Tag Archives: movies


20 Oct

1. Fury/Sony Wknd/$ 23.5 Total/$ 23.5
2. Gone Girl/Fox Wknd/$ 17.8 Total/$ 107.1
3. The Book of Life/Fox Wknd/$ 17.0 Total/$ 17.0
4. Alexander & The Terrible…/Disney Wknd/$ 12. 0 Total/$ 36.9
5. The Best of Me/Relativity Wknd/$ 10.2 Total/$ 10.2
6. Dracula Untold/Universal Wknd/$ 9.9 Total/$ 40.7
7. The Judge/WB Wknd/$ 7.9 Total/$ 26.8
8. Annabelle/WB (NL) Wknd/$ 7.9 Total/$ 74.1
9. The Equalizer/Sony Wknd/$ 5.5 Total/$ 89.2
10. The Maze Runner/Fox Wknd/$ 4.5 Total/$ 90.8

Fury holds the top spot and I was down to see this until I saw fucking Shia LeBeouf in the trailer. Seriously. I’m not the biggest war movie fan, but I do like Pitt and I like how for the epitome of a leading man he doesn’t like to play it safe (can you think of even one romantic comedy or science fiction action film he’s done?). And of course the classic premise of the outnumbered soldiers making a stand is classic for a reason (all that’s missing is a shirtless Pitt screaming “This. Is. Fury!”), but my interest took a complete nosedive the second LeBeouf’s name appeared onscreen. Much in the same way Inglorious Bastard goes unseen by me because torture porn director Eli Roth is part of the cast. Seriously, when I don’t like you, I really don’t like you. So when a half-dozen movies opened this weekend (the blessing and curse of living in NYC is everything opens here first), it quickly got pushed down the list in terms of importance and I don’t see it coming back up…unless you tell me I get to watch him die horribly.

Gone Girl is down to number two and speaking of people I hate to see onscreen Tyler Perry is here in an acting role as Ben Affleck’s slick, successful, press-friendly lawyer. Except he’s not really acting. Director David Fincher explained Perry basically got the role years ago when they were scouting studios in Atlanta to make the incredibly underwhelming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. They were looking into Perry’s studio space and he made them wait until he came off the roof where he was flying his model plane. In case you didn’t know how rich Tyler Perry was, that’s how rich. He can ignore an A-list director of major Hollywood film to fly his toy plane. This is part of why I could stomach him in this movie. He was playing someone I was free to dislike. If LeBeouf was playing the bad guy in Fury, I might have seen it.

The Book of Life opens at number three and the irony of this film it that it’s about death (it was originally called El Matador then Day of the Dead). It involves “The Day of the Dead” the Mexican holiday that coincides with the Catholic All Soul’s and All Saint’s Day. Basically the belief that on Halloween the gates of heaven open at midnight and the spirits of dead children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours and on November 2nd, the spirits of adults can come down to enjoy the festivities that are prepared for them. The former makes me wonder why it took so long for it to be any part of a film aimed at kids. Hell, it should be the basis for the Casper cartoon outright. But good luck finding a plot synopsis for this. As near as I can figure from the trailer two matadors are in love with the same girl and two supernatural entities make a bet on which one will win her. When one thinks he’s going to lose he has the one matador bitten by a poisonous snake and killed. Once in the land of the dead the matador makes a deal with the same entity that killed him to see her again (I can only think his soul is forfeit or something) and he has to go on some quest and face epic challenges. Once again my prejudice toward an artist kept me from a film, but this time in error. I knew Guillemoro Del Toro was a producer on this, but I mistakenly thought he wrote it as well and his writing is for crap. Visually the man is an artist with almost no peer, but I wouldn’t let him write a grocery list. This is now on my list of things to see…above Fury.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day is down to four, followed by The Best of Me opening at number five and there was no way in hell I was going to see an adaptation of one of Nicholas Sparks horrible someone-dies-in-the-third-act-because-real-love-is-always-tragic novels. Especially one so poorly cast we’re supposed to believe those two people become James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan. Maybe if they’d cast actual teenagers to play teenagers to play teenagers instead of two people pushing 30 to play the younger version of two people who are barely 40 (she’s only 38). Serious casting fail here.

Dracula Untold is down to number six and the star of this is Luke Evans whom you’ve seen everywhere from The Hobbit to the horrible Clash of the Titans remake. How happy is he that he has The Hobbit to wash away all his other sins? Every time he makes something like this or The Immortals, a Hobbit movie comes out to prop him back up (though he did have Fast & The Furious Six last year). Kind of like how it was from the man from whom he was cloned, Orlando Bloom. Bloom always had either Lord of the Rings or Pirates of the Caribbean to fall back on. Now that they’re done, when did you Bloom last? Why, in The Hobbit films of course…with Luke Evans (they were also in the horrible steampunk Three Musketeers together). But there may be hope here as this has made almost $100M overseas. He could actually be the new Dracula after all.

The Judge is down to number seven and also in this is the wonderful Vera Farmiga who balances off her indie work with mainstream stuff like this as apparently the new “Anne Archer” meaning the first choice of actors “of a certain age” who don’t want to be openly creepy with an actress half their age, but don’t want anyone actually their age either. She was Clooney’s love interest in Up In The Air and she’s the proverbial “girl back home who’s still in love with the hero” and only the twist of her being sexually as well as financially independent allows her to be a bit more than the cliché.

Annabelle is down to number eight, followed by The Equalizer at number nine and also in this is Melissa Leo. Sound familiar? That’s because she won the Oscar almost guaranteed to send you into obscurity: Best Supporting Actress. Just ask Juliette Binoche or Mercedes Ruehl. How many years was Marissa Tomei missing?

Finally, The Maze Runner closes out the top ten at number.


Not breaking the top ten because it only opened in 11 theaters this weekend (Birdman only opened in 4) is Dear White People, a film that started off as a trailer before it got funding which reminds me that maybe I should finish that trailer I started 20 years ago in hopes of accomplishing the same goal. Nah. It’s probably too late. In any case Dear White People is an examination of modern race relations through the prism of humor and the people who can only see things in absolute terms: college kids. While the protagonist is the subtly named Samantha White (was “Black” as a surname too obvious?) a media major who sees racism in the film Gremlins and hosts a radio program called “Dear White People” (“Dear White People: Stop dancing.”) while secretly nursing a love of Taylor Swift and sleeping with a white teaching assistant in her class, the other storyline which rivals hers is that of Lionel Higgins, who is a shy, gay, undeclared sophomore who doesn’t feel he has a place anywhere with any group, black or white, straight or gay and winds up finding both a potential for romance and a place in journalism when starts a story on Samantha. Points of view are also spread around to Troy Fairbanks, ostensibly the leader of the black community on campus, but is also a pawn in his father’s rivalry with the college president (his father is dean of students and they attended that same college together) to the point where he dates the president’s daughter because of his father, having broken up with Samantha the previous year. Meanwhile Colandrea who prefers to go by Coco to distance herself from her from her background is aggressively assimilating to the point of blue contacts and deliberately conflicting with Samantha to drive up hits on her YouTube channel and possibly score the lead in a reality show coming to the campus. The film details the events leading up to a fight on campus as the result of whites throwing a racially themed party, which begins with Samantha ousting Troy as head of the black house. It’s a very funny film that makes serious observations about race with the time honored tradition of humor, but it is by no means perfect as it fully acknowledges that Samantha has a white father and that Troy has a white mother, but we never delve into how that has served to shape who they are beyond the Dean of Students accusing Samantha of “overcompensating” for it. Pretty sure that’s an important issue. Nor are supporting characters allowed any type of shading beyond being “angry black guy” and “clueless white guy.” Not to mention Lionel’s very presence brings up the very real issue of homophobia within the black community, which he actually acknowledges, but is brushed aside by one person saying “We’re not homophobic.” Though I have to admit their concern with his unruly afro over his sexuality rings all too real, not to mention every black person’s fashion sense is on point. Just because you’re fighting the man doesn’t mean you’re not going to look good doing it. And then there’s the matter of the missing seniors, which is just my personal bone to pick. Like so many movies set in high school or college, the most important and popular people on the campus never seem to be seniors and if anyone is running student society it’s them. But overall the film hits more than it misses and reminds me how long it’s been since a movie like this existed as the primary provocateur, Spike Lee is now too old and too rich to burn like he used to and honestly, was never this funny and is too much a misogynist fuck to have a female lead like this anyway.





