Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Suicidal Thought of the Day

High School Musical 3 made more in its opening weekend than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, There Will Be Blood, Zodiac, Pan's Labyrinth, Children of Men and Pride & Prejudice did in their entire theatrical runs. The earth is doomed.


Michael Parsons said...

doomed, or just run by tweens

Michael Parsons said...

same dif

Robert said...

eh, you know, the industry has to make money somehow. it's not like the fanbase for this movie will look back in 5 years at a lasting classic. these things they come and they go.

I'm much more concerned with a movie like Fireproof making the top 10 earlier this month

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on. There have been far more risible movies in 2008 (hell, even in the last month) to pick on than HSM3. It's upbeat, cheerful, a positive influence, and - when you stop to think about it - far more convincing as an original book musical than the likes of Mamma Mia or Moulin Rouge.

Reviewing it within the context of its target audience, and for delivering on what it's supposed to deliver - it's a pretty good movie.

Sounds like you're being selectively suicidal because you have a problem with the HSM series. But really, you can apply similar logic any time a piece of fluff rakes in more cash than something held up as high(er) art. Armageddon made more money than The Lives Of Others, you know?

I appreciate you're being tongue-in-cheek, but the world is doomed for far greater reasons than a few kids getting enthused about some cheerful, optimistic escapism.


Cinesnatch said...

Well, it could be worse, it could have been a weekend without the number one movie in the country being a musical (there's something that doesn't happen too often) . . . I'm just sayin'.

abstew said...

but, nathaniel, its because all those movies were missing one thing: ZAC EFRON!
just imagine:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Zac Efron, There Will Be Efron, Zaciac, Efron's Labyrinth, Children of Zac Efron and Pride & Prejudice- you just don't mess with jane austen...


heeeeeha ha omg. i needed that giggle. thanks abstew.

although aren't we actually living through THERE WILL BE EFRON right now? That's not fiction... that's a fucking documentary.

rob -- i totally agree with what you're saying but i guess my reliable despair regarding box office is i just don't understand where the audiences are for great movies... they always rally for the other kind ;) i have nothing against people liking (what i presume to be) bad movies but why don't they like good ones too?

I HAVE BEEN IN A BAD MOOD. my apologies.

vinci but aren't we stretching the definition of "musical"....? ok never mind. [/bad mood]

Dame James said...

I would be more suicidal over the fact that, right at number 2, Saw V made something like $30 million. You of all people should be applauding a musical being number one at the box office, no matter it's quality. Just because it doesn't have Meryl Streep shamelessly mugging and Pierce Brosnan warbling through the ABBA songbook doesn't mean it's the end of the world or something. HSM3, forgiving its faults, is actually 100 times better than Mamma Mia! (and this coming from a huge ABBA/Meryl fan). There are actual musical numbers with real choreography and a couple of really catchy songs. Hell, I enjoyed HSM3 as much as Pan's and Pride & Prejudice (and in some respects more). Just because HSM3's fanbase is aimed more at tweens doesn't mean we should proclaim the end of the world--just think of all the musicals they can explore now that they've seen one that's spoken to them directly.


sssshh Dame Henry --I have successfully pretended the Saw movies don't exist for years and years now.


Hayden said...

Oh, how you tease me by making the Actress updates last. You tricky little lynx. :P

Middle-P said...

its a suprisingly fun film. and i am glad i spent my money on it over saw. and the thing is hsm 3 has a chance or two at a nom.

sure it is complete cheese and cliche, but give a listen to "can i have this dance"... it is right up their alley and reminds me very much of past nominees, specifically "so close" from enchanted...

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel, I know how to cheer you up:
Vicky Cristina Barcelona is at #2 in its second week at the box office in Luxembourg, just behind Wall-E (5th week), although Tropic Thunder & Hellboy 2 were released a week after it and follow at #3 and #4.

Which shows you that if everybody had access to the truly great films (like people do in Luxembourg), they'd go to watch them.

Robert said...

Well I think you're never going to have the same audience for a demanding movie that you will for a popcorn movie. People like to kick their heels up and turn their head off... and that's okay.

But I also want to suggest that opening weekend gross doesn't necessarily mean people like a movie (although in this case the 'tween audience probably loved HSM3, since they're not old enough to be particularly discerning). Eenywhoo... opening weekend gross just means the marketing was successful. Hollywood is run by good marketing, not good movie-making.

I think you'll find a lot more fans for Eternal Sunshine than you will of Spider-Man 3, per se.

elgringo said...

I'd be depressed if I didn't pick HSM3 for my Fantasy Box Office Mogul league!

Hooray for High School Musical!

Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why HSM is a sucess. It's a remake of various stories with a boring and stupid story line and cartonish characters (YIKES Vanessa Hudghes)... But hey, we've still The Dark Knight this year... Every generation has a pop trashy culture.

But I wasn't really surprise about HSM3 reception anyway...

