Monday, September 06, 2010


"Virtue has its own reward, but has no sale at the box office."
-Mae West

The film industry just can't seem to catch a break lately. Sure, a lot of their problems are self-inflicted like Machete, Furry Vengeance, and Green Zone, but problems for the big studios go beyond that. One of the few bright spots left for film studios was DVD sales and rentals where they could rely on home viewers to make up for horrible box office performance.

Lately, though, the biggest numbers are going to television shows, not movies. As IMDB news reports:
Three season compilations of television shows nudged movies out of the DVD sales chart for last week. Indeed, the top seller for the week was ABC’s Lost: The Complete Sixth Season. The fourth season of Showtime’s Dexter also made the list at No. 4, followed by the seventh season of CBS’s NCIS. Sony’s The Back-up Plan was the top-rated movie, coming in at No. 2, followed by Disney’s The Last Song.
In a way, it makes sense that people are enjoying movies less and TV shows more on DVD. Buying or renting TV shows means you watch when you want to, in order, without ads. You can stop the show when you want and take a break, and rewind if you need to. Movies have typically done well on DVD because frankly most movie content isn't worth the 20 bucks with popcorn and a soda to have a kid kicking your back the whole time.

In the current box office standings, Machete was number two behind The American with George Clooney, but neither one is exactly burning up the ticket sales. Why? Well the only reason these movies are doing well at all is that this time of year is typically rotten for movies. Its when the studios usually release movies because there's no competition. No blockbusters are out, nothing anyone really is anticipating, so they can get good numbers, relatively. Neither of these movies are particularly interesting, although Machete's fake trailer in Grindhouse was the best part of that whole sad debacle.

Regarding Machete: I think the writer and director would have been a lot better served if they'd picked misuse of Mexicans by big businesses who exploit illegals for cheap labor, coyotes who make money by smuggling people across the border, and the drug trade. Throw in a corrupt senator and you've got a workable plot that isn't absurdly insulting to most of your viewers.

Honestly, I think Rodriguez and Tarantino would be better off with an hour-long television show on HBO than big movie venues for this kind of project. Just take your knock off weird concepts and run them through that format instead of making a huge movie out of it.

Incidentally, I watched The Expendables recently. Great flick, lots of fun, kept my attention, very fresh and interesting for today's movie market. There were great performances out of Mickey Rourke and Dolph Lundgren, lots of explosions, really big guns and manly deeds, and plenty of fun. What I didn't see was any patriotism or really much mention of America at all.

I think what bothers some people most about this film wasn't what they say, rather that it is too manly. It was a testosterone fest, with men being men and women being mostly out of the way. There was saving lovely ladies, killing evil dudes, punishment for betrayal, great feats of physical prowess, strength used to protect others, and an overall theme of doing the right thing at whatever cost, even to redeem a fallen brother in arms. The last movie that really matched this level of testosterone burning manliness I can think of was Predator.

Oh, and Dolph Lundgren stole this movie. He's great in every scene.


eric said...

Watched a movie on HBO last night with Timothy Olyphant (my favorite modern "manly" actor), Steve Zahn, and Milla Jovovich called "A Perfect Getaway". Without giving away too much, it was a mystery/thriller that started out looking so formulaic that I thought about giving up on it, but about half way through it turned all the conventional 'bad guy' cliches on their heads, in a completely suprising way, and ended up being a great movie. It was almost like they'd been reading a bunch of conservative hollywood bloggers and wanted to test out their theories. Unfortunately, it got virtually no press.

Check it out if you ever get a chance, I'm about 90% sure you would like it.

Christopher Taylor said...

Huh, I saw ads for that but it looked like the standard young couple goes on (insert trip here) and meets a bad guy thriller that started with Dead Calm.

I usually despise those movies for dull plotting and irrational behavior by all involved. I'll have to add that to Netflix.

eric said...

It is one of those types of movies up to a point... the dialouge and acting are in line with what you'd expect from a 'Dead Calm' type thriller, and at times they even seem to be subtley parodying those types of movies. It's the plot twist that makes it worth seeing.