     3.3

10. The Lion King 3D/Disney                      Wknd/$    2.7            Total/$  90.5


Real Steel holds at number one and given how tall, good-looking and charismatic Hugh Jackman is, it’s kinda sad how few hits he has.  Take away playing Wolverine and you’ve got what exactly?  Kate & Leopold? Somebody Like You? Swordfish? Van Helsing?  The Fountain?  Australia? Pretty much every one a big studio film with a big female star and a big disappointment.  And it’s not unusual. Most of Brad Pitt’s movies are flops. Same for George Clooney, Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, Gwyneth Paltrow.  Rare is the Tom Cruise, whose superstar status was built on actual returns.  But it’s clear all you need are a few well-placed wins.  So long as Wolverine makes money, Meg Ryan and Ashley Judd can’t hurt you.  Also, there’s what a former co-worker called “The F Factor.”  A large part of stardom is based mostly on how much the general public wants to fuck you, hence Lindsay Lohan’s continued presence in the spotlight.


Footloose opens at number two and I simply could not work up any motivation to see this once I learned they were using the exact. same. damn. songs. as the original.  I mean, what’s the point? That was current pop music in 1983.  Why not use the pop music of 2011?  Even the plot was timely, as banning current music and dancing was actually happening in small towns in the 80’s.  After learning that and seeing it was damn near a shot-for-shot remake of a film that wasn’t that good to begin with (though I remember it fondly) I had to take a pass.  Not to mention the shrinking of the cast.  I realize going with actual trained dancers this time around reduced your casting pool, but were there no male dancers who could feign acting over 5’6”?  In the original, I mocked how a town of kids who couldn’t dance suddenly bustin’ serious moves at the big dance, but now they’re not even pretending as the entire young population of the town break into a dance number any time, any place with a Madonna like precision.  And it’s “modern dancing” meaning a lot of bumping and grinding to the point where I actually understand why you’d prefer your 15-year-old not be doing that in her tiny, little denim cut-offs.  Speaking of whom, somewhere Miley Cyrus is either pissed because that girl is little more than a clone of her or laughing her ass off because they did ask her and she turned them down and it couldn’t break #1.


The Thing opens at number three and this is not officially a remake of the 1982 remake of The Thing, but a prequel. If you remember that film opened up with Norwegians trying to kill a dog—only to learn that “dog” was really an alien who decimated their group.  This answers the question that no one asked: how that happened.  Surprise! Surprise! It happened exactly the same way as it would to the Americans.  From the scientist figuring out what happened, to the dogs freaking out first, to everyone turning on one another.  Hell, there’s even a black guy.  Yes, in a Norwegian expedition. This is good for me because I didn’t care for the 1982 version. It was a bunch of special effects set pieces strung together with no real suspense in my opinion.  Add that to a movie so uninspired they’re simply Xeroxing another and what will undoubtedly be an overuse of CGI and you’ve got me at home catching up on my episodes of Nikita or watching the original from none other than Howard Hawks on AMC.  Laugh if you want to, but there was something genuinely creepy about James Arness as a blood-sucking carrot.


The Ides of March is down to number four and this was originally a play, so all that talk about plays being smarter than movies is clearly bullshit because the more I think about this damn movie, the dumber it gets.


Dolphin Tale is down to number five, followed by Moneyball at number six and I finally saw it and while not the most exciting film ever made that they took a book that’s essentially about applying statistics to building a baseball team and made interesting at all is amazing.  They do this by adding the story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) whose own initial scouting report made him seem like the second coming and when the Mets threw a bunch of money at him, he passed on full ride to Stanford only to crash and burn in the majors.  In this way, choosing numbers over the “instincts” of scouts validates his still lingering anger over the choices he’s made in life, though mercifully not beating us over the head with it. Pitt has never been a bad actor, but the problem is the cast is otherwise filled with character actors, the kind of grizzled professionals you’d expect to see working in baseball and he sticks out like a sore thumb he’s so pretty.  Granted, he is supposed to be unique as player turned General Manager, but not that unique.  Watching him walking alongside Jonah Hill is so visually funny sometimes you think they accidentally walked onto this movie from the set of a comedy.


50/50 is down to number seven, followed by Courageous at number eight and The Big Year opening at number nine, which is tad odd given it’s got three supposed comedy superstars in it: Luke Wilson, Jack Black and Steve Martin.  Like Moneyball, it’s based on a non-fiction book that most people would not find interesting: competitive bird-watching. Actually that sounds pretty funny to me and I could see it easily being the subject of a mock-u-mentary from someone like Christopher Guest with one of his grand comedy ensembles.  Well, it wasn’t clear to these guys so they went this direction and once again I’m right and they’re wrong.  The major studios should lift their restraining orders against me and take my advice.


Finally, that movie none of you seem capable of buying for me closes out the top ten at number ten. Fuckers.


My buddy, O.G. (Original Geek) was in town again this weekend attending the New York ComicCon.  He has a podcast where he interviews comic book talent for his own site called sidebarnation.com.  Now, I’ve never listened to it, nor have I been to the site, but as a friend of 30 years I’m freed from that as he’s free not to read this…and I know damn he doesn’t. Muthafucka.  I had no plans on going. I don’t like comic book conventions because like any good geek I hate myself.  Not to mention nothing kills your love of something like meeting other fans.  It was enough for me to see the geeks in the street, especially in costume.  Men bulging out of costumes not meant for people whose main diet is pizza and otherwise rational women essentially dressed like mega-sluts because 99% of all female science fiction and fantasy and comic book characters are only 10% covered (“But officer, I’m not a hooker. I’m Superman’s cousin from another dimension.” “Sure you are, honey. Get into the wagon with the rest of the Justice League.”).  Also the con blows because it has no good screenings. If Marvel is generating buzz for The Avengers then they should have run every single movie they control, which would be all the characters in it: Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk and Captain America. Not to mention their Avengers animated show. They didn’t. DC/Time Warner is trying to push a gigantic DVD set of the decade long run of Smallville. Perhaps a screening of the favorite episodes as chosen by fans? Nope.  O.G. told me the con is run by a company that does trade shows which are for professionals, but this is a gathering of hobbyists and should have a more communal feel.  Speed-dating for geeks isn’t enough. And you only wish I were kidding. I only hope someone filmed that so I can laugh at it on YouTube.   Though that would have been impossible in my day because we didn’t have girls, much less girls who know comics and are actually attractive. When I was young there were none and if there were they pretty much looked like geek dudes in drag. I asked O.G. to find some things for me I he could, but he came up short.  However, he left earlier than he planned and gave me his press pass in case I wanted to give it a shot. I initially refused, but given the only place I can find the Captain America t-shirt I wanted online was friggin’ Malta, I gave in…and was reminded of why I don’t go.  Even though Sunday is the slowest day there was still a crush of people but now the range of people seems relatively normal, all the costumes not withstanding.  Normal looking men and women and their kids all in attendance—though this only drives home the importance of having something more for them to do than listen to panels and buy shit.  I couldn’t find any of the three things I wanted (t-shirt, action figure, out-of-print book), but I did find two other things I’d always meant to get and I got them both for less than $20.  So I took my tiny victories and then got the hell out of dodge—as a group of people took pictures of a half-naked woman in white with giant wings in front of the Jacob Javitz Center.  Damn, I hate geeks.

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