SIX PACK ABS: THE NEW AMERICAN DREAM

6 Jul

joe-manganiello-435 1. Jurassic World/Universal                     Wknd/$ 30.9    Total/$ 558.1
2. Inside Out/Disney                                  Wknd/$ 30.1    Total/$ 246.2
3. Terminator: Genisys/Par                      Wknd/$ 28.7    Total/$ 44.2
4. Magic Mike XXL/WB                            Wknd/$ 11.6      Total/$ 26.7
5. Ted 2/Universal                                      Wknd/$ 11.0      Total/$ 58.3
6. Max/WB                                                   Wknd/$ 6.6       Total/$ 25.3
7. Spy/Fox                                                    Wknd/$ 5.5        Total/$ 97.9
8. San Andreas/WB                                    Wknd/$ 3.0       Total/$ 147.4
9. Me an Earl and the Dying Girl/FS      Wknd/$ 1.3        Total/$ 4.0
10. Dope/ORF                                              Wknd/$ 1.1        Total/$ 14.1

SPOILER ALERT FOR GEEK FAN THEORY
Jurassic World holds at number one and there’s a fun fan theory floating around out there is that the movie is actually a satire upon itself. It’s a needless sequel and the movie is about the needless creation of a new dinosaur. According to the theory, the movie studio being represented by the new owner of the park who wants something bigger and better than real dinosaurs, so like the makers of the film BD Wong (back for the first time since the first movie) has to make up a new one and like this movie it turns out to be a mistake. Dallas Bryce Howard tries to get corporate tie-ins to help pay for the new dinosaurs, much in the way corporate tie-ins help pay for this new movie. The cherry on top of this theory is in the end—-SPOILER ALERT—the dinosaurs that made the first film so great, the Tyrannosaurus Rex (yes, the same one from Jurassic Park) and the Veceliraptor team up and kick its ass, which is basically them showing how the first movies were better than this sequel. Bear in mind the director flat out told Spielberg that the original script he was given sucked and his name is on this one. Hmmmm…

MAYBE I WAS TOO BORING TO HAVE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND
Inside Out holds at number two and like the better Pixar films there’s an entire subtext about the death of youth that exists in this film. From Toy Story’s aging of Andy to Nemo going off on his own, the poignancy at the center is the departure from childhood and if Toy Story had you crying, you are not prepared for the fate of Riley’s imaginary friend, Bing Bong (voiced by a perfectly cast Richard Kind). It made me realize I have no memory of an imaginary friend, which is shocking given how much immaturity I’ve successfully held onto.

HE SHOULDN’T HAVE COME BACK
Terminator Genisys opens at number three and don’t worry Terminator: Salvation you’re still the worst Terminator film. Apparently the key is whether or not you have a charisma-free Australian actor as your co-male lead. Just as Terminator: Salvation had the bland lump of meat Sam Worthington whose brief career success remains a mystery, this has the even blander Jai Courtney, whose continued career in A-list action films remains a mystery. If there’s been any one constant in better Terminator films it’s been the intensity of the human characters. They truly act like high-strung individuals traumatized by the burden of having to try and save the world from the nightmare threat of annihilation by the machines. Michael Beihn’s Kyle Reese from the first film, Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor in the second and yes, even Nick Stahl as John Connor in the third. Christian Bale can’t help but be intense no matter what he does, but Sam Worthington sucked it all away in his charisma-free black hole. Here, Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor are reunited for the first time since the first film (the deleted scene of a dream Sarah has where Kyle comes to her in T2 sadly does not count) and they don’t look so much like two people haunted by the belief that they are all that stands between humanity and annihilation so much as a couple slightly irritated by the fact the movie they wanted to see at the mall has been sold out. Here, Sarah was attacked at the age of 9 by the liquid metal T-1000 Terminator and basically raised for the last decade by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800. Who sent them both back so early? You’ll never know which is one of massive fail of this film. You’re not supposed to leave more questions than answers. But the larger issue remains the lack of bleak intensity. There’s even a tension free countdown. You can see it going wrong from the beginning where John and Kyle are exchanging wisecracks. None of this was possible in the nightmare future of James Cameron’s two films. Reese was an already traumatized war vet merely in his 20’s. None of that is to be found here. Similarly in the 12 years between Terminator 1 and 2 Sarah Connor becomes a slightly unhinged war machine. But her parents being murdered and a lifetime of being raised by a killing machine to save the future affects no such change on Sarah here. Yeah, she barks orders and fires all manner of weapons, but it’s as much movie artifice as it is every time they give a model a gun in a movie and tell you she’s a seasoned secret agent (it doesn’t help that the actress they cast looks 16 and seems to have foregone the physical transformation Linda Hamilton made). Poor casting aside, the plot is as dumb as Terminator: Salvation with lip service being paid to the mechanics and consequences of time travel. Not that I expected Neil Degasse Tyson so show up and break it down, but don’t insult me either. Its sole saving grace is Arnold as an aging machine, which in the hands of a talented filmmaker would have been a metaphor for his own career, but here is picked up and dropped off as the plot demands.

