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David Poland

By David Poland

Friday Estimates by Klady

Seek and you shall receive.

In this week, this refers to four majors (one, a division of a major) splitting up the audience into four niches and getting four films opening within an estimated $800k of one another. And while there are distinct segments one could argue each fits into, it is interesting that there is a lot of estrogen being crammed into one weekend and having its potential robbed, on some level.

Hanna and Soul Surfer may be the Angel/Devil combo, but young actresses front both and while one may be betting on the Christian audience to turn up and the other may be expecting arthouse urbanites to show up at the multiplex, they both should be appealing to the teen girl segment that has delivered a lot of $50m+ domestic hits in recent years. Meanwhile, for all the ass ogling of the geek boys, re: Your Highness, the toughest person in the film seems to be Oscar-winner Natalie Portman, who should also draw those grrrrls.

Arthur is really the wanna-be 4 quadrant film, though three strong women surround Katy Perry’s Dream Date. But they have bit of a problem there, as the only one whose character is really accessible has been pushed into the background – fairly, the least known name, though with a lot of upside, I believe – Helen Mirren isn’t funny enough, and Jen Garner is playing a parody of herself, mostly seen in ads in her lingerie. (Honestly, I don’t blame WB marketing on this. They have done all they can do with what they have here. The weakness in the marketing storytelling is a better version of the murkiness of the film.)

One could also see 3 of the 4 newcomers as boy movies. Brand, a killing machine, and a stoner comedy. And that’s there too. But those guys who are going to these movies for those elements are going anyway. They aren’t the challenge. And there aren’t enough of them to generate the bigger numbers.

Much of a mess as this weekend seems, the two best regarded films are the two hardest sells (dead-eyed girl killer and one-armed surfer), and the other two are high anticipation films that seem to have disappointed a lot of people already. So maybe the weekend of lost movies is no surprise at all.

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66 Responses to “Friday Estimates by Klady”

  1. EthanG says:

    The two big stories of the weekend have to be the “meh” openings of the two comedies, and the great start for FilmDistrict. “Insidious’s” hold is SHOCKING. The film might be at profitability after this weekend…and there is a good chance “Soul Surfer” might top Highness.

    Wimpy Kid 2 looks like it may end $5 million behind the original in the end. Probably means a 3rd won’t happen unless they can return to the first film’s budget.

    Acceptable opening for “Hanna!”

    Sad for Meek’s Cutoff and the great Kelly Reichardt=(

  2. Harry says:

    Decent performance by Soul Surfer but almost expected more from the early reports of multiple sellouts. Your Highness flopping is a godsend given how dire the film is. McBride isn’t leading man material and really, neither is Franco, an overrated actor with no charm.

  3. Hallick says:

    Did Meek’s Cutoff do any worse than expected really? From everything I’ve read, it didn’t seem like the sort of indie that was going to light the box office on fire, even at this scale.

  4. jbritt says:

    The hold for INSIDIOUS is not all that shocking when you consider it is picking up some buzz for being scary. I think it will leg out. Hanna was terrific and I hope word of mouth carries it.

  5. EthanG says:

    Meek’s opened to almost exactly the same as “Wendy and Lucy”…granted it’s not awards season but the fact it is a western should make it a bit more accessible (though it probably isnt)….plus it has even better reviews. It deserved a better release date and pattern.

    A 32% drop is absolutely shocking for any horror film these days.

  6. JKill says:

    It’s not for everyone but YOUR HIGHNESS was, for me, pretty awesome and funny. It takes a bit to get used to the tone because the fantasy and adventure elements are given full weight despite how silly and vulgar everything is, but once I settled in for it, I had a smile on my face the whole time and was impressed with how audacious Green and McBride were in even getting this movie made. Franco is GREAT as the straight man, taking the proceedings at face value and providing a nice contrast to McBride’s oafish, selfish character, which he, of course, hits out of the park. The brother material between the two of them was, for me, the heart of the movie and well done. Portman is pefect in her role, tough and sexy and also playing things straight. There is so much lunacy on display that I feel like it will be favored by repeat viewings, but I think its strength is that attention is paid to character, story and plot, instead of just relying on jokes.

    As I write this there’s a bunch of moments and scenes and lines that I’m amused and tickled by just through recalling them and I look forward to seeing it again, which is always a good sign with a comedy. Oh, and the Wise Wizard scene might be the most twisted, whacked-out thing I’ve seen in a good while.

  7. Proman says:

    I really liked everything I saw from “Your Highness”. Might go and see it.

  8. LexG says:

    Yeah, that’s the deal on INSIDIOUS– great word of mouth, kids coming out of it actively SCARED SHITLESS. Maybe for guys “our age,” it’s just a fun homage to stuff we’d seen in Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot and The Shining, but it’s one of the first horror movies in FOREVER to use sound and static imagery and off-kilter scare shots and askew lighting and angles and SILENCE followed by pounding music to create the scares, rather than the usual tame J-Horror tropes or just Jigsaw having people ripping limbs in a dank warehouse… On Twitter and IMDB last weekend, “the kids” and, hell, even the adults were saying they almost couldn’t look at the screen they were so scared.

    HANNA RUUUUUUUUUUUUULED, though it wasn’t exactly entirely what I was expecting; Not sure how the lengthy EAT PRAY LOVE Bratwurst travelogue midsection played with the crowd… seemed to move in fits and starts, but actually all that stuff is really good….

    ESPECIALLY the scene with Saoirse and her Little Friend under the sheets. YAY! CUTE!

    Also nice to see Perez Hilton get some acting work as the villain in HANNA.

