HATERS GONNA HATE

5 Oct

minime
1. Gone Girl/Fox                                             Wknd/$ 38.0    Total/$ 38.0
2. Annabelle/WB (NL)                                  Wknd/$ 37.2     Total/$ 37.2
3. The Equalizer/Sony                                   Wknd/$ 19.0     Total/$ 64.5
4. The Boxtrolls/Focus                                  Wknd/$ 12.4     Total/$ 32.5
5. The Maze Runner/Fox                              Wknd/$ 12.0     Total/$ 73.9
6. Left Behind/Free                                        Wknd/$ 6.9      Total/$ 6.9
7. This is Where I Leave You/WB               Wknd/$ 4.0      Total/$ 29.0
8. Dolphin Tale 2/WB                                   Wknd/$ 3.5      Total/$ 38.0
9. Guardians of the Galaxy/Disney            Wknd/$ 3.0      Total/$ 323.4
10. No Good Deed/SGems                           Wknd/$ 2.5       Total/$ 50.2

INTERFERING WITH MY PLANS TO HATE BY ACTUALLY BEING GOOD
Gone Girl squeaks out a victory at number one and I’m going to be honest and say I’m not a David Fincher fan. He’s part of the Ridley Scott school of style over substance. That his big breakthrough was 7even, which was a beautifully shot but epically stupid movie is no surprise and would never let you forget he cut his teeth directing music videos (“Jaime’s Got A Gun” “Freedom ‘90” “Vogue”). He’s better off when he has strong source material like a novel that needs to be adhered to lest you lose that built in audience the studio is counting on rather than an originally screenplay you just do what you want with because fuck a screenwriter amirite? Gone Girl was not only a novel, but the author herself did the screenplay, which usually is the fast track to failure, but despite a shakey beginning, it manages to find its tone. Now, I never read the book, but I did guess the mid-film twist because there’s really nothing new about this genre. So the question isn’t originality, but what you do with an old idea. They do well here in the story of a man whose wife mysteriously vanishes and while it begins with the presumption of innocence, darker secrets of their marriage pop up aided in no small part by the onscreen depiction of the missing wife’s journal. While Ben Affleck may not have any anyone’s first choice, if you want someone who can simultaneously appear to be a nice guy but also an asshole, he’s your guy. I’m one of the few who remembers how his character is described by Jason Scott Lee in Mallrats: “He looks like a date rapist.” There is something very “frat boy who smile and laughs at your joke while placing a roofie in your drink” about him which works here. After reporting his wife’s disappearance he never asks for a lawyer, but at the same time is openly hiding evidence from the police and who is he talking to on the second cell phone? I didn’t want to like Fincher’s latest, but it’s been awhile since I spent two hours in a theater that held me like this. But you know the success of this will make him blow it next time, right? Just like he followed up The Social Network with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo or the way he followed Zodiac with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

DOES THIS COUNT AS A FILM WITH A FEMALE LEAD
Annabelle opens at number two and I would love to see the demographics of this audience as opposed to the audience for Gone Girl, given they finished neck-and-neck and that number may actually change by the time final tally is done. Let’s not pretend we don’t have a class system, America. Though that has nothing to do with why I did not nor will I ever see this. Say it with me kids: “I don’t do the scary.” Doesn’t matter how stupid or incompetent it might be, I simply don’t do it. It doesn’t help that the very premise of this is unbelievable. No, not an evil doll. That’s horror gold. No, it’s that the doll is so freaking ugly. No one would ever own it much less leave it in their daughter’s room to begin with. Like so many other things, this was done first, better and in less time on The Twilight Zone. They understood that it’s actually scarier if the doll is attractive. You pretty much expect an ugly doll to be evil, which is why no one owns them to begin with.

IF THEY’VE WON A VIDEO MUSIC AWARD, LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
The Equalizer is down to number three and this reunites Denzel Washington with his Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua, who is somewhat competent action director who also comes from music videos and like David Fincher has problems with story and this is no exception. But if you’ve seen what is for the most part immensely watchable schlock like The Replacement Killers, Bait, Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter and Olympus Has Fallen (also skipable) like I have, you know exactly what you’re walking into when you see his name on the poster and you’re not even remotely surprised he manages to create a typical climatic showdown in the rain even though we’re inside a Home Depot. Even Training Day suddenly loses its footing in the final 10 minutes. I’m thinking too many music videos taught both him and Fincher that making sense really doesn’t matter as much as making it look good.

