Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wednesday Free-For-All

And now, a slightly different opinion

So, for the last two weeks, I've basically made Twilight my beyotch on this blog, toasting it over a nice hot flame of "mygoddoesitsuck." That said, my opinion is but one of a chorus of voices here at The Reader's film section, and some of those voices were at least curious (and not curious as in "Oh my God, touch it, is it still alive? Can you smell it? Does it smell like feet dipped in rotten bacon?" curious). Thus, our own Patricia Sindelar dispatched herself (I'm not about to ask anybody to see this thing; it's tantamount to saying "this tastes like horsedookie, try it") and has sent back this report from the front lines of suck:

Twilight for the Aging
By Patricia Sindelar

From Nosferatu to Blackula, it’s pretty clear humans love vampires. And there’s a certain kind of human (teenage girl) that goes absolutely crazy for a certain kind of vampire (the forever-17, conflicted, bad/good boy who falls head-over-heels for the innocent high-school classmate).

I’m guilty of it; I was reading Anne Rice in the seventh grade but that didn’t stop me from falling in love with LJ Smith’s young adult series "The Vampire Diaries," my generation’s "Twilight" … minus the big-screen production. Even though I never read "Twilight," I knew it would bring back those confusing adolescent feelings that ravaged me circa 1991. If my nostalgia weren’t enough, HBO’s new series "True Blood" was the nail in the coffin (so to speak) on my decision to fight the hordes of teenage girls and go see
Twilight. I simply can’t get enough of vampires lately. Talk about symbiotic timing.

Fond sentimentality aside, the movie isn’t that good. Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen is so ridiculously angsty, it’s like he watched too many Béla Lugosi movies and decided all vampires were over-the-top, even if they were high-school vampires. Kristen Stewart, on the other hand, is a perfectly delightful Bella. She’s witty, laid back and drop-dead gorgeous. If you just focus on her face, you can forget that Industrial Light and Magic provided some of the worst special effects in theaters this year.

That contingency may be symptomatic of the plot line, though, because the story is incredibly, preposterously, unimaginably, cringe-worthy cheesy. Maybe even George Lucas can’t make a vampire running up the side of a mountain with a girl on his back look realistic. That scene looks more like a Chinese wire film than a huge-budget blockbuster. And there’s certainly nothing ILM can do for dialogue like “You’re like my own special brand of heroin,” or “Can you believe my dad paid me twenty bucks to come to your prom?” And there’s definitely nothing anyone can do about high-school girl in a prom dress and a leg cast. If there was an Oscar for Most Cheese In One Film, this would be a shoo-in.

Still, the armies of teenage girls ooohed and aaahed through the entire film...two hours of ooohing and aaahing. There were screams and gasps when Pattinson makes his dramatic entrance, and they didn’t stop. In fact, the best part about the film is listening to the audience and remembering what it’s like to be a 13-year-old girl.

Well, well, looks like I'm not alone, as even the semi-target audience seems to
recognize this for what it is. I do appreciate a female opinion on the matter, as the only ladies I've spoken to about the film have a vested interest in the matter (read: Robert Pattinson underoos). At least let it not be said that all criticism here has been dumped by someone unwilling to see the movie. One of us has, and may God have mercy on her memories.

Weekend battle plan: Longer movie = Less family talk

On the negative side, Australia is officially stupid long, playing footsie with the 3 hour mark (a time limit that shouldn't be approached by any clothed activity). On the plus side, that's three hours you don't have to find something in common with relatives. Your alternative (at least opening this week) is the Vince Vaughan/Reese Witherspoon (who I used to think was a talented, beautiful actress who was above such things) flick Four Christmases, which could only look more awful if it was called Twilight. Be forewarned, members of your family are going to want to see this movie. Members of your family also eat their turkey with cranberries on top of it and think "House" is the best show on television. Remind them that you have their best interests at heart and steer them as far away from theaters showing this rape of holiday joy. The males in your family will want to see Bond (a good idea), some females will want to see Twilight (I think we've covered that), and some children will want to see Bolt, which is a good compromise. I didn't mean to gloss over Australia, which will also be a good choice for the whole family, provided you don't mind if mee-maw and pops wind up taking a three hour nap in the theater (which will be like paying 20 bucks a piece to have them sleep in the most uncomfortable non-wicker furniture ever). So, here's the complex recommendations:

Whole family - Australia
Kids - Bolt (but for the love of God not Madagascar 2: Madagastroenteritis
Ladies - Australia (for the romance)
Boys - Quantum of Solace
Freakshows and deviants - Twilight

On DVD: This is more than likely what will actually happen. Those not content to watch the football (and Lord help us we have the 0-11 Detroit Lions on TV this time out) will likely want to hit the couch for a good flick. Tropic Thunder is too racy for the elderly (I don't want to watch it with anyone I'm related to so that they can't judge what I find funny), Fred Claus makes me sad (oh Vince Vaughan, what happened buddy?), and Wall-E is an absolutely splendid choice (except some people hate the animated movies). So, I guess Hancock will please most of the crowd (even though the ending kind of sucks). Look, I'm trying the best I can here, but Hollywood isn't helping. Would it kill you to play a board game? Maybe if that board game is "One, Two, Cyanide."

Fearless, flawless box office predictions

There were three ways to go about this: (1) I could duck the predictions altogether (but I'm not a coward...if you call me "yellow" I go all Marty McFly on your ass), (2) I could only predict the weekend totals (easy, peasy, one two threesy), (3) I could challenge myself and really go for it, giving you the 5 day totals. Oh yeah, I'm the mans (yeah, I pluralized it, because I'm that good), I chose the hard one because, as a wise man once told me "that's what she said." Now, I'm sitting on a pretty good streak here, so I really want to not screw this up. That means not taking too many gambles and playing it generally safe (I'm going to need predictability here people, don't do anything crazy). I've got 6 movies that could make the top 5, so one of them is going to be left out...I just hope I pick the right one.

Here's how I see it:

1.) Twilight - 5-day total - $40 million

I can't see anything less than a huge, 60% drop off, given that everyone who wanted to see this dookieburger already did. Unless grammy is holding out a secret affinity for pale tweens, Thanksgiving will not help this flick soar to awful computer generated heights.

2.) Four Christmases - 5-day total - $32 million

This is a two-way battle for supremacy between this piece of crap and the other piece of crap. Funny story, I've trained my wife so well with critics (meaning, I show her pictures of Jeffrey Lyons and say "bad" and show Roger Ebert and say "good") that she told me "Shalit hated Four Christmases." This is important because it marks the first time Gene Shalit has ever disliked a movie.

3.) Transporter 3 - 5-day total - $25 million

I like Jason Statham as much as the next guy (unless the next guy really likes Jason Statham, then he wins). That said, I can't see how this is the third film in this series and how it is likely to STILL do well. You go Jason, you go.

4.) Bolt - 5-day total - $24 million

The little dog-and-hamster show SHOULD keep Madagas-don't from reaching the top 5 again...please,please,please.

5.) Quantum of Solace - 5-day total - $21 million

What a crazy drop-off last week. Don't tell me that this film isn't worth watching several times. Really, don't tell me that because I have to see it again.

Okay gang, that's it. Travel safe and have a wonderful holiday. I'll catch you back here on Monday, 3-5 pounds heavier in my midsection.
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