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David Poland

By David Poland

Late Night At The Movies

It felt like good news for Hairspray at the Arclight in Hollywood on Thursday night. The 12:01am show in The Dome had about 500 people, about 90% of whom appeared to be under 30. That is the core audience if Hairspray is to be a hit, with due respect to the much-smirked about gay musical loving crowd.
On the other hand, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry was only about 15% full.
Of course, Los Angeles tends to be a horrible indicator and it is likely that the Sandler film will be #1 for the weekend, ahead of Hairspray. But still

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44 Responses to “Late Night At The Movies”

  1. Aladdin Sane says:

    Hairspray looks vastly more entertaining than Chuck & Larry.

  2. waterbucket says:

    Aw D-Po, you don’t have to feel bad for being part of the gay musical loving crowd that is not responsible for Hairspray being a hit. Now just focus your energy to take this monster to the Oscars podium comes Feb.

  3. Eric says:

    My girlfriend saw the Hairspray trailer for the first time the other night, in front of Knocked Up. At the end she gave me that death-grip hand squeeze that means “You’ll be taking me to that.”

  4. 93% fresh at RT with 100% Cream of the Crop. From 90 reviews. Just btw….
    In regards to Chuck and Larry. On one hand I want it to die because it just sounds so incredibly homophobic (if not overtly) and just looks unfunny and terrible. Yet, on the other hand, if it does flop then that doesn’t bode well for Sandler’s target audience being gay-friendly and such.
    I still want Hairspray to pull a miracle out of it’s (big massive sequin with feather trim) hat and make some massive numbers.

  5. bipedalist says:

    I will be stunned if this film is a huge hit. Not saying it won’t happen but I will be stunned and surprised.

  6. Eric says:

    I haven’t seen it, but Chuck and Larry only seems homophobic in the same way that, say, Chappelle’s Show was racist. Both could be criticized as such but only by people not really in on the joke. I think it’s a sign of progress that we’ve got two popular leading men unashamedly pretending to be gay. This is one more step in how America accepts homosexuality into the mainstream.

  7. Rob says:

    I think Hairspray is going to surprise this weekend. Even my 60-year-old dad is excited to see it. Chuck & Larry may open bigger, but I think Hairspray is in for the long haul.
    Don’t underestimate the power of a movie that people actually enjoy, particularly at this time of year.

  8. Wrecktum says:

    Just wondering, Poland…what demo are you expecting at a 12:01 AM screening besides “under 30”? Seems to me that’s the primary age group that goes to late-night movies.

  9. ployp says:

    I just checked and Hairspray is opening in Thailand on the second of August. I wonder how it’ll do because Thais wouldn’t know about the original film or the musical. They are advertising it as a film with John Travolta (leaving out the part that he plays a woman). We’ll see how audiences respond to that.
    Chuck & Larry is coming at the end of August. We’re not homophobic at all as a culture. I have no idea why. I think Thais will find two men trying to pass as a gay couple hilarious. Plus, Adam Sandler is known here as the “king of comedy”. And we all know that comedy works a lot better through the language barrier.

  10. MASON says:

    Sounds like Shankman and Dixon made a solid flick.
    But I still think 100 mil, much less 200, is a stretch.

  11. westpilton says:

    I don’t have a problem with what I’ve seen of Chuck and Larry, but I also don’t think it looks very funny. Hairspray I will never see, not in a million years. I think it’s going to be another of those low revenue weekends where the press freaks out and starts talking about a slump.

  12. seattlemoviegoer says:

    I’m still baffled by the casting news of Seth Rogen as the GREEN HORNET. It sounds like a Tracy Turnblad story…
    yes, even a fat, ugly guy can be a movie super hero.

  13. Devin Faraci says:

    But will it sew up an Oscar nom like PHANTOM did????

  14. jeffmcm says:

    “And we all know that comedy works a lot better through the language barrier.”
    Obviously I haven’t seen Chuck & Larry yet, but it strikes me as one of those marginal advances for mainstream America to get more comfortable with the idea of gay men. Was Tootsie considered misogynistic because it was a man playing a woman? (Really, was it? I don’t know).