  9. actionman says:

    JKill — spot on re: Your Highness. Priceless stuff. Gotta see Hanna next.

  10. Hanna (MILD SPOILERS) didn’t work for me beyond a technical exercise because, quite frankly, I wasn’t rooting for any of the major characters. The Eat Pray Love portion Lex mention bored me silly, and the entire time I was thinking ‘leave that family alone before you get them killed’. Loved a few of the action beats, especially a brief midfilm fight that feels like it was all one take. Blachett was kinda awesome and reminded me why she was at the top of my celebrity ‘f^&k-list’ in the early 2000s, which made me feel that much less guilty about again admitting how gorgeous Ronan is and will be for the near and distant future. But from a ‘I follow the plot and care about the characters’ standpoint, we basically had three remorseless killers chasing each other and slaughtering any innocent bystander unlucky enough to get in their way.

    And, if I may, all respect due, Joe Wright can for screw himself to trashing Snyder last week. Hanna is basically a brainwashed and thoughtless killing machine (gee, just like Hit Girl, which quite a few critics who praised Hanna condemned last year), someone who clearly has no real control over her own destiny and who leaves a trail of death and misery in her wake. How exactly is that a feminist/empowering role model for young girls everywhere? Not saying that all female characters have to be role models or empowerment figures (hence why I defend Kick-Ass and the flawed but challenging Sucker Punch), but if you’re going to explicitly call another filmmaker out on that, saying that YOUR ass-kicking girl action picture is a better example of such, you’d better have Jodie Foster-as-Clarice Starling in your corner. Bah…

  11. Geoff says:

    Hanna was pretty awesome – not particularly original and certainly a little overlong, but a kick-ass action movie. Not shocked as I was already a fan, but the score by the Chemical Brothers just rocked – more mid-tempo than I would have expectec, but that’s cool. Eric Bana – can we please start seeing him in more pure action movies, because the guy owns every scene he’s in! Such physical presence and he almost steals the movie from Ronan – truly impressive watching this guy kick and jump, how could JJ Abrams not utilize him properly in Star Trek as the villain??

    Scott, no need to feel bad – Cate Blanchett has not looked this hot in years. Once again, think of how poorly she was used in Indy IV compared to this movie. Presence and menace to spare, while also being extremely sexy – seriously, if this movie came out later in the year, there could be Oscar talk.

    Yes, Wright tries to have his cake and eat it too with this movie, probably as much as Kick-Ass tried to, last year. But unlike Kick-Ass, this movie keeps to its own logic for the whole running time. Kick-Ass was cable the other night and sorry, that jetpack stuff is just ridiculously jarring – really, what was Vaughn thinking? It’s like out of another movie….

  12. LexG says:

    But I wanted MORE Chemical Brothers. Like WALL TO WALL, nonstop, EVERY second. Was a little surprised at how pindrop-quiet half the movie seemed to be, especially since some critics complained about the over-the-top craziness. I think it’s near-great and I was with it almost every stop (even if that middle third DID lag)… And did we see what became of Olivia Williams/Jason Flemyng? But once Saoirse busts out of captivity into the desert, EVERY SINGLE SECOND should have been scored.

    It is my LIFE’S GOAL to make a movie with NONSTOP repetitive music. Just NONSTOP.

  13. PastePotPete says:

    Since you mentioned Jason Flemyng, isn’t he turning out to be one of the more reliably entertaining bit actors in movies? There’s never been a moment in any movie with him where I’ve felt like he wasn’t adding to a scene. His character in Hanna is basically a nothing role but he’s still really memorable.

  14. LexG says:

    Jason Flemyng is indeed underrated; Always enjoy his contributions, even if he’s not a guy who really springs to mind as anyone’s favorite supporting guy. But then he shows up and it’s great every time. Somehow he’s stayed at that level for a decade or so… in which time his Brit-crime-flick peer Mark Strong has gone from “Who’s THIS guy?” to “Whoa this guy’s AWESOME” to “Eh, THIS hack again?” to “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GET A NEW AGENT and DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!”

    Back to box office:

    What on EARTH is Focus going for with JANE EYRE? Some kind of ANTI-ROLLOUT where they just leave it roosting in the same 20 theaters for, what, seven weeks? Is it just entirely stagnant? Didn’t they eke a multiplex hit out of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE? Has this expanded at all?

  15. PastePotPete says:

    I don’t think it’s the same theaters. It played here in Charlottesville, VA(aka middle of nowhere) for a week or two then left. Maybe they’re just shifting the prints around instead of expanding.

    EDIT: Box Office Mojo says it expanded from 180 to 247 locations on Friday. It’s doing about as well as Win Win.

  16. LexG says:

    Clearly Jane Eyre would be improved by Mia Wasiwhatever wearing a LITTLE SAILOR SUIT!

    And, yeah, for all Joe Wright’s MINE IS THE FEMINIST MOVIE! blathering, it basically means he gets to pretend he’s THE SENSITIVE BASS PLAYER IN BELLY OR HOLE wearing a beanie circa 1993 because he depicts Saoirse’s COMING OF AGE ENLIGHTENMENT… while at the same time still filming a crazy sapphic foot-fetish scene and clearly ogling Blanchett and Ronan at various points.

    In every way, Snyder’s use of THE LITTLE SAILOR SUIT is more honest.

