Sunday, August 30, 2015
Get your Filth Outta Here
And, as if that weren't enough, the IMDb is cutting back! Now, I don't know about you, but I used to always get my box office information from a website with the address imdb.com/chart. All of a sudden, I get an Error 500, as opposed to the old Error 404. I guess 500 means it really really doesn't exist anymore, and it's not just a matter of refreshing the page. So I tried imdb.com/charts. Same problem.
Now, I've actually taken some courses that the mortals in charge of them called database management courses. Of course, if you actually want to work in the field of database management, you need ten plus years experience, and they probably start you out on a legacy database they maintain on an old Altair 8800... you'd be surprised! After all, pretty hard to hack into one of those, right? Anyway, I spent a bunch of time considering the art of database creation. According to my teachers, you're supposed to actually put some thought into the data you'll be saving, how it's named, formatted, what have you. Well, when you actually get out into the world proper, be sure to not think about any of that, because apparently in the real world, it's nothing but ad hoc ad hoc ad hoc all the way, all the time. Take imdb.com/chart, for example. Now, the IMDb probably has lots of charts. They sure have a lot of lists, anyway! Now, if I were naming the database, I'd definitely get marked down for naming a web page dedicated to the Top 10 films at the Box Office this weekend something too simplistic like "chart." "Now, c'mon, The Movie Hooligan. You should know better than that," they'd say. So, surely there's some replacement page in lieu of the offensive name? Nope! Nothing. Nada. So now what am I supposed to do? I feel like the carpet's been yanked out from under me. I don't know which end is up. I'm not even sure how to react; I'm too confused.
But I did manage to find... boxofficemojo dot com. Yecch. What is this? I don't want this much data, formatted like this!... or do I? Hmmm! Apparently, variety dot com's no good either. Maybe this is it! Maybe this is a vast improvement! Maybe this is just the Game-Changer I need to stay competitive in the cutthroat world of movie reviewing! After all, they do go beyond the day's headline, and well past the Top 10 of the weekend, much like Variety used to post for free. This could help me with my Short Reviews segment, as I usually have no idea what films I should be Short Reviewing; I say, let the Invisible Hand of the Market decide for me. Okay, Box Office Mojo, in conjunction with the IMDb... lead me on into the future! And what web page should I visit for such enlightenment? Why, it's http://www.boxofficemojo.com/daily/chart/, of course... Again with the charts. Apparently, that's the only thing a "chart" can be when it comes to the art of film analysis.
Well, once again, Straight Outta Compton is #1 with a bullet... I swear, that's the expression you would use. As Joe Biden might say, it's a big ... deal! To someone, anyhow. Well, for Legendary Pictures, it's just another day at the office, what with megahits to their credit like The Dark Knight and Observe and Report. For F. Gary Gray, well, even he's scratching his head over that one. Well, he's been in this biz long enough to not let it go to his head, but I dare say he's in the position that Joel Zwick was when My Big, Fat Greek Wedding started to become what the Mortal Hollywood Accountants called the most profitable film of all time... see, because it cost so little to make, but it ended up earning about 200 million at the box office. Well, we may never know how much SOC cost to make... oh, right. Well, we may never know when in the future that the web address with that information is going to change, but we do know this. Three weeks at #1? Pretty big deal. Take the new Jurassic World, for example. Four weeks at #1. Most recently, however, it spent 3 weeks off of the IMDb Top 10... only to return this very weekend at #8! Must be a holiday or something. Or maybe fans of Bryce Dallas Howard want to re-appreciate the subtleties in her performance. Either way, the proud look on director Colin Trevorrow's face probably won't go away any time soon. And rightfully so. They don't just let any dummy come in and redo a Spielberg hit!
Okay, on to the stupid debuts of the week. There's one called War Room... holy crap. Literally! Well, I guess some people thought it was the new Tyler Perry movie or something. Don't let me down, The Onion A.V. Club! Oh, they'll probably say it's actually quite heartfelt, despite the usual Christian preaching and bad production values and cliché plot points. From the title, I had a Dubya flashback to War, Inc. for a second there. No, Hollywood has calmed down considerably since those turbulent days. No Iraq exposés, no calls for impeachment and violent overthrow by a computer run amok. I know, I know, it's an A.I.
...thank you, Onion A.V. Club. Alas, this War Room is apparently being released by TriStar, so the recent scourge of Christian filmmakers may already be too entrenched to stop completely, but I'll give the Kendricks their due. They seem to be the most progressive of the Christian filmmakers with backing by big megachurches and movie studios that used to exist in the 1980s. I'll be very surprised if one of the others works with a predominantly black cast, despite War Room's success in a weakened box office economy.
The other debut this week belongs squarely in the "Locked Up Abroad" genre, with such films as Midnight Express, Beyond Rangoon, Brokedown Palace, and... what's that other one? Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche... ah yes! The ironically titled Return to Paradise. Why is it that Americans always turn to drug trafficking when they run out of money in a foreign country? Almost every episode of the new skanky National Geographic Channel's "Locked Up Abroad" went like that: "Well, the money ran out, and a guy came up to me and said, would I like to make some money? So this went on for a while (drug running) until................" But unlike Vince Vaughn, I can't accept Owen Wilson in a completely serious role. Is this a stand against his entire body of work on a par with Robin Williams in One Hour Photo? We want the Dupree Owen Wilson! The Bottle Rocket Owen Wilson! The Armageddon Owen Wilson!... there's probably others as well. Anyway, since I visited the Variety web site, I also saw a thing about a movie called We Are Your Friends. Alas, Zac Efron continues to struggle as a leading man, but surely the party that this movie is based on was fun, right? But never forget the apocryphal lyrics of that one Fleetwood Mac song, Zac: "Players only love you when they're playing." Also, it's all over the first time a young person refers to you as "Old Man." Time to move into the director's chair and give that a try. Same thing happened to Marilyn Monroe when she heard that first whisper: "I dunno... she's looking kinda old. Now that Jayne Mansfield... hubba hubba!"
(later that day) ... well well WELL!!! The IMDb "Charts" page is BACK! So much for that dreaded Error 500.