Sunday, January 21, 2018

Cinema Strong

Not by much, but ONCE AGAIN the Jumanji reboot is Top of the Heap this weekend!  I haven't seen anything like it since... well, Home Alone, Titanic and the first Avatar went the distance.  Fourteen weeks seems to be about how long the American people can tolerate a blockbuster these days.  You'd probably have to go back to Jaws or the first Star Wars to see how many weeks it was at #1.  Sadly, I can't sing that Queen song anymore with any believability.  Anyway, maybe it's too early to call it... People's Choice Award?  Oscar for Special Effects?  Fresh contract negotiations for Tenacious D?  Budget information may be gone from the IMDb, but they still have an Awards section!  Apparently, however, no Golden Globe for Jumanji... maybe the sequel.  There has to be at this point.  The ship has sailed on Polar Express 2, I think.  Besides, that MoCap studio got shut down, right?  After Mars Needs Moms, everyone involved was just too humiliated to continue.  But you would think that reconstituting a MoCap studio wouldn't be too hard.  What do you got?  One giant green screen room, and you got a bunch of nerds and geeks together and... oh, right.  That could be a problem.  You get a bunch of computer programmers and a bunch of computer network specialists in a room together, look out.  No work will get done, of course.  The first day it's nothing but Dr. Who discussions, maybe some of that "Han Solo Shot First" crap.  These people think they're God's gifts, but don't have the stock options to prove it yet.
Anyway, back to the national stories that the video-jaded public deigned to step out of the house for this weekend.  First up, the latest post 9-11 sausage fest, fresh from the "Recently Declassified" bin called 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers.  Well, that's a bit of a mouthful... 12 Strong it is.  'Tis based on a book, but it's not boring like one!  Where's the visual delights?  Where's the New Mexico filling in for Afghanistan?  And is it really going to spill the beans on why George W. Bush suddenly lost interest in getting Bin Laden, and instead turned his attention towards Saddam's Iraq?  To be fair, Saddam did try to kill Dubya's daddy.  He told me so!  Okay, and the rest of the world, but just the one time... he doesn't like to talk about it.  Now Mother Nature's havin' a go at it.  Anyway, Michael Peña is just happy to be back in the Top 10 again, especially after a big stinky bomb like CHiPs.  He's happy to be back, but not in a supporting role, though.  What's a guy gotta do to get a lead role UP IN THIS BITCH?  Maybe it's too early to say it, but... a Spike Award for Peña?  Oh, the work's just that good this go-round.
Coming in at #3 is the latest Luc Besson-ish Now You See Me-type deal and it's called Den of Thieves.  And despite Bill Maher's occasional protestations, Gerard Butler is indeed the star of this star vehicle.  Yes, the Machine Gun Preacher is back and... too late for another Spike award?  But really, it would be a retroactive award for that one scene in 300, you know... well, I've said too much.  Try as I might, I just can't keep my weekly brain dump family-friendly.  Can't fight it... oh!  But I did notice the running time of this opus.  Two hours twenty minutes?  What, are they going for the Best Picture Oscar or something?  They're not trying to waste people's time, are they?  Bore-ring.  Well, as long as they got Closed Captioning in the theatre, and a separate chair I can put my tea on.  Man, I made the mistake of buying a plastic bottle of tea... TWO of them, yesterday!  So sugary.  I prefer to add my own sugar while I'm drinking, thank you very much... preferably a mouthful of Jelly Belly jelly beans.  That's my new go-to favourite, seeing as how I've got to lay off the chocolate for a while.  How long before new kidney stones start to form, anyway?
Damn, looks like a nice day outside.  But before I go to get some fresh air and exercise, Star Wars just limped over the 600 million barrier state-side, and The Greatest Showman limped over the 100 million barrier, so the Award-winning lyricists of La La Land can rest a little easier as their next project gets the green light.  Which reminds me!  Debbie Reynolds tended to stick to her career highlights, but on TCM I caught a little bit of Three Little Words where she was dressed like Jackie Kennedy and doing an impression of Betty Boop.  Only tangentially related as usual, I know, but hey!  Someday... what a story that would make.  Three Little Words is the story of famous lyricists Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby who, among other things, worked with the Marx Brothers on more than a few occasions.  Could a Three Little Words-type deal be in the legacy of the lyricists of La La Land?  Might be fun.  But let's get to that last debut this week.  Debuting at the wrong end of the Top 10 is a Nicholas Sparks-type pic called Forever My Girl.  All you need is the title and the thumbnail picture to see that.  I mean, two white people, the sunset behind them... God bless that bedrock of American Consumerism(TM) family tax breaks.  A young man and young woman believing in that crazy, stupid institution called love... but WAIT!  Nicholas Sparks' name is nowhere to be found!  Surely he was a producer or an assistant producer here?  Production assistant?  No?
No.  Nowhere to be found.  I mean, there's a Nicholas Fitzgerald of the Music Department, but no sparks flying anywhere.  Except on that screen, of course.  Gotta have that.  Gotta as a bare minimum.  No, the novelist behind this latest opus is named Heidi McLaughlin.  And it's not all wine and roses, mind you.  Check out the plot description on this film's main IMDb main page.  It says, "After being gone for a decade a country star returns home to the love he left behind."  No, that may be a little too nuanced for Nicholas Sparks, frankly.  But this theme does sound vaguely familiar.  Doesn't that sound a bit like Sweet Home Alabama for one?  The movie, not the Lynyrd Skynyrd song that's been heavily re-edited for radio.  Mind you, this Forever My Girl is just a PG affair.  Gone are the days of the gritty country star bio-pic.  Like... Tender Mercies!  And... Tender Mercies!  Okay, Coal Miner's Daughter.  I mean, can a PG movie answer this question for me?  How are you supposed to rekindle an adolescent love affair after a decade of being on the road with country music groupies?  And would you really want to?  Would the "she" involved really want to?  I mean, she's probably already married with kids.  That's a given.

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