The Pretentious Know it All said...

I was happy when HSM was something on television tucked all the way in cable obscurity up on the Disney Channel where I neither had to see nor hear about it. I'm all for the renaissance of the movie musical, but not when it takes the form of something that makes "From Justin to Kelly" look like "Moulin Rouge!"
And is it me or does Zach Efron look utterly plasticine? It's weird. I know he's conventionally attractive, but personally I find him (and Perez Hilton's obsession with him) to be kind of creepy.

J.D. said...

At least kids grow out of shit like this. Soon this'll be gone and forgettin, and the next tween craze will drown everyone even worse than this. It's cyclical, so either learn to accept it or just stop bitching. Unless you want to quarantine children. In which case: ATTICA!!!! ATTICA!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this one, Nathaniel.

"Burn After Reading" is escapism too, but you don't need to leave your brain out to enjoy it. "Hairspray" is escapism too and the same genre.

I haven't seen HSM3 and don't plan to. I watched HSM2 on TV a few months ago. It was such an embarrassing experience it was hard to sit through the entire movie.

My blood sugar level can stand some things, I can have some cheesy brainless entertaintment. Hey I mean, I really enjoyed My Best Friend's Wedding and don't feel embarrassed about that.

I guess my problem with movies like HSM is that they are old, they are born old. These movies could have been 50 fifty years ago, same plot lines, same values. The only difference is now they have IPods.

It's all about love is the only thing in life. Oh yes, that and fitting into the group. It will make you happy, neat, colourful (hey, if you are from a different ethnic group you'll be part of the colourful setting, be grateful) and cheerful, your only conflict in your life as long as you're part of the crowd (because you don't put a foot out of the marked line) will be with your best friend because she has bought the same dress you did.

It's just the same kind of world Betty Draper grew up to. No, thanks.

And these are the old values now transmitted to teenagers. Yes, scary.

(Sorry about the rant, but movies are such a powerful media... ugh, forget about it, now it's out of my chest I can go to bed).


Sally Belle said...

I'm with Nat on this one.

This is lowering the expectations of all musicals!

Plus, I know two of the kids in these movies and they are brats to the umpteenth power! If they are invited to the Oscars I will be sick!

I once saw Vanessa Hudgens have a complete hissy fit break down because she couldn't get to Harrod's in time to be one of the first people to buy a new Louis Vuitton purse! Ugh!

Then there's Zac Efron telling an interviewer that he is learning a lot about acting.

Sorry, but it really makes me pissy when I think of all the young people who train and work and can't even get an agent...oh, but they aren't so super cute. Ugh.

elgringo said...

Saw this on IMDB the other day:

Efron Left Speechless By Jackson

"Heart-throb Zac Efron was overwhelmed to find out Michael Jackson is a fan of his work - and was left "speechless" when the pop superstar called to congratulate him on his success.

The Thriller hitmaker is a big fan of Efron's High School Musical franchise and is a close friend of the films' director Kenny Ortega.

And Efron admits he was delighted when Ortega handed him his cellphone and told him that Jackson was on the line for him.

He says, "I've been wanting to talk to Michael Jackson my whole life, but as soon as Kenny handed me the phone, I was at a loss for words. I have never been so speechless.

"He said he loves High School Musical. It was motivation for us, and encouragement.""


Anonymous said...

What bothers me about the whole High School Musical...THING, is that the so called 'stars' (or the people in them) are household names. To be honest, they are n't talented enough and will never be talented enough to warrant that kind of recognition. They're taking up value space which could be occupied by performers who actually CAN act, but would n't be given the time of day since they don't look like Barbie and Ken.


well all it's all in the luck. There are actually MANY actors who are talented and gorgeous who never get a big break... so to me beauty alone never justifies big careers. (unless it's something completely otherworldly orgasmic in which case: model)

my take.

iggy --YES. it's this whole disneyfication of culture where adults even can't handle anything more complex than this that's upsetting to me i guess. I was trying to joke around with the post but my point is less, why does HSM do well (more power to it --brainless fluff has its place) as it's this: why can't more complex generally very very very well regarded and actually entertaning movies find just as much of an audience? Is there really so few people in the world that want really well made movies that aren't primarily for children?

But then... my world is much different ha ha. I regularly get confused as to why Pedro Almodovar movies don't open like Spider-Man -ha ha. I mean you're GUARANTEED that it'll be at least good and it's usually great. ah well...

Anonymous said...

haha, "disneyfication of culture" would have perfectly summarized the idea of the whole speech I gave yesterday in just three words.

And yes, I don't know if critical thinking or anything that needs any kind of mental challenge is dead. I'm an optimistic (even though sometimes it doesn't seem so) and I prefer to think it's been put into temporary comma for its own health sake, and I'm hoping this economic crisis will (maybe in the long run) will serve to an even if slow, future awakening. We're needing it back, badly.

