THE BETTER MAN

17 Nov

600full-victoria-smurfit

 1. Thor: The Dark World/BV                        Wknd/$  86.1            Total/$  86.1

 2. The Best Man Holiday/Universal            Wknd/$  30.6            Total/$  30.6

 3. Last Vegas/CBS                                           Wknd/$    8.9            Total/$  47.0

 4. Free Birds/Relativity                                  Wknd/$    8.3            Total/$  42.2

 5. Bad Grandpa/Paramount                          Wknd/$    7.7             Total/$  78.7

 6. Gravity/Warners                                         Wknd/$    6.3            Total/$ 240.6

 7. Ender’s Game/LGF                                     Wknd/$    6.2            Total/$  53.8

 8. 12 Years A Slave                                           Wknd/$    4.7            Total/$   24.9

 9. Captain Phillips/Sony                                 Wknd/$    4.5            Total/$  97.6

10. About Time/Universal                              Wknd/$    3.5            Total/$   11.6

 

HOW THE (IRON) MAN TAKES YOUR MONEY

Thor: The Dark World holds at number one and there’s an odd absence of SHIELD in this movie given how they were set up as the “connective tissue” between all the films, starting with Iron Man.  Originally I thought it was simply a plothole, but once I learned there was going to be a tie-in episode with the lackluster Agents of SHIELD show I realized it was probably a deliberate act, much in the way comic books will have “off-camera” developments that you’ll have to buy to get the complete story. Want to know how Cap is now fighting alongside Iron Man in New York when we last saw Cap was in Washington DC? Well, pick up the latest issue of Captain America to get the whole story.  And when they’re really, really having you grabbing your ankles financially, half the story will be in Captain America, half will be in Iron Man and the main story will be in The Avengers.  But hey, when you’re not spending money on dating, nice clothes and gym memberships, it doesn’t matter.

 

CAN YOU STAND THE RAIN…OF MONEY

The Best Man Holiday opens at number two and if you’re surprised this did so well (made almost double its budget on the first weekend) you either don’t remember the first Best Man opened at number one or you have movies where the lead actor looks like you and isn’t a slave for 12 years or a butler for 40.  Yeah, I said it!  Real talk!  Not every one has gods or astronauts.  And don’t think this movie isn’t aware of it. The opening credits are a mixture of scenes from the first film and a “where-are-they-now” montage of success. Every single one of them is madly successful and you never realize how much you miss something until it’s pointed out to you.  But all that glitters is not gold as our first scene is learning that Taye Diggs has lost his teaching position at NYU and his agent is telling him his latest book blows. Not to mention hospital bills have been piling up as he and his now-wife (remember he proposed at the end of the first film) are expecting a baby in less than a month.  Harold Perrineau, who played the somewhat meek character who dumped his domineering girlfriend for a well-read stripper, is facing the downside of that decision as her past is catching up them (they’re married with kids) and their progressive school which needs money from conservative donors.  There’s also something up with football star Morris Chestnut and his wife whose relationship with Taye Diggs was the heart of the story of the first film (I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s pretty obvious).  Terrence Howard is also back as the trouble-stirring “Q” who has lost some of the angry darkness from the first film, but his hysterical bluntness is the source of much of the film’s humor. They all gather for holidays at the mansion of Morris Chestnut and the laugher and tears ensue.  Writer/director Malcolm Lee (yes, cousin of Spike) doesn’t break any new ground but he knows how to use the old stories well enough that he doesn’t have to. They’re tropes and clichés for a reason.  Because when done right they never stop working and they’re working here.  Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau and Morris Chestnut are all keeping secrets. Think they’re going to come out at the worst possible time to maximum drama? Of course they are! That’s what you’re paying for! If they acted like intelligent, rational people, this movie would be very boring and about 30 minutes. One thing I will give him credit for is sticking to the “R” rating. This movie could very easily be PG-13 (which you’d think would be required for a holiday film), but would have felt a little less honest.

 

HELEN MIRREN NEVER STOPS BEING HOT. I’M JUST SAYIN’…

Last Vegas actually rises to number three and speaking of seeing yourself onscreen, think maybe this is the reason this AARP film has staying power?  A movie your mom and dad might want to see because they see themselves onscreen as leads, rather than as parents and grandparents of the main characters?  Of course if that’s the reason maybe they should have worked a little harder to cast women the same age as the men.  Real talk all day!

 

HE’S FOUND HIS LEVEL AND HE’S LIVING IT

Free Birds is down to number four, followed by Bad Grandpa at number five and who is more grateful for this than Johnny Knoxville who plays the “bad grandpa?”  His attempt at actually leading comedic man status pretty much died with the anemic Dukes of Hazzard film.  I loved the Dukes of Hazzard, but couldn’t stomach more than a few moments of that horrible movie. His second banana roles didn’t work out either as The Last Stand and Walking Tall showed. But he rules in hell, as he’s also a writer and producer here, so I think his days of trying to make it in heaven are done.

 

YOU CAN’T BUY YOUR CHILD BRIDE WIFE A PORSCHE ON ACCLAIM

Gravity holds at number six, followed by Ender’s Game at seven and also in this is Sir Ben Kingsley who could care less as he’s now part of the Marvel money machine, thanks to his appearance in Iron Man 3 as the not-quite-what-he-seems Mandarin.  He’s confirmed he’ll be returning though not in what role. Not that it matters or if he even cares.  I can promise you his manager and accountant do not.

 

YES, I’M A BAD MOVIE-GOING BOYFRIEND

12 Years a Slave is down to number eight, followed by Captain Phillips at number nine and About Time at number ten and it hurts me to see Rachel McAdams have yet another disappointment, even though I know I’m partially responsible, not having seen a single one of her last four films. But given that her formula seems to be to do projects she likes (aka artsy indie films) than go do a horrible yet insanely profitable Nicholas Sparks movie, she seems to have a formula that works for her. Unfortunately it doesn’t work for me, as I’ve no interest in the little films she chooses (Brian DePalma remaking a French film sounds like a recipe for disappointment) and sure as hell won’t see anything based on a Nicholas Sparks scribbling. Luckily for me she’s going to be in an upcoming Cameron Crowe film. Now that’s what daddy likes.

NOT OVER YET

So I finally watched the new Dracula—or as I call it “Short Sexy Dracula”—and to say they take liberties with the story is to say they even made it. Every version of Dracula takes liberties, but that Dracula and Van Helsing are allies against a secret order is very new.  Unfortunately it’s not all that interesting.  Nor is Dracula’s cover as an American industrialist.  And just because Renfield is black and no longer a weird toady servant doesn’t instantly make him more intriguing either. Not to mention I’m just not buying a short Dracula, I don’t care how sexy he is.  Stature matters when you’re supposed to be intimidating.  Sorry, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.  When the most interesting character wasn’t even part of the original story (Jonathan Harker, Mina and Lucy are all here), you’ve got a problem.  I’d much rather see the cleavage-heavy, knife-wielding, vampire-hunting blonde (played by Victoria Smurfit and yes, that’s her real name) who loves having sex with Dracula (pretty sure Bram Stoker’s novel never had Dracula finger-fuck someone in an opera box) even when she knows he’s her enemy than anyone.  She alone possesses the one factor this show is otherwise lacking: fun.

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