Tag Archives: television


26 Mar

1. The Hunger Games/LiongsGate            Wknd/$ 155.0           Total/$ 155.0

2. 21 Jump Street/Sony                                Wknd/$  21.3            Total/$    71.1

3. The Lorax/Universal                                Wknd/$  13.1             Total/$ 177.3

4. John Carter/Disney                                  Wknd/$   5.0             Total/$   62.3

5. Act of Valor/Relativity                              Wknd/$    2.1            Total/$   65.9

6. Project X/Warners                                     Wknd/$    2.0           Total/$   51.8

7. A Thousand Words/Paramount              Wknd/$    1.9            Total/$   14.9

8. October Baby/Goldcrest                           Wknd/$    1.7            Total/$     1.7

9. Safe House/Universal                                Wknd/$    1.4            Total/$  122.6

10.Journey 2: Mysterious Island/WB            Wknd/$    1.4          Total/$    97.2


The Hunger Games opens at number one and I have no interest in this on any level. Not the books and certainly not the movie.  Why? I simply can’t get beyond it being kids.  Seriously. I can handle my adult-on-adult arena violence just fine, but you tell me children are being forced to fight to the death and I’m out.  This is essentially the same premise as the successful Battle Royale manga (Japanese comics) series from Japan and I got through maybe four pages of that in its all its bloody black-and-white glory before putting it down.  It also spawned a film that I will never see.  I don’t even care that it’s 20-somethings playing teenagers, it’s still kids.  So you have fun.  I’ll be over here waiting for The Avengers to come out.


21 Jump Street is down to number two and I was getting perilously close to actually seeing this—but then I think of looking at Jonah Hill for 90 minutes and the feeling goes away.


The Lorax is down to number three, followed by John Carter at number four, and Disney has already written this off as a flop despite the fact that it’s doing well overseas.  It’d be hysterical to find out director Andrew Stanton had no control over overseas marketing. That would put the final nail in the coffin of him ever having this much control over a live-action film again.  But you know what?  Given he directed Finding Nemo and Wall-E, I don’t want him wasting another second with live action.  This needs to die and go away as quickly as possible, so stop it, France!


Act of Valor actually holds at number five and has made 3x its cost meaning it’s not only profitable, but pretty much guarantees a sequel.  Unsurprisingly this hasn’t done well at all overseas. Actually, I’m surprised they even tried. How on earth could you sell what is basically an unvarnished celebration of the US Military in other countries?  Yeah, Transformers, Top Gun, Battleground LA, etc were all celebrations too, but those were hidden behind drama and aliens.  This might as well be called “How We Kick Your Asses All Over The World, Foreigners.” Even Captain America was a superhero WWII movie more than anything.


Project X is down to number six, followed by A Thousand Words at number seven and to show you the bullshit about disparate ages between men and women crosses color lines, Eddie Murphy is 50 and playing his wife in this is Kerry Washington (the girl you call when Nia Long is busy) who is 35.  And don’t tell me Eddie doesn’t look his age. That’s not the point. Angela Bassett (who was once his love interest in the miserable A Vampire in Brooklyn) doesn’t look her age either, but she’s not being given a job playing his wife.  Though in this case it may be a mercy.


Opening at number eight is October Baby, yet another one of those Christian movies that shows up in the top ten from time to time. Last year it was Christian Cops and earlier this year it was Christian Firefighters.  This one is Christian…Children?  I dunno.   Basically it’s one long anti-abortion ad.  I won’t call it “pro-life” because that’s bullshit. People who fight the death penalty are “pro-life.”  This is about an adopted girl who discovers that her medical problems are the result of being the survivor of an attempted abortion by her biological mother.  Wow. Could you stack the deck any more than that?  “Abortion is so evil, even when it doesn’t happen a life is still damaged!” Sigh. I’m not even remotely surprised this was made in my hometown of Birmingham.  Keep it classy, Alabama!  Normally, I really don’t care about these movies, because everybody deserves something made for them.  I’m also glad these people have finally made their own so they can stop bitching about how horrible Hollywood is and stop that hypocritical bullshit where they edit out movies they’re clearly interested in under the guise of “inappropriate material.”  Funny how they care so much  about their morality so much they’ll edit a film that isn’t theirs but don’t care so much about morality they simply won’t give it up altogether.  That’s taking a stand for your beliefs. Cutting the nudity out of Titanic is not. Oh, and “cleaning up” a movie almost never requires taking out the violence.


Safe House is down to number nine, followed by Journey 2: Mysterious Island this stunningly has made a shitload of money.  With a $79M budget it made $97M stateside and a whopping  $207 million internationally, showing we don’t need the military to take over the world. We’ve already done it with our crappy movies.