  15. Hopscotch says:

    I don’t root for people to fail, but I’ve thought Sandler’s time in the spotlight has been going on WAY too long. So I hope this movie comes and goes fast.

  16. a1amoeba says:

    The chick is a dude!!!
    Thank you.

  17. Joe Leydon says:

    I don’t recall that Ryan O’Neal did much for his career by playing a cop who pretends to be gay (and lives with a gay partner played by John Hurt) in Partners. And then there’s the matter of Al Pacino in Cruising (which by the way, is due for DVD release soon)…

  18. EDouglas says:

    I’ve said it before (not here) and I’ll say it again… I feel that the negative reaction to Chuck and Larry has mostly been from straight critics who have been trying to prove they’re gay-friendly by trashing Sandler’s latest.
    I have dozens of gay friends and a few of the openly gay critics/journalists I know who saw the movie thought it was funny and didn’t have problems with it. Personaly, I feel critics are targetting the movie because a.) they don’t like Sandler and the fact his movies do well even when they suck (i.e. “Click”) and b.) they think they’ll be seen as homophobic if they allow themselves to laugh and enjoy the movie.
    Me, I was surprisingly entertained because the movie really does play up and make fun of a lot of the fears and issues that straight people seem to have with gays… it’s dead-on in that respect. Maybe it’s just hitting too close to home with some of the critics reviewing the movie. (I also think that Sandler/James have a very Laurel/Hardy or Abbott/Costello like relationship that we just don’t see any more… though I’m not saying they were gay or anything.)

  19. Hopscotch says:

    It’s always dangerous to impune movtives on such a diverse group of people EDouglas, my guess it’s not so much the nature of the jokes it’s the volume.
    And let’s be honest the ONE consistent selling point on this movie has been Jessica Biel’s posterior (not saying that’s a bad thing), rather than poking fun at homophobia.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    That speaks more to the marketers’ discomfort and overcompensation than to what’s in the actual movie (which of course I haven’t seen).

  21. movielocke says:

    “Hairspray … had about 500 people, about 90% of whom appeared to be under 30.
    On the other hand, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry was only about 15% full.”
    These sorts of statistics are absolutely awful, there’s no way to compare them. is 500 people 15% or 100% No way to tell, is 15% 50 people or 500, no way to tell. Furthermore the 90% afterward is exceptionally deceptive because it refers to another element, but as the sentance/statistic is structured it is easily confusing. It doesn’t mean the auditorium was 90% full, but that’s what it sort of implies.
    Perhaps Dave should work for politico pollsters he’s showing a knack for spinning the numbers.

  22. Joe Leydon says:

    EDouglas: Actually, Sandler has been including anti-homophobic stuff in his films as far back as Big Daddy. Seriously.

  23. Rothchild says:

    I think everyone forgets the casual anti-homophobic bits in Big Daddy. I was pretty impressed with that. That was a choice.

  24. Eric says:

    Or remember in Billy Madison, when Billy’s tolerance for Steve Buscemi’s lipstick-wearing outcast ended up saving his life? Truly a proud moment for gay America.

  25. jeffmcm says:

    Or his acceptance of the guy played by Clint Howard who was pouring wax on his nipples in Little Nicky – this is how progress works, incrementally.

  26. JohnBritt says:

    Hairspray had a decent crowd for the 4 pm showing I saw, and it was a 462 seater. Also, this is the only time (besides Dreamgirls) that I have seen and heard people applaud after musical numbers. Lots of people were hanging around after the movie to watch the credits, another sign, in my opinion, that the movie is well liked. I expect a good haul for this one.

  27. seattlemoviegoer says:

    Amen to the guy who said Sandler’s day in the sun has lasted WAY too long. Critics slam the guy for a reason. He’s a deeply untalented man. He’s dead from the nose up. Nothing is happening in his face. His delivery is monotonous. His is the greatest mystery in modern entertainment. The MOST boring cast member in SNL history
    becomes the biggest success at the movies. Slasher/torture porn movies make a
    mint as well, but when you look at the population at large, it’s a small faction of the
    overall audience. Sandler similarly has his niche and followers and that’s enough to make big
    bucks. However, those bucks rarely come from overseas. He’s a very lucky man.

