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By David Poland

Sunday Estimates by Klady – 2/26/05

If Madea

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89 Responses to “Sunday Estimates by Klady – 2/26/05”

  1. NotoriousCPC says:

    What are the odds that the Sunday estimate is soft because of Madea’s popularity among the Sunday’s Best crowd?

  2. NotoriousCPC says:

    What are the odds that the Sunday estimate is a little soft considering Madea’s popularity with the Sunday’s Best crowd?

  3. Bruce says:

    This means we’re going to see a few more “FInal Destinations”? I hope not.
    “Running Scared” is not going to help Wayne Kramers career.

  4. PandaBear says:


  5. MattM says:

    Yes, we can look forward to a seemingly infinite stream of Tyler Perry movies every February for the next 4-5 years, all of which have the same “stand up for yourselves!” message, especially since they cost pennies to make.
    “Pink Panther” is also a genuine franchise for Martin, it seems, much to my shock.

  6. martin says:

    if pink panther holds on and does over $100 mill. I guess it’s a legitimate start to a new PP franchise. However, I’m not so that’s guaranteed yet. It’s certainly doing more $$ than expected, and will make a nice profit, but it had such bad word of mouth that I wonder if execs will think it’s still a risk to make another. I wouldn’t call PP2 a slam dunk at this point, they may simply look at PP as a lucky winner, and leave it at that.

  7. martin says:

    Madea’s Reunion has 43% at rottentomatoes, which for anyone that reads Rottentomatoes regularly, is actually not that bad a #. But I don’t think reviews much matter anymore for ANYTHING, whatever genre. Word of mouth and hype (ie awards talk, controversy talk, fan/geek talk, etc.) get people in. What Joe Smith at the 3-Star Tribune has to say it beside the point. As an article said yesterday, the reviews come in so late in the game they’re pointless, people have made up their minds before the reviews come in.

  8. MattM says:

    According to Mojo and the like, Panther’s production budget was a staggering 80M, probably because of the rounds of reshoots and delays. However, the budget can easily be reduced by having decisions made up front and dropping some of the relatively expensive talent involved other than Martin. Especially given expectations that it would be a mega-bomb, I’d expect another one to be greenlit (at least if Martin is game to do another one).

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    There have always been

  10. Yodas Left Nut Sac says:

    80 is a low number for PINK PANTHER. With all the development hell and all the reshoots and pushback.
    I expected it to be higher. Near 100 million.

  11. martin says:

    since when have development hell, reshoots, and “pushbacks” been a sign a movie would be a hit? All those are typically signs of a failure to launch.

  12. Spacesheik says:

    PP is a genuine hit whether it reaches $100 million or not. Global returns on it will also be lucrative (the PP brand has always been popular overseas).
    I think if they make another one and get Jackie Chan to play Cato, keep Kevin Kline (who I always thought would have made a better Clouseau than Martin), get Howard Stern to play Professor Balls (the costume dude) and maybe set some of the film in the mythical land of Lugash (where the diamond usually resides) could be a decent comedy caper.
    There is a lot one can do to revitalize the PP franchise. Sony should consider themselves lucky now and work hard at fine-tuning this franchise.

  13. Cadavra says:

    Um, if PP has such horrible word-of-mouth, how come it’s holding so well? Martin, you should really try joining the rest of us in The Real World.

  14. EDouglas says:

    I’m not sure that Curious George can be considered a failure when you compare it to the last five or six traditionally animated films….the last Rugrats…the last few Disney 2d animated films. $55 million domestically will put it ahead of Wallace and Gromit and Corpse Bride and it will clean up on DVD.

  15. EDouglas says:

    I’m not sure that Curious George can be considered a failure when you compare it to the last five or six traditionally animated films….the last Rugrats…the last few Disney 2d animated films. $55 million domestically will put it ahead of Wallace and Gromit and Corpse Bride and it will clean up on DVD.

  16. Yodas Left Nut Sac says:

    I meant the budget. Not the gross.
    I thought the budget would end up being 100 mill.
    I didn’t think it would come close to 100 mill in gross after all it went thru getting to the screen.

  17. Josh says:

    Weekends like this lead to things like the slump talks.

  18. Sanchez says:

    Curious George cannot be considered a failure. It’ll do respectable BO in the US. And it will be a hit on dvd when it is released. It will end up being profitable. I don’t know what they were expecting out of it though.