17 Sep

1. Resident Evil Retribution/SG                  Wknd/$   21.1            Total/$  21.1

 2. Finding Nemo 3D/Disney                       Wknd/$   17.5            Total/$  17.5

 3. The Possession/LGF                                 Wknd/$     5.8            Total/$  41.2

 4. Lawless/Weinstein                                    Wknd/$     4.2            Total/$  30.1

 5. ParaNorman/Focus                                   Wknd/$     3.4            Total/$  49.3

 6. The Expendables 2/LGF                           Wknd/$     3.0            Total/$  66.3

 7. The Words/CBS                                          Wknd/$     2.9            Total/$   9.2

 8. The Bourne Legacy/Universal                 Wknd/$     2.9            Total/$ 107.8

9. The Odd Life of Timothy Green                Wknd/$     2.5            Total/$  46.3

10. The Campaign/Warners                           Wknd/$     2.4            Total/$  82.9



Resident Evil: Retribution (aka, Resident Evil Far Too Many) opens at number one and is it better to rule in hell or serve in heaven, because with her own action franchise where she’s the hero and not “the girl” is definitely ruling for Milla Jovovich, but it’s a shitty, shitty franchise so she’s in hell.  And it’s a hell run by none other than her husband, director Paul W. S. Anderson. The “WS” due the unlikely occurrence that someone might confuse him with the other Paul Anderson. Paul Thomas Anderson, director of Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, etc.  You think that’s the Paul Anderson Milla was looking to sleep with when she hooked up with this hack?  You think when she runs into Maya Rudolph—who actually is married to the Paul Thomas Anderson—at parties, Maya has to stifle a laugh?  Like his more talented namesake, this Anderson is a double threat, as he also writes his movies, but unlike the other Paul Anderson “threat” isn’t merely a figure of speech. He truly is a threat to screenplay writing, lowering the bar with every film. So how does this series continue?  Well, it had a production budget of $65M and has already made $71M worldwide.  Remember this the next time some pretentious pseudo intellect is going on at a party about how Hollywood is stupid and foreign films are better.  It’s foreign audiences keeping our dumbest film franchises going (they also refuse to see films starring black people other than Will Smith).  I saw the first two of these and that was two more than I needed to ever see, least of all #5…where zombies ride motorcycles. You wish I were joking.



Finding Nemo 3D opens at number two and this has become Hollywood’s latest cash cow; taking successful movies and re-releasing them in 3D as a precursor to a 3D DVD release.  So it’s actually triple dipping and proof that the weak-minded and their money are soon parted.  Seriously, Find Nemo may actually be my favorite Pixar movie and even be their best, which is seriously saying something, but there was no way I was going to pay just to see this in 3D.  In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit I’m one of those people who gets a headache after watching something in 3D, but I do lots of crap that makes me feel bad afterwards (like the giant bowl of Fruit Loops I just had at 7:00 pm), but those things are always worth it (like the second bowl I’ll probably have at midnight).  I’ve yet to see a movie that I found was worth it, much less one that wasn’t even shot for 3D and is a naked money-grabbing ploy. 



The Possession is down to number three, followed by Lawless at number four, ParaNorman at number five and The Expendables 2 at number six, and with a $100M budget this has made $238M worldwide, so number three is as inevitable as the aging process that made its existence possible to begin with.  What’s sad is that Jason Statham should be in the prime of his own solo action career but his refusal to work in anything with a lot of special effects has kept his career grounded at a solid “B.”  The only time he’s in A-list films is as a co-star and yes, this is A-list and he’s far from the most interesting member of the cast or biggest star.



The Words is down to number seven and I have a weakness for movies and TV shows about writers since I once fantasized about being one, but this lost me the moment I learned what the real plot was. You think it’s about Bradley Cooper as a struggling writer to steals another man’s work.  But that’s actually the book that Dennis Quaid has written and is reading to the audience. Yes, it’s one of those “story within a story” movies and honestly learning that Cooper’s “not real” killed my interest because in your fantasy you want to be a young (relatively speaking) good-looking writer, not 50-something Dennis Quaid. Not to say that it can’t work. The French Lieutenant’s Woman is a movie about the making of The French Lieutenant’s Woman novel into a movie and the actors playing the leads have their own affair while the movie switches back and forth between the two stories.  Ironically, Jeremy Irons was in that one too but clearly lightning wasn’t striking twice.



The Bourne Legacy is down to number eight and this is one of those movies where the more you think about it the dumber it gets.  It’s also one of those movies where the writer moves to the director’s chair and shows he really can’t focus on two things at the same time and needed someone to challenge his script.  Without it you get scenes like a character being diagnosed as a potential suicide by the very assassins sent there to kill her and make it seem like a suicide. If someone is coming to kill you and make it look like suicide chances are slim they’re going to pretend to be doctors talk to you about suicide first.



The Odd Life of Timothy Green is down to number nine and also in this is Common and honestly, who the fuck keeps giving him acting jobs!?!  Even for a rapper he’s bad.



Finally, The Campaign closes out the top ten at ten.  This has made $85M dollars, which would be a tad more impressive if we knew how much it cost.  You think something with no special effects or exotic settings would be cheap, but Will Ferrell and Zack Galifinakis are now the top of the comedy food chain and their presence alone could cost upwards to $20-30M.  Then you have to pay for everything else, so this could easily have cost $50-60M film, so rather than success with $85M you’re worried just about breaking even.



In case you missed it, I love TV and the new Fall season is my favorite time of the year even though we now have spring and summer seasons. Back in the before time the TV Fall Preview Issue was one of the biggest magazines of the year.  It actually started this year during The Olympics with NBC giving sneak previews of its shows “Go Now” and “Animal Hospital” making twice in his career that Matthew Perry has been shown up by a monkey. 


Go Now stars Perry as a sportsradio host forced by Harold of Harold & Kumar to go to therapy over the death of his [Perry] wife in a car accident.  It’s one of those shows that clearly thinks it’s being “sophisticated” to have such a dark center, but ultimately lacks the talent you’d need to pull this off,  so it just comes off as a cheap device. The supposed humor comes from the decades old device of “wacky people in therapy” but you know inevitably they will also have their moment of “faux” drama. This basically hinges on how much you like Perry and I don’t like him that much. 


Animal Hospital, better known as “That Monkey Doctor Show NBC Cut Off Part of the Olympic Closing Ceremonies To Air” has no airs of pretension.  It’s just as silly as hell and wallows in it from start to finish and because of that it works.  The only drawback is an Asian character that is weak-willed and simpering and apparently has a dominating wife, so you’re getting two stereotypes for the price of one. Other than that the ancient adage remains true: monkey funny.  Seriously, that monkey cracks my shit up.