  28. LexG says:

    I disagree about Sandler; I think he is funny and does have talent.
    BUT you mention his monotonous delivery, and that reminds me of my constant curiosity as to why he’s become such a passive, reactive screen presence on screen. The early Sandler of SNL and Billy Madison was a Jerry Lewis-esque spazz, a live wire maniac who’d burst into frame spouting gibberish and assuming the role of an active irritant.
    With the possible exceptions, however, of “Waterboy” and “Little Nicky,” it seems most of his subsquent movies have (mis?)cast him as an aw-shucks schlub who might work up the occasional shouting tantrum, but mostly is put-upon and somewhat detached, just reacting snidely to some surreal imagery instead of instigating it.
    Most of the movies, of course, have been wildly successful, so I guess his fan base is cool with this Mellow Sandler.

  29. Ian Sinclair says:

    I hope it does well, because everyone seems to have enjoyed making it so much, and I hope those people who want to check it out have fun, but at the end of the day it is a musical, a genre whose charms are entirely lost on me, and this straight white male would rather (and this is hand on heart, honest injun, so help me God) have a deep cleaning at my dentist than see it.

  30. anghus says:

    Hairspray beating Chuck and Larry this weekend?
    i’ve heard it more than once today from several reliable people.
    but i’ll believe it when i see it.

  31. Goulet says:

    I’m a fan of both Adam Sandler and musicals, yet I disliked Chuck & Larry and Hairspray. Then again, both movies have bright spots, namely the Biel and the Bynes 🙂

  32. So now it’s becoming uncool to bash Adam Sandler movies because they’re meant to be silly and dumb yet we’re not allowed to praise Michael Bay movies for having lots of kickass explosions?
    Pot, meet the kettle.
    Agreed though that Big Daddy surprised me with it’s gay characters. I remember seeing that when I was very “what? me gay? No way” and seeing that was actually quite endearing. Movie wasn’t that great, but nevertheless…
    Ian, thanks for making sure we all know you’re straight and you would rather have dental work than see Hairspray. Is your favourite movies Die Hard? Do you wear wifebeaters and spit and walk with your arms two feet away from your waist too?

  33. jeffmcm says:

    When a Michael Bay movie actually does have kickass explosions, we’ll talk.

  34. James Leer says:

    “I have dozens of gay friends and a few of the openly gay critics/journalists I know who saw the movie thought it was funny and didn’t have problems with it.”
    Wait, did your dozens of gay friends see the movie or are you bringing them up because…well, I dunno? Also, I am gay, live in Los Angeles, and even I don’t have dozens of gay friends. Maybe I’m impressed.
    Also, it’s a bad movie. And I know plenty of gay people (perhaps not dozens) that had problems with it.

  35. Nicol D says:

    I actually feel kind of sorry for Sandler on Chuck and Larry though I am not a fan and have not seen many of his films.
    He is a social liberal and made a film to promote an issue in the most simplistic, emotional way possible. Of course there will be some jokes along the way…- it’s a comedy.
    He gets the film vetted and a final cut approved by GLAAD, the largest gay activist organization in history and he/it is still considered homophobic by many critics.
    The fact that the film’s detractors either are not aware of or are not reporting that GLAAD was allowed to approve or disapprove the film by Universal shows extreme ignorance of the film’s history or a willful misreporting of the facts.
    That no one on this thread has even mentioned that fact I find odd. I mean if one is going to slam Chuck and Larry as homophobic, shouldn’t you try to endorse and rationalize why GLAAD approved it?
    Biel is being used so much in the ads as a bait and switch lure for Sandler’s young male fan base. Get them in based on her then give them a maudlin ‘lesson’ on who they should be and who they should not be like. Is there not a scene where Chuck or Larry beats up a Christian protester at gay pride? Does the film allow for the fact that someone could philosophically question the act of homosexuality yet still be tolerant and not one dimensionally evil?
    Fact is, this film can’t win. If it’s a hit, many will say it is because homophobia is rampant in society. If it flops, they will say the exact same thing.
    I’m predicting it’s a hit but a little bit less than Sandler’s usual take.

