SLEEPING ON THE SCREENPLAY

2 Jun

Carla Gallo as Lizzie on UNDECLARED on FOX.  ª©2001FOX BROADCASTING  CR:FOX

1. Maleficent/Disney                                         Wknd/$ 70.0      Total/$ 70.0
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past/Fox              Wknd/$ 32.6       Total/$ 162.1
3. A Million Ways To Die in the West           Wknd/$ 17.1        Total/$ 17.1
4.Godzilla/Warner                                            Wknd/$ 12.2       Total/$ 174.7
5. Blended/Warner                                           Wknd/$ 8.4         Total/$ 29.6
6. Neighbors/Universal                                   Wknd/$ 7.7          Total/$ 128.6
7. The Amazing Spider-Man 2/Sony             Wknd/$ 3.8         Total/$ 192.7
8. Million Dollar Arm/Disney                        Wknd/$ 3.8         Total/$ 28.1
9. Chef/ORF                                                       Wknd/$ 2.0         Total/$ 6.9
10. The Other Woman/Fox                             Wknd/$ 1.4          Total/$ 81.1

YOU WON’T NEED A SPELL TO SLEEP FOR THIS ONE
Maleficent opens at number one and it takes a special talent (or lack thereof) to waste Angelina Jolie, a classic Disney character and $180M. Not to mention the interesting twist on the story of Sleeping Beauty that the king and Maleficent were once in love, hence her hatred of the child that could have easily have been hers. The movie even makes Maleficent the surrogate mother of the child, but never, ever deals with that aspect of it. In fact, their love is lost as she becomes “the good guy” and he just becomes “the bad guy.” Disney is very, very bad with gray, and so rushes back to their comfort zone of “black and white” “good and evil” whenever they can even though they insist Maleficent is both things. No. No, she’s not. If she and the king had been allowed to be both, then this would have been a much better film. The premise of the film is that there are neighboring kingdoms of fairy-folk and people and the people hated the fairy folk because they were living a much more awesome life and don’t have a king. Seriously. That’s the only reason. When the first king attacks and fails he promises his kingdom to the person who brings him the head of Maleficent. The man who has loved Maleficent from childhood sees this as a chance to rise in power but cannot bring himself to kill her, so only takes her wings as proof of her “death.” What the film overlooks is apparently he never attacked the fairylands again. A better film would have gone into the gray are of it possibly being a worthy sacrifice for her or his guilt over the betrayal that robs her of flight, but this isn’t a better film. This is a Disney film of sad absolutes and winds up being utterly disappointing and a waste of two hours of your life. Oh, it’s only 90 minutes, but it feels like two freaking hours because it’s that boring, which is the only thing worse than bad.

STRAIGHT TO THE BANK IS ALL THAT MATTERS
X-Men: Days of Future Past is down to number two, but it’s already at $500M worldwide so no one cares. Also returning for this is Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde, and you know she never thought she’d have to honor that multi-film contract after X-Men: The Last Stand. But given her recent coming out (which was news to those of you who are utterly clueless) a success like this couldn’t have come at a better time.

AND LIKE THE SIMPSONS, IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL
A Million Ways to Die in the West opens at number three and apparently those adolescent fans (in body as well as mind) who love Seth McFarlane don’t so much love the sight of him. A voice on Family Guy or Ted? Sure. In person? Not so much. I’ve never been a fan of Family Guy. It’s basically The Simpsons for really, really, really stupid people. Who love penis jokes. And while there are clearly more of them than we ever imagined, not enough to beat out geeks and actual children at the box office. Though it only cost $40M to make, it’s doubtful this is going to make 3x its budget with a new Big Summer Movie coming out every week. And that makes me happy, because I’m not a really, really, really stupid fan of penis jokes.

NOT ALL GIANT MONSTERS ARE THE SAME. THEY’RE NOT! STOP LAUGHING!
Godzilla is down to number four and the director of this was the director of another monster film, called simply, Monsters. And while this worked out for the most part it just goes to show you the utterly simplistic thinking process of Hollywood. “Oh, he directed a low-key, moody film about giant monsters that nobody saw. Let’s give him $160M to make our big summer blockbuster about a monster that everyone wants to see.” It’s why Godzilla isn’t seen for the first 30 minutes and when he does it’s in quick glimpses…at night. Yeah, I’m still annoyed by that.

USUALLY IT’S VIRGIN/WHORE, BUT WE’RE JUMPING STRAIGHT TO WHORE HERE
Blended is down to number five, followed at number six by Neighbors and apparently Seth Rogen is giving work (he’s listed as a producer) to his fellow Apatow alum, Carla Gallo who also appears in this. I hope he treats her better than Apatow has done. Let me put it his way: since playing the female lead in Undeclared, her roles in Apatow films has been as “Toe Sucking Girl” (40 Year Old Virgin) “Gag Me Girl” (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and “Period Blood Girl” (Superbad). She was also the girl in Get Him To The Greek who used a dildo on Jonah Hill. I think that says it all.

‘CAUSE WHO UNDERSTANDS CHICKS? AMIRITE?
The Amazing Spider-Man is down to number seven followed by Million Dollar Arm at number eight and Chef holding on at number nine. As I said before, it’s good but not perfect and nowhere is that clearer than in the roles of the women. Scarlett Johansson is the fantasy hostess who supports and sleeps with Jon Favreau and is never seen again, while Sofia Vergara is the fantasy ex-wife who is nothing but supportive even while Favreau neglects their son time and time again. But that’s par the course with Favreau. If you remember Swingers, women weren’t fully formed there either. Come on, dude. You should be better at this by now.

BUT I STILL BLAME THE REST OF YOU MORE
Finally, The Other Woman closes out the top ten at number ten and at $172M worldwide from a $40M budget, Cameron Diaz is carving out a little niche for herself of successful, yet painfully mediocre comedies. What Happens in Vegas, Bad Teacher and now this. I don’t expect Sex Tape will be much better, but like most of these I will still be there hoping for the best. So, basically, even though I didn’t see The Other Woman, I’m part of the problem.

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