DIRECTOR’S NAME BEFORE TITLE = EGO TRIP

26 Aug

AE

 1. Lee Daniel’s The Butler/Weinstein         Wknd/$  17.0            Total/$  52.3

 2. We’re The Millers/Warners                     Wknd/$  13.5            Total/$  91.7

 3. Mortal Instruments: COB/SG                 Wknd/$    9.3            Total/$  14.1

 4. The World’s End/Focus                            Wknd/$    8.9            Total/$    8.9

 5. Planes/Disney                                             Wknd/$    8.6            Total/$  59.6

 6. Elysium/TriStar                                          Wknd/$    7.1            Total/$  69.1

 7. You’re Next/LGF                                         Wknd/$    7.1            Total/$    7.1

 8. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters              Wknd/$    5.2            Total/$  48.3

 9. Blue Jasmine/SPC                                      Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$   14.8

10. Kick Ass 2/Universal                                 Wknd/$    4.3            Total/$   22.4

 

FINALLY ALFRED GOT HIS OWN MOVIE! NO? OH.

Lee Daniel’s The Butler holds at number one and I could barely muster interest in this when it was a mini-series on NBC called “Backstairs At The White House” back in the 20th Century, so it’s doubtful I’m going to pay to see it.  I know being Black I should support this but the road to hell is paved with good intentions and few things are more hellish to me than thought of sitting through this. I mean, the very fact it’s called “Lee Daniel’s The Butler” and not simply “The Butler” tells me what this movie is really all about.  Yes, I know. “Egomaniacal Director” is a redundancy, but some are more irksome than others (I’m looking at you, Oliver Stone).  Not to mention I’ll be damned if I see this before Fruitvale Station.

 

HE WHO LAUGHS LAST DIDN’T SEE THIS MOVIE

We’re The Millers is holding steady at number two just to spite me because I ripped on it for being so clearly a mediocre movie with no edge.  It’s reminding me sometimes this is exactly what people want, not to be challenged when they go out. Actually, it’s exactly what people usually want, which means Jason Sudekis’ ascendency to comic leading man may be something that’s happening right now, not just a nightmare you had after too much spicy food.  And like this movie, it really wasn’t that spicy. You’re just a wuss.

 

OF COURSE THE IRONY HERE IS COMIC BOOKS ARE DOING GREAT

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens at number three and is the latest attempt to cash in on the Harry Potter/Twilight/Hunger Games young adult bandwagon and the latest to fail.  What they fail to realize is that those movies based on YA books were all crossover hits, not just big fish in their little ponds. They were big fish in the actual ocean.  I never read Harry Potter or Twilight or The Hunger Games, but I knew about them long before they became films. I’d never heard of this before I saw the trailer and honestly it looked like all the others.  Young person discovers they’re actually something special when the dark forces come after them as portrayed by cast of some of the most aesthetically pleasing young actors not currently on a teen soap, older actors looking for a cushy paycheck.

 

NO, THE LOST WEEKEND DOESN’T COUNT

The World’s End opens at number four and this is the final part of the “Cornetto Trilogy” that began with Shaun of the Dead and continued with Hot Fuzz from writer/director Edgar Wright and star/writer Simon Pegg.  I never saw the first, was underwhelmed by the second, so I took a pass on the third. Besides, the idea that it centers around a kind of 90’s reunion just reminds me how long ago they were and how old I am. Though I do believe there simply are not enough movies about pub crawls. Seriously. How can such a major part of our lives be so underrepresented in film?

 

NOT TO MENTION YOU-KNOW-WHO IS MENTIONED

Planes is down to number five and the closest this gets to wit are Anthony Edwards and Val Kilmer as jets. Then they blow it by not calling them Iceman and Goose.

 

GUESS WHAT? NO IN SPANISH IS STILL NO. SAME IN SPACE.

Elysium is down to number six and where once Matt Damon was the more successful member of the pair, while Ben Affleck stumbled, Affleck is now soaring and this is underperforming, only having made $139M worldwide from a $115 budget.  Seems even as a metaphor no one really cares about immigrants.

 

SINCE YOU’RE GONNA KILL EVERYONE DOES IT MATTER IF THEY SEE YOU?