THE WANT OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL BAD FILMS
The Boxtrolls is down to number four followed by The Maze Runner at number five and Left Behind opening at number six and normally I’d say this nonstop dreck from Nicholas Cage (look him up on Netflix and you’ll see a dozen films you never heard of all released in the last two years) was just because he was paying off a debt he owed to the IRS, but he was making lots of crap even before the government showed up with a bill. In fact, it was taking all those big money paydays that lead him to not just making Christian fundamentalist films, but remaking them as this was done first by none other than Kirk Cameron. When you’re swimming in Kirk Cameron you seriously need to look into a TV show. A paycheck every week TV show. You can pay your debts, rehabilitate your stardom and for god’s sake, save your dignity.

YEAH, THIS IS TRASH BAD DIRECTORS DAY. GET OVER IT.
This Is Where I Leave You is down to number seven and also if you need a reason as to why this sucks so much just look at the director: Shawn Levy. At best he’s underwhelming you with Real Steel, Date Night and Night at The Museum and at worst he’s dropping turds like The Pink Panther, Night At the Museum 2 (and 3 which is coming and looks to be the worst yet) and this. It’s takes negative amount of talent to drain people like Steve Martin, Ben Stiller, Jason Bateman, Robin William and Tina Fey of it and that he does so frequently and well shows you what a creative black hole this man truly is.

CLEARLY WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE MATTERS MORE THAN WHAT HE SOUNDS LIKE
Dolphin Tale 2 is down to number eight, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy at number nine and No Good Deed closing out the top ten at number ten having made almost 4x its budget domestically alone. Domestically, because the big excuse for not having films with minority leads is that they don’t perform internationally. Know where it’s been released overseas? Africa, period. Bear in mind Idris Elba is fucking English and has a successful TV show there.

IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR
Yes! The new Fall TV Season. Because I loves me some TV I do try to give every show at least one shot unless it is clearly just ridiculously awful like Scorpion or Stalkers or NCIS New Orleans or The McCarthys (are you surprised that the network of Two and A Half Men has more shit than most?). I mean life is just too short. Let’s get started, shall we?

Gotham
This was a no brainer for a comic book geek like me. Basically, it’s the story of Young Commissioner Gordon in Gotham City almost 20 years before Batman. We know this because the first episode is about the murder of The Waynes. Now this would make an interesting one-off movie or even a mini-series, but as an open-ended series makes no sense whatsoever. First of all, they insist on trying to shoehorn Bruce Wayne into the show. Bruce Wayne simply has no stories to tell between his parents’ death and the arrival of Batman. It’s not like Clark Kent who did have his powers as a boy so could do Superman-like things. Bruce Wayne has to be an adult after years of training himself to be Batman. Nonetheless Jim Gordon is being given excuse after excuse to drive out to Wayne Manor were we get to see Bruce Wayne getting progressively darker. Then there’s the need to include young versions of Batman’s villains. Now, while The Penguin as a young flunky for a mobster and The Riddler as your typical CSI tech both work it doesn’t change the fact that it means Batman’s gonna be punching out couple of old dudes when he finally shows up. Not that the alternative of showing them as kid is much better, as witnessed by a 10-year old Poison Ivy (her name needlessly and stupidly changed from Pamela Isley to Ivy Pepper because the people running this show want to show they’re “creative” when they clearly are no) and the a pre-naturally beautiful 13-year-old Catwoman who’s already running around the rooftops as a thief. In fact she looks just like Dina Meyer who played Batgirl on the awful Birds of Prey show so maybe they’ll give her a job as the mom she insists is still alive. If the biggest flaw is that they keep trying to shove elements of the Batman mythos without Batman (you know, ignoring the very premise of the show), the second biggest is young Jim Gordon as a good cop in a dirty town. Rather than show his compromises as he tries to eek out some measure of justice, they’re just having him be annoyingly self-righteous every week. If you know the mayor’s lazy, you don’t call him lazy to his face. You play him to get what you want but this Jim Gordon is too full of his own morality to do that. That more than anything will drive me away from this show.

A to Z
Now, I was prepared to hate this because the previews made it look like he stalked her and she rewarded him with a date, but it’s not. It’s actually about an 8-month relationship between two people who almost met previously due to friends and job proximity, but don’t actually do so until she comes into his office to complain about being listed as a lesbian on her dating profile (he works at an internet dating service) and he actually approaches her like a normal human. They go on a normal date, but when he realizes she was the girl he saw years ago that he thought could be “the one” she freaks out because her parents were starry-eyed hippies and she has no patience for that. Of course in the end she decides to give it a try and we have our show. But now we have the same question as Gotham. How can this be an open ended show about an 8-month relationship? How many years can they drag out 8 months? While it was better than I expected (which isn’t saying much) the premise doesn’t really grab me, but they get points for trying to be a little different (amidst a ton of clichés like straight laced lawyer dates free spirit and they both have wacky best friends). Oh, and it had a great Back to The Future joke which makes at least watching the pilot worthwhile.

