Monday, July 11, 2005

The One Good Thing About "Fantastic Four"

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Last week I had the displeasure of having to endure the agonizing 106 minutes of Hollywood’s latest pile of comic book vomit. I knew going into “Fantastic Four” that it was going to suck, but I managed to go to a free screening in Westwood, so at least I didn’t spend any money on it, nor will my personal viewing of the film benefit the studio in any monetary way.

Well, I could go on and on about how much the dialogue in the movie was annoyingly horrendous (eg. “Ah Reed (aka Mr. Fantastic), always stretching yourself too thin – reaching for the stars), or I could talk about how I have never experienced the kind of marketing blanket bombing as I have for this movie. It got to the point where I was literally brainwashed into seeing it because I couldn’t walk/drive/sit/see/or listen to anything anywhere without the Fantastic Four being involved (like the commercials that aired constantly during the NBA Finals?!). But instead I want to talk about the one piece of “fantastic” news that came out this weekend. The $56 million dollar opening weekend FINALLY put an end to one of the worst droughts in recorded history.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. How could some shitty movie making a lot of money actually end the drought in Africa? Didn’t that big Live 8 concert already end drought, poverty and AIDS? I mean, Good Charlotte DID play a concert in Berlin, and the veejays said after they played “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” that poverty and AIDS were over. Well, you people obviously don’t know what the most serious drought of all is – the Hollywood Box Office Drought!

For the past 16 weeks, every Monday when I read the news, I have been constantly reminded of how the movie box office receipts of 2005 are not more than they were last year. Every Monday I am forced to read about how movies like “Coach Carter” and “White Noise” aren’t making as much money as that little movie that was out in Jan. of 2004 – what was it called?... Oh yeah, LORD OF THE FUCKING RINGS! And in March of 2005, “Guess Who” and “Beauty Shop” simply couldn’t match the money generated by 2004 Easter weekend anti-Semitic bombshell, “The Passion of the Christ.” And in May 2005, although “Madagascar” offered kids a welcome mediocre departure from flawless Pixar films, is it too much to ask that it makes more money then 2004’s May hit…SHREK 2 (which happens to be the #3 biggest domestic hit of all time)!

Ok, so last year was a pretty good year for movies. I went to see a lot of them, and I enjoyed a large number of the ones I saw. This year, I’ve seen THREE movies that I thought were great – “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, “Murderball” and “Sin City,” and TWO movies that I thought were decent: “Batman Begins” and “Layer Cake.” Honorable mentions go to “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Cinderella Man,” good movies, but they didn’t quite stay with me after I left the theater.

However, I have wanted to burn out my eyeballs a number of times this year after sitting through various cinematic abortions. Among them are: “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” “Kicking and Screaming,” “Crash” (yes, I hated Crash), and “Fever Pitch.” I know that this year we were treated to not one but TWO Ice Cube movies (“Are We There Yet?” and “XXX: State of the Union”) but although I didn’t see either, I can only assume that they both suck monkey taint.

So, is it really a mystery as to why there’s been a box office drought? And why is it such public news? How does rich studio executives making more or less money for their respective studios have any bearing on the existence of anybody in the country outside of Los Angeles? And isn’t the reason they’re making less money because they’re making SHITTY-ASS MOVIES?!

They act as if it’s some enigma, some Da Vinci-esque code that they have to crack as to what the public wants and will pay through the nose to see. And when they don’t manage to top the year before, it’s some national emergency. Like it’s a bad thing that the viewing public has wised up and will stop seeing as many bad movies as the studio can crank out in a calendar year.

Enter the “Fantastic Four”. This wretched movie finally allowed the studio execs. in Hollywood to climax. Not because they produced a GREAT comic book movie franchise like Spiderman or X-Men, but because they made a sub-par by all critical standards (check out their tomatometer rating here) flashy Hollywood turd that puts people in the seats. Why couldn’t an actual decent movie have done that?

Since there will apparently be no decent movies coming this year until “King Kong” arrives in December, I’d like to thank “Fantastic Four” for finally putting an end (for the time being) to pointless articles about the Box Office Slump. It warms my heart to know that soulless studio executives, who would probably sacrifice their first born if it meant adding $10 mil to opening weekend, can finally rest easily at night knowing that their stockholders won’t sell their shares. Their bottom line is safe for now, and with Michael Bay’s “The Island” coming out soon, rest assure we’ll all share in the studio’s enjoyment of making money no real human will ever see.


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