  19. MattM says:

    I think they were hoping for 100M from George. Empty market niche, beloved property, big star voice cast, big selling soundtrack. The problem is that the trailer didn’t sell at all to anyone over the age of 7, and it needed some adult/older kid audience in order to become a big big hit.

  20. Charly Baltimore says:

    The trailers and tv spots aimed it at the under 10 set. You’re not going to make much more than a niche based on that.

  21. Terence D says:

    Madea’s budget was 6 million. After week 1 I’d have to say that this is a very good niche to be in if you’re releasing this movie.

  22. bicycle bob says:

    ur gonna see some studio lock up this tyler perry with a huge deal soon. because he can guarantee a 70$ mill plus movie on a budget thats small and marketing/ad costs that are even smaller. hes in the drivers seat right now.

  23. Nicol D says:

    Three cheers for Tyler Perry!
    Increasingly people are seeing through ‘rave reviews’ for mediocrity and patronizing films that speak to them.
    The decision by the studio to not allow reviews for Madea was the right one. The flat out hypocritical snobbery of some critics amazes me.
    The always bubbly and effervescent Jeff Wells linked to a review of Madea by Toronto’s always enlightened and evolved critic Geoff Pevere where Pevere trashes the film with a middling two star review but says hey; as he is not a Christian or black, he is not the intended audience so how can he be expected to ‘get it’.
    Hmmmmm. Last time I checked Pevere wasn’t a quadriplegic female boxer, a gay cowboy or a hit woman out to avenge her attempted murder on her wedding day but he found time to sympathize with those recent cinema characters.
    This is the reason why many film critics are finding their influence dwindling. Beholden to ideology and not art, much like most of Hollywood itself, they no longer see film as a window to experience other people. Instead they seek to only verify their own beleifs, rewarding films that do and trashing films that don’t.
    Armond White is one of the few ‘old media’ critics to get this.
    Modern film is now fissuring just like music did in the early seventies. It is becoming more personal and we no longer consume the same culture emn masse.
    Again, that a film about Marching Penguins at this point still has a higher gross than any of the Best Pic nominees is not something to be taken lightly.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    Last year Fahrenheit 9/11 made more money than the five Best Picture nominees: Aviator, Ray, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby and Sideways.

  25. Nicol D says:

    The only reason I didn’t mention F 911 is that technically it was not nominated for Best Documentary and love it or hate it, there can be a legitimate debate as to whether or not it is a documentary.
    Nevertheless, your point is taken and valid that Best Picture nominees increasingly are speaking to a very small portion of the film going audience and that people are obviously not listening to what the critics say on these matters.
    Most critics would say that it is because the public is not sophisticated etc…
    The truth is much more complex.

  26. jesse says:

    You know what else made more than all five best picture nominees this year or last year? The Grudge. So, yea, Nicol, maybe the “out of touch” critics and Oscar voters (which many people seem to equivocate, even though there’s very, very little — if any? — overlap) aren’t as attuned to “experience” and “art” as the infinitely wise ticket-buying public.
    If the ticket-buying public can be assigned a collective taste (and of course it would be foolish to do so, blahblahblah), you could more or less regard it as roughly the same as your average critic: mostly predictable, occasionally surprising, and unlikely to match your own personal opinions more than half the time. Nothing more noble, nothing more horrible.
    Also, exactly what belief system was being rewarded when critics gave positive notices to the KILL BILL movies, which you refer to above? If you want to say critics only loved those movies because they were made by a fellow film buff, OK, maybe I could get with that (though I loved KILL BILL without getting half of those references). But because it affirms their (liberal, I’m assuming, by implication) beliefs?? Come on.
    Your criticism of film critics as out-of-touch and purely ideologically-driven is just as formulaic as you claim the critics are.
    I can’t stand some Village Voice reviews because of their emphasis on political subtext first and all other elements second, but that is far from the norm (regardless of the quality of the criticism).
    Nicol, what is so wrong with any of these five best picture nominees? Is Munich *not* beautifully made? Is Brokeback *not* incredibly acted? Maybe you could make a case for Crash and liberal guilt, but it wouldn’t be a very original one… especially because it’s the one movie of the five that could be considered a stand-alone (non-awards-related) hit.

  27. James Leer says:

    It does suprise me that on a blog for film lovers, some of the posters cannot move beyong the box office of the Best Pic nominees to discuss their quality. Shouldn’t we leave the fretting over numbers to the studio? To me, this is the strongest crop of Best Pic nominees in many a moon, with nary a Weinstein panderfest in sight. That’s something to be celebrated, not denigrated.

