18 Nov


1. Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2                       Wknd/$  141.3           Total/$  141.3

 2. Skyfall/Sony                                               Wknd/$   41.5            Total/$  161.3

 3. Lincoln/Touchstone                                  Wknd/$   21.0           Total/$   22.4

 4. Wreck-It-Ralph/Disney                            Wknd/$   18.3           Total/$  121.5

 5. Flight/Paramount                                      Wknd/$    8.6            Total/$   61.3

 6. Argo/Warners                                             Wknd/$    4.0            Total/$   92.0

 7. Taken 2/Fox                                                Wknd/$    2.1             Total/$  134.6

 8. Pitch Perfect/Universal                            Wknd/$    1.3             Total/$   62.0

 9. Here Comes The Boom/Sony                  Wknd/$    1.2             Total/$   41.0

10. Hotel Transylvania/Sony                        Wknd/$     .9                        Total/$ 140.9



You wondered who could defeat James Bond (besides an incompetent script)? Well wonder no more.  Teenage girls can and have done so thoroughly, allowing Twilight: Breaking Dawn 2 to make its freaking budget on the weekend opening alone.  I’ve never seen a single installment of this and don’t plan to start now.  Now the question is which cast member is going to bottom out and die first because they couldn’t make a career after this?



I also plan on never seeing Skyfall again, down to number two. Overall everyone was disappointed in Quantum of Silence, but in retrospect it wasn’t that bad (I picked it up this weekend along with Goldfinger and Thunderball on blu-ray). I  think stupidly bringing Mathis back just to die annoyed a lot of people including myself.  But the first two action sequences surpass anything you see in Skyfall.  Oh, and you know that secret organization that reached into the British government itself? The one that Vesper, LaChieffe, Mr. White and whoever the fuck that French dude was in Quantum worked for? Nowhere to be seen here.  Seriously, the more I think about Skyfall the angrier I get because there’s simply no reason for it to be this stupid.  And people who defend it with the “it’s just a Bond film” are proving my point for me.  Whenever anyone says “It’s just a” what they’re doing is making excuses for incompetence and this film is pretty damn incompetent.



Lincoln finally enters the top ten at number three and I just want you to know, Steven Spielberg, that I forgive you. No, not for the ending of Schindler’s List or you shoving Shia LeBeouf down the throat of America or that your name attached as Executive Producer gets a lot of really crappy TV on the air (Smash, The River, Terra Nova, Falling Skies, etc). No, I forgive you for slavery, so please stop letting your liberal guilt undermine otherwise compelling stories from America’s history.  While Lincoln is light years beyond his last effort, Amistad—which remains so laughably bad I can’t believe they released it—it is still occasionally undermined by white liberal guilt in the near beatific faces of black people before the president or painful expository moments where they essentially dress Lincoln down over the state of race in 19th century America.  I sincerely doubt either is historically accurate so these depictions just serve to pull you out of an otherwise a compelling film with Daniel Day Lewis sealing the deal on his 3rd Oscar and maybe a supporting nod for a roly-poly James Spader, who is has clearly made the transition into character actor now that his looks have gone.  The fight to ratify the 13th Amendment while bringing about the end of the Civil War is riveting drama and in that effect Spielberg doesn’t miss a step, despite the occasional maudlin moment when John Williams’ score which comes up to let you know Lincoln is saying something amazing because, like the expository Black people, Spielberg is convinced you’d be too dumb to know otherwise (his compulsion to talk down to the audience is another thing I’ll never forgive him for).  We know how this story ends it ends, but we still can’t take our eyes off the screen and it’s never slow or dull, even when dealing with the relationship between Abe and Mary Todd (Sally Field) who’s a little too self aware about being classified a crazy woman in the pages of history.  It’s at its best when Lincoln is shown as a practitioner of some real-ass politics, essentially buying votes with appointments in his administration (using lobbyists no less), bullying when he can’t and hiding peace negotiations with the Confederacy because of the very real fear no one would vote 13th Amendment to end slavery if they felt they could break the south without it.  There’s even an awesome monologue where he fully admits to making up the limits of his authority to do what he feels he needs doing for the good of the country. He’s also not above saying, “Do it because I’m the president and I said so” to either his Cabinet or his son. This is more than a tad chilling when more than once his behavior is referred to as that of a “tyrant” and that’s what John Wilkes Booth called him after he shot him. And yes, no film of Lincoln is complete without a trip to Ford’s Theater, which is honestly the third ending of this film by my count, but when it’s this good that’s a minor quibble.



