6 Jan


1. Texas Chainsaw 3D/LGF                        Wknd/$  23.0           Total/$   23.0

2. Django Unchained/Weinstein             Wknd/$  20.1            Total/$ 106.4

3. The Hobbit/WB                                       Wknd/$  17.5            Total/$ 263.8

4. Les Miserables/Universal                      Wknd/$  16.1            Total/$ 103.6

5. Parental Guidance/Fox                          Wknd/$  10.1            Total/$   52.8

6. Jack Reacher/Paramount                      Wknd/$   9.3            Total/$   64.8

7. This Is 40/Universal                               Wknd/$   8.6            Total/$   54.5

8. Lincoln/Touchstone                               Wknd/$    5.3            Total/$  143.9

9. The Guilt Trip/Paramount                    Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$    31.2

10.Promised Land/Focus                            Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$     4.6


Texas Chainsaw 3D opens at number one and while January and August are traditionally the dumping ground for films the studios are contractually obligated to release, this could have been released at any time and probably would have done as well. This franchise is 40 years old and sadly shows no signs of stopping, though 3D is always a sign that they’re pretty much out of ideas…not that they really had any beyond, “This guy with a chainsaw slaughters a bunch of people.” But apparently that’s all they need.


Django Unchained holds at number two and now that I’ve finally seen it my reaction is…what’s the big deal?  Clearly the people getting upset over it (i.e., Spike Lee) are unaware of a period known as “the 70’s” which this is a clear homage to like many of Tarantino’s films (this along with Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds could honestly be seen as a homage trilogy of 70’s exploitation flicks, with Django and Inglorious Basterds having been actual films).  This is positively enlightened compared to films like Mandingo and Drum.  Spike Lee’s problem is Tarantino’s seeming love affair with the “N word” which is legitimate as Tarantino he is one of those people who wants the ultimate “cool pass” of being able to say it with impunity to show “he’s down.”  Tarantino has made claim in interviews how he should be able to say it as he’s been down like a black man understands what it’s like which is an utterly ridiculous and offensive statement.  I don’t care how much Samuel L. Jackson likes you.  However, either by accident or design Tarantino has finally made a film wherein the use of the word is entirely appropriate and its absence would honestly be ridiculous so Lee’s grandstanding sense of propriety is out of place.  If Abraham Lincoln himself is on record for using it, what exactly do you think the men who ran plantations used?  It’s like being offended by a film wherein Nazis referred to Jews in derogatory language while herding them into the gas chambers.  A sadistic plantation overseer isn’t going to refer to a slave as “African American” while he sets dogs on him (which does happen in this film).  That said, it’s not much more than a straight up exploitation flick  though better written and with a sense of humor that the originals were sorely lacking.  The scene where a mob gathers to go after Django could have been dropped into Blazing Saddles without changing a word.  There is no higher praise.  And Christopher Waltz continues to single-handedly justify Tarantino’s existence, once again utterly stealing one of his films on charm alone.


The Hobbit is down to number three, followed by Les Miserables at number four and also in this is Amanda Seyfried, who is basically making her way through long running Broadway musicals, the first being Mama Mia.  You know she’s regretting her star didn’t ascend before they made Phantom of the Opera and Chicago.  You know the producers of the former are definitely regretting it.  They only had Emily Rossum as the female lead.  They also had Gerald Butler but it was before anyone gave a crap about him. Oh, and they let Joel Schumacher direct.  So yeah, they’ve got a lot of regrets.


Parental Guidance is down to number four and from the looks of the commercials and the trailers you wouldn’t guess that the kids in the film have two parents, but the dad is played by Tom “wasn’t he supposed to be a star” Everett and so is beneath notice or even simple acknowledgement.  It’s quite a fall from when he was handpicked by Tom Hanks to basically play a young Tom Hanks in the underrated That Thing You Do. It tanked and not even being in a movie produced and starring Spielberg’s wife could save him (Kate Capshaw in The Love Letter).  He was perfect for almost every “nice young guy” role he played but none of them took and now he’s aged out of them into thankless dad roles.


Jack Reacher is down to number five and also in this is Alexia Fast. Don’t worry, you’re not supposed to know her and honestly the only thing really notable about her role as the doomed, dumb girl is that she’s practically a clone of Jessica Alba who is now a mother twice over and apparently out of the “young hottie” business and roles like these.  It’s a tad disturbing that they’re got someone to fill her exact slot if needed.  Just like that blonde girl songwriter on Nashville looks just like a young Kirsten Dunst.  Of course what I want is for people like this to play siblings instead trying to convince me Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette are related.


This Is 40 is down to number six and also in this is Megan Fox and if you think Judd Apatow has gotten any better in regards to women just because he’s executive producing the TV show “girls” know that she’s playing a literal whore here.  I mean what else could she be?  She’s young, hot and utterly out of reach of guys like Apatow so of  course she has to play a prostitute.  I suppose we should be grateful she’s not predatory and out to take Paul Rudd from Leslie Mann. But that could never happen as Paul Rudd is an actually attractive man in an Apatow film…which is why she ends up with Jason Segel as the most unlikely physical trainer ever to walk the earth. Pretty sure trainers are supposed to be in shape.


Lincoln is down to number seven and also in this is Walton Goggins, who is best known for playing Boyd Crowder on Justified.  He’s also in Django Unchained, which is a nice bookend in regards to films concerning slavery. Here, he’s a congressman whose vote is sought out to abolish slavery.  In Django Unchained…it’s a tad different.  Seriously different.  Still, he’s got two films in the top ten with two of Hollywood’s biggest directors. Drinks are on him!


Finally, The Promised Land enters the top ten at number ten and this reunites Matt Damon and director Gus Van Sant, complete with Damon and his co-star (in this case John Krasinski) having their fingerprints on the script.  It’s deadly serious about big business energy concerns in small town America.  In other words, I’ll be seeing Hansel & Gretel before I see this.

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