  28. Stella's Boy says:

    I second that James. I think this year’s Best Pic nominees makes for an extremely strong group overall. I don’t remember ever being this satisfied with the BP nominees, and with the exception of Crash I would be happy with any of them winning.

  29. Josh says:

    Why can’t you discuss the box office? It is an important topic especially concerning these nominees. Five good films and no one has seen them. Now why is that? That shouldn’t be discussed? It is an important topic. Usually Best Pic nominees get a huge bump when the nominations are announced and after the show. But this year that won’t happen. Is it a problem with the movies? Is it a problem with the voters? moviegoers? It is a relevant discussion.

  30. waterbucket says:

    I’m a little disappointed that Brokeback Mountain hasn’t had a big b.o. bump for all the attention it gets. But hey, it’s still a big success so I’m happy.
    My friend James won’t like this but I have to say once again that I love Brokeback Mountain. Especially that flashback scene. God, how good is that film.
    Just one more week, my sweet James.

  31. jesse says:

    Josh, I agree that it might be worth discussing box office numbers as a curiosity, but I think a lot of people immediately assume the “low” box office for the nominees is some kind of “problem” (as you put it) that needs to be solved, rather than an interesting factoid.
    I am surprised that MUNICH, BROKEBACK, and GOOD NIGHT haven’t received more of an awards “bounce.” CAPOTE is really pretty specialized subject matter and its $20 million and change is fine; I don’t expect audiences around the country to go wild for it. But I thought the awards might get MUNICH in the $50-60 mil range, GOOD NIGHT into the $40-50 mil range (since it does have several recognizable stars), and although BROKEBACK has reaped some benefits (and may still after it wins), they haven’t been as noticable as frontrunners in years past.
    But maybe this is all because the box-office Oscar bump has been overstated. After all, it’s not as if A BEAUTIFUL MIND wasn’t a hit before the nominations came out. It probably just attracted some people who might’ve otherwise waited for video (or not had time to see it in the theaters, because the nominations elongated its run). So yeah, the Oscars — like good reviews — can be an encouraging factor for movies people already pretty much want to see. This is not to say “the Oscars are irrelevant” or “people don’t care about the Oscars” or “the Oscars are out of touch”… just that even a rough, often misguided take on the five best movies of the year will not include a lot of popular hits — at least not by necessity.
    Numbers can be skewed further by three years’ worth of LORD OF THE RINGS movies that were all well into the $200 mil range before nominations.

  32. Yodas Left Nut Sac says:

    There is an obvious disconnect between what is popular with fans and what is award worthy.
    And this year they are not matching up at all.
    But who in their right mind saw or heard about any of these 5 films and thought to themselves “This is box office Gold!”
    Gay cowboys?
    B/W film on CBS news?
    a muddled revenge thriller that refuses to take a stand either way and wants to appease everyone?
    Truman Capote as he interviews a dimwit killer?
    Racism in LA and how bad it is?

  33. Charly Baltimore says:

    Tyler Perry is now
    Review Proof
    Then again it seems like every big grosser these days is review proof.

  34. PandaBear says:

    In ten years you’re going to tell people some of the movies nominated for Best Picture and they’ll look at you like you were crazy. They’re not memorable. Hoffman gives a great performance in “Capote” but will that be remembered as a great film? 90% of the country can’t even name the director of that film. The only way this ceremony and this year stay remembered is if “Brokeback Mountain” ends up losing.

  35. Stella's Boy says:

    But you could say that 90% of the country can’t name the director of a lot of Oscar nominated films. Is Anthony Minghella a household name? Or Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall? Sure movie buffs know exactly who they are, but does anyone else?

  36. jeffmcm says:

    It sure makes life easier to say that the only good movies are the popular ones. Guys, when you get down to it, it’s nice when a movie you likes gets awards or makes a lot of money, but ultimately, the movie is the movie. Own your own likes and dislikes.
    Have the people complaining ‘nobody wants to see the Best Picture nominees’ even seen them? I know Nicol has because he can actually cite scenes and other elements from them, but the meme has gotten old.

  37. palmtree says:

    Stella’s Boy, you mean 90% of people haven’t heard of Steven Spielberg or George Clooney? I’m of the opinion that they are household names. And I even bet some people could name Ang Lee from liking Crouching Tiger.

  38. palmtree says:

    Oh whoops…Stella, I reread you comment.
    But still, my point stands. The nominees are not wimps.