Wreck It Ralph is down to number four and much more appealing than the perennially annoying Sarah Silverman are Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer.  Lynch voices the tough sergeant from a Halo-like game who, as we’re informed by another character, has “the most tragic backstory ever.” She’s chasing a monster from her game that’s gotten out because it will infect and destroy all the other games.  McBrayer is the good guy character in Wreck It Ralph’s own game, trying to get him back before their game is unplugged.  They make a great odd couple on the hunt for Ralph and basically what you’d expect if Sue Sylvester and Kenneth the Page ever crossed paths.  My only problem is how disturbingly attractive I found Lynch’s character to be.  There’s a reason every woman in every video game looks like that (tiny waist, big boobs, generous thighs) and that’s because it works.



Flight is down to number five and you know how I said Denzel Washington is a superstar because only his face was on the poster?  Well, you also know you’re a superstar when you have a hit movie that’s basically a drama about a pilot coming to grips with his alcoholism after a plane crash. Yeah, the commercials make it look like it’s more about some hero trying to prove his innocence, but Denzel is no hero in this movie.  He’s an alcoholic and an asshole and the only other people who like him are other addicts, including his best friend from high school, John Goodman (the MVP of all supporting actors) and a junkie whose overdose results in her meeting Denzel in the hospital (and who adds a needless 20 minutes to the movie with her backstory) and even she gets tired of him.  In fact he’s so consistently an asshole that even when we get the turnaround we’re expecting, it feels a tad false.  Given how consistently he lies and remains in denial that he finally turns around in a super-dramatic moment reeks of contrivance.  But honestly, I don’t expect subtlety from of all people, Robert Zemeckis.  But I will give him credit for somehow talking Nadine Vasquez into doing full frontal nudity in the first 30 seconds of the film.  It is truly glorious and reminds why a director first came up with the bullshit excuse of “It’s integral to the film that you show your pubic hair” to begin with.  Though I’m quite sure her agent was told, “When’s the next time she’s going to be in a film from an Oscar-winning director friend of Steven Spielberg with a two-time Oscar winning leading man? And it’s not like it’s a sex scene.  Tell her Eva Mendes is trying to clear her schedule. That should get those panties off.”  Needless to say, her character is dead 15 minutes later because that’s the kind of subtlety you get from Robert Zemeckis.



Argo is down to number six, followed by Taken 2 at number seven and Pitch Perfect at number eight and everyone involved is grateful for its improbable success.  Anna Kendrick to show she can carry a film on top of an Oscar nomination last year for Up In The Air; Rebel Wilson to continue her ascending comedic supporting star and Alexis Knapp who before this was best known as yet another model who forgets how to use birth control when she bones someone famous, getting knocked up by Ryan Philippe. Fine. Semi-famous.



Here Comes the Boom is still hanging around at number nine followed by Hotel Transylvania still hanging around at number ten making Kevin James the cinematic equivalent of a drug resistant STD as he’s in both.  Bigger family films can’t kill these two. Franchise blockbusters can’t kill them and neither can Oscar bait.



The glory that is TV never ends and new shows are popping up all the time.  The latest is Wedding Band on TBS, starring none other than Brian Austin Green, aka, that old guy who married Megan Fox.  It feels like more the premise of a movie than a TV show though.  Thirtysomething guy who wanted to be a rock star finds himself given rock tours of Seattle while fronting a wedding band with two of his best friends from high school and one actual successful studio musician.  Even the pilot episode about the ex-girlfriend who wanted him to play her wedding seems more like the turning point in a movie plot (she’s grown up; he hasn’t, she may also be getting cold feet) than a one off episode.  And honestly that they’re all pushing 40 rather than 30 takes away the comedy and adds some sadness.   It’s fine when there’s nothing else on and is a damn site better than Sullivan & Son, but nothing I need to set my DVR for.


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