  17. leahnz says:

    so says lex, we’ll see. i have to see ‘hanna’ myself before commenting personally on whether or not wright inappropriately sexualises his girl hanna – i haven’t heard from anyone/read anything even REMOTELY similar or suggesting any such a thing from my few friends who’ve now seen it or in any of the reviews i’ve read (which is several but not heaps), that sounds like typical icky lex projecting/pedo-ing – but at any rate there is a BIG difference between depicting burgeoning sexuality in a teen girl with some attempt at truth or sensitivity or thoughtfulness or complexity, and the ridiculous melodramatic hyper-sexualisation/victimisation that snyder chooses for his girls.

    to suggest blatant, blunt-instrument exploitation/sexualisation is somehow inherently more ‘honest’ than the use of subtlety or nuance in depicting sexuality is asinine nonsense. it’s as different as the types of action movies ‘hanna’ and ‘SP’ apparently are. and if it does occur, there’s nothing ‘anti-feminist’ about ‘ogling’ blanchette or dipicting her as sexy, she’s a grown woman and sexuality is part of being a woman, and thus feminism.

    and what wright actually said, never claiming his was a feminist movie, was that snyner was full of shit in loudly PROCLAIMING SP as subversively such in the marketing of that movie (before snyder was somewhat forced to change his tune AFTER SP was widely seen), while blatantly exploiting/objectifying/sexualising his young women as the visual anchor of his movie and its marketing.

    also wright claimed that hanna is differnt as an example of a non-inappropriately-sexualised teen girl, a change of pace role model for girls trying to find their way into their identity without having to give into pressure to exploit themselves, which is widely construed as a backward step for feminism. both movies portray girls as killers in their own way, which is why wright was making the comparison in the first place. clearly he doesn’t think the part about being a killing machine/assassin is a good role model for girls, that’s mental, what he addressed was the notion of the exploitation of girls as sex objects being DRESSED UP as ‘girl power’, which is so rampant in popular culture these days, and that which ‘hanna’ eschews.

    in any case, i somehow seriously doubt snyder’s hyper-sexualisation/objectification/weepy victimisation of the young women in his movie is in any way more HONEST than the depiction of hanna’s ‘coming of age’, even if it involves sex, which for all i know it might. that sounds like ignorant, projecting hogwash. maybe SP is more ‘honest’ for a disgusting jail-bait perver, but that’s not saying much.

  18. Anghus says:

    I think its funny that people would cite Hanna or sucker punch as “female empowerment”. Just because you make a movie with a female who blows shit up doesn’t mean you’ve done a thing to empower women.

    I remember chuckling at all the talk of female empowerment when Charlie’s Angels came out.

    Putting a girl into a role that had previously been relegated to ballsacks is not empowering.

    Maybe if you cast someone who wasn’t an anorexic, wide eyed object of lust in all if these roles….

    The fact that people say “that girl from Hanna is gonna be hot one day” shows you that this movie did nothing to empower anyone. It might as well be chloe what’s her name in kick ass or Emily Browning in sucker punch or Natalie portman in Leon. It doesn’t matter if there’s a gun in their hand or a dick in their mouth. Hollywood portrays women as objects. Making them killers or action stars or changing gender roles isn’t female empowerment.

    People amaze me with their stupidity.

  19. There is indeed nothing icky about Hanna’s treatment of its women, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s not a feminist empowerment story. Not a flaw per-se, but that means, at best, it’s just as guilty of selling false ‘girl power’ as Sucker Punch. Yes, Blanchett is subtly ogled throughout (both by the camera and myself) and Ronan does spend a solid chunk of the film in an outfit that is intended (by the film’s characters) to make her prettier and sexier (she very much ‘dresses up’ as a part of her ‘enlightenment’). Doesn’t make the film exploitation, but it does make Wright’s comments needless and borderline hypocritical.

    Besides, and this was one of the points of Sucker Punch, attractive women engaging in action/fighting is by itself sexually exciting. Doesn’t make Hanna a bad film (I have other issues with the picture), but it does make Wright a hypocrite for not simply saying ‘Hanna and Sucker Punch (which I’m willing to bet he hasn’t seen since he has probably been a bit busy) are two very different films and shouldn’t be judged as one just because the lead is a female’. Again, if you’re going to openly challenge another film purely to market your own, you better have the goods.

    Agree about the silliness of Kick-Ass’s final act, but that’s why it’s a good movie instead of a great one. What’s hilarious to me is that many of the same people who whined about Hit Girl last year are tripping over themselves to praise Hanna, even though it’s an almost identical character. And she’s not particularly sexualized either. Frankly, Wright’s talk feels like the stuff we get every time a James Bond film or Disney princess movie comes out, where everyone involved trips over themselves to talk about how theirs is the most progressive, take-charge, empowering Bond Girl/Disney Princess EVER!

  20. Harry says:

    If anything, Sucker Punch is the less creepy sexualization of females than Hanna since all of it’s actresses are of age while Ronan is something like 17 which makes her actual pervy jailbait material. Browning, the youngest of the Sucker Punch group, in comparison, is 22.

    On another note, some have said that Hanna is basically the same character as Hit Girl. Then they should have had Moretz play her. She’s much better than Ronan. More believable when likeable yet just as good when play the deadly killer.