  39. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t think Stella’s Boy is saying that at all. He said “a lot of Oscar nominated films”.
    In the general public people don’t even know a lot of the directors we on a movie blog would consider very big, like Steven Soderbergh or Ridley Scott.

  40. palmtree says:

    To add to that, films are not the ubiquitous pop culture staples that people assume them to be. In the 1940s, everybody knew about all the serious dramas coming out because it was all bundled together. Today almost anything outside of kids/young adult is considered niche. Rather, Oscar is there for the prestige…and it’s wrong to say this year’s Oscar noms are not prestigious (respected actors and directors tackling serious topics). Walk the Line coulda/shoulda been nominated for best pic, but that doesn’t mean anyone knows who James Mangold is either.

  41. joefitz84 says:

    It’s been this way for years. The prestige films are content with their box office take and the box office hits are content with their lack of recognition from critics and the award shows. It’s the way the business works. You have a lot that refuse to reward a box office success. Who knows why. Maybe jealousy, maybe envy. You also have some who refuse to even see these prestige films. Very rarely do they converge. “Lord of the Rings” did it. “Chicago” did it. This year we don’t have it. Not even close since none of these films are even within sniffing distance of 100$ mill.

  42. jeffmcm says:

    Box office success is its own reward.
    There are plenty of people who would disagree with Chicago as a prestige film. It’s kind of mediocre.

  43. palmtree says:

    If we’re looking at box office and trying to determine the least popular Best Picture winner in the last decade, the answer would be… Braveheart.

  44. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Wondering why “Doogal” tanked opposite the other kid-friendly fare? Per Variety’s weekend roundup, Weinstein Co. had to release the movie when it did as part of a McDonald’s tie-in.

  45. Hopscotch says:

    Hey, Nice research palmtree.

  46. Crow T Robot says:

    I just saw “Running Scared.”
    Utterly detestable.
    The only thing missing in my theater was Malcolm McDowell in a straightjacket, some eye drops and Beethoven’s 9th.

  47. Bruce says:

    Hardcore film lovers didn’t even know who Bennett Miller was six months ago. But that is the great thing about the Oscars. Now it gives everyone a chance to know who he is and find out about his/her work. He better use this great opportunity to his advantage and not squander it.
    Braveheart is classic.

  48. Nicol D says:

    I know I’m forefeiting a lot of cred around here by not towing the whole Mel Gibson is a fascistnazihitlerneoconhomphobenotalenthack line, but Braveheart is perhaps one of the few Oscar winners of the past decade that actually has made it into the public lexicon of popular films thanks to DVD/VHS.
    It’s sequences and lines are still being parodied to this day.
    It ranks in the IMDB top 100 (if that means anything).
    No it did not break 100 million, but it was a dramatic release from a new director during the summer season. Very different circumstances than many of the current Oscar crop which are written about endlessly.
    Now it is also possible that a film like Brokeback Mountain or Crash could enter into this sphere in the next decade if enough people see them on DVD. Nevertheless, I think your use of Braveheart here does not really look at the bigger picture.

  49. Nicol D says:

    I saw finally saw Capote on the weekend. i fine film that dealt subtly with many issues such as the nature of crime (more complex than just saying they are oppressed) and the nature of artists (some can project too much onto thier subjects and skew thier results).
    Miller did a wonderful job with his compositions and set a great mood and tone. Keener certainly should not have been nominated for what was really a bit part but Hoffman can sleep well at night knowing he earned his nom.
    However, I would have loved to have seen more interviews with the towns people and with the other killer. Not showing these seemed to allow the filmmakers to simplify the overall situaltion.
    Nevertheless, a fine piece of filmmaking I will ad to my collection.

  50. Sanchez says:

    “Crash” doesn’t have anything on “Braveheart”. I don’t think any of these 5 nominees do. But it takes time. Maybe one of them does become more popular after a few years.
    It is entirely possible. And “Running Scared” may get a sequel.

  51. palmtree says:

    Nicol, thanks for “correcting” me. You’ll notice that my comment had absolutely no political connotation. It was the mere fact that Braveheart is the lowest grossing Best Picture in the last 10 years (actually it’s the lowest one until you go back to The Last Emperor).
    And yes, Braveheart has entered into the popular lexicon and been quoted, parodied, and imitated up the wazoo. That was my real point. Everyone seems to want to equate cultural impact with box office gross, but the two are intrinsically separate. That’s why all the arguments against Brokeback’s cultural impact (“well it didn’t hit 100 million so even The Pacifier had more impact”) is totally bogus.
    And yes, Nicol, I liked Capote as well.