The Mysteries of Laura
I love Debra Messing. I love her so much I’ve watched every crap show she’s been on since Will & Grace even though each got progressively worse. Just as Smash was worse than Starter Wife, this is worse than Smash. We get it, Debra. You’re willing to let yourself be shown as pathetically as possible for a joke. Only it’s not funny. Not even a little. Especially when every “humiliation” is followed by a “whoa, she’s really hot” scene. She’s a detective in NYC who’s dealing with her ex-husband as her boss and being a mom to two hellions. I can’t tell you how awful and lazy this show is. As flat as the jokes fall the attempts at drama are even worse. I really hate saying because they actually made the effort to film in NYC. It would really do them better to just go full sitcom with this like the much superior Bad Judge.

Bad Judge
This looked initially like The Mysteries of Laura (only she’s a judge not a cop) all the way down her working with a black guy who sees her in a state of undress and exclaims “Dayum!” But the execution is night and day. First of all they know they’re doing a sitcom, meaning it’s only 30 minutes and the goal is humor and even the small nods to drama are punctuated by humor. And while Kate Walsh plays the same ego-free card of willing to look bad on camera it’s not nearly as desperate as Debra Messing’s performance. But it helps when Will Farrell is one of your executive producers. It was co-created by Anne Heche who’s also a producer and that’s gotta mean some odd-as hell production meetings, but they clearly work.

Manhattan Love Story
Another sitcom that’s better than the commercials would have you believe thanks to the inclusion of some actual wit (his family runs a trophy-making business and America’s willingness to celebrate mediocrity has made their business better than ever) and I’m always a sucker to shows that film in NYC, but in the end the two leads are just too vanilla to hold my interest. I mean when you think “Manhattan Love Story” do you think the WASPiest people on earth? I mean at the very least make the native- New York some kind of ethnicity (the way the other members of his family clearly look).

Blackish
As much as I love Debra Messing, I hate Anthony Andrews who has always been the “black Tom Arnold” to me and that says it all. Nonetheless Lawrence Fishburne is here so I gave it a chance and it just didn’t make it. Granted I was told the second episode wasn’t as dependent on the whole “fear of assimilation” angle that the pilot episode was based upon, but I’m really not going to make an effort to see Anthony Andrews. Like I said, I hate him.

Forever
Pete Hamill is a longtime New York City journalist who wrote a novel called Forever about a man who is basically immortal and has been living in Manhattan since the Revolutionary War. This is not based on that and I cannot believe he hasn’t sued them. Then again he didn’t sue New Amsterdam about a cop with a similar affliction. This is about a medical examiner who as been alive for two hundred years only not consistently. He can die, but is reborn in water. Basically, you shoot him in Central Park, he wakes up naked in the East River and is picked up by his senior citizen adopted son played by Judd Hirsch. He uses his extensive experience in dying to solve mysteries and between this and CSI I’m thinking Jack Klugman as Quincy was the only unattractive television M.E. ever. It’s entertaining if not exceptional and it also preys upon my weakness by actually being shot in NYC, but not something I’m going to make an effort for. Basically, if you like Castle you’ll like this and I tired of Castle long ago.

How To Get Away With Murder
In all honesty, I barely watched it (god bless fast-forward) but what I did watch didn’t interest me in the slightest. But I’m not its audience. I don’t watch Scandal either.

Selfie
Yes, an entire TV series based on My Fair Lady. Her name is actually Eliza Dooley and John Cho plays “Henry.” This is where you eye roll. There are the barest glimmers of wit as they work at marketing firm where he succeeded in re-branding a drug that had been condemned by the FDA and basically he thinks he can “re-brand” her. Unfortunately there isn’t nearly enough of that wit and the whole show is burdened with a title that’s already dated and will only become moreso as time passes. It doesn’t help they don’t have the courage of their convictions as deep down inside she’s a former unattractive, unpopular girl who blossomed into a beauty and has used popularity to fill the hole inside her. Yawn. Give me someone genuinely shallow who finds their humanity while merely pretending to seek depth. That way we can laugh at her without feeling bad because we know it’s just a mask to hide her pain. Not that there are a lot of laughs here. Too bad. I want John Cho to succeed.

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