Once again, it’s wonderful how the TV season never really ends and this week it was Bent, the second most horribly marketed product of the year (#1 of course being John Carter).  You wouldn’t know it by any of the commercials or ads on buses or phone booths, but this is essentially a romantic comedy about a contractor and the woman he’s working for. Now the review I read was not kind. It complained of all the clichés present and they are definitely here.  She’s an uptight lawyer with a cute 10-year-old daughter, slutty sister and a husband in jail for insider trading. Seriously. Not an original concept to be seen, but we’re not done.  He’s a laid back, surfing, skirt-chasing, recovering addict (gambling which isn’t as messy or unappealing as drugs or booze) contractor with a wacky dad and wacky construction crew.  But if clichés made a show bad then both Modern Family and Arrested Development are bad because they’re just about wacky families. It’s the execution that matters, because there’s no such thing as a new idea and the execution is not bad on this show. One thing that won me over immediately was a) no laugh track, which slows down the jokes to wait for the audience to laugh and b) everyone has a brain.  While the exchanges aren’t a Modern Family or even Happy Endings level of swiftness, they’re still a cut above your average sitcom.  Even the WASPy Ralph Bellamy doctor boyfriend meant to be the rival (like I said, not a cliché left unturned) gives as good as he gets.  And the cast is solid with TV vets young and old including Arrested Development’s own Jeffery Tambour, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s JB Smoove and Friday Night Lights Jesse Plemons.  Not that you’d know this from one of the worse promotions ever.  I mean, what the fuck is that title supposed to mean!?!  Given he’s a contractor shouldn’t it have been a play on that, like “Under Construction” or something?  And honestly, this is barely a 90-minute movie plot, much less something that runs indefinitely. Unless the joke was going to be that he never finishes her house like Elton on Murphy Brown.  But honestly, this was doomed the moment they cast Amanda Peet as the lead.  No matter how prestigious or a seeming sure thing the project may be, if she’s in it, it’s not gonna work.  The only way it could have been more fated for failure is if they’d cast Rena Sofer.


So I broke with my usual tradition or drinking at home alone and accomplishing nothing of what I set out to do and went out on Saturday night.  Into the wilds of Brooklyn.  And when I mean “wilds” I mean the fucking wilds as I wound up on the G train at one point.  One of the geek girls I met while working at St. Mark’s Comics is now in a band (basically she’s doing all the shit you’re supposed to do in your 20’s) where she plays the saw. Yes, the saw. It sounds like a Theremin and if you don’t know what that is do an internet search and watch some science fiction movies from the 50’s ‘cause I don’t have the time.  I get invites all the time, but this time I decided to get off my ass and support one of my friends (this doesn’t mean I’m going to do it for you).  Of course when I finally decide to do this I learn it’s in Greenpoint.  Not even Williamsburg, but Greenpoint.  Since we were headed out that way my friend and I decided to have dinner out there first.  This lead to an internet search for something nearby and comforting. I’m not going to be testing the waters of exotic in Brooklyn.  I chose Mabel’s Stackhouse, which is a bbq place in Williamsburg with some decent reviews, but me being me forgot to get the right stop before I left home. Once on the L I decided the best thing to do would be to get off on the stop where all the young people got off.  Sure enough when I saw everyone under 30 to exiting the train, I followed and the restaurant was only a few blocks away.  I’m not a connoisseur of BBQ, but I am southern so that makes my opinion more valid than 99% of everyone else above the Mason Dixon line and this was some good stuff. Definitely better than my first go round at Southern Hospitality, the place backed by Justin Timberlake.  I got the rib platter and it was tender and came easily off the bone.  The size was a little small, but I’m about portion control these days so it worked out. After dinner we got one of cars that are now legally allowed to pick you up which is a good thing because there are no fucking cabs to be found and we were headed into the wastelands.  The club was actually a bar whose backroom had the tables removed and pool table pushed into the corner. There was no elevated bandstand putting the bands flat on the floor to perform.  Because I’m old I was immediately disappointed I didn’t have anywhere to sit. Not to mention you’re killing your opportunity to have people order drinks.  The bands were supposed to start at 8:30 and my friend’s band was third up, which means they’d be lucky to be on at 11:30 which about when they went up and I was pleasantly surprised by them being good. It’s always a gamble to see a friend’s band because if they suck (and they usually do) what do you say? “Um, you were really…on stage…playing.”  But they were energetic, tight and the songs actually had melody.  Oh, and they had a saw.  But more than anything, this frees me from ever having to see them again. My obligation has been met.  Still, this doesn’t mean I’m going to see you.