  52. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I saw “Capote” just yesterday. Liked it. Didn’t love it. Hoffman WAS good (he’d be in my top 5, but probably only in fourth or fifth position – i still say Ledger deserves Best Actor). I don’t get Catherine Keener’s nomination. But the film looks good and it’s well written (it’d be my #6 adapted screenplay of the year). I dunno. I know it’s bad saying it – but I can’t help but feel the project was just a bit larger in scale I may have liked it more. I dunno.
    Also saw “Mrs Henderson Presents” – still unsure how they bungled that on. Should’ve been a classic Weinstein get. Fun, frivilous, British and filled with some great musical sequences. I definitely had a good time with it. Plus, I have a super-soft-spot for Will Young. He can make me swoon anytime.
    Also catched “Palindromes” and “Serenity” on DVD. “Palindromes” is Todd Solondz FINALLY going over to the deepend (filming young women having sex and blatantly insulting perfectly decent people isn’t good filmmaking). “Serenity” was pretty good – and I haven’t seen “Firefly” (but LOVE Buffy). Had some pretty good action sequences for the budget and felt like it belonged to itself, and not to a television series.
    On the matter of box-office for Oscar – people seem to think that because Brokeback is now all awards-laden that people are going to forget their predispositions to the topic of homosexual romance. There are still a whole lot of people who won’t see that movie on the big screen – however, it’ll be huge on DVD.
    Weird thing with Crash’s box-office is that if it had been released in traditional oscar season it could’ve made over $100mil, but one of the reasons it got nominated was because it worked itself into people’s minds throughout the year. They saw it, liked it and then realised in January that they STILL liked it and thought that deserved a nomination.

  53. Terence D says:

    You can make that argument that Crash’s BO was hur tby its early release. But I’ll make this one. I’ll say it has only helped the film. It’s DVD sales and rentals are probably double what it would have been if released in March.
    It has grossed 83$ worldwide. Which is a good number for a film like this. I don’t think a Nov release date would have made much difference.

  54. LesterFreed says:

    “Braveheart” was also one of the first big films to take advantage of the new technology. DVD. It made the home viewing experience that much better. Really helped get the film out there to even more people.
    But don’t forget. It also made 210$ million worldwide. So, lets face it. It’s not exactly an indie movie here.

  55. jesse says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb (apparently) and say that Braveheart sucks. Granted, I haven’t seen it since my first viewing, which was around its video release about… ten years ago? And I enjoyed parts of it. But apart from some good speeches and battles, it’s overlong, dopey, and simply not very interesting. I never could figure out why it has a place on some people’s favorite movies list, simply because I can’t picture re-watching it very often.
    I think it was David Denby who wrote something to the effect of: “Didn’t Monty Python already parody this movie twenty years ago?” … kind if a pithy dismissal, but I can’t say that I disagree.
    I have to say, I like the much-less-popular-among-film-geeks-in-retrospect Forrest Gump better than Braveheart as a best-pic winner (though in Braveheart’s defense, ’95 was a pretty weak year — one of those years where the movies on the whole aren’t great, and then the Oscar nominees don’t even reflect the few terrific films — 12 Monkeys, Heat, Toy Story — that did make it through).

  56. bicycle bob says:

    i rewatch braveheart all the time. got some great scenes. the battle scenes are unreal. u should watch it again.
    in retrospect 95 wasn’t that bad a yr for movies. especially the four u listed i have rewatched in the past few months. 12 monkeys, heat, brave, toy story. all great films.
    but the best pic nom’s in 96? were awful. the second tier films have held up much better. who sits around and watches il postino or babe or sense and sensibility?

  57. palmtree says:

    According to Mojo, Braveheart cost $72 million. Not indie at all.
    I think Crash did better with the May release as it avoided the clutter. And in a race for Oscar, Lionsgate can’t beat out the other studio machines so its best bet was to come from the backdoor…which it did through DVDs.

  58. Bruce says:

    You definately can’t quibble with their handling of “Crash”. Since it is in good position right now.