Revolution is also up for previews online or on-demand and as a geek I’m a sucker for science fiction, but this is beyond stupid.  I mean it makes shows on the SyFy Channel look good.  Okay, so just by watching we’ve agreed to the premise that something has happed to knock out electricity all over the globe.  Fine.  But why exactly isn’t steam power being used to do anything?  Did it knock out all scientific knowledge too?  Mankind built many a civilization pre-electricity.  And we’re supposed to accept that with as many fucking guns as there are in America, in 15 years we’ll be back to battling with swords, arrows and flintlocks?  I won’t even get into everyone being dressed like they just came fresh out of H&M without a single nick or tear in their stylish clothing.  I like the actor Billy Burke and pretty much put myself through this to watch a nice action sequence where he essentially wipes out a platoon of men by himself.  God knows the lead is unbearable.  There’s stupid and then there’s a straight up dumbass.  In the first ten minutes she almost gets her younger brother killed by going exploring and when chastised for it by her father we learn her mother also died in the dangerous post apocalyptic wilderness, but clearly this didn’t make the needed impression on her because later even after she’s almost raped she still acts bratty when told to be careful. Let’s get this straight: mom killed, brother almost killed, father killed and she’s almost raped, but don’t you dare tell her to be careful. Oh, and her stupidity is why Billy Burke (who is her uncle) has to fight a platoon of men  This is our hero?


The New Normal continues Ryan Murphy delusion that he’s clever and boundary breaking, but by now I think everyone knows the emperor has no clothes. Yes, I know everyone loves Glee and it taught some valuable lessons on tolerance, but did we miss that to do it he used the most stereotypically flaming gay character ever to do it and none of it was exactly subtle.  It got to the point where it was like being yelled at to be a better person for an hour while showtunes played in the background.  And he may be a victim of his own success, because it’s not exactly odd for two gay men—much less affluent ones—in LA to have a child.  At least Glee was squarely in the America Midwest.  And again one of the male gay characters is just stereotypically gay and I won’t even get into NeNe Leakes continuing to mine America’s love of an outlandish ghetto princesses (I don’t which is worse; that she doesn’t know the role she’s playing or she does).  What I don’t understand is why 50-something Ellen Barkin is playing the grandmother to a 20-something girl?  Why isn’t she just her mother?  Sadly, I love Ellen Barkin so much I may just try to continue watching this for a few weeks.


I usually try to give everything a shot, but some things are simply too stupid, like Guys With Kids. Seriously?  We’re in the twenty-first-fucking-century and a man taking care of a baby is still considered unique enough to build a show around?  Seriously?  If two gay men with a child isn’t odd, what the fuck do you think this is?  Not to mention Anthony Anderson is in it and he’ll always be the “black Tom Arnold” to me and a sure sign of crap.  I will never watch this.


4 Sep

1. The Possession/LGF                               Wknd/$   17.7            Total/$  17.7

2. Lawless/Weinstein                                 Wknd/$   10.0            Total/$  12.1

3. The Expendables 2/LGF                        Wknd/$     8.9            Total/$  66.3

4. The Bourne Legacy/Universal              Wknd/$     7.3            Total/$  96.3

5. ParaNorman/Focus                                 Wknd/$     6.6            Total/$  38.0

6. The Odd Life of Timothy Green            Wknd/$     6.2            Total/$  36.1

7. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners           Wknd/$     6.1            Total/$ 431.4

8. The Campaign/Warners                          Wknd/$     5.7            Total/$  73.2

9. 2016 Obama’s America                            Wknd/$     5.6            Total/$   18.7

10. Hope Springs/Sony                                 Wknd/$     4.7            Total/$   52.1


The Possession opens at number one and this is being called “The Jewish Exorcist” and it doesn’t matter what religion we’re exploiting: I don’t do the scary.  This is based on the true story of a box that made everyone who owned it sick.  Maybe it was just really fucking ugly. I’m a prime believer that ugly interior design can in fact make you sick.  I mean, that’s what feng shui is all about, right? No? Are you sure?


Lawless opens at number two and one of these things is not like the other: Gary Oldman, Thomas Hardy, Guy Pearce, Shia Lebouf.  Every day of Shia Lebouf’s career chips away at Steven Spielberg’s reputation because Spielberg is solely responsible for him having anything outside of a Disney show.  He’s Spielberg’s little representation of himself onscreen and you can tell by all the hot little shicksas he’s paired with onscreen with and he’ll be onscreen with giant alien robots before he’ll touch a Jewish girl.


The Expendables 2 is down to number three and Jet Li is in this for all of five minutes making me wonder once again why Sho Kosugi didn’t get the call to step in for him instead of this Asian actress who is supposedly creating romantic tension with Stallone (they aren’t). Seriously, if you had to go there why not Lucy Liu or Michele Yeoh?  You know, someone people actually know with an action background?  But given they’re both over 40, that was probably unacceptable for the 68-year-old Stallone.  They’re already talking about number three and getting Wesley Snipes once he gets out of jail for tax evasion. But you know who they’re conspicuously not talking about getting?  Mel Gibson.  Seems there’s no great demand for a Lethal Weapon on the team.


ParaNorman is down to number four followed by The Odd Life of Timothy Green at number five and The Dark Knight Rises at number six and the more I think about this movie the worse it gets in my memory, much like The Dark Knight.  Christopher Nolan and his brother are just shitty writers, period. But this has made another billion worldwide so they are now unstoppable in their crap.


The Campaign is down to number seven followed ironically by 2016: Obama’s America which for many is also a political comedy, though supposedly a documentary about Obama’s secret agenda as revealed through his own autobiography. Yes, the basic premise of this movie is that the president wrote a book about his secret plans for America and if you can see the basic flaw in that logic you’re smarter than everyone who either helped make this or actually paid to see it.  But America, being founded on rebellion, has always maintained a strong number of conspiracy nuts, people just driven to be contrary to something for some reason.  From these idiots here to those who think The Illuminati run the world, to those who think The Masons control America, to those who felt not only were the moon landings faked but that Neil Armstrong was actually killed last week because he was going to reveal the truth. No, I’m not kidding.


Finally, Hope Springs closes out the top ten at number ten and our summer movie season is officially over.


There was no top ten last week because a) I was on vacation and b) I walked out of Premium Rush, making it the second film in my life I’ve ever walked out on, the first being It’s A Guy Thing with Jason Lee and Julia Stiles.  That was a free screening, so I don’t count it so much, but his I actually paid to see and I still don’t know why I was there.  Brick was great, but it wasn’t so great I need to see every piece of crap Joseph Gordon-Leavitt puts out, least of all a movie about bike messengers. You know what’s interesting about bike messengers? Nothing. Not a fucking thing.  Kevin Bacon proved that 20 years ago with Quicksilver.  So why I thought this would be different I’ll never know.  Fortunately for us, our tickets were never torn so we can go back to that theater (where we go almost every week) and exchange them for another movie.