18 Apr

1. Rio/Fox                                                        Wknd/$40.0                    Total/$ 40.0

2. Scream 4/Dimension                               Wknd/$ 19.3                     Total/$  19.3

3. Hop/Universal                                           Wknd/$ 11.2                     Total/$  82.6

4. Soul Surfer/TriStar                                   Wknd/$   7.4                     Total/$  20.0

5. Hanna/Focus                                              Wknd/$   7.3                     Total/$  23.3

6. Arthur/Warners                                         Wknd/$   6.9                     Total/$  22.3

7. Insidious/                                                     Wknd/$   6.9                     Total/$  36.0

8. Source Code/                                               Wknd/$   6.3                     Total/$  37.0

9. The Conspirator                                          Wknd/$   3.9                     Total/$    3.9

10. Your Highness/Universal                        Wknd/$   3.9                     Total/$  16.0


Rio opens at number one and I just had to give this a pass. I simply can’t take another colorful CGI animated film with a bunch of stars with no real character content (I’m looking at you Despicable Me, Megamind, etc).  This looks hella-pretty and has as its lead voices Jesse Eisenberg and Anne Hathaway, but the fact that it’s coming from the creators of Ice Age (which is nothing to brag about, honestly) means it’s going to have depth of character that can only be measured by a saucer.  Not a real saucer either, but one used in a Barbie playhouse.


Scream 4 opens at number two and I have never seen any of the Scream films and I’m not about to start now.  Yeah, I get they’re post-modern spoofs of the slasher flicks of the 80’s, but somewhere down the line I lost my taste for watching even the dumbest teen get butchered.  Not to mention the first film opened with Drew Barrymore being gutted while crying and begging for her life. How is that supposed to be fun?  And how is it Neve Campbell hasn’t turned into Linda Hamilton from Terminator 2 after all she’s been through?  The woman should be armed to the teeth and spent the last decade studying krav maga.  As soon as whomever the hell is in the mask this time (given how they’re all related to her somehow, I’m thinking it’s her fourth cousin on her dad’s side she wouldn’t play with at a family picnic 30 years ago) shows up he should have both his kneecaps blown off before having his neck snapped.  Clearly she’s the new Jamie Lee Curtis in that no matter what else she tries she’s still bound to the genre movie that made her famous to begin with. But it could be worse.  She could be in Wild Things: Foursome—and you wish I were making that up, but I’m not.  And still worse, she could be with Denise Richards in Cougars, Inc.  Again, not making that up.  Not that this could have ever beaten Rio, but it wouldn’t have hurt to have better known young cast.  When Hayden Panettiere is the best you’ve got, you’re in trouble.  This should have been filled with Gossip Girls & Boys and Twilight kids getting hacked to pieces.  I know plenty of people who’d have paid to see Blake Lively or Robert Pattinson get a blade in the neck.


Soul Surfer is down to number four and also in this are Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt, who I like to think are both beyond caring too much about being at the top of the heap after 30+year careers.  For them this was getting paid to go to the beach for a few months and a movie their kids could see them in.  It’s just a win all around.  And Dennis Quaid continues to taunt other men with washboard abs well into his 50’s.  But clearly the deal he made with the Devil for that body was having a crazy brother.  Do you think he and Emilio Estevez exchange sympathy calls? And conference in Alec Baldwin?


Hop is down to number five and I realize most women look less pretty standing next to James Marsden, but let’s be real; Katy Cuoco was never some great beauty to begin so this is just borderline cruel.  Betcha she was glad to get back to the set of The Big Bang Theory where she felt like Megan Fox again.


Hanna is down to number five and also in this is Eric Bana as the CIA agent who trains Hanna pretty much from birth to be a killing machine and since his much heralded entrance to the American movie scene in The Hulk didn’t pan out, he’s gone from being a leading man to the male lead to female stars. Natalie Portman & Scarlett Johansson (The Other Boleyn Girl), Rachel McAdams (The Time Traveler’s Wife) and here to both Saoirse Ronan and Cate Blanchett.  He can take a seat on the bench next to Mark Ruffalo, Dermot Mulroney and David Strathairn.


Arthur drops to number six to no one’s real surprise and also in this is Jennifer Garner who also didn’t quite make the jump to big screen female lead despite doing the prerequisite cookie-cutter romantic comedies (one of which co-starred Mark Ruffalo).  Her role in the universe has actually been filled by another tv-to-film star, Katherine Heigl.  And honestly, isn’t Jennifer Garner the answer to the question “What if Hilary Swank were a little more attractive and a little less talented?”


Insidious is down to number seven and everyone is getting cheese on their whopper after this. $1.5M budget with a $36M return so far.  And few are happier than Patrick Wilson who is a talented theatrical actor and been in good indie work (Little Children, Hard Candy) but his mainstream Hollywood work hasn’t panned out quite as well (The Watchmen, The A-Team, Lakeview Terrace).  This is why you see young actors and actors whose careers have taken a stumble doing genre films.  They’ve got a built in audience who can help get you an easy win, but you don’t get blamed if it fails, because it usually sucks anyway.  But as far as I’m concerned any man whose past work includes being married to Jennifer Connelly and cheating with Kate Winslet (in graphic sex scenes) has already won big time.