  21. movieman says:

    Some good news for IO:
    After heading to neutral corners, Warner Bros.’ “Sucker Punch” was declared winner of its fight at the overseas B.O. with “Battle: Los Angeles,” for the April 1-3 weekend, knocking the Sony pic from its two-week perch atop the international charts, but not without shedding some blood. The revised total for “Sucker Punch” was $11.5 million, down slightly from the pic’s estimated weekend take of $12.4 million internationally.
    “Battle” realized $10.4 million for the weekend, off considerably from the film’s original estimated $14.7 million weekend take. “Battle” has cumed $96.1 million from 60 overseas markets, while foreign totals for “Sucker Punch” rose to $20.3 million, playing in 39 territories.
    Despite losing significant coin overall, likely because of improved weather in European markets, Sony still scored a one-two punch over the April 1-3 weekend, with Adam Sandler starrer “Just Go With It” performing better than expected, with $10.9 million vs. an estimated $10.7 million weekend take for a cume of $76.3 million internationally.
    “Battle” fared better in Spain than did “Sucker Punch” in Germany; both films bowed at No. 1 in their respective countries. “Battle” launched to a respectable $2.7 million at the Spanish B.O. at 299 locations, while “Sucker” earned less in Germany, with $1.8 million in 451 brawls.
    It remains to be seen whether “Sucker” can gain much traction in Germany after garnering harsh critical response. Der Spiegel, the nation’s leading publication, said the film “offers embarrassment as provocation and, in the final analysis, reduces all the female characters to bizarre fetish objects.”
    Outside of Germany, “Sucker” did better in other key debut markets like France and Russia. Gaul was the film’s top weekend territory, contributing $2.3 million, followed by Russia with $2 million. Blighty auds warmed least to the film, shelling out just $1.3 million during the pic’s opening weekend.

  22. The Big Perm says:

    I never get how the jetpack in Kick-Ass is supposedly more jarring and unbelieveable than a 12 year old girl killing like fifteen guys while doing flips and hanging off bookcases. That’s just really weird to me. I mean, James Bond flew a genuine jetpack back in the 1960s.

  23. Krillian says:

    Caught Source Code. Really enjoyable, but also one of those that I don’t think will lose anything if seen on DVD instead of theaters. Enjoyed the quirks Jeffrey Wright brought to his role.

  24. IOv3 says:

    BP, exactly and let me add, that fucking jet pack and ending of Kick Ass pretty much turns that adaptation into something that comic rarely ever attained, that is being rather good.

    Krill, it’s always better to see a good movie in a theatre.

  25. I too initially whined a little about the implausibility of Hit Girl pulling a Michelle Yeoh at the end of Kick Ass too. But on the documentary on the Blu Ray, you realize just how much of that was practical stunt work and more or less real and actually performed by Moretz. Point being, I did a mea-culpa in my year-end wrap up regarding that specific issue.

  26. leahnz says:

    “If anything, Sucker Punch is the less creepy sexualization of females than Hanna since all of it’s actresses are of age while Ronan is something like 17 which makes her actual pervy jailbait material. Browning, the youngest of the Sucker Punch group, in comparison, is 22.”

    spoken like a true dillweed. this statement of course assumes that there IS “creepy” sexualisation of the character hanna in the first place, and i’m sorry but simply because the resident jailbait pedo perv has suggested as much means about as much as a fart in the wind, or ‘harry’ who apparently is lex or his new idiot echo. nobody else seems to acknowledge this as the case, even scott who apparently doesn’t care much for the movie. i’d bet $ that hanna does NOT portray a creepier sexualisation of females than the blatantly objectified simpering scantily-clad victims/whores/killers of ‘sucker punch’.

    (can’t speak to the unlikely ‘female empowerment’ angle until i’ve seen hanna, but suggesting SP applies as such is just plain silly)

  27. LexG says:



  28. leahnz says:

    get thee to a ‘hello kitty’ store with your tub o’ vaseline, stat

  29. LexG says:

    Blecch. I get tired of these potshots about that one angle… 400 BILLION MIDDLE AGED COWS drool over that Justin Bieber kid, or vote for likewise young dudes on American Idol by the millions, and it’s a socially acceptable phenomenon. By comparison, I say that Saoirse, the Fannings, Chloe, Steinfeld are “cute”– which they 100% objectively are, by any standard– and somehow THAT’S on par with a playground prowler? VOMIT, offensive, NOT COOL. Show me a straight man ON THIS PLANET who doesn’t hold some slight, innocuous affection or appreciation for the nostalgic perfection of ladies that age. It’s funny and fun. I’ve only ever dated women my own age, and I’d probably be about as bored by a seventeen year old chick as she’d be by me.

    That said, if I had Sheen Money, I can’t say I wouldn’t look into HIRING 19 year olds to wear pigtails and a retainer and hop up and down on a pink bed with those cotton things between her toes.

    And if it’s pervy to think that a sobbing, submissive Vanessa Hudgens in running mascara or Emily Browning in a SAILOR SUIT is the hottest thing ever, then I DO NOT CARE. It’s called having FETISHES, which every
    man on this planet has. Mine COULD NOT be any tamer.

  30. leahnz says:


    (oh, and of course 400 million middle-age cows as you so assdripishly put it aren’t on this blog obsessing about justin beiber or beiber-aged jail bait day in day out, are they? your beiber analogy to excuse your vile nature is so tired it just passed out. you know for a fact that 400 million middle age women are beiber fans, rather than their hysterical tween daughters? show me all the middle age women at beiber concerts, or drooling over him everywhere. or voting for AI. nonsense, as per usual)

    oh and ftr this:

    “Show me a straight man ON THIS PLANET who doesn’t hold some slight, innocuous affection or appreciation for the nostalgic perfection of ladies that age.” (re: steinfeld and elle fanning whom you explicitly named, and who are kids and not ‘ladies’ except to those with warped minds)

    just may be the creepiest thing you’ve ever written here

  31. LexG says:

    Leah, you got a daughter somewhere?