I don’t pretend to be one of those people who are too good for reality TV. I’m not. I just don’t indulge in the “class porn” shows like Teen Mom or Jersey Shore or the various shows about “Wives” where we see people with and without money, but usually with no education basically showing they have dignity or self-respect.  It’s for one purpose and one purpose only: to laugh at them and feel better about yourself either that you were never dumb enough to get knocked up as a teenager or that you’d never start a bar fight in a $5000 Armani dress.  And on some of these shows you can find someone who’s done both.  What I did start watching was Gallery Girls, thanks to my Geek Girl Movie Buddy.  She hated the people in it so much it made her want to destroy NYC.  That of course meant I had to watch it and her hatred was totally justified. The girls on this show whose lives revolve around the New York art scene are some of the most horrible people you will ever see.  You think the worst person you’ve seen is the girl whose father is a collector so she leverages that to not only get an internship at a gallery but to make sure that she doesn’t have to work hard. Then you meet the girl whose grandfather made money with DuPont back in the day so as she openly tells you, she doesn’t have to worry about money. I know we’re all stupid when we’re young, but there’s no excuse for this bitch.  She and her friends open a gallery/store and while the girl who stupidly borrowed money from her parents to do this (they were equally stupid to loan it to her) frets about the business for good reason, DuPont Bitch (sorry, there’s just no other name for her) laughs at her, comes into work for only two hours then leaves with her hipster boyfriend and openly talks about what she’ll do next if this doesn’t work out because you see SHE’S FUCKING RICH.  She is as obnoxious and entitled as it gets.  That she and Obnoxious Intern don’t get along when they meet is the finest irony because they’re exactly the same.  Yes, Obnoxious Intern had a drug problem and daddy seems to be withholding love because of it, but you almost understand him.  Who could fucking love her!?!  Another girl is the Model Waitress. She claims to be a model and we do see her modeling but honestly she’s a waitress who occasionally models for white guys who clearly like Asians who’ll take their clothes off for “art photos.”  Real models don’t have to fucking wait tables.  But as self-centered as she is, Model Waitress is at least taking care of herself. Her parents don’t support her because they’re doctors and when she decided she wanted to be a photographer they washed their hands financially of her. A lot of her confidence comes across as a façade she puts on to hide her insecurities and fears.  She seems like someone who is going to look back in a few years and ask, “What the fuck was I thinking?”  Likewise the middle-class girl from Long Island who was blessed with height and cheekbones (she looks like Ali Larter) which were clearly her passport into being a “gopher” for the super-rich (we see her bring bagels to a private jet waiting at Teterboro Airport) as well as the internship for an art advisor. Even her career path makes sense. She wants to purchase art for hotels, basically combining her two current jobs.  She openly admits that she might not be able to afford her Meatpacking district apartment for long and that working a real job plus an unpaid internship is killing her. It’s why you like her better than the other intern who is Upper East Side born.  You want to feel some pity for her as she’s not very pretty and clearly loses out to the less knowledgeable Long Island girl on that basis alone, but you know what? Long Island Girl is open about her ignorance of art and doesn’t front.  Upper East Side Girl is obnoxious and anyone who likes going to an Upper East Side Bar with a bunch of dudes who look like they wear Axe deserves what she gets.  Needless to say, I’m going to watch and hate on this every fucking week.


Last year DC Comics relaunched all its lines except for the ones that were making lots and lots of money.  This means Superman was started over from scratch while all the Batman stories remain intact—except for the ones that don’t.  They’ll tell you which ones when they feel like it. Now DC Comics does this every couple of years but this was unique in that they were clearly ready to attract a new audience even at the expense of the older one—which is why they did the unthinkable and changed Superman’s costume. Gone are the red briefs and gold belt (which were actually a perfect balance of color to the blue tights) as well as his marriage to Lois and place as Earth’s greatest hero.  In their place are battle armor (if you’re asking why does invulnerable Superman need armor that question makes you smarter than anyone at DC Comics) with a collar because the idiot running DC thinks it looks “royal”; Superman being distrusted by the government and making out with Wonder Woman in his spare time. For me this meant the end of a lot of comics buying. I was falling off anyway because I simply don’t like a lot of what’s coming out, but my Superman wears little red briefs and is married to Lois Lane. I’ve no use for this new shit.  But just as a broken clock is right twice a day, they managed to come out with something worth reading and it was ironically Wonder Woman whose new book surely makes her worthy of more than simply being “Superman’s girlfriend.”  I passed on it not only for the reasons given but also because they backtracked on finally puttying some clothes on her last year.  Also from what I could see it was yet another freaking story about her and the Greek gods, which is like every Superman story being somehow about Krypton.  It was boring before and I didn’t see it getting any better this time. Oh, how wrong I was.  This is seriously good stuff. So good I give the best comic book writing compliment possible: it’s like something Neil Gaiman might have come up with. Seriously. First of all, it’s not a superhero book. Wonder Woman isn’t fighting supervillains to save the world. Zeus is missing, his throne is up for grabs and it spilling out onto the earth.  She’s trying to protect innocent people caught up in it, one in particular. Before, Wonder Woman was created from clay by her mother and given life by the gods. It was always a problematic origin, because it meant at her core she wasn’t human but a super-golem. A writer named William Messner-Loebs teased us briefly with the great idea that Wonder Woman was actually the result of her mother, Hippolyta’s relationship with Hercules, but since they had Hercules rape and imprison the Amazons after seducing her, which was a little distasteful so they didn’t follow through with it.  For this reboot the clay story is revealed to be just that; a story. She’s revealed to be the daughter of Zeus, making her ironically a demi-god just like Hercules (a greater irony is that previous the second Wonder Girl was a daughter of Zeus, but she was eliminated in the reboot clearly so her origin could be given to Wonder Woman). This also means that in dealing with the Olympic pantheon, she’s no longer fighting gods she worships, but her family.  And what a family it is. The interpretations of the gods here are nothing short of brilliant. They range from the beautiful to the grotesque to the beautifully grotesque.  Zeus and Hera are traditionally human-looking, while Hermes is like 9-foot bird-man, Hephaestus a creature with molten lava hands; Apollo the sun god is ironically as dark as night, but glows from within.  Demeter is a plant woman while Poseidon isn’t human at all, but appropriately a giant, tentacled sea-creature.  Most disturbing of all is Hades who looks like a small boy with a crown of candles melting on his head and what he does with his father Cronus in the underworld is so disturbing I began to question reading it so close to bedtime (we also see Persephone and it’s not good).  The first story arc was about Wonder Woman trying to protect an unborn child of Zeus from Hera’s wrath (in keeping with myth, when Hera learns Wonder Woman is a child of Zeus she punishes Hippolyta by turning her to stone and all the Amazons to snakes).  I can’t even imagine where it goes from here but while I’m enjoying the lack of superheroics, I know they have to show up and I’m afraid it can’t compare to what has come before.  Also even while I love it, it cannot go on forever, because like before, every story being about the gods can get dull.  But I do recommend buying the first 12 issues (the first six have already been collected). And for old school comics fans, the last page has a special treat.


19 Aug

 1. The Expendables 2/LGF                            Wknd/$   28.8           Total/$  28.8

 2. The Bourne Legacy/Universal                 Wknd/$   17.0            Total/$  69.6

 3. ParaNorman/Focus                                    Wknd/$   14.0            Total/$  14.0

 4. The Campaign/Warners                            Wknd/$   13.4            Total/$  51.7

 5. Sparkle/TriStar                                            Wknd/$   12.0            Total/$  12.0

 6. The Dark Knight Rises/Warners              Wknd/$   11.1             Total/$ 409.9

 7. The Odd Life of Timothy Green                Wknd/$   10.9            Total/$   15.2

 8. Hope Springs/Sony                                     Wknd/$     9.1             Total/$   35.1

 9. Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3/Fox                      Wknd/$     3.9            Total/$   38.8

 10. Total Recall/Sony                                       Wknd/$     3.5            Total/$   51.8



The Expendables 2 opens at number one and it’s pretty much impossible to get mad at a film this stupid as it clearly embraces its own stupidity and silliness.  I mean, you can’t get much campier without men being in drag.  The entrance of Chuck Norris is the stuff of instant legend.  It’s so over the top it’s practically a parody of Chuck Norris.  And it doesn’t stop there as he appears to the sounds of “The Good The Bad & The Ugly” along with jokes about how he’s been a “Lone Wolf” at times.  In fact, in a movie with Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger you hear “I’ll back” “You’ll be terminated” ‘Who’s next? Rambo?” and “Yippie Ki Yay.”  And that’s in addition to jokes about Dolph Lundgren’s character going to MIT and having a Fulbright scholarship.  See, it’s funny because Dolph Lundgren did go to MIT on Fulbright scholarship.  The problem with this film is that there are simply too other many scenes where they clearly aren’t in on the joke and still think they represent bad-ass action heroes, not the least of which is when Stallone says to villain Jean Claude Van Damme in the showdown, “I’ll man you up” AS HE UNDOES HIS BELT!  For a second I thought they’d screwed up the reels and put on some gay porn.  Also there’s nonstop use of the type of filter once reserved for “actresses of a certain age.”  Well, it’s not just for girls any more. Now you need it to prop up the egos of men like Stallone, who unlike his co-stars, stopped being an A-lister about a decade back.  It’s so intense the film looks out of focus at times.  In addition, from his “badass” chopper, to his oddly-looking and strangely still jet-black hair, to the hot younger Asian chick who wants him, Stallone has made this film so male-menopausal they may need a new word for it. Hell, we should just use his name.  “You hear about Bob?  Left his wife for a young girl, bought a sports car, wearing as toupe…he’s gone full on Stallone.”  Oddly, only Van Damme (who along with Norris turned down the first film) acquits himself well. He started off as a movie villain against Sho Kosugi (and why the hell isn’t he here) and coming full circle has become very good at it.



