Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Movie Woes

There's some talk (alluded to here) that the release of Halo 3 may be partly responsible for the poor October box-office receipts. Now, far be it from me to gainsay industry insiders, but I propose that the results are largely due to the generally poor caliber of movies that Hollywood turns out, as uber-media critic Ed Driscoll has repeatedly alluded to, over and over again.

Here, according to Yahoo, are the top 20 movies from last weekend, with the number in parenthesis their weeks of release:

Why did I get married? (1): A romantic comedy/drama about love and relationships. Turns out this sells: it’s got a one-week gross that most of these other movies would kill for. So you can bet we won’t be seeing a movie like this again, or we’ll see ten poorly-made knockoffs starring the likes of Ashton Kutcher and Brad Pitt next year that totally misunderstand the concept.

The Game Plan (3): Everybody loves a good football movie, which is why we get so few of them, unless they’re nihilistic looks at the catastrophe that is American youth. It’s amazing that anybody survives High School.

We Own the Night (1): Huge drop-off here, with this mob drama that only pulls half of the #1 spot. Maybe people feel like they can skip this, since the basic story has been done over and over on TV and in the movies.

Michael Clayton (2): Another ponderous drama starring George Clooney. Since nobody watched his last few ponderous dramas, this shouldn’t be a surprise. But this is Hollywood, where apparently nobody remembers anything. How long before studio heads realize that the take of Clooney movies doesn’t even pay his salary?

The Heartbreak Kid (2): I can’t imagine why the bulk of America isn’t flocking to see a movie about a jackass who makes a poor life choice and then tries to figure out how to cheat on his wife. I guess there’s something wrong with them. And this film shows on 50% more screens than Why Did I Get Married?, for half the gross. Well done, Paramount!

Elizabeth : The Golden Age (1): Did we really need a movie that helped us see the vulnerable side of Elizabeth I? Wouldn’t it have been more original to portray her as a less-compromising version of George Bush? Why does every historical female need a vulnerable side? Isn’t this sexist?

The Kingdom (3): I hope they got a good deal on the special effects for this version of CSI: Saudi Arabia, because it’s fading awfully fast.

Across the Universe (5): I love the 60’s, set to a Beatles soundtrack. Will no one ever save us from the Boomers’ endless reminiscing about the greatest period in history? As a member of Generation X, I would like to officially say: shut up.

Resident Evil: Extinction (4): Sequel to a sequel of a movie based on a video game. I don’t know what the formula for success is, but this probably isn’t it. Didn’t do too bad, though, grossing almost 50 million in four weeks. In this crowd that makes it a huge hit.

The Seeker (2): This is like Highlander: The Ripoff, except they’ve gotten rid of the sword fights and substituted a convoluted story involving time travel and vague biblical references. And let me tell you, without the sword fights this concept gets a lot less interesting.

Good Luck Chuck (4): Just what the world needs, another crude romantic comedy. I prefer my sexual innuendos as innuendos, please.

3:10 to Yuma (6): Midnight Run meets Tombstone. Again, though, in a field full of low expectations this is pretty much a smash hit. Did I mention this at least the second remake on this list?

Feel the Noise (2): It’s like Bring It On, but without the cheerleaders.

Mr. Woodcock (5): Has any actor ever drafted off one performance (Slingblade) more than Billy Bob Thornton? This guy’s like movie poison, but we keep seeing him over and over again.

The Darjeeling Limited (3): Why did they make a movie about three brothers focusing on their feelings? That’s not a formula for success. If you want to make a movie about brothers, use the template developed by The Sons of Katie Elder, about brothers who go take vengeance against somebody. That I’ll watch.

Into the Wild (4): Oh, wait, I found the actor who’s drafting off past performances more than Billy Bob Thornton: Sean Penn! Only he would film a total turd like this, then call us shallow and vapid because we don’t go watch it.

Easter Promises (5): If you see only one Russian mobster art-house film, make it this one. Because it’s the only one available. There is a reason for this.

Transformers (15): If you’re surprised that a movie based on a toy that’s been out 15 weeks is still making enough money to place 18th on this list, you haven’t been paying attention to Hollywood lately. So that puts you in-line with about 60% of the US population.

The Brave One (5): The premise of Death Wish meets the female empowerment of 9 to 5. Makes you realize how much better an actor Charles Bronson was than Jodie Foster. No, really.

The Final Season (1): I had to look up that this is a high school baseball movie currently playing to a limited release, which made it strong enough to finish 20th on this list. Ay, caramba!

If that list doesn’t tell you everything that you need to know about why Hollywood is struggling, then I don’t know what will. If Transformers, a mindless special-effects film based on a toy, can seriously compete with the others for theater time, then most studious must be turning out crap.

Sorry, but it’s true.