  32. leahnz says:

    way to prove my point, pedoperv

  33. leahnz says:

    oh i forgot this gem:

    “It’s funny and fun.”

    yeah…that’s what your obsession with young teen girls is, funny and fun…just like those guys on ‘certain websites’ would say

  34. The Big Perm says:

    Scott, just because Moretz did most of her stunts and action in that scene doesn’t make it any more plausible, so that really doesn’t make any sense to me. If you handed her two guns and sent her in to shoot down 15 guys with guns, I’m pretty sure she’d be killed pretty quickly. Even FASTER if she tried jumping on a guy’s shoulders. Let’s see that work in real life without wires and cinema magic. To me, the jetpack is more plausible than that bullshit.

  35. leahnz says:

    why would anyone think there’s ANYTHING ‘plausible’ about hit-girl?

  36. JKill says:

    KICK-ASS is not a film interested in realism so I don’t see how plausibility is a mark against it.

    The jetpack symbolizes Kick-Ass finally becoming the hero, like the ones he’s emulating. Flight is the power of many superheroes, including arguably the ultimate one Superman, and at the end he has that power, if only through technological means.

  37. The Big Perm says:

    Yeah, to complain about the jetpack is to not get the final point of the movie, and seems also to have admitted that you went to the restroom during every other ludicrous action scene. And I don’t mean ludicrous in a bad way, but the action is straight-up comic book.

  38. Harry says:

    Leah fails to acknowledge that yes, Lex and me thinking Browning was hot in Sucker Punch is perfectly normal given that she’s of age and while I can’t speak for Lex, I’m only 3 years older than she is. Yet to leahnz, the whole concept of SP is creepy in spite of all the characters/actors being of age. As one critic/defender of SP said, how is it any creepier than the average horror movie that people find acceptable or even the latest Michael Bay action film (which according to the critic, always oogle women). Apparently, women should habits until they are of proper age, probably 40 or something.

  39. leahnz says:

    good grief, harry, could your lack of reading comprehension skills be any more dire? i have a feeling trying to explain anything to you would be an exercise in futility, so i’ll save my typing fingers. now get on back to school, silly boy. at only 25 maybe there’s hope for you yet.

    (needless to say, ‘sucker punch’ was tailor MADE for ignorant weenies like you and lex, dear thick harry, and i’ve never claimed otherwise)

    oh and so you know, lex is nearly 40, making his obsession with teen jail bait and infantilisation of women just thaaaat much more icky.

  40. IOv3 says:

    Yeah Sucker Punch is a story of survival. If you find it icky that’s all fine and good, but you are painting that movie with a pretty broad brush. Also very nice of you to dismiss Harry and there is a reason American Beauty has an Oscar for a reason.

  41. leahnz says:

    io, i am HARDLY the only person to dismiss ‘sucker punch’ as drivel (as a matter of fact, i’d say i’m in the overwhelming majority). and what i wrote in this thread re: lex’s nonsensical comparison of the sexualisation of ‘hannah’ vs. the girls of ‘sucker punch’, and what harry has said in response invites nothing less than sheer dismissal for a complete lack of comprehension of said issue and missing the point.

    (and the ‘american beauty’ reference…oh dear)

  42. Harry says:

    Stay classy leahnz up there on your pedestal. Hope you like being alone because with your attitude no one in their right mind would want to be with you.

  43. JKill says:

    An important thing worth noting about SUCKER PUNCH not only is it a story about survival but…


    it’s a story about banding together with your fellow man or woman, and the fighting back, since it’s metaphoric and imagined, is not neccessarily through violence but action and organization. It’s also about the power of imagination and the mind as a refuge from opression. It’s actually a really thematically dense movie, which is why I find the blanket dismissals it gets kind of odd.


  44. Joe Straatmann says:

    “Yeah Sucker Punch is a story of survival. If you find it icky that’s all fine and good, but you are painting that movie with a pretty broad brush.”

    That’s because Sucker Punch WAS painted with a broad brush. It’s a bunch of music videos slammed together with a bare narrative thread that doesn’t bother to connect most of its ideas together and has characters who barely have any traits, so Snyder can basically throw any kind of shit he wants into the subconscious action sequences because, hell, if Baby Doll HAS no interests or hobbies or basic character set up beyond the barest of essentials, we can’t argue that she does or does not like these things that show up in her subconscious mind and would have them there.

  45. David Poland says:

    Leah – Don’t you get it! Deep Throat is about a woman’s pleasure, not a man’s! The only reason these men feel compelled to put their p****es in her mouth is so SHE can have an orgasm!

    To suggest that the screenwriter was somehow embracing a male fantasy that the man is being generous by shoving his c*** down a woman’s throat when it’s so obvious that he is satirically making the point that she is finally being empowered thanks to the careful work of Dr. Reems and some very kind men!

    (I don’t think Sucker Punch is that over the top. But I do think that as a filmmaker, Snyder embraces a man’s fantasy about what empowers women. The upcoming Game of Thrones is much raunchier than Sucker Punch and 100x more effective in showing strength in women who are considered possessions by many of the men.

    I actually did read the articles in Playboy as a teen and its interviews are very influential in my work today. But I would be lying if I claimed I wasn’t also spending a lot of time contemplating every nook and air-brushed cranny of those bodies. And for the record, the quality of the magazine and the percentage of fake boobs coincided in the 80s and I lost interest in both.)

  46. Harry says:

    And God forbid Snyder, who is, you know a guy, embraces a male-centric viewpoint on women. I bet more would be calling him a fraud if he did it any other way. Who would want to see that movie? Surely less than even the number that saw SP.