  36. James Leer says:

    Uh, I am aware of GLAAD and allowed to disagree with them. I don’t need to “endorse” why they approved it, but if you want me to “rationalize” it, here you go: GLAAD has become primarily focused on fundraising via their year-end awards ceremonies and they want Universal to buy as many tables as it usually does.
    Also, GLAAD? Not the largest gay activist organization in history. It’s actually not even made of that many people. But kudos for making up a fact! That is rad to do.

  37. Nicol D says:

    So you are saying GLAAD really does not care about gay interests and is only cynically trying to raise cash to fill their wallets? Is that how they are perceived in the gay community?
    Why do you think this?
    If they are not the biggest in history…who is bigger?

  38. James Leer says:

    Shouldn’t you instead be saying, “Whoops, I totally made shit up? I invented a fact and hoped no one would call me on it?” You realize we see right through you, right?
    Who is bigger? Well, the HRC and PFLAG, just to name a few.

  39. Nicol D says:

    You are right on one count. HRC is in fact the largest gay rights organization in America. I just did a quick check. Thanks for correcting me.
    GLAAD may not be the biggest but they certainly are the best known with the most publicity. Hence my honest mistake.
    But you did highly infer GLAAD is just a cynical organization out for money that does not have the gay communities best interests at heart.
    Why do you infer GLAAD exploits the gay community for profit? Do you think this is true of HRC and PFLAG also?
    Is that how GLAAD is perceived in the gay community? What about HRC and PFLAG?

  40. jeffmcm says:

    “Does the film allow for the fact that someone could philosophically question the act of homosexuality yet still be tolerant and not one dimensionally evil?”

  41. GLAAD is a crock for the most part. Maybe it’s because I don’t live in America and I don’t see them as often but I honestly don’t see the point in them. They don’t seem to get mad at anyone and instead just seem to run around being nosey. I don’t see them bettering the gay community much at all except popping up to say “This movie is a-okay” or “never mind this celebrity. they’re really gay friendly!”
    Take the Isaiah Washington thing (sorry, but it’s relevant). They basically got starf**ked and tried to everything in their power to make him feel better for using a terrible word (I’m sorry, but people aren’t gonna watch Washington give a public service announcement and go “hey, you know what? gay people really aren’t that bad!”)
    And same goes for Chuck and Larry. Forget that homosexuals still have a hard enough time trying to get government benefits. I can’t imagine it’s very funny to watch two straight men pretend to be gay to get our (clearly second-rate and unsuperior) benefits as if we actually have the best. It’s homophobic in it’s ideas if not necessarily execution (but from what I’ve read, basically every gay character in the movie is a YMCA impersonator or a drag queen. I’d hazard a guess and say there are many of gay men more masculine than Sandler and James, that’s for sure.)

  42. Nicol D says:

    Thanks for the honest response. We may disagree on many things but I appreciate you being forward. I find it interesting because GLAAD does claim at least to represent a lot of people and has much sway in Hollywood. That’s why I honestly thought they were the biggest. If you watch news organizations they are mentioned often on gay issues. Interesting to hear your opinion.

  43. David Poland says:

    J-Mc… it is not nearly that complex a film. I don’t consider the fact that it is all stereotypical a major problem. Stupidity and poor storytelling, yes.

  44. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to have organisations like GLAAD around in the sense that it’s better that than none at all, but I honestly can’t think of a single thing that they have done other than release statement after statement whenever something GLBT-related is in the news (hence they’re always mentioned “GLAAD representatives say…”).
    They’re also the organisation that would give BEST FILM honours to something like The Broken Hearts Club over Urbania, Yossi and Jager and Before Night Falls.

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