Since the Oscar nominees will be announced on Tuesday, I'll have my guesses for the nominees up on Monday. I have a pretty good track record for picking the winners, but not so much for the nominees, so we'll see how I do this year.
However, before I get to that, allow me a small rant, because I just saw the box office for this past weekend. Now, I know box office and the quality of the movie have nothing in common, but I still like looking at the figures. I find them interesting for reasons I know not, but I do.
There was no shortage of articles written in 2005 saying what a terrible year it was for the movies. Small forests were decimated to print the articles and landfills will be overflowing with the discarded film from people on Entertainment Tonight or E! Talk Daily saying what a bad year it was.
Now, some people like Roger Ebert have said that is bullshit (alas, I can't find the exact article on Roger's site). That 2005 was still, in terms of money, one of the five best years of all time. Yes, ticket sales are down, but no one in Hollywood is going to be collecting food stamps any time soon.
But it did do one good thing; it caused industry people to reevaluate the movie going experience. Granted, instead of trying to fix things, they blamed a lot of it on Internet piracy which isn't nearly as bad as some in Hollywood like to portray it. But there was talk of better theatres, of trying to crack down on noisy and rude patrons, and of eliminating the annoying adds that delay the actual start time of a movie by about 15 minutes.
But most importantly, there was talk of making better movies. "If we make better films," the studios cried, "they will come!"
I'm all for better movies. Personally, I had no real problem with 2005. I got Sin City, Batman Begins, Serenity, Lord of War and King Kong, just to name a few off the top of my head. Bring on more movies like that and if you can do better, more power to you.
So, better movies. That's the solution for 2006. Do that and all will be better.
So what was the #1 movie at the box office the weekend of Jan. 20-22? Underworld: Evolution.
What was the #1 movie at the box office the weekend of Jan. 27-29? Big Mamma's House 2. Oh, and just for kickers, it had the second highest opening weekend box office in history.
I haven't see either of these movies and normally I disdain people who judge movies who don't bother to see them. However, I did see the first Underworld and I also happened to catch about 30 minutes of Big Mamma's House. I had to stop after 30 minutes because I feared lasting brain damage. As for Underworld, despite the charms of watching Kate Beckinsale run around in skintight pleather for 90 minutes, I ended up yelling at the screen after the movie (the only other time in recent history I've done this was House of Flying Daggers, because the last 15 were so terrible and the rest of the movie was so good that I was furious). I yelled because the trailer looked made the movie look unbelievably fun. Instead, it was incomprehensibly shot garbage.
So yeah, I see no reason to spend money on these films. But apparently others did. Lots of them.
And what lesson will Hollywood take if this trend of utter garbage does well while critically acclaimed movies such as Munich, Syrianna and Good Night, and Good Luck do mediocre to crap box office? Why, to blame internet piracy, of course. And to keep churning out crap.
You know, increasingly I'm beginning to think there is nothing wrong with the movies, it's the people who go and see them. If only there was a mass cinematic enema that could be given to people, that might improve things.
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