  47. leahnz says:

    that was pretty funny, DP, what an outburst

    (good points DP and straatmann – note the double ‘nn’, never let it be said i’m not paying attention)

    and to frat boy harry:

    lol at your sheer audacity thinking that you somehow KNOW me to inform me of why i’m “alone” (probably because that’s what your moronic mentor lex blathers and you are just dumb enough to think he knows of what he speaks) because of my “attitude”. hilarious. but you keep on ridin’ the stupid train, harry, toot toot! bonus points for sheer balls-out outrageously inane unfettered unvarnished EGGATUDE

    (so sorry to disappoint my fans but i’m not “alone”, having been with my squeeze for years, tho we keep separate households. just because i prefer not to talk about my personal life on the internet doesn’t mean i don’t have one. funny how that works. and he’s well aware of my blogging addiction, sometimes reads the threads here and elsewhere)

  48. IOv3 says:

    Leah, seriously, that American Beauty Oscar had a lot to do with the Academy’s LIBIDO, and you shouldn’t have to defend your personal life because you have strong opinions. No one should.

    Joe, I would agree with you, but Jkill’s opinion has more of a basis in reality of the film. Seriously, that’s what it’s about, and I have no idea how that is lost on people. It’s Sweet Pea’s story and how she survived, and how she got her life back.

  49. yancyskancy says:

    Someone gave me the Deep Throat soundtrack as a “gag” gift.

    Lame pun aside, it’s true.

  50. Krillian says:

    But it’s okay for leahnz to attack the personal lives of others yet hers is off limits? That makes sense…

    And it says a lot that leahnz can’t even maintain a relationship to the point where they can even live together.

  51. IOv3 says:

    Krill, I did write NO ONE SHOULD as NO ONE SHOULD DO THAT TO ANYONE ELSE. Just in case that’s not clear enough.

  52. Joe Straatmann says:

    IO, except that almost the entire movie is focused on Baby Doll, gives less than a minute backstory on Sweet Pea, and doesn’t really allow the audience to emotionally connect to Sweet Pea at all. In fact, she’s known as the bitch early on and the movie never does the legwork to turn us around on that opinion, so the ending’s more anger-inducing than anything else.

    And this BS about the power of imagination would be valid if I was convinced it was Sweet Pea’s, Baby Doll’s, or whoever’s imagination instead of the director throwing what he wants in a movie and trying to give a lame excuse for it to be someone else’s imagination. What woman would try to enhance their reality to get out of their situation by imagining they’re in a BROTHEL?! Metaphor and imagination still has to be tethered to some level of reality and not just an excuse to do whatever the hell you want.

  53. IOv3 says:

    Joe, you learn a lot about Sweet Pea by just paying attention to the clothing she wears in the alternate reality. She’s the one with the armor and the broad sword and that’s because she’s the toughest one. All of their outfits pretty much express who they are in some way or another.

    Again, my problem with your opinion and anyone who agrees with your opinion is: IT IGNORES THE CONCEIT OF THE MOVIE. It’s a movie about dreams, imagination, and those mixing together with dance. I am not stating it’s the strongest conceit in the world but that’s the conceit, and you either go with it our not.

    Few people went with that conceit. My going with make me right but I at least seem to be more in line with what the film intended then what I intended the movie to be. You stating that metaphor and imagination has to be tethered, is your interpretation, and that you ignored that connection, makes wonder if Snyder made a movie above people’s heads or a movie that lacked the ability to connect with most people. I am going to go with the connecting with most people thing because as I watched the film, I got the sense in the theatre it only worked for me.

    Now, that aside, your main complaint is explained in the film. Baby Doll is seen crying, and then immediately we are in the brothel world. If the brothel is not her creation, Gugino’s character thought it up, and maybe it’s a way to help the girls deal. Which seems to be the case of her therapy.

    You also need to realize, that everything that happens in the fantasy worlds are thought up by Baby Doll. That’s her imagination, that’s her world, and it’s how she figures out how to accomplish her goals. It’s basically the same thing as Inception, creating a dream to accomplish a goal, but it lacks the Nolan touch to sell it to a lot of people.

    Again, this always bothers people online but it’s a fact most of the time: the problems you have with the movie are your problems and not the movie’s. This is not to let Snyder off the hook for creating one of the weirdest survival tales ever, but it does not exactly look good for anyone to have strong opinions about something. When obviously the something they have strong opinions about, is totally different from the strong opinions.

    You dislike it, a lot of people dislike it, but it set out to do something, and for like 10 people it accomplished it’s goal. The fact that people are still going on about it being about EMPOWERMENT, totally misses the point of the film. It’s basically the tale of one soldier realizing that she must give up her life so another soldier can live. There’s just not enough of that in movies. There’s just not enough human cost because in life, the heroes do not always win, and most of the times the villains accomplish their goals.