  59. jesse says:

    Bob, one thing I look for in terms of “good” or “bad” movie years (which are kind of silly, I admit, the further you get from those years), is depth of field, and 1995 lacked that (sez me). 12 Monkeys, Heat, and Toy Story are great at the top but I’m not sure I could put together a solid ten-best list from ’95… and if I could, it wouldn’t have a wealth of runners up. A few personal favorites of mine (Mallrats, Desperado) came out that year too, but overall I think it was kinda subpar (and reflected by those second-tier Best Picture nominees).
    Over the past ten years, the best movie-year has definitely been 1999 — I could’ve made a Top 30 list that year. I thought ’97, ’02, and ’04 were also pretty strong.
    2001 had an unusual number of great movies, but, again, very little depth of the field; I had a great top 5 but a just-OK top 10.

  60. Hopscotch says:

    I think ‘O3 was the best year since 1999.
    Master and Commander, In America, Return of the King, Nemo, Mystic River. All amazing. Plus the very good entertainments: Something’s gotta give, Pirates of the Carribean, Bad Santa, The Missing.
    ’01 was so-so, and I thought ’04 and ’05 weren’t great either.

  61. bicycle bob says:

    ’99 has been the best yr out of the past 10 yrs. so many good films that yr. it would be tough to even write a top list of them. so many young directors starting out then too. u got matrix, sixth sense, being john malkovich, fight club, and the list goes on and on. so diverse. and those films barely sniffed the big awards.

  62. palmtree says:

    Yeah, and also:
    X2, Lost in Translation, Kill Bill, The Cooler, House of Sand and Fog, Swimming Pool, Winged Migration, School of Rock…that was a cool year in retrospect.

  63. jesse says:

    Hopspotch, I actually had a hard time filling my 2003 top ten list… or at least, it included some movies that I really liked, yet would not have made the list in a better year (both Matrix sequels — I liked them — and Finding Nemo).
    But I didn’t particularly like Swimming Pool, Sand & Fog, or The Missing, and I thought Mystic River and Return of the King were overrated.
    Besides the ’99 films Bob mentioned, I’d also add Magnolia, Three Kings, Election, Run Lola Run, Episode I (again, I liked it), Toy Story 2, Eyes Wide Shut, The Insider, The Blair Witch Project, Mystery Men, and Go. And some slightly more flawed but still pretty wonderful and entertaining films like Dogma, Man on the Moon, Cradle Will Rock, and Sleepy Hollow.
    I’m an ’04 fan because of (in no order): Eternal Sunshine Kill Bill V2, Spiderman 2, Napoleon Dynamite, Garden State, ANCHORMAN, The Incredibles, Life Aquatic, Undertow, Million Dollar Baby, and to a lesser extent The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Closer, Sky Captain, the best Harry Potter movie, Starsky & Hutch, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Collateral.

  64. Yodas Left Nut Sac says:

    Good MALLRATS shoutout there.
    Now that’s a decade old film that holds up.

  65. bicycle bob says:

    ’05 has been one of the weakest yrs in recent history. it’s soon after but i don’t think we’ll be remembering it as one of the best overall.
    ’04. highly underrated. great list there jesse of the ’04 films. a lot of entertainment there that u can rewatch over and over. good films.

  66. Josh says:

    Don’t leave out ’03 as the decades best. It may be top heavy with great films and lack overall depth of some other yrs but that should be taken into consideration. Greatness from a few should matter over good from a lot. Quality over quantity ideas.

  67. jesse says:

    Josh, I just don’t think there were many GREAT films in ’03. I loved Kill Bill Vol. 1, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Big Fish… American Splendor, Lost in Translation, Matchstick Men, and Elephant were all very good… but only Kill Bill is something I would definitely give four stars. ’03 and ’05 both had a lot of “liked but didn’t love” moments for me.

  68. jesse says:

    Also, I’d argue that true greatness is kind of a freak occurence anyway (and by its nature fairly singular), so quantity does matter if you’re talking about the movie year as a whole. For me, it’s usually about the number of (for lack of a better term) “three and a half star” movies in a given year. There’s always plenty I can find in the two-to-three-star range, and always very little in the four-star range. It’s those very-goods, the not-quite-perfects, that make the difference.

  69. Hopscotch says:

    Thanks for the assist palmtree. I forgot about X2 and Lost in Translation, and 28 Days Later. It’s a really close call for me on ’02 and ’03. Two Towers is the best Lord of the Rings movie, plus the Pianist, Adaptation, About Schmidt, Bolwing for Columbine. I give ’03 the edge in the end, though. Master and Commander and In America are both on my all-time favorite list.
    in the 90’s i’d say 1999 is the best, with 1997 right behind it (Boogie Nights, LA Confidential, Donnie Brasco, Full Monty).