The Bourne Legacy is down to number two and also in this is Rachel Weisz who is no stranger to the female scientist lead in an action movie, going back to Chain Reaction with Keanu Reeves and the two Mummy films.  Here she’s one of the scientists who helped make the super-soldiers and it does them credit that they remembered what made Bourne appealing was that despite all his skills he still needed someone to help him. That he was somewhat scared and confused.  Here we learn that Aaron Cross in fact lacked the IQ to join the army and the recruiter fudged his application to make a quota. He needs what she does because he’ll lose the intelligence he’s gained.  This humanizes him because it adds a level of understandable fear and desperation to what he does. Also like Bourne, when the time comes he tells her to leave and she chooses to stay with him, though there’s no hint of romance until the very end of the film which might as well have “To Be Continued…” pop up on the screen.



Para Norman opens at number three and why in the world is this being released two months before Halloween? It’s the second-most profitable holiday behind Christmas, so why you releasing this in the dog days of summer where it’s opening a weak third as opposed to October 26th, where it could have cleaned up?  It doesn’t take a genius to figure this out.  I’m mildly interested in this if for no other reason fucking Tim Burton isn’t involved.  Again, something to watch on cable in a year.



The Campaign is down to number four and another reason to never see this movie is its director, Jay Roach, the man behind Meet The Parents and the horrible sequels as well as every Austin Powers movie.  Yeah, exactly. He makes comedy for morons.



Sparkle opens at number five and if you’re black and especially if you’re black and of a certain age, you know all about Sparkle, a fictional account of a Supremes-type girl group from the 70’s starring Irene Cara.  If you didn’t see it, then your mom and dad had it on VHS (it only came out on DVD when Dreamgirls was released).  Either way it was part of your life, especially the music from none other than Curtis Mayfield and sung by Aretha Franklin (En Vogue’s hit “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” was a remake of one of those songs).  It’s a very, very black experience.  When R. Kelly showed up with a singer who went by the name “Sparkle” every black person in America got the reference.  That said Mike Epps is in this remake so I will never fucking see it. Ever.  Cannot stand Mike Epps.   It doesn’t matter how good or bad the film is, he makes it worse. He’s either the biggest turd in a pile of shit or he’s a piece of shit someone dropped onto your otherwise nice cake.  There’s a lot of sadness already attached to this film with it being Whitney Houston’s last, but his presence is insult to injury. Yes, I really hate him.



The Dark Knight Rises is down to number six, followed by The Odd Life of Timothy Green opening at number seven and in this is Jennifer Garner and her presence here means that she’s pretty much given up.  Like Vin Diesel and The Rock before her, after a number of flops she’s turned to family films (this is from Disney no less).  Honestly, she should have stayed with TV.  She was never a big screen star and at best she’s just a prettier Hilary Swank who isn’t exactly lighting up the box office either.  For Joel Edgerton this is covering his bases, as Warrior and the prequel to The Thing both disappointed.  He’s actually Tom Buchanan in the upcoming Great Gatsby from Baz Lurhman (always giving his Australian countrymen work) and given that’s been pushed back from Oscar-baiting December to next year, things do not look good for him either.



Hope Springs is down to number eight and also in this is Mimi Rogers who is Tommy Lee Jones’s sexual fantasy neighbor.  I guess because she’s got ginormous boobs.  Seriously.  And isn’t afraid to show them as half-a-dozen movies will prove.  But what she will inevitably be most famous for is being briefly married to crazy-ass Tom Cruise in the 80’s…when he also dated Cher, indicating a clear “mommy period.”



Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is down to number nine, followed by Total Recall wrapping up the top ten at number ten and given this movie tried to leave behind so much of the first film, why the hell is there a three-breasted hooker?  She was a mutant in the first, but since there’s no Mars, where’d she come from?  It’s a fun flourish in a movie that clearly doesn’t want to have any fun.  So many, many mistakes… but the upside is maybe people will stop giving Len Wiseman money.  It’s only made $51M domestic and another $58M overseas.  Too bad the budget was $125M, meaning it’d need $375M to be a clear hit and $250M just to break even.



I’ve come late to the table on Bunheads, but I enjoy it.  Big city person in small, strange town has worked since The Egg & I and isn’t stopping now, least of all in this show about a once promising dancer now a Vegas showgirl who accepts a marriage proposal drunk and winds up in small town, where her mother-in-law just happens to run a dance studio for the town’s young people.  I never watched Gilmore Girls but I’m aware that loquacious women in a quirky small town are part of the Amy Sherman Palladino formula and she continues to follow (it even includes a young ballet dancer who looks just like Alexis Bledel).  Granted, it can seriously be grating at times and the forced eccentricies of the townspeople really annoys others, but for the most part I find it fun and I’m big on fun TV these days.  Also, I like the fact that while, Laura Graham was far from ugly, the female lead here also isn’t some beauty queen.  It makes her more human and relatable.  I mean as relatable as tall, thin Tony-nominated Broadway performer Sutton Foster can be.  What’s great is that I get to watch the entire summer season in on fell swoop because I’m so behind.



16 Jul


1. Ice Age 4/Fox                                                Wknd/$   46.0            Total/$   46.0

 2. Amazing Spider-Man/Sony                       Wknd/$   35.0            Total/$ 200.0

 3. Ted/Universal                                              Wknd/$   22.1            Total/$ 159.0

 4. Brave/Disney                                                Wknd/$   10.7            Total/$ 195.6

 6. Savages/Universal                                       Wknd/$     8.7            Total/$   31.5

 5. Magic Mike/Warner                                    Wknd/$     9.0            Total/$   91.9

 7. Madea’s Witness Protection/LGF             Wknd/$     5.6            Total/$   55.6

8. Katy Perry: Part of Me/Paramount           Wknd/$     3.7            Total/$   18.6

9. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                          Wknd/$     3.7            Total/$   32.4

10. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                     Wknd/$     3.5            Total/$ 203.7



Ice Age 4: Continental Drift opens at number 1 and I stopped after the first sucky one and if you want a clue to how much these movies suck just note how hard they have to push their stars.  Does Pixar push their stars?  No.  It’s about the characters.  Ice Age pushes so hard because god knows you could give a shit about the characters.  Drake and Rhianna? Are you fucking kidding me?



Amazing Spider-Man is down to number two and one of the reasons this reboot came so quickly is a) IT’S ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THIS IN FUCKING HOLLYWOOD, YOU MORONS! And b) Sony had to get another Spider-Man movie out or the rights went back to Marvel, which is bad if you wanted to see him meet Captain America or Iron Man, but good if you wanted movies that stood alone and weren’t little more than prequels to another Avengers movie. Yes, I’m still bitter about that. It’s not like I get a cut of the $600M to ease my pain at getting half-assed movies designed solely to set up another.



Ted is down to number three and also in this is Mila Kunis as Mark Walberg’s girlfriend and as you know the age disparity thing is a pet peeve of mine. Walberg gets to play 35 when he’s clearly in his 40’s, while they hire an actress who’s actually 30 to play 30.  Men get to play younger while women do not or actually play older.  I can’t blame Marky Mark because his last two female lead were Kate Beckinsale and Amy Adams who are his age, so it falls on Seth McFarlane who I don’t like any way and this just gives me another valid reason.