  54. leahnz says:

    the sure sign of a coward: talking ABOUT someone rather than TO them, as if they aren’t there (you presume to know something about my relationships, krillian, based on a blog? fascinating. i thought it was actually amusing that harry – whom i’ve seen on the blog for a grand total of one day – suddenly comes out to inform me why i’m alone in my life, as if he knows me. i don’t quite see where i attacked harry’s personal life, but at LEAST i have the guts to address people directly, eh)

    what i was going to say: io, the worst thing for me about SP, really, is that it’s a wasted opportunity. the premise isn’t bad and the story had potential, but it’s as if it was written by a 13yr old boy who just makes stuff up as he goes along without any care for the character development and coherence required to tell a compelling story about which to care, rather than just throwing a bunch of cool images together with a skeletal idea, which subsequently has little meaning or emotional weight (which is what i think straatmann was sort of saying as well).

    i was reminded of ‘shutter island’ a bit (such a far superior film that i feel bad even mentioning it in the same breath as SP) in that my main criticism of that film was that so much of the imagery was just arbitrary and had no basis in reality, no common thread running thru it so that at least we could look back in hindsight and see the clues to the truth behind teddy’s experience based on his visions, and much the same thing holds true for SP, only far, far worse.

    baby doll’s journey is just arbitrary, like a child’s nonsensical treasure hunt rife with exploitation of the main characters that serves no purpose other than to titillate, none of baby doll’s dream/fantasy world relates back to anything real, there’s no substance to the objectified one-dimensional characters, the OTT imagery ultimately serves no purpose besides looking cool and to titillate boys, and has no bearing on baby doll’s ultimate ‘purpose’. i was never for a moment compelled to try to figure it out because the was nothing TO figure out, all just a mish/mash that leads to the ‘reveal’ with little to be invested in along the way.

    ———-SPOILERS—- i should have mourned baby doll (and the others) and felt glad for sweet pea, but instead i was just glad to get the hell out of there and away from all the weeping and creepy exploitation and crashing imagery that made no sense. and that’s a pity, really, because with a better-conceived story and less emphasis on the hyper sexualised/fetishist visuals and more emphasis on character and a story arc for the inmates that made some degree of sense and actually served the greater plot leading to what could have been a shocking but bittersweet conclusion, i think it could have been a pretty decent flick.

  55. Jason says:

    I don’t think Harry was pretending to know you. It seems to me that he made a fairly general guess about you. Since he, as you say yourself, had never posted here before it’s entirely possible (likely) that he never read any of your posts outside of this topic. Therefore he would not, could not know much of anything about you beyond what you revealed herein. It’s something of an Internet cliche from the heyday of AIM that many people who are having difficulty in their real lives tend to act temperamental towards others about minor things on yes, even the Net. Obviously not always true but still, something of a meme. Justified or not, you were already acting with some hostility towards LexG when Harry got involved.

  56. IOv3 says:

    1) Why do you have so little respect for 13 year old boys? This and Black Swan are reduced to being puerile efforts. That’s just a weird crutch to always fall back on Leah.

    2) Again, I think all of the ladies in the film are quite beautiful, but nothing about them titillate me or got a fetish going. Sure, I love a chick with a broad sword but is that really a fetish?


    3) Harry most likely has been reading this blog for a while. Does that excuse him throwing down on you right away? Nah, but I doubt anyone goes to that right off the bat without thinking they know you in some capacity.

    Now, we come to the part where I point out that I get called out on my basic mental acuities. Could I switch with you and have people give me shit about a relationship that I know is solid and these people know jack shit about? That would be swell!

  57. LexG says:

    “oh and so you know, lex is nearly 40”

    Leah, I am not “nearly 40.”

  58. leahnz says:

    io, fwiw since i have one myself, i’m around 12-13-14 yr old boys quite a lot… and while i find them mostly a hoot, their surging juvenile testosterone makes them at times a jizz-brained pack of lazy yet loud, reckless, one-track minded video-game obsessed cave dwellers for whom thoughtfulness is not usually a big priority; and i while i’m there for them and they all come to me for advice and treat me with respect, i don’t particularly want them writing ‘my’ movies (‘black swan’ for me was like a 70%/30% deal, 70% compelling and creepy, 30% juvenile and silly. i don’t dislike it, but i do find it frustrating)

    “Justified or not, you were already acting with some hostility towards LexG when Harry got involved.”

    actually, jason, that’s not true. my first comment was in response to lex’s suggestion that snyder’s gross sexualistion of his girls in SP was more “honest” than what he described as wright’s sexualisation of hanna. my comment was reasonable and on point re: the topic at hand and lex’s extreme minority opinion about hanna, which then generated other thoughtful opinions on the subject (apart from harry’s, which just blindly parroted lex’s, as had been the case over the preceding day or so since he turned up). i was not “acting with some hostility towards lexg”, perhaps you should cast an eye to where lex chimed in with his uber-creepy infantilisation obsession COMPLETELY off topic for a clue to what happened in the thread (but i forgot, lex is not responsible for his comments/behaviour, only those who comment on it are responsible. silly moi)

  59. Joe Straatmann says:

    “Joe, you learn a lot about Sweet Pea by just paying attention to the clothing she wears in the alternate reality. She’s the one with the armor and the broad sword and that’s because she’s the toughest one. All of their outfits pretty much express who they are in some way or another.

    Again, my problem with your opinion and anyone who agrees with your opinion is: IT IGNORES THE CONCEIT OF THE MOVIE. It’s a movie about dreams, imagination, and those mixing together with dance. I am not stating it’s the strongest conceit in the world but that’s the conceit, and you either go with it our not.”

    It’s about dreaming when nobody is dreaming, it’s about imagination where it’s questionable whether it’s the imagination of the character (Seriously, NOWHERE IN THE MOVIE DOES IT EVER IMPLY BABY DOLL IS A SCIENCE FICION/FANTASY FAN AND THESE VISIONS WOULD EVER COME FROM HER. But of course, it’s hard to argue when the character’s a blank slate), and told through dance where nobody is dancing. Okay, good.

    And character by simply their roles? Okay, so Amber pilots everything. Good. That tells me so much……. Actually, no it doesn’t. Mr. T in the A-Team is a far more fleshed out character. Like Cloverfield, Sucker Punch is empty, so people can fill it with whatever bullshit they’d like and odds are, it’ll stick if people push hard enough. As for me, I’ll go watch Paprika, a REAL movie about using dreams, imagination, and the power of the human mind to escape from oppression, even when the oppression comes from yourself.

