THE JERK DANCER FROM THE DANCE

3 Nov

George_Clooney-0508

 1. Ender’s Game/LGF                                    Wknd/$  28.0        Total/$  28.0

 2. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                        Wknd/$  20.5         Total/$  62.1

 3. Last Vegas/CBS                                          Wknd/$  16.5         Total/$  16.5

 4. Free Birds/Relativity                                 Wknd/$  16.2         Total/$  16.2

 5. Gravity/Warners                                        Wknd/$  13.1          Total/$ 219.2

 6. Captain Phillips/Sony                               Wknd/$    8.5         Total/$  82.6

 7. 12 Years A Slave                                          Wknd/$    4.6       Total/$    8.8

 8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2     Wknd/$    4.2  Total/$106.2

 9. Carrie/SG                                                     Wknd/$    3.4        Total/$  32.0

10. The Counselor/Fox                                   Wknd/$    3.3        Total/$  13.4

 

HE’S A JERK AND HIS MOVIE LOOKS DULL

Ender’s Game opens at number one with a small amount of controversy. The author of the book it’s based upon, Orson Scott Card, is an anti-gay rights activist. He doesn’t just dislike homosexuals, he actively works to deny them rights. This separates him from your average jerk, because honestly if you wouldn’t go to see a film because a jerk was in it or wrote it or wrote the book it was based on you wouldn’t be able to see any movies, starting with George Clooney. Yeah, I know what you’re saying, “But he’s so perfect!”  Yeah, and he knows it. Self-satisfaction oozes from every pore of his body. Then there’s the little matter that, despite him having his choice of almost any woman in the world, he literally picks up 20-something cocktail waitresses.  That’s pretty jerky to me. And are we even going to pretend Madonna isn’t a total tool? Her marriage to Sean Penn probably didn’t last because they had daily jerk competitions.  But she’s a great pop star (I didn’t say musician) and he’s a great actor. The simple fact is you don’t have to be a nice person or even a decent human being to be good at your job. The question is can you separate the dancer from the dance as a consumer? In this case it’s actually the dancer once removed from the dance. The studio clearly doubts it as I’m sure they were doing damage control with all these little articles popping up last week pointing out that Card sees no profit from the film. He was paid once for the rights to this book and that was it. Clearly this was meant to make it okay for people who didn’t like his homophobia to see the film. There are only two problems with this: 1) if you see the film and like it you might buy the book so he makes money, and 2) if the film is successful the studio will buy the rights to those as well and he makes more money.  As for me, I learned long ago to separate the dancer from the dance (thanks for nothing, Woody Allen). I just didn’t like the way the film looked. “Kids in Space” is boring to begin with and the commercials and trailer basically show you him being special then winning. Where’s the hook?  That he’s going to win isn’t the question. That his journey to doing so looks fairly boring is. I mean, never thought Jaden Smith was going to die in After Earth, but I was fairly interested in him fighting for his life on a futuristic earth because he was shown to be a bit of screw up at first. And this was his test. Ender is special and gifted and then just proves it. Yawn.

 

NO MOVIE BUSINESS FOR OLD MEN

Bad Grandpa is down one notch to number two followed by Last Vegas opening at number three and let’s see what the jerk content is for this film.  Michael Douglas’ sex addiction is fairly well known not to mention the he openly casts younger women at his leading ladies and he blamed oral sex for his cancer.  Jerk.  Morgan Freeman was in a car accident, which revealed he was dating his step-granddaughter (top that, Woody Allen).  Creepy jerk.  However, none of these things had anything to do with me not seeing Last Vegas, which trotted out the trope of let’s laugh at those wacky old people.  “Old Hangover” was not on my list of plans this weekend and neither the trailer nor the commercial did anything to change that.  It doesn’t help that while we think of these actors as “older” we don’t think of them as “old men.”  It’s an irony that they look too good at their respective ages for this to really work.  What this needed was either more decrepit actors (like Cocoon) or younger straight men (and women) to not only offset their ages, but also play the straight man (and woman). Well that and actually be funny.

 

YES, I’D FRY UP BABE AND WILBUR IN A HEARTBEAT

Opening at number four, Free Birds kicks off the holiday movie season with the story of two turkeys that travel back in time to stop the turkey being the main dish of Thanksgiving. Yes, the plot of a children’s holiday film is to stop turkey genocide.  I’ll admit parts of the trailer did make me laugh, but the core of this film is very dark, because we know they have to fail and all the turkeys they meet in the past are going to die and be eaten.  It also gives personalities to the food we eat at the very time of year that we eat it!  Someone clearly didn’t think this through.  Needless to say I did and gave it a pass.   I’d say give me two turkeys on the run from being dinner and you might have had a film worth seeing, but honestly it’s problematic to ever connect funny cartoon animals with the actual place they occupy in our society as I’ll never choose them over a good meal.

 

MY SISTERS WOULD BE JUSTIFIABLY SUING ME

Gravity is down to number five and notice how I saw this despite thinking Clooney is a jerk. That’s how that works.  Also, Captain Phillips is down to number six and I, like most, think Tom Hanks is the nicest man in the world. Yet, I have not seen it. One has nothing to do with the other. But in a nice case of irony the real life crew thinks the real life Captain Phillips was a total jerk. So much so they’re suing him (if that’s a spoiler for you then you need to read more newspapers and see fewer movies). Yeah, it’s movie, guys. Not a documentary. And if we all sued jerks, we’d all in court on one side or the other.

 

BEST NAMED DIRECTOR IN THE WORLD

12 Years A Slave actually rises to number seven as its theater count increases and the Oscar race heats up.  I like every actor in it, yet I have not seen it. See? Dancer and Dance are separate. And yes, the director’s name is actually Steve McQueen.

 

BUT I’M GLAD THEY’RE ALL WORKING

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 is down to number eight and the voices for the film are Bill Hader, Ana Faris, James Caan, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Neil Patrick Harris, Terry Crews and Kristen Schaal.  All likable to me, yet I will never see this film. Dancer here, dance there.

 

BITE SIZED CANDY VS. CARRIE. ADVANTAGE BITE SIZED CANDY.

Carrie is down to number nine and you know people don’t want to see your horror film when you don’t make any money on Halloween.  This is the danger of remaking a film that’s too much at part of the culture. It’s impossible for Carrie to be scary because we know all that happens.  Even the shock ending of the first film is expected now.

 

BAD TASTE, WORST AFTERTASTE

Finally, The Counselor is down to number ten and as bad as I thought this film was a week ago, it’s even worse now. What makes it worse than say something like Transformers is that at least Transformers is trying to entertain you.  This is isn’t. This pretentious crap think it’s brilliant and is above such base concerns. This could have been some half decent film noir. People doing bad things that causes a bad result.  It even has the nerve to reference Body Heat! But rather than follow that excellent example, it wants you to take Cameron Diaz humping cars seriously.

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