Brave is down to number four and it’s not looking good as with a $185 budget, it has yet to double it worldwide, making it a rare disappointment for Pixar but yet another one for a female lead for Disney, the last being The Princess & The Frog.  Now, neither one of these films is that impressive, but that’s not what assholes in suits will see. They’ll see “Chicks don’t sell” and cite that crappy movies with dudes make money all the time.  Sadly they are right. Women simply don’t have the margin for failure that men do, plain and simple. With that in mind you’d think they’d have given this script another pass because the stakes are higher.  How can the same people who made Up look at this and think it was okay?



Magic Mike is holds at number five and the mystery as to why Alex Pettyfer was not part of the media onslaught has been revealed: Channing Tatum hates him.  See?  People skills matter.  Playing the female lead is Cody Horn, who is awful and most are seeing it as nepotism because her dad used to run Warner Brothers.  Personally I’m seeing a trend with Soderbergh going back to his first film, sex, lies & videotape. Andie McDowell couldn’t act either but he made it seem like she could and since then he’s kinda prided himself on casting lots of no-talent females and watched while people gushed over their performances with him while tanking everywhere else. Hell, he got Julia Roberts an Oscar and she can’t act worth shit.  Of course it’s doesn’t always work as Sasha Gray, Gina Carano and now Cody Horn have proven.



Savages is down to number six and don’t tell me you’ve got a movie that’s over two hours and don’t have time to include the scenes with Uma Thurman as Blake Lively’s mom.  Now, that I might have paid to see.



Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection is down to number seven followed by Katy Perry: Part of Me actually holding at number eight with Moonrise Kingdom likewise holding at number nine.



Finally, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted closes out the top ten as there’s a newer mediocre animal film here now to take its place.



Now, not all science fiction is robots and space ships. Some of the best science fiction is about smaller yet still fantastic things that help speak to the human condition. Timer is an example of one of these. It’s about a world where a “timer” can be implanted into you arm and it will tell you how long you have until you meet the person you’re supposed to be with—but only if that person also has a timer. If it doesn’t, your timer remains blank.  Oona, played by Emma Caulfield who was Anya on Buffy, has a blank timer and tends to push every guy she dates without a timer into getting one, obviously with no success. On the other hand her sister has a timer that tells her she’s got 12 years until she meets her guy, so she’s just partying until that time comes.  They’re two sides of the same misery. Adding insult to injury, their 14-year-old little brother gets his timer and it tells him he’s going to meet the love of his in 24 hours.  This pushes Oona into the arms of a cute 20-something drummer/grocery clerk who’d asked her out even though his timer gives him just four months. Going against all her instincts, she decides to just enjoy being with him. In the meantime her party girl sister meets a widower with no timer at all and starts to fall for him.  You can see the twist that’s coming from a mile away, but it’s a nice little film that surprisingly doesn’t wuss on its ending which is optimistic but realistic. No great shakes but nice to see something beyond lasers and monsters in science fiction.



I’m also continuing with my fashion documentaries and just finished Vidal Sassoon: The Movie, which was wonderful, because the man lived an amazing life.  He grew up Jewish in the Depression in England, got an apprenticeship for free because he was polite, fought fascists in the streets in London after WWII which lead him to Israel to fight for the motherland. Came home to be a hairdresser and the rest is history.  He was as much part of the 60’s Swinging London as The Rolling Stones.  Grace Coddingtion the artistic director of Vogue was one of the models who made his work famous and vice versa.  One of his best friends was the woman credited with formally creating the mini-skirt.  An avid follower of physical fitness he was doing Pilates in the 70’s where he also had a talk show with his second wife.  He was 80 when the documentary it was made and looked 60, swimming and doing yoga like a man half his age.  It seems impossible that he’d be dead within a year, but sadly cancer doesn’t care.  Still wonderful he got to see this before he passed.



So this week’s cultural trip was to the NY Transit Museum in Brooklyn and when you really understand the effort took to create the subway system as well as keep it running, you realize it’s a wonder it works at all.  Seriously.  It’s a staggering example of human achievement but all we can do is bitch about it because we’ve never known anything else.  I went because of a series of 18 watercolors about all the bridges around New York and while they were wonderful what was an unexpected pleasure was learning about the history of the city’s lifeline and I only scratched the surface.  I’ll have to look for that documentary about its creation on Netflix (‘cause I damn sure ain’t readin’ no books).  Speaking of the surface, it seems obvious now but I walked around for a few minutes before realizing the damn thing is entirely underground.  Of course it is! Duh.  And it’s huge. Just when you think you’ve seen it all there are another set of doors leading to another huge room filled with displays and dioramas and even full sized buses.  And under that is a station with subway cars from every era of the system’s 100 year history, complete with the ads from that time.  And it’s only $7.  Which I just happened to find on the ground that day so it was meant to be.



9 Jul

1. Amazing Spider-Man/Sony                   Wknd/$   65.0            Total/$ 140.0

 2. Ted/Universal                                          Wknd/$   32.6            Total/$ 120.2

 3. Brave/Disney                                            Wknd/$   20.2            Total/$ 174.5

 4. Savages/Universal                                   Wknd/$   15.6            Total/$   16.2

 5. Magic Mike/Warner                                Wknd/$   15.6            Total/$  72.8

 6. Madea’s Witness Protection/LGF        Wknd/$   10.2            Total/$  45.8

 7. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                   Wknd/$     7.7            Total/$ 196.0

 8. Katy Perry: Part of Me/Paramount      Wknd/$     7.2            Total/$   10.3

 6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter      Wknd/$     6.0           Total/$  29.0

 7. Prometheus/Fox                                        Wknd/$     4.9           Total/$ 118.3

 9. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                       Wknd/$     4.6           Total/$   10.3

10. To Rome With Love/SPC                        Wknd/$     3.5           Total/$     5.6



The Amazing Spider-Man opens at number one and as someone who hated Sam Raimi’s borderline camp approach to the character, I was actually looking forward to this and I wasn’t disappointed.  Gone was the “lifted-straight-from-the-comic-books” dialogue and the sun-drenched fantasy NYC and in its place was a more appropriate and actually accurate angsty lead character and a New York City of dark blues and grays.  Tobey Maguire was actually a good Peter Parker, looking pretty much like the character brought to life while Andrew Garfield is a good interpretation of the character fitting in better with this slightly darker viewpoint.  This is also not based as much upon the original comics from the 60’s but upon the Ultimate Spider-Man series from 00’s where the character was “updated” for a 21st Century audience (Peter Parker now works on a the Daily Bugle website).  But much of the “old school” is still here, most notably a return to mechanical webshooters.  None of that bullshit organic webbing which was just gross if you really thought about it.  Also, they utilize Dr. Curt Connors, aka “The Lizard” something Raimi only teased us with for three movies with Dylan Baker.  They also make sure to include Spider-man’s most notable characteristic: he’s a wiseass.  Wisecracks are as much a part of Spider-man as the webbing and the wall-crawling and they were strangely absent from all Raimi’s films.  Unfortunately, like its predecessors, the film does run a tad too long with nothing to show for the length, especially when at the heart of the film is a mystery involving Peter Parker’s parents.  Instead it’s dangled like a carrot for the post credit sequence, which doesn’t so much make you look forward to a sequel as much as it reminds you how much time was wasted on an unresolved plotline.



Ted is down to number two and this takes away from brief joy at how Adam Sandler’s recent films haven’t been dong that well by introducing me to his replacement in the world of frat-boy cinema: Seth McFarlane.  This is doing so disgustingly well, expect to spend the next decade watching this guy make a fortune with his policy of low-hanging-fruit humor.



