Wherein unreasonably free time is dedicated to proving Jonah Hill is funnier than you.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Step Up 2 the Streets

Why I Wanted to See It: The description was so hilarious it made me watch the original.

Why I Hadn't Seen It: Definitely, Maybe seemed more appropriate for Valentine's Day Weekend.

Why I Just Did: It was playing at FYE when I went to pick up Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. Yes, I actually buy some movies.

Why I'm Glad I Did: Cassie, Danielle Polanco and Adam Sevani are each adorable in their own way, but otherwise my heart is currently full of hate.

Why I Wish I Hadn't: Many elements to Step Up 2 are begging for astute analysis, from the continuation of the racial authenticity debate sidestepped by its predeccessor to considering whether dance-movie criticism must be distinct from movie-musical criticism. In the end, however, one trait trumps them all[1]:

Every principal is a prick.

Our protagonist is a pathological liar. Both of her fleshed-out friends are traitors. Her choice of love interests is between an overbearing bigot and an arrogant aristocrat. The Villain is egotistical enough to make the arrogant aristocrat appear open minded. Rather than discuss anything, they attempt to humiliate one another. You know things have gone wrong a movie uses the outcast v in-crowd template to root against the rag-tag band of inner-city teens.

[1] Special consideration should be given to how disingenous the film is, but I don't know how to explain anything without giving spoilers. Note that the bold claim Cassie can sing, dance AND act is not the most egregious example of illogic.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Super Tix for Hero Pix

Superman (1978), Batman (1989), and Spider-Man (2002) each broke box-office weekend records. Adjusting for inflation, theater counts or population growth may mitigate the impressive intakes of other comic book blockbusters, but not those three. Today The Dark Knight has set a new mark for weekend ticket sales, putting it in deceptively good position to join the pantheon.

Top 25 Comic Book Movies by Tickets Sold[1]

Batman's 10.2-million-tickets opening bested previous record-holder 1984's Temple of Doom by nearly 50%.[2] Yet, while one in every 24 Americans[3] saw Batman on its opening weekend, one in every 13.5 saw The Dark Knight.

≈96% as many people saw The Dark Knight this weekend as saw 1997's Batman & Robin in its entire run (23.4 mil). Previous record-holder Spider-Man 3's opening run represented a whopping 45% of its total; similar attrition for The Dark Knight would bring in 51 million tickets, surpassing ...Begins (32 mil), ...Returns (39 mil), and ...Forever (42 mil) to become the 2nd most-seen Batman movie.

Catching the original Batman would require the sale of 38 million more tickets. 47 million more would match Spider-Man's 69-million-mark, which is the 2nd-highest this decade, but — as Shrek 2 proved — doable even for a sequel. To match Superman's being seen by one-in-every-3.88 Americans, however, The Dark Knight would have to sell 56 million more. At today's prices, that would be a haul of $540 million, smack dab between Star Wars: A New Hope and Titanic.

[1] Sources:
Box office data -- http://boxofficemojo.com/genres/chart/?id=comicbookadaptation.htm
Monthly Population 1978-1999 -- http://www.census.gov/popest/archives/1990s/nat-total.txt
Monthly Population 2000-2007 -- http://www.census.gov/popest/national/NA-EST2007-01.html
July 2008 Population -- http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html
[2] Coincidentally Ghostbuster II set the box office revenue record in the prior week and Returns would end up breaking it yet again.
[3] Box office numbers we see include Canada, so this ratio is ntrinsically flawed. Of course, the ticket sales themselves are just estimates and can't account for such variables as discounted prices (eg children) per picture. This is all just an excuse to post a pretty chart, though. p_^

Monday, July 7, 2008

Famous Last Nerds = Rapping-Reduced Shakespeare Company?

Initially run on MTV's short-lived sketch comedy "Scratch & Burn," the throwaway setup to "One Minute Hamlet" involves MTV purchasing PBS and demanding a short - attention - span - safe performance of Hamlet. Don't expect much more societal commentary than that, though. For better or worse, "One Minute Hamlet" is all about acting a fool for the sake of a laugh.

Co-writer Jordan Allen-Dutton starts off as fake-English-accented Hamlet mixing up Acts I and III: "Seems? Nay it is; I know not seems / To wake or to sleep — perchance to dream?" He's followed by co-writer Erik Weiner as a fake-New York-accented Marcellus introducing Claudius (composer J.A.Q) and Gertrude (J.A.Q's brother GQ in drag) getting busy on the grave of King Hamlet (Weiner in a suspiciously quick change). This all takes 20 seconds. Between puppets of the “Mouse-trap” players, a Polonius dummy, and unnamed nuns, over the next 100 seconds — “One Minute Hamlet” actually runs 2 minutes — those 4 actors play 16 characters, most of whom end up dead.

For those of us more familiar with “The Lion King” than Hamlet, the story is ridiculous enough that we won’t notice the liberties Allen-Dutton and Weiner take with it. We won’t know who Fortinbras is, let alone appreciate that they replaced “rest” with “ditch” so “May flights of angels sing thee to thy ditch” rhymes with “I’m Fortinbras of Norway, taking over this b*tch.” At the same time, Shakespeare sticklers will be bothered that Hamlet is portrayed killing Rosencrantz & Guildenstern personally, or that Laertes leaps in to remove Hamlet from Opehlia’s grave rather than the other way around. Only the biggest Ophelia-philes will like the line “Hey nonny-nonny and a nonny-nonny-hey / Gather round everybody for a play within a play” as more than lyrical filler.

Still, these faults appear only upon inspection. Like Allen-Dutton and Weiner’s subsequent work on “Robot Chicken,” “One Minute Hamlet” is too short to grate, but does great things.[1]

[1] Look, I'll never said I was Zachary Pincus-Roth, okay? p_^;