  70. jesse says:

    Heh, as long as I’m listing things, let me count the reasons I love ’02: Adaptation, Punch-Drunk Love, Bowling for Columbine, Minority Report *and* Catch Me If You Can, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, 25th Hour, Gangs of New York, Episode II, About Schmidt, Lilo & Stitch (really), Signs, Insomnia, Spiderman, as well as decent-or-better likes of Solaris, Road to Perdition, The Good Girl, and Heaven.

  71. Richard Nash says:

    There have been a lot of great films made the past decade. Each year is at least ten + deep with great films. Not many stinkers in the bunch.
    I just hope the great directors and writers keep working and producing material. The young should follow the master, Spielberg. Always keep working. It keeps you sharp. Keeps you focused. Keeps you learning. Keeps you hungry.

  72. Charly Baltimore says:

    1997 was the worst of the past decade.
    Other than LA CONFIDENTIAL, BOOGIE NIGHTS AND DONNIE BRASCO there are no films worthy of mentioning. Check out the top 50 that year at the box office. Horrible selections.
    We may have peaked for a while in 1999. Look at that Top 50 BO. A good mix of blockbusters and good cinema. Just a great year for movies.
    In the top 50 alone are
    Just a deep crew of good movies. Something for everyone there.

  73. jesse says:

    Charly, TITANIC is a better movie than any of the three you mention (even the very fine BOOGIE NIGHTS). As far as the big hits, I remember that summer fondly, because I really enjoyed: FACE/OFF, CON AIR, THE LOST WORLD, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, MEN IN BLACK (remember, the first one is snappy and funny, not the sleepwalk of the sequel), and CONTACT (OK, I was 16 at the time, but even so). STARSHIP TROOPERS is underappreciated and brilliant. Outside of the box-office 50, there’s CHASING AMY, GROSSE POINTE BLANK, DECONSTRUCTING HARRY, and JACKIE BROWN.
    I think ’03 is probably the worst movie year of the past decade (unless that includes ’95).

  74. jesse says:

    Charly, TITANIC is a better movie than any of the three you mention (even the very fine BOOGIE NIGHTS). As far as the big hits, I remember that summer fondly, because I really enjoyed: FACE/OFF, CONTACT, CON AIR, THE LOST WORLD, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, and MEN IN BLACK (remember, the first one is snappy and funny, not the sleepwalk of the sequel) (and OK, for all of those, I was 16 at the time, but even so, they’re fun and in some cases pretty sophisticated summer movies).
    STARSHIP TROOPERS is underappreciated and brilliant. Outside of the box-office 50, there’s CHASING AMY, GROSSE POINTE BLANK, DECONSTRUCTING HARRY, and JACKIE BROWN.
    I think ’03 is probably the worst movie year of the past decade (unless that includes ’95).

  75. jesse says:

    oops, sorry about the double-post! (now triple)

  76. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Hopscotch, how can you call 2001 “so-so” when it had Mulholland Drive, Moulin Rouge, Amelie, LOTR:FOTR, Ghost World, Gosford Park, The Royal Tenenbaums, Black Hawk Down, Donnie Darko, Hedwig, Lantana, The Deep End, In The Mood For Love, Monsters Inc, Lost & Delirious, The Others, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Series 7, Bandits, The Man Who Wasn’t There, Legally Blonde, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Memento and Sexy Beast. That’s crazy talk. 2001 was the best year of the current decade for films. Then 2004.
    And in relation to 97. There are some real gems from that year. Lost Highway, Scream 2, Contact, As Good As it Gets, Titanic, Perdita Durango, Jackie Brown, Breakdown, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Boogie Nights, Romy & Michelle, In & Out, Fast Cheap & Out of Control, Austin Powers, Soul Food, The Tango Lesson, Wag The Dog, The Well, Doing Time For Patsy Cline and the hilariously gruesome Cube.
    Sometimes I think I’m just too positive. If I ever want to be a geniune film-lover I suppose I should start being boring and pessimistic and negative.

  77. palmtree says:

    The more people are pushing 1997, the more mediocre it seems to me. That being said, I like many of those titles including Cube, a very cerebral film that plays as horror. But Kami, that 2001 list is killer.

  78. James Leer says:

    2001 had an extremely dire first-half release slate if I remember correctly…Entertainment Weekly even put out a cover story in August saying “Don’t give up on movies! There’s still some good ones coming out, we promise!” and then went on to spotlight The Others.