  60. sdp says:

    “Again, this always bothers people online but it’s a fact most of the time: the problems you have with the movie are your problems and not the movie’s.”

    I could not agree with this less. If Sucker Punch doesn’t work for most of the people who see it, and those people can offer rational explanations for why they don’t like the movie, they are describing problems with the movie, not themselves. Maybe you see characterization in the costume design, and that might work for you personally, but if it doesn’t adequately develop the characters for other viewers then it is not unfair for them to point to characterization as a flaw. You are holding up your interpretation, your experience as the only right one, and claiming that anyone who watches Sucker Punch and comes away with a different take than you is wrong. And that’s just ridiculous.

    “I love a chick with a broad sword but is that really a fetish?”


  61. IOv3 says:

    Sdp, what if you are wrong? Why does that never ever spring to mind with people when they are ranting about a movie they don’t like? I have down right hated movies, slammed the shit of them, and in reality my dislike of them tainted my really understanding them. That’s how being a human works, sometimes you are wrong about something, and if you find that utterly ridiculous then congratulations on being a fucking robot. That must be great.

    Seriously, read Joe’s rant. He wants everything explained him. I somehow feel like I understand these characters and because I do, apparently I am wrong. He states he needs them to EXPLAIN why Baby Doll would dream up this fantasy and that’s just silly. Again it’s a conceit in the movie that it’s her view of reality. It’s a weird fucking world where poor girls can be lobotomized for 5 bills but the dream explanation just doesn’t work for him.

    My problem with your response SDP is that you are discounting my experiences and how I feel because you think I am wrong, then giving me shit as if I am stating that I am right. When basically I am stating I dig the movie and when you dig something, doesn’t it make more sense you GET IT more? The sheer lack of people online to embrace their humanity remains very fucking funny.

    ETA: Seriously, do people go through fucking life worrying about whose more right than wrong about movies? It’s not fucking string theory, it’s a fucking movie, and you get some wrong. You get some right. It doesn’t really fucking matter at the end of the day, so why get so pissy about it?

    Now, if you want to give me shit for going on about being MORE RIGHT, then I once again state you know jack shit about me. It’s called being open-minded and on Sucker Punch, TO MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, there are a lot of closed minds. Again, excuse me for having an opinion, but my opinion does not exclude your opinion and vice verse.

  62. If I may again chime in, I think a big part of why I so defend the film against charges that its mere titillation is that I wasn’t all that titillated by it. First of all, as IOv3 correctly points out, the girls were not necessarily dressed in an overly sexual manner even during the fantasy sequences. Baby Doll was arguably the only character who you could accuse of being overly fetishistic, as the rest of the women were dressed for battle or in dance-wear. But even Baby Doll’s sexualized appearance didn’t do much for me because, personal preference, I rather loathe pigtails (hated them since childhood, never found them sexy).

    Besides, my personal pet peeves aside, for me the fact that these women were being abused, exploited, victimized by a system that treated mental wards as a hoarding house for any women who were too far outside the mainstream, etc was so obvious that I couldn’t take any enjoyment in their attractiveness, which I frankly thought was the point. Even the whole, ‘why would Baby Doll fantasize about a brothel?’ thing seemed merely a case of a traumatized woman imagining an even worse place in order to consider herself more of a righteous martyr (think the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie imagines that he went blind from the soap that he was first to suck on for using profanity).

    Point being, I thought most of the text and subtext was pretty obvious, and that’s from someone who didn’t ‘get off’ on the film in any particular way.

  63. IOv3 says:

    Word up to that Scott. Again, Browning has tremendous legs, but I didn’t sit there salivating over them. The movie, in general, is just very very sad. It’s not exactly a happy story but stories of survival are rarely ever happy.

  64. Joe Straatmann says:

    All I’m saying is movies like Paprika may have extremely out there dreamscapes and weirdness, but they make sense in the context of the movie and characters who make them. In Inception, the dream worlds may be unlike real dream worlds, but they are intentionally constructed to be like that and involve a certain aspects of dreams and the characters to work. You act like introducing the family and farm workers at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz before going to Oz is explaining too much, or putting context to the samurai in Jonathan Pryce’s dream in Brazil is too much.

    My problem is these characters are mostly concepts whose humanity mostly lies at the most basic of things (Survival is good, lobotomies are bad), and they have very little humanity to attach to themselves aside from surface things, so it’s hard to care or feel sad or get involved at all for any of them. And without anything to go on, the dreamscapes are simply…… whatever. Like I put on my crappy Photoshopped pictures of the girls riding the Jamican bobsled with machine guns fighting monkeys (I was going to make them Nazi monkeys, but eh, couldn’t find any pictures that worked) into any of the actions sequences and you would miss absolutely nothing. And I think that’s the fundamental issue I have that you don’t.

  65. David Poland says:

    It’s called “willing suspension of disbelief”

    IO is really, really willing.

    He’s hardly the first. There are people who make similar arguments to the ones being made against SP against Slumdog Millionaire. Not real enough, patronizing the real Indian poverty, etc.

    Like some of the rest of you, I need a thread to take me to that degree of generosity. I am the guy who’s deconstructed Eyes Wide Shut, which about 200 other people might bother to consider. But unlike Snyder, Kubrick’s work commanded that kind of attention.

    Depp Throat: The Rationalization.

  66. anghus says:

    hee hee hee

    Depp Throat.

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