Monday, December 31, 2007

A Less Than GREAT Opening Weekend

I'm looking over the weekend box office numbers, and I gotta say I'm pissed. To my Black folks: we keep saying we want to see more positive images of ourselves on the big screen, we need to do better. Then why is it that an incredible movie like The Great Debaters came come out, on 1,164 screens (true, not a great number, but a very capable one), and only muster $13,548,000 in six days of release? We're the same people who can go out and give Tyler Perry a $29 million opening weekend, why didn't we do the same for this movie, which is far better than anything Mr. Perry has yet to do? I'm just curious - and frustrated. If we don't strongly support movies that show us at our best, then it'll give those in Hollywood who still think ill of us the ammo they need to keep feeding us junk like Soul Plane and Who's Your Caddy? (though there were Blacks as well behind that movie, but that's another story) while telling us we don't support "positive" movies.

I hate proving those assholes right.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Okay, so I finally got around to checking out the Cohen Brothers' newest film, No Country For Old Men, last night with my girlfriend. I wasn't initially interested in the film, but the more I heard about it and the more buzz it received, the more it seemed like something I wanted to check out. So, since it had been out a while, and the other movies we wanted to see are newer, we went ahead and checked it out. There were more people in the theater than I expected, but we chalked it up to the movie's freshly-announced Golden Globe nomination. So we settled in, sat through some less-than-intriguing trailers, and watched the film unspool...

MY GOD, I FUCKING HATED THIS MOVIE. Really, I don't get it. All these critics are falling over themselves big-upping this thing, and I was so bored, I took the opportunity to count the number of ceiling fans in our house (two). Nothing worked for me - characters, accents, dialogue, story - nothing. Well, let me take that back: there was some decent cinematography and some great moments of suspense. But other than that, not a damn thing.

As you already know, I'm also a screenwriter and filmmaker (at least as far as I can stretch that description having made only a few shorts in the last three years - but I'm working on it, so leave me alone!), but I'm not one of those film snob types that think that anything art house is superior to more commercial fare, or walk around spouting pseudo-intellectual bullshit about how some foreign filmmaker I've never heard of is the greatest of all time. Don't get me wrong, I do like movies that make you think, but this thing was so dry and dull, I left the theater with a headache. I'm not alone: as we were leaving, a gentleman turned to me and said "That was bizarre." Amen, brother.

And it's not that I don't like the Cohens. I dug The Ladykillers and my girl is a big fan of O Brother, Where Art Thou? But this... I don't even know where to start. It confounds me how this movie's being touted as one of the best of the year, when better, tighter movies like Kasi Lemmons' Talk To Me, goes unnoticed by the gatekeepers of the awards circuit (if you don't know what I'm talking about, don't feel bad; there wasn't great promotion for the flick. But it's at Blockbuster and Netflix now, so treat yourself and check it out.). At least when I saw The Departed last year, I felt like I had watched one of the best movies of the year. Same thing with Million Dollar Baby. I remember walking out the theater after we'd seen it, saying "I think we just saw the Oscar winner for best picture." But last night's experience was more akin to the one we had when we checked out Brokeback Mountain. Yeah, I hated that one, too. But at least it had a freakin' story.

The stink off this movie is enough to make me scared to go back to the multiplex. My girl wants to see Alvin and the Chipmunks (and I admit, I do, too - it's just got a cute factor going for it), and we'll also be checking out The Perfect Holiday, 'cause, you know, I gotta support my Black people. Problem is, both movies have gotten horrible reviews, the comments touching on things I find unforgivable in a bad movie. But at least the buzz on I Am Legend is pretty good. And if nothing else, I'll be able to check out The Dark Knight trailer on the big screen. I'm scared for that one, too.

So if you like long, boring movies with undeveloped characters with little or no back story, confusing and sometimes unintelligible dialogue, overly cute, "folksy" types trying too hard to be "quirky," a storyline thinner than Nicole Richie after a three-month fast, dead prop dogs that look like bloated muppets (really), and a morose, dead-eyed killer whose monotone drone makes me want to kill myself FOR HIM, then I recommend No Country For Old Men. And for the film snobs who think this movie is anything more than the maddeningly dull steaming pile of crap that it is...

You know what, never mind. Just like conclusion of the movie, this blog is going to just end.