  79. Skyblade says:

    2004 was the single worst year of the decade. Granted, I was ever in love with the “Spider-Man” movies, (even though I admit the movie wasn’t bad) but what do we have? The Incredibles, Eternal Sunshine, I Heart Huckabees and…Million Dollar Baby was Clint Eastwood further delving into his movie sthat manage to be both depressing and quaint at the same time. The Aviator was well-crafted, but was kind of Dick Tracyish in its meandering. And The Passion and Farenheit 911 were movies that got people talking–about how right they were because the movie said so! Granted, every opinion is subjective, but I really find 2004 to be achingly inferior, case by case, movie by movie.
    2003 wasn’t so bad…it just didn’t manage to live to the *enormous* promise it held. But I think it’s home to a lot of unsung or underappreicated gems.
    2002 was pretty good, especially for mainstream blockbuster types. In fact, if one were to use the “top 25” box office list, the year would look better than a lot of the others. On the smaller film side, we saw a lot of uneven dramas that nontheless had great peroformances.
    2001 probably yielded the most future classics. “Memento”, “Moulin Rouge!” “Fellowship of the Ring”, “Muholland Drive”, “The Royal Tenenbaums”…they just made it *exciting* to be a moviegoer. I’m probabably forgetting something. “A.I” was heavily flawed, but in restrospect, it still feels pretty fresh. The first half of the year was pretty loys, but aside from a pretty dismal summer (which still had some watchable stuff) it just…stirred up a lot of emotions in me. More than any year before or since.
    2000 kind of gets a bad rap. It came off of the very strong 1999, but looking back, we did get a lot of interesting entries, it’s just that it all feels kind of silver metal-ish. But we did see very good entries across the genre board, which counts for a lot. Sort of a “Jack of all genres, master of none” year.
    1999, naturally, had so many movies that were either A) wonderfully intimate and fascinating or B) Boundlessly entertaining it’s not even fair to compare other years to it.
    1998…Sort of like a lower grade 1998. A lot of well-made mainstream movies…great performances in not-quite-great movies.
    1997 wasn’t a machine of quality, but I think it was one of the more pleasant movie years to actually experience, if that makes sense. Other than “Batman and Robin”, it didn’t really yield too many actual dissapoinments. In a lot of ways it was sort of 2003’s opposite.

  80. Hopscotch says:

    2000 does get a bad wrap.
    Best in Show, O Brother Where art Thou?, Almost Famous. Classics. Cast Away, Traffic. Not perfect by a long shot, but great entertainments.

  81. joefitz84 says:

    Wilson gave a better performance than most actors do. Where was his Best Supp Nom?
    2000 had a 1999 hangover.

  82. Rufus Masters says:

    Look out for 2006. As David says in his column today
    “The excitement of 2006 is Scorsese, Inarritu, Eastwood, Coppola., DePalma, Fincher, Soderbergh, DeNiro, Condon, Taymor, Forster, Gibson, Gondry, Stone, Greengrass, and Snakes On A Plane.”
    2006 looks to be a very good year. That is talent behind the camera. I don’t think you can make up a better list. Granted, the year has been crap til now but we have a lot to be excited about the rest of the way.

  83. jeffmcm says:

    Don’t forget new films from Aronofsky, Singer, Jared Hess, and Pixar.

  84. palmtree says:

    And also Linklater
    …and by Coppola you mean two people: Sophia (Marie Antoinette) and Francis Ford (Youth Without Youth).
    Yes, it is exciting.

  85. Terence D says:

    I thought Francis Ford quit directing. He has been MIA for almost a decade. Good thing for us he isn’t.

  86. jeffmcm says:

    So has anybody actually SEEN any new movies lately? Or is the prospect of paying $11 for Aquamarine or Ultraviolet (actually would make an interesting double feature) too much?

  87. Blackcloud says:

    Hell, I’m still waiting to see old movies, like “Capote” and “Good Night and Good Luck” to name two. It’s been a while since I haven’t seen even one of the Best Picture nominees going into the ceremony.

  88. Stella's Boy says:

    I saw Running Scared today. It was either that or 16 Blocks. Seemed like a lose-lose decision, but I was in the mood for a flick and I’ve seen pretty much everything else that’s playing near me (Cache keeps getting delayed unfortunately).

  89. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    uh, why did nobody even seem to consider the return of THE master of cinema.
    His new movie is set to premier at Cannes. Hopefully it is done by then though.
    And yes, wouldn’t it be awesome to see Francis Ford and Sophia battling it out together in Best Director? THAT would be a story.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon