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The crap on Oscar’s coattails

I pay attention to movies.  I follow them the way sports fans follow teams.  Instead of the spectacle of one game at a time, each theater offers a different genre and they’re all competing for your attention.  The calendar year is the season and every film gets one shot at glory on their opening weekend.  During the summer, we get lots of homeruns/touchdowns/goals and in the winter we watch whiffs, air-balls, and fumble fingers.

And stuff like this

And stuff like this

However, the difference between sports teams/athletes and directors is that in sports, players and teams go on winning streaks, building fandom for upcoming games. In movies the same thing can happen (ie a word-of-mouth movie), but often the biggest hype for a film is just before the release.  The movie hype machine now plays a major part in setting benchmarks for cool and occasionally making a movie successful before anyone’s seen it (remember Snakes On A Plane?).  The only casualty of this pre- versus post-hyping is the audience.  If all you hear in the media is that the new movie can pluck your heartstrings, tickle your funny bone, and thrill you to the edge of your seat then you’re pretty upset if all it gave you was a belly of popcorn, one giggle, and a sore ass.  You never hear sports fans walk out of a game saying “I thought it would be better”, “don’t believe the hype” or “I knew it was too good to be true”.

“Hokey and ham-fisted, cheaply made and appallingly edited. Even good actors like Derek Luke and Viola Davis are at a loss to get past the dialogue and the characters.” Ken Hanke Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

madea_goes_to_jail_ver6Sorry about the abrupt jump there.  That was a voice from last week criticizing Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes To Jail (26%). You’re reading it because Madea opened at number one last week taking in four times as much money as it’s nearest competitor (Coraline).  The one movie I riffed last week (Fired Up) opened at an abysmal #9.  The reason I didn’t write about Madea is that no reviewers published anything about it on the day it opened, which means marketers suspected that letting reviewers see it would make you want to see it less.   For example:

“Perry’s playing-to-the-cheap-seats drag shenanigans hijack a morose street melodrama every 15 minutes and haul it into places even Flavor Flav fears to tread.” Nathan Rabin AV Club

However, there must have been a reason why it brought in over $40 million dollars.  Such as:

“King of all media Tyler Perry gives fans what they want: irreverent, pistol-packin’ big momma Madea, who’s going to make those confused, disrespectful young people see sense if she has to slap it into them.” Maitland McDonagh Film Journal International

"Your compliments sound like insults Mr. Johnson.  Madea hates that more than mirrors."

"Your compliments sound like insults Mr. Johnson. Madea hates that more than she hates mirrors."

The other reason for beginning with the long diatribe is that there aren’t any good movies coming out this weekend and the movie news of last week and next week is more interesting.  Personally I have to wrestle with the temptation of riffing Watchmen, which comes out next weekend.  There are only a dozen reviews in so far and they cover the gamut from:

“Just another disappointment to add to the ‘too good to be true’ pile.” Robbie Collin News of the World


“A huge budgeted superhero movie that delivers intellectually? That takes serious, ballsy chances with the form? Why, that sounds like a piece of art. A glorious, epic, exciting, mind blowing piece of art.” Devin Faraci CHUD

But we’re better off waiting until the final numbers come in.  Trust me, it’s too early to know if the top and bottom have anything to do with the middle.  But I’ve got a good feeling.  I mean, have you read the book?

Zee book

Zee book

BTW-There is one movie premiering today that should have worked harder to get your attention.  Would you believe that a movie starring Harrison fucking Ford comes out today?  Have you ever heard of a thriller-drama about illegal aliens called Crossing Over (14%)?   Yeah me neither.  Critics apparently wanted to forget about it too.


“The issue of illegal immigration deserves a thoughtful movie. This isn’t it” Joe Neumaier New York Daily News

“And if you thought Crash and Babel were preachy and awful, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Alonso Duralde MSNBC



Next Week:

Does this man frighten you?  If so, then you may not want to see Watchmen next week.

Does this man frighten you? If so, then you may not want to see Watchmen next week.

3 Responses

  1. The Watchmen is one of those things best left unmade

  2. The thing that surprises me most about these Madea movies is that I haven’t seen a single one. “King of all media”? Sounds like a claim along the lines of “King of pop” or “King of Kong” – i.e., suspicion-worthy. I’m tempted to call for a Tyler Perry movie night for our group so I can see what all the fuss is about, but I’m afraid that might just be painful.

  3. Isn’t pain fun in a movie night? Like doing a Wayans brothers marathon.

    I liked the intro to this week’s lineup. It added even more flavor to the post 🙂

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