Brave holds at number three and this gets points for its use of actual Scottish actors.  Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Kelly McDonald are all here, though I can’t believe there’s no Ewan McGregor given he’s in every other goddamn movie all of them not this good.  Likewise Gerald Butler.  And what, no token call to try and lure Sean Connery out of retirement?



Savages opens at number four and I was actually set to see this until I saw that it had a run time over two hours and Oliver Stone simply does not get that kind of commitment from me any longer.  His days as a “must see” director are long over and not even the possibility of seeing Blake Lively naked and in a threesome is enough to get me in there. Not to mention, given how Stone treats women I also have no interest in watching probably her and definitely Salma Hayek die horrible deaths.  Mommy died, Oliver. She didn’t leave you.



Magic Mike is down to number five and no one needed this like Alex Pettyfer needed this. After I Am Number Four, Beastly and even In Time all tanked his run as the “Hot New Thing” was over pretty much before it started (he was also rumored to have been a bad boyfriend to the pretty blonde Glee girl which didn’t help his public image).  So much so that even though he’s the catalyst of the events in the film, you’ll notice he wasn’t on any magazine covers with the other four. He had the dangerous stain of previous failures on him so they basically cut him out completely.  Adam Rodriguez also wasn’t part of it because…well, he’s Latino. There’s simply no other way around it. But is that better or worse than being left out because they’re afraid you, as a blonde, English, ex-model will tank a movie about pretty men?



Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection is down to number six and also in this is Denise Richards of all people. Now, I became a fan of hers after her short-lived reality series where it was revealed she was a foul-mouth girl with a honking midwestern accent, but that pretty much means I follow her twitter feed. That’s about all the fandom I’ve got in me for her.  And Eugene Levy must simply take solace in that he’s paying for his kids college educations because the man was on SCTV 30 years ago so I know that he knows what funny really is—and this ain’t it.



Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is down to number seven followed by Katy Perry: Part of Me opening at number eight and honestly I’m stunned because it’s only now dawning on me how big Katy Perry is. Even when she was churning out hit after hit I was in denial that someone so bland and mediocre was some kind of superstar and yet here we are.  Now, these films are cheap to make because they’re basically just filming them on tour, but honestly there still aren’t a lot of them made because only the biggest bands can make a return on their release.  We’re talking Prince and U2 at their 80’s peak level of big.  And dozens of legit superstars have still never done this, but here is Katy Perry’s.  Unbelievable. Needless to say, I’ll never see it. Her music blows (I heard it the first time in the 80’s), her looks are mediocre and covered breasts don’t occupy a lot of my time.



Moonrise Kingdom continues to hang around the top ten at number nine with To Rome with Love entering the top ten at number ten. This is Woody Allen’s latest and the latest of his “overseas funding” series because these are the people giving him the money to make his films.  That’s it.  It’s not like his inspiration has led him overseas.  His investors have.  You keep hearing people talk about how overseas revenue has mattered more than domestic for years, well it started with Woody Allen.  As much as he was loved here at his peak he was worshipped overseas and these are the people supporting him financially today.  And to people who love Polanski, his banging Mia Farrow’s daughter was positively quaint so it didn’t even register. I’m indifferent, however, which is even worse than being repulsed.  It looks like so much more of the same with no “hook” like the fantasy element of Midnight in Paris to set it apart.



For the past five years to commemorate the big Sunday triathlon there was an Underwear Run the preceding Friday.  A friend of mine asked me to do it three years ago and my response was an instant “No.”  The underwear was not the problem. It was the running. An underwear walk or bike ride would have had my instant approval. However, after watching it on TV I kinda grew to regret not doing it and told her we should do it next year….but she forgot to register us.  And again the year after that.  This time I took matters into my own hand and actually made a note on my calendar on when registration for the event began. Of course by this time she’d become a world traveler and wouldn’t be in town to do it (likely story) so I’d be going it alone. Now, it’s not simply a matter or running in your tighty-whiteys (which should be banned, by the way), but putting on a show.  Of course I have some Superman briefs and a cape (don’t ask) and my running shoes have a lot of red in them so I was going to run in those, only I didn’t know they had a theme and this year it was “Celebrate America.”  I briefly considered keeping Superman as he is an American icon, but Superman represents all of us regardless of borders so I felt that wouldn’t be right (it’s called respecting the character).  Fortunately enough I also have some Captain America underwear, a mask (stop asking!) and the red running shoes work there too.  But you can’t be Captain America without a shield and since I threw out the first one I made I had to make another because the only ones left on-sale were $50 a pop and that wasn’t happening.  Enter the internet.  There are literally dozens of tutorials on how to make a shield, from using actual metal (an old direct TV dish) to simple cardboard and duct tape and since there’s nothing more American than duct tape, I went that route.  The design I chose was somewhat important because I wanted actual curvature to the shield instead of some flat disc.  It took a few hours spread out over a few days (ironically enough, I didn’t work on it on the 4th of July) and while not perfect I was ultimately pleased with it.  Especially considering it was only finished about two hours before runtime.  Now came the second part: someone to hold my pants. Not knowing anything about running I didn’t know if they’d have a bag check or not for such relatively small event.  They did, but still I wanted to bring my camera and didn’t want to leave it and I also wanted someone else to take pictures, but one-by-one all the people I called either backed out, couldn’t make it or decided that “I need help tonight” translated into calling me back the next day.  Fortunately one person was free and it was my Fashion Work Crush. My Fashion Work Crush is of course a woman I work with and have a crush on, but my crush is fashion generated. I love her fashion sense.  It goes from utterly funky to totally chic and everything in between. When you’re relatively tall woman (5’8”) and thin you can wear anything you want, but she actually has some taste in style.  “Oh, these old boots,” she said to me once. “I got them in Peru.”  She was uber-free and looking to get out thanks to a recent breakup. I should have paid more attention that that last bit as it would come back to haunt me.  The run began at 7:30, but I got there at 6:30 to check in and take photos of the other runners. Of course there was a group of Hot Asian Girls in Lingerie who got most of the attention even over other groups of hot girls. What could be more American than the fetishization of an ethnic group?  I wasn’t eager to disrobe because given there were so few there at the time it would mean instant attention. Something proven by the other Captain America, who disrobed in a heartbeat and was soon posing with Hot Asian Girls in Lingerie and being interviewed all over the place.  He had a little toy shield, but made up for it with his boots and gloves.  When Fashion Work Crush finally arrived and I did disrobe, he [other Captain America] and I took a picture together.  As people began to ask me to take pictures, my ego became a little upset we didn’t do it earlier, but given how badly I looked I stand by it. Now when I decided to do this I began to take steps to make sure I didn’t look like a total slug on camera. I gave up my after work snacks of buttered popcorn, my nonstop eating of dark chocolate caramels and 5 pounds dropped off me without even trying. I also started my “Once A Year” running to make sure I didn’t die out there.  Once a year I run three miles a few times a week to prove I can still do it. Then I stop BECAUSE RUNNING SUCKS.  This time however, the run was easier than I remembered, not threatening to give me a heart attack.  In fact, I thought I could do it faster and longer if I wanted to. Of course this is when my right calf, clearly jealous of the attention given the torn left calf earlier in the year decided it would begin cramping like a muthafucka. I got two weeks of running in before it happened but that combined with increasing my swimming, going back to weights (I hate weights too) and cleaning up my diet even more actually resulted in my waist shrinking.  If only I’d had those last two weeks of running I might not have had the same gut I did while running.  Not that I stood out. At. All.  The bodies on display at the Underwear Run ran the gamut from fucking chiseled perfection (she was awesome) to normal, to a guy who should be embarrassed to be seen like that.  Seriously.  There were also kids, which creeped me the fuck out. Why would dress your daughter in matching underwear for you?  I know they probably loved the bonding, but there’s the creepy bastard factor to consider.  The run itself is 1.7 miles through Central Park up and down hills and given I can do 3  it shouldn’t have been a problem, with the exception of my calf, which I’d been stretching and using a foam roll  on for the previous week. It felt fine. Of course I hadn’t taken into account something designers of moving vehicles like cars and planes call “drag coefficient.” You know, the thing that inhibits your motion through the jetstream, like superfluous decorations…OR A TWO FOOT FUCKING SHIELD ON YOUR ARM!  This is how you know comics are fantasy. Running around in a cape is stupid, masks are insanely hot and a giant circular thing on your arm inhibits running speed.  Even my need to have it accurately curved came back to haunt me because that made turning it straight to avoid drag impossible. Still, despite the shield,  the hot mask, the overall heat of the day and the training time I lost, I was soon part of the first pack, which left all the others behind.  And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy people yelling out “Captain America!” at me as I ran through the park and taking pictures. They seemed to take a special delight in the fact I had that TWO-FOOT FUCKING SHIELD ON MY ARM. I can’t tell you my time because aside from not wearing my glasses I could barely see through the damn mask, but I’m assuming it was about 15-20 minutes thanks to the adrenalin rush.  Afterwards there was more picture taking—which was especially gross thanks to the sweat—but also free shit from sponsors, which included Mexican food, bottled water, Muscle Milk energy drink and a coupon for free underwear.  Now remember Fashion Work Crush?  She had my camera and had been taking pictures all this time.  We went out for dinner and drinks afterwards so it wasn’t until I got home late that night that I saw the results…which was lots and lots of man-ass.  Remember, she’d just broken up with someone and apparently was looking at what was out there.  And I was no exception as some very unflattering ass and crotch shots of me too.  Chicks, they’re as nasty as we are.  So now that it’s over I’m sugaring myself to death with all I’ve given up over the last month, but at the same time I think I’m going to keep with it. My repulsion at my body outweighs all other things so we’re going to keep going through July to see what we can make out of this middle-aged mess.  Or maybe I’ll stop tomorrow cause life is too short to run and not eat chocolate every day.  Who knows?