Source Code is down to number eight and speaking of talented Broadway and indie actors, also in this as “the brilliant yet, cold scientist who creates the device that sets everything in motion” is Jeffery Wright, who didn’t really need a win since he became Felix Lighter in the Bond films.  Then again, maybe he did since they were put on hold thanks to MGM’s perpetual bankruptcy.  Seriously.  I can’t remember a time when they weren’t in trouble for some reason.  Thanks for nothing, Michael Cimino.  The evil that was Heaven’s Gate lives on long after your career has gone.

The Conspirator opens at number nine and funny how a movie involving the legal system and Abraham Lincoln isn’t the one called “The Lincoln Lawyer.”  Okay, maybe not funny “ha-ha” but…oh, shut up.  This is the story of the only woman put on trial for the murder of Abraham Lincoln, which is admittedly news to me, but not so interesting I’d ever want to see this. I’d be more inclined to watch a History Channel or A&E documentary than a dramatic telling. And now the game of who doesn’t belong in the cast: Robin Wright, James McAvoy, Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Danny Huston, Justin Long…what?  Yeah, the Mac guy—and I’ve got no problem sticking him with that label—in a period drama.  Even Alexis Bleidel and Rachel Evan Wood don’t stick out like that. You can see them in period dress and it not seem weird, but that doofus?  How the hell does he end up in a film directed by Robert Redford?  It must be a favor to get Drew Barrymore in another movie.  Or did they think this would “Get the kids in”?


Your Highness closes out the top ten at number ten and did they really think this was going to  make money theatrically when its audience is clearly potheads?  And even they are going to be disappointed, because that was a movie about pot from beginning to end, whereas this is not.  Any hope for backend  money is going to be a huge disappointment.


Is there someone at ABC watching too much porn?  How else do you get one sitcom called “Cougar Town” and another called “Happy Endings?” What’s the next, “Sodomy & Blowjobs” (hopefully not in that order)?  That said, “Happy Endings” isn’t bad.  You gotta love a sitcom that advertises itself as “Another sitcom about people in their 30’s hanging out” or “Like friends, but not as white.”  Also funnier.  I hated friends for its lily-white depiction of New York, but what I really hated it for was being so successful and so un-fucking-funny.  This is a bit uneven, but the one-liners are non-stop and mostly on-target.  They pretty much had me when one character described another as “What if Paul Rudd gave up?”  That’s razor-sharp and to the bone.  Not to mention a gay character who’s just a guy and not stereotype and the second episode was actually spent mocking women who want a typical TV or movie “Gay Best Friend.”  I’ll enjoy it for as long as I can before ABC again breaks my heart the way they did with the also too-clever-for-its-own-good, Better Off Ted.


So I wound up in Brooklyn again on Friday for a combination birthday and dissertation celebration.  As usual, it was one of the women I know from Jezebel who was getting her PhD in Drama.  Not sure what you do with that (“Well, I won’t be sure until I get the tests back, but I think it’s a severe case of lacking a third act.”)  The celebration was at a beer hall at ground zero of annoying hipsterism: Williamsburg.  It’s been a long time since I wanted to punch so  many young people for simply being young. Actually it was only 24 hours, but you get my point.  Being a beer hall meant two things: all kinds of sausage and giant beers.  Seriously, it’s amazing the Germans lived long enough to start two world wars eating and drinking like that.  You’d think we could have just waited them out until their diets killed them.  My beer was literally 1.75 liters in a mug the size of pitcher. It was like something out of a cartoon. Normally I workout on Friday nights, but every time I took a sip, it was like doing a curl and the “Ride of the Valkeries” was playing on permanent loop in my head. We might as well have been drinking from a horn.  I was there until around midnight and in that time all I could consume was one of those and one glass of whiskey (yes, we’re still doing that).  But my night of annoying hip young people was not over. Oh, no.  I’d also been invited to another birthday party by a co-worker who wears some seriously amazing boots on a regular basis, and given I think I was the only person from the office she invited, I felt an obligation (but mostly it was her boots).  This took me to the second most annoying mecca of NYC hipsterism: Nolita to a place called The Back Room, known for having dickish doormen and even more obnoxious bartenders in its heyday (they wouldn’t let you in if you were wearing a fur coat).  Now, you’d think a party that started at 11:00 would just be getting into high gear at 1:00 am which is when I arrived, but they were already gone. You kids today…where’s the endurance?  But the upside is I got go home, but still get points for showing up.  Win-win.  Well at least until the morning, where I felt like shit even though I didn’t get drunk and wasn’t out all night. I feel like my body is taunting me in these instances for not partying my ass off when I could handle it.  Much in the way it taunts me for trying to be athletic now, rather than in my teens. Every ache and pain screams, “Oh, no, muthafucka. You had your chance.”