You’re Next opens at number seven and you know what?  Points for correct spelling because I’d love to get everyone who uses “your” instead of “you’re” and vice-versa in a house and stab them to death while wearing an animal mask.  And can we call a moratorium on that?  Is there a serial killer’s discount, which is why everyone turns up in a bunny mask to kill you? Granted, it’s a creepy as hell, which is the point, but anything cute becomes sufficiently creepy due to the juxtaposition. A mask with a baby’s face would be terrifying. But if you use it you have to pay me.

 

THIS IS THE PART WHERE I JUST COMPLAIN AND COMPLAIN

Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters is down to number eight followed by Blue Jasmine entering the top ten at number nine and this has gotten some decent reviews from people who are surprised to see that Woody Allen as basically remade A Streetcar Named Desire with Cate Blanchett as basically Blanche DuBois. Well, good for him, but I’m not a Streetcar fan and I don’t see it getting better with Woody Allen’s tics replacing the sweaty southern gothic of Tennessee Williams. Not to mention, no Brando but Bobby Cannavale? Pass. Besides the Woodman tries much too hard when he makes dramas, depriving them of all humor and that’s simply not an accurate representation of life. That’s Bergman and nobody wants to see Bergman.

 

YOU KNOW, KIND OF LIKE HEATHERS WITH GUNS

Finally, Kick Ass 2 closes the top ten at number ten and who asked for this is the question on everyone’s lips as it tanks.  I saw the first one out of a kind of twisted comic book loyalty even though I’d never read the book.  I was less-than-impressed with the film and gave the sequel a pass…like everyone else apparently. When the best part of your film is a homicidal 12-year-old girl with a foul mouth, you’ve got a problem. Honestly, if they’d made this totally about Hit Girl and her psychosis unleashed on high school, I might have seen it but they didn’t, so neither did I.

 

MIGHT AS WELL BE MARS

Not in the top ten is 20 Feet From Stardom the awesome documentary about background singers in the rock era, most notably the greatest of them, Darlene Love, who was technically a very successful lead singer though others took credit thanks to the monster that is Phil Spector. #2 is easily Merry Clayton who stole what is arguably the best Rolling Stones song, “Gimme Shelter” and as the movie tells us, did it pregnant, in curlers and her pj’s.  Also, the way she tells it, she was at the peak of her powers and easy and smooth like a seasoned gunfighter, planned to crush her epic “rape, murder/it’s just a shot away” and did.  They do us the consummate favor of playing her track without the accompanying music. She’s as proud of it now as she was then and Mick Jagger is as impressed with it now as he was then. Also testifying to the importance of their back up singers are Bruce Springsteen (who spells out in the first two minutes what distinguishes a background singer from a lead: “ego and narcissism”), Stevie Wonder, Bette Midler, Sting, former background singer Sheryl Crowe and appearances from another background singer, Luther Vandross, who can be heard all over David Bowie’s Young American’s album (my favorite bit of trivia).  Luther, Sting and Chris Botti figure very much into the story of Lisa Fischer who is not only unique in her talent (even the great ones can’t compare to her skills) but also in her attitude. She’s has no interest in being in front. Yes, she has a Grammy for her one foray into it, but lacks the characteristics mentioned by Springsteen and is content just wowing the hell out of people as the most talented vocalist they’ve ever heard. Only Darlene Love was truly denied the stardom she deserved and earned due to the evil that was Phil Spector (which could be a documentary on its own).  The others tried, failed were dismayed and gave up, either returning to the background or leaving the business entirely, depressed and broken.  This is when ego and narcissism are needed and they didn’t have them to help make it through. Also featured and yet to be broken is Judith Hill, who was Michael Jackson’s background singer of choice (mainly because she sounded like him).  We see her speak of turning down work to concentrate on her solo career yet in the same voice, turn around and do background work for Kylie Minogue because bills have to be paid and we see the potential seed of why she may never make it. A scene between her and Sheryl Crowe as Michael Jackson background singers past and present would have been priceless and it seems odd the producers didn’t make it happen.  Also noticeably missing in my opinion is Madonna’s longtime background singer, Niki Harris, but I’m sure Madge told her not to. Trivia: Madonna herself was briefly a background singer as was Mariah Carey.

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