THE LACKLUSTER WEEKEND BEFORE THE 4TH

29 Jun

time 1. Jurassic World/Universal                  Wknd/$ 54.2  Total/$ 500.1
2. Inside Out/Disney                               Wknd/$ 52.1  Total/$ 184.9
3. Ted 2/Universal                                   Wknd/$ 33.0  Total/$ 33.0
4. Max/WB                                                Wknd/$ 12.2   Total/$ 12.2
5. Spy/Fox                                                  Wknd/$ 7.8    Total/$ 88.4
6. San Andreas/WB                                 Wknd/$ 5.3     Total/$ 141.9
7. Dope/ORF                                             Wknd/$ 2.9     Total/$ 11.8
8. Insidious 3/Focus                                Wknd/$ 2.0    Total/$ 49.8
9. Mad Max: Fury Road/WB                  Wknd/$ 1.7     Total/$ 147.1
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron/Disney     Wknd/$ 1.6     Total/$ 452.4

AND SHE’S CHERYL ON ARCHER, WHICH IS EVERYTHING
Jurassic World holds the number one spot and for the second time this summer Judy Greer appears in a major release, but unlike Tomorrowland a) we actually see and hear her and b) this is a massive hit. Come to think of it, it actually works in her favor. She’s clearly part of a hit, while nowhere to be seen (literally) in a flop. And her show, Married, is coming back this summer and the guy who plays her husband has an Oscar for screenwriting. No, Judy’s not doing so bad after all.

THERE’S THEATER DUST FOR ALMOST EVERY PIXAR FILM
Inside Out holds at number two and because the movie is such a critical and financial success, the otherwise wonderful short before it is being overlooked. It’s called Lava and like the best Pixar work it comes from the emotions and experiences of the writer/director. In this case he was in Hawaii where he learned that a volcano in the ocean would eventually join with the other islands and upon learning they had names, he wondered if they knew they would one day be together. The result is a musical short about a volcano alone in the ocean singing a song of love, not knowing that under the wave another volcano hears him and hopes to join him. This is when theater dust got into my eyes. You shut up! There is such a thing as theater dust!

AND THAT’S ALL I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THAT
Ted 2 opens at number three and not being a fan of The Family Guy or Seth McFarlane at all, I didn’t see the first and obviously didn’t see this one. And yes, I do look down on you if you do like The Family Guy and did see both this and the first one. Can you blame me? Hard to believe it’s the biggest grossing R-rated film of all time. Why not just slap Mel Brooks across the face?

GOD BLESS SGT. WOOF WOOF AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Max opens at number four and apparently if you’re down about the ruling on gay marriage you can go see a heartwarming movie about a boy and the military dog that belonged to his brother who was killed in combat. I had to check to make sure this didn’t come from one of those Christian studios. Hell, it’s not even Disney. Clearly someone looked at the summer release schedule and saw a spot for an old-fashioned right wing family film where the heroes are male and military. Oo-rah!

THE MORE YOU KNOW (COMIC BOOK GEEK EDITION)
Spy is down to number five, followed by San Andreas at number six and here in a small role as a member of Dwayne Johnson’s rescue team is Colton Haynes and if you watch Arrow, you know that’s Roy Harper aka Arsenal. And he needed this given he was just written off the show. Now is the time when I drop some geek knowledge. In the comics Green Arrow was such a clone of Batman he not only had a mansion with a cave underneath it, but a ward who was his sidekick and also in yellow and red. He was called Speedy, which on the show is the nickname of Green Arrow’s sister (a character that doesn’t exist in the comics). In the 70’s to try and seem up to date, they made Speedy a junkie (which is why the girl Speedy on the show also briefly has a drug problem) and as comics tried to become more and more relevant strongly suggested he prostituted himself for drugs, which sadly makes perfect sense, especially when Green Arrow’s reaction to finding out his surrogate son was hooked on drugs was to throw him out into the streets (Batman of course threw this in his face when Arrow brought up the second Robin being killed). The final stage to make him seem tougher was to have him abandon being called Speedy and take up the name Arsenal, a man who used all kinds of weapons. There was a brief moment where he was Red Arrow, but it didn’t stick. Now, aren’t you glad you asked?

HEY, DON’T TELL ME I DON’T KNOW SELF-HATRED WHEN I SEE IT. I’M HATING MYSELF EVEN FOR WRITING THIS!
Dope is down to number seven and also in this is Zoe Kravitz, aka Little Lisa Bonet clone (who actually has two films in the top ten given she’s in Mad Max: Fury Road). Seriously. That’s all I saw while watching this movie. Kinda like when you watch Kate Hudson. You don’t see her, only her mother. Unfortunately she is emblematic of a problem not just with this film but in far too many films that come from a black creative team: all the principal women all being light skinned. The girl he has a crush on (Zoe Kravitz), the girl he lusts for (model Chanel Iman) and even the lesbian best friend are all of a lighter hue. This is all the more glaring in light of the dark skin of the male lead. To make matters worse the closest thing to a genuine villain the film has is not just a light skinned black man, but Harvard educated no less! You’d think you were watching a Tyler Perry film. Except this is actually good (you know it’s not Spike Lee, because all the women aren’t evil bitches out to bring our hero down). It’s still a good movie and all the actors are good in their roles, but you can no more ignore the greater social implications of this than you can ignore how Ben Stiller would apparently rather die than kiss a woman onscreen who looks as Jewish as he does. Like Woody Allen before him, it’s shicksa heaven up there. Unless of course the woman in question is the butt of jokes. Then she’s as Jewish as can be. Sadly, projecting self-hatred onto women is yet another thing Black and Jews have in common.

R YOU READY FOR CONSEQUENCES FROM VIOLENCE (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)
Insidious Chapter 3 is down to number eight, followed by Mad Max: Fury Road at number nine and it still hasn’t made budget in the US which is not good. Granted, it’ll probably cross it over the long holiday weekend, but at this rate it’s not going to be into the black until well into home video (DVD, pay-per-view), ‘cause god knows there are no corporate tie-ins to help offset the costs. Even the $200M+ it’s made worldwide is a bit disappointing. Let me put it this way: Jurassic World has already made $1B worldwide with literally half of it coming being domestic. This will hurt future action films in two ways: 1) being about badass women and 2) having an unapologetic R rating. Dinosaurs eat people left and right in Jurassic World, but like previous editions it’s relatively bloodless making it good old-fashioned family fun. There’s almost no blood when a pregnant woman gets run over here and her stomach cut open to get the deformed child from her barely breathing body, but clearly that’s clearly too much for anyone under the age of 17 unaccompanied by a parent.

NOT EVEN CLOSE TO THE END
Speaking of underperforming, The Avengers: Age of Ultron—down to number ten this wee—has been getting similarly flack for not doing as well as the first. Well, duh. That’s the first rule of sequels: they usually cost more and make less. You’d think knowing this they’d try to cut back a little, but no, like all sequels this is bigger and more elaborate than the first. But now there’s the added element of building an entire universe, so this is packed to the gills because god forbid you just tell this story now and not set up the next four or five movies. That’s my only real complaint, but it’s been my complaint for almost every movie after Iron Man. Only Captain America II, Iron Man III and Guardians of the Galaxy seemed to be interested in telling their stories first and foremost. Well, not my only complaint. That goddamn love story between The Hulk and The Black Widow remains a stinker and I think that should shoulder the blame.

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