2 Jul

1. Ted/Universal                                                Wknd/$   54.1            Total/$  54.1

 2. Magic Mike/Warner                                    Wknd/$   34.0            Total/$  39.2

 3. Brave/Disney                                                Wknd/$   34.0            Total/$ 131.7

 4. Madea’s Witness Protection/LGF            Wknd/$   26.4            Total/$  26.4

 5. Madagascar 3/Dreamworks                       Wknd/$   11.8            Total/$ 180.0

 6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter         Wknd/$     6.0            Total/$  29.0

 7. Prometheus/Fox                                           Wknd/$     4.9            Total/$ 118.3

 8. Moonrise Kingdom/Focus                          Wknd/$     4.9            Total/$   18.4

 9. Snow White & The Huntsman/U              Wknd/$     4.4            Total/$ 145.6

10.People Like Us/Touchstone                       Wknd/$     4.3            Total/$    4.3



I have to give it up to the marketing people at Universal. Opening Ted—a movie made for men with the emotional maturity and sense of humor of a 14-year-old—against Magic Mike was a stroke of sheer genius. Many men were clearly threatened by it and what better place for them to take solace than a comedy from the creator of Family Guy?  The theater must have stunk with the smell of testosterone and fear.  I’ve never been a fan of Family Guy for the reasons everyone from the writers of to South Park to the writers of The Simpsons (who have both mocked Family Guy on their shows) has given: it’s lazy, immature humor. Now the idea that a childhood toy coming to life to still be with you getting drunk and watching 25 years later is actually funny. Funnier still is that no one thinks it’s a big deal any longer because of America’s short attention span.  What isn’t funny is pretty much every joke in the trailer.  Ooh, look! The stuffed bear talks dirty!  Oh, look he’s being dirty again. And again. Oh, and again.  Really, that’s it?  That’s all you can do with this premise?



Magic Mike opens at number two, but it’s already made over 5 times its $7M dollar budget, which makes it as successful as The Avengers in its first week alone. It’s this year’s Sex & The City, meaning the movie you and your girlfriends go to on girl’s night out.  And when I say “girlfriends” I don’t necessarily mean all women either.  The movie was also marketed very well as a girl’s night out event, which ironically helped Ted as it sent an entire group of men in the opposite direction. Good thing too, because I’m pretty sure if all the theaters were like the one I went into in Chelsea with lasers, a DJ and shirtless go-go boys they wouldn’t have lasted very long.  That said, the simple fact it’s about male strippers is about as edgy as it gets.  The story is oddly very old fashioned and if you replaced “stripping” with virtually any other type of entertaining, it’s the same thing.  They could be stand up comedians and the story of the older, but relatively young guy taking a newbie under his wing only to see him let the success go to his head spiral out of control, threatening to take the older guy down with him.  In addition the older guy is falling for the younger guy’s sister.  If you made it in the 50’s they could be rock & roll musicians.  If you made it in the 40’s they could be lounge singers (if they’d made it in the 70’s it would still be strippers, but with it would probably end with a body count to rival Hamlet.).  It’s the same story and the reason they keep using it is because it works, like Pygmalion or Cinderella.  A rise and fall alongside a fall and rise with a little romance thrown in.  It’s a good stock plot on which to justify lots and lots of barely clad men with no bodyfat.  This is the other reason boys fled to Ted.  It reminded them that women also have ideals of physical perfection that they will never, ever meet.  Seriously, some of these guys look like comic book characters they’re so cut and defined. It’s ridiculous.  And intimidating.  So much so I’m doing crunches as I type this. And by “crunches” I mean “eating chocolate caramels.”



Brave is down to number three and this is somewhat sad given how Madgascar 3: We’re Not Even As Good As A Bad Pixar Film held the stop slot for weeks.  But it hasn’t even made budget worldwide which is not good because they’re going to blame it on a female lead, especially right after The Princess & The Frog also disappointed, but the truth is neither film was that good. Now Mulan was successful despite being a musical. Know why? It was good.  See, not that hard.



Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection opens at number four, followed by Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted at number five with Prometheus down to number six and if you needed another reason to hate this movie, know that it’s inspired Tyler Perry to try and make his own science fiction movie because he was so disappointed by it and loves science fiction.  I’m going to assume you love good movies too, Tyler, but it’s never resulted in you making one.  You know who else loves science fiction?  Eddie Murphy. The results?  The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Meet Dave.  Oh, and there’s this guy George Lucas who also couldn’t make a good science fiction movie if his life depended on it, but I’ve no doubt he loves them as well.



Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is down to number seven and also in this is Anthony Mackie as Lincoln’s best friend since childhood who helps him fight the vampires.  His role is actually based on Lincoln’s servant who, when he died Lincoln had buried in Arlington of all places and on his tombstone inscribed “Citizen.”  Hmm. That’s pretty heavy for a butler.  Are we sure this is fiction?



Moonrise Kingdom re-enters the top ten at number eight and while I’m still taking the advice of friends I respect and not seeing this, I did finally catch The Fantastic Mr. Fox on-sale at Best Buy for just $10.  This had the misfortune to be released at the same time as Up, because honestly it’s on par with the best Pixar films and would have deserved the Academy Award just as much.



Snow White & The Huntsman is down to number nine and People Like Us enters the top ten at number ten with Chris Pine as Elizabeth Banks’ unknown half-brother and Michelle Pfeiffer plays his mother.  I always like it when gorgeous movie stars play the parents of other pretty people. It makes more sense than when you have these average-looking people as the parents to these stunning individuals.  It’s also more fun.  And if you’re looking for a reason to be angry at the universe, know that Olivia Munn has two films in the top ten this week. Yeah, her.