THE “A” IN USA IS FOR “ABS”
Magic Mike XXL opens at number four and where the original was basically an indie film that took the life of a Tampa stripper trying to get out seriously, with its depiction of a life on the sleazier side with a host of slightly damaged people in the world of sex work, this is basically a road comedy like anything Hope & Crosby ever did. Basically Mike is lured out of retirement by dissatisfaction with his new legit life (and broken relationship) for one last ride with the old crew to a male stripper convention in Myrtle Beach with an assortment of hijinks along the way. Seriously, that’s it. And along the way we get a series of dance numbers. Hell, the only thing separating this from being a musical is that they don’t sing during them. Oh, wait. That happens twice. Basically, while the first one was a drama, this is basically a musical comedy. But a fun one. It’s also a lot gentler on its characters than the first. While they were all seemingly losers in the first, the promise of equity in a new club their salvation, here they know it’s the end and are making plans for it, all chasing their version of the American dream, be it a yogurt food truck that also has a DJ, acting or singing or selling condoms packaged along with mints. Even when they poke fun at them (the condom with mints idea is taken) it’s in a gentle fashion. When Matt Bomer speaks sincerely about how he worked at Disneyworld, apprenticing as a Donald Duck, the audience laughs, but no one laughs at him in the film because that is legitimate success. Even Joe Manganiello’s dick, which was just a one shot dirty joke in the first film (his character’s name is Big Dick Richie) is now the source of his unhappiness because no woman wants to have sex with him. Needless to say, that also gets taken care of along the way. Speaking of women, if the overall theme of the movie was appealing to women in the first, this is flat out fan service. Every act by every man in this movie is designed to make women happy, be she a frustrated housewife, a divorcee or just the cashier at a gas station (you’ll never hear the Backstreet Boys “I Want It That Way” the same again). The Men of Tampa are here to make you happy, ladies.

MY PET PEEVE ONCE AGAIN
Ted 2 is down to number five and gone from this is Mila Kunis to be replaced by Amanda Seyfried, which seems odd because wasn’t the first one about Mark Wahlberg growing up so he can marry his girlfriend? But let’s not kid ourselves. Even not having seen this movie, I know the real love story is between Marky Mark and the teddy bear. The women are clearly replaceable. Or not. This isn’t doing as well as the first. But it still annoys me that 40-something Wahlberg is getting women a decade younger as his love interests. Bear in mind she’d playing a lawyer so it would make sense she’d be a little older, no?

BOTH CAUGHT THE WEB OF A BIG SUMMER PAYCHECK
Max is down to number six, followed by Spy at number seven and San Andreas at number eight and what’s the connection between Max and San Andreas? Spider-Man! See, also in Max is Thomas Hayden Church and a decade ago both he and Paul Giamatti were hot off Sideways, Hayden Church with an actual Oscar nomination. Ironically both he Giamatti wound up as a villain in a poorly-reviewed, but technically successful Spider-Man movie. But while Giamatti is still appearing in A-list summer fare like San Andreas, Hayden Church is doing movies like this. Hey, remember when he was the dumb mechanic on Wings?

CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BUSY!?!
Me, Earl & The Dying Girl breaks the top ten and this is one of those indie films that critics and audiences love that I’ll always mean to see, but simply don’t find the time. Why? ‘Cause I’m doing shit like this for you people. That’s why!

AND NOW OUR “GET OFF MY LAWN YOU DAMN KIDS!” MOMENT
Finally, Dope closes out the top ten at number ten and one thing I can really appreciate about this film is its love of 90’s R&B. Yeah, it’s more how it was the Golden Age of Hip-Hop, but it was also the last breath of R&B, which has surrendered to auto-tune and sampling. It was already giving into sampling in the 90’s but at least people were still singing. There was even resurgence in purely vocal groups…for as long as it lasted. But yeah the hip-hop was great too. It was the last time there was rap about anything more than thug life or popping bottles with models. You’d never hear a song today like The Pharcyde’s “Passing Me By” which is all about not getting a girl. And she’s never called a bitch or a ho because of it. This simply doesn’t exist anymore, yet but those goddamn, ugly-ass 90’s fashions get to come back. Sigh.

VISIT

THE ORIGINAL ANGRYGEEK.COM (archives going back a decade…which is sad)

FORMER BOY WONDER PHOTOGRAPHY

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