Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Premature 4th of July box office...

Might as well take care of this now. It's much harder for me to eat and play video games at the same time. Might as well keep this B.O. report short 'n sweet. We got three debuts this week. We got Nick Cassevetes' latest tearjerker called My Sister's Keeper. Oh, Cameron Diaz. We're about the same age now! Everyone's not quite turning 40, but close enough. Just don't do like Edie Adams and get lots of elective surgery... I'm assuming that's what happened to her. And she died last year! Well, heaven's a little brighter. Boy, what a rough week of celebrity deaths. And in honor of the latest celebrity... well, quasi-celebrity-spokesceleb death, Billy Mays, I'M GOING TO DO THE REST OF THE BLOG IN ALL-CAPS. IT REALLY WORKS! BOYCOTT THE SLAP CHOP! BOYCOTT THE SLAP CHOP! BOYCOTT THE SLAP CHOP!
BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE... Man, that's exhausting. I don't know how Mays could do it. The second debut this week is Away We Go. And ironically enough, it's debuting at #10. Why, they spent a mint to promote the damn thing! And it had those cool animated letters and everything. They look homemade even though they're probably CGI. And the one shot of the car on the hill? What more do you people want? Just think of it as one of those commercials where the long suffering wife puts up with her idiot husband... only padded out to 90 minutes. Personally, I blame Spielberg for this one. Why, it seems like only 10 years ago when he was helping out director Sam Mendes with his DreamWorks debut hit American Beauty. But it was a different time. The edifice of the suburban family was primed and ready to fall, a ripe target for satire indeed. And now, ten years later, we got a couple looking for a city to move to. How's THAT premise supposed to catch fire? No, once upon a time DreamWorks was the champion of the little guy and the medium-budget picture.
Flash forward to today, and DreamWorks isn't even a studio anymore! Right? And yet they crank out big budget behemoths like Michael Bay's last two pictures: The Island and Transformers 1. What about the little guy? Where's HE supposed to go for a green light? No, the little guy's just gonna have to wait, because it's big budget blockbuster politics all over again, and a Spielberg production once again comes along and clubs the competition like a whole litter of baby seals. Or is it a pride? Somebody look that up for me, and post it here, huh? Anyway, it seems that Michael Bay has drained the Transformers of all its Spielbergian E.T. / Close Encounters / Amazing Stories influences and gone back to what he does best: films with military vehicles, military personnel, Maxim-sponsored women, and explosions, explosions, explosions. Say what you will about the guy, he's not going to put anything in his movie that's not cool! Not a chance! Even the nerds aren't REAL nerds. They're movie nerds. A true computer hacker nerd is not going to be dragged in front of the Secretary of Defense and say to his fellow hacker nerds, "I feel so under-dressed!" That dude's gonna get hacked! Of course, that was from the first one. It's a different world now. I don't know how the realm of the Transformers has been expanded this go-round... except maybe for robots that call Megan Fox a "bitch"? Did I hear that right from the clip I saw online? ..you mean, Megan Fox isn't one of the Transformers? Oh, shame on me! You know, say what you will, all you jealous critics out there, but I'm gonna just put this out there for all to consider: I think Megan Fox is the front runner for the Best Actress Oscar. You watch. She'll get the SAG Award and the Golden Globe first, of course. I mean, she's gotta pretend to be in love with Shia LaBeouf! Who wouldn't deserve the Oscar for that? I hate to badmouth Shia. He's an okay actor and all, but I mean, c'mon! He's no Zac Efron here. For a Michael Bay movie, does not each gender have to put their best and brightest forward? I guess the rule is: when it's a guy movie, the girl has to be the best. When it's a chick flick, the dude has to be Zac Efron quality. The only example I can pull off the skin of my teeth at this moment is Tyler Perry's How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Of course, that's a bad example, because let's face it: Angela Bassett and Taye Diggs STILL put whitey to shame. How about She's All That? See, the rules have evolved since the 90s and the dawn of the internet revolution. The rule now is: the guy can look like a hunk of shredded beef, and the girl has to be endorsed by Maxim magazine. If not #1 on their hot 100 list, at least in their Top 5 or 10. Playboy bunnies aren't cutting it these days. Sorry, but it's true. They aren't exactly synonymous with action pictures. All that running and jumping and other assorted physical exertion. Outrunning explosions, no. These are the things they must be protected from.
The other meme floating around out there concerning Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen is that it's the biggest motion picture out there... something like that. And being a serious hardcore budget fetishist over here, I'm all, um, Spider Man 3 cost like, a zillion dollars more? Okay, just 58 million more, but still more! Of course, Tr2 is a little more headache-inducing than SM3, but for different reasons. Mostly the choppy editing. Mostly that no scene in a Michael Bay pic is allowed to last longer than 1.5 seconds. Was anyone else reminded of Armageddon, incidentally? What with all those... I can only assume they were Transformers, entering the atmosphere all burning up and sh... stuff? Now he's ripping himself off! Go figure.
Okay, that's about all I got on this batch. Oh yeah, other big budget movies. Titanic was 200 million dollars. And that's 1997 dollars! The Lord of the Rings trilogy: 300 million dollars! Indiana Jones 4? 185 million! So not worth it. Makes Howard the Duck look like a wise investment. On the other end of the spectrum, who can forget Zyzzyx Road and its 30 dollar take at the box office? Oh, snap! No wonder Sizemore ended up in prison! Who wouldn't over that?

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