I've even elaborated a theory myself after watching Crash for the first time a few weeks ago. Even being a BP winner, it wasn't very popular here at the time, so it passed unnoticed for me. So, after reading so much about the Crash vs Brokeback Mountain thing in blogs and sites, I wanted to reach to my own conclusions.

The truth is Crash was somehow a surprise, because after everything I had read I expected it would be worse (worse meaning, The Happening level of a bad movie). I found it was an extremely preachy movie, with so many sterotypes all along and so many soliloquies/speeches it was at times, painful to watch. But that it was somehow, the movie as opposed to Brokeback, that reflected the zeitgeist. That is, whereas BBM would reflect the world we'd like to believe we live in, Crash reflects the world we actually live in. And I'm not talking about the plot lines, the racial issues or the gay issues. I'm pretty sure BBM was snubbed in great part due to homophobia, but my optimistic side (I refuse to believe homophobia is so extended) told me there must have been something else.

And this something else, and this is where my absolutely gratuitous theory based upon sheer speculation, what I read here and there and the conclusions I reach to, comes.

After 9/11 and the subsequent attacks in Madrid and London, we live in a world obsessed with safety. So obsessed in fact we let ourselves be almost physically humiliated at airports (I hope this new nudity scanner doesn't make it in Europe). As if complete safety was even possible!! So, in a world obsessed with safety, what is saver and more comfortable than being told what to think? Anything that requires a minimum amount of critical thinking is unsettling. We have become somehow eager to be told what we have to think, even though if we know we're being manipulated blatantly, as long as we feel safe and we don't have to give it a second thought on our own. This is why I think Crash reflected the momentum, because at first sight it seems to be a pretty nice anti-racism tale (though in my opinion is quite racist in the end, but I don't want to extend on this issue, partly because racial issues in the US are far out of my reach due to my lack of knowledge). So, a tale we'd like to believe in, so that it wouldn't make our consciousness be unsettled.

BBM on the other side was unsettling. I can't place myself in the mind of an heterosexual, but my guess is that anything that is unknown to oneself is unsettling, unless you're a willing to understand mind. So, a love story between two guys must have made many people revolt in their seats, uncomfortable, probably expecting something dirty and perverted, and feeling more unsettled by not fulfilling their expectations, and being just a plain love story as any other one.
So, I guess many people found themselves unable to know what to think of it, while Crash provided all the answers you needed to calm down your conscious and so be comfortable with yourself.

So, to summarize, I think this lack of demand on higher quality levels is due, partly (another part I blame it on the general idiotization? spread by media), to the need to feel safe on already known grounds, because people in times of crisis (of values, thought, security or economic) need to feel save and comfortable.

I don't know if any of this makes any sense at all ;) but I don't want to extend more on this issue and certainly there's no intention to go back to the Crash vs BBM debate.


Anonymous said...

OMG, And I dare to talk about speeches... lol.


Anonymous said...

My friend is a HSM fanatic. And i admit I watched the first two, mainly for cheese value and because i am lame. Btw- we completely fall out of the target demographic (early 20s). Anyways, I watched the third one last night. I laughed the whole way through at it's lame-ness and my own lame-ness. It was a very lame movie, but kids don't know better. And then you have people like me- lame psuedo adults having a good laugh but perhaps secretly enjoying it (shhh).

When I was a tween, I was obsessed with Clueless. I still love that movie. Heckerling at her best (it's better than Ridgemont). Tween/teen movies have certainly deteriorated. Though I loved Mean Girls.

Anonymous said...

For the record, I also like and support great movies such as the ones Nat mentioned. So I agree with him: Why can't more people be like me? Enjoy the fluff (and consciously be aware of its fluffiness and...err.. one's own lameness for enjoying it) but also support the truly great films.


kel -- exactly. no harm to love fluff. popcorn tastes yummy but why not other flavors? and who in their right mind would ever try to live on it? It's not a substantial diet. It's like having mcdonalds for every meal and we saw what that did to whatshisname in supersize me.

iggy --here's a glass of water! :)

anon --as for the household name thing... i've mostly given up worrying about that (though weirdly i don't have the same detachment with box office --maybe it's too cause & effect with moviemaking for me to let go?)

I mean a certain hotel heiress is more famous than anyone and I'm still at a loss for what she contributes to the world so if that's what people are into that's what they're into. I try to be extra grateful for mega celebrities who do regularly contribute something of interest: brad pitt, madonna, winset & dicaprio, george clooney, matt damon, etcetera (names chosen somewhat randomly) because while they're not exactly an endangered species --it's still easier to get famous by way of talent than with anything else --it's no longer the only way to get über famous.

Anonymous said...

I've spent days and nights pondering just why it is that crappy movies like "Saw" and especially "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" (even though the reviews were a bit better than I expected) always do better at the box office than any Best Pic.

But, then again, I know that people want to see something happy that takes their mind off of their own problems. I'm just not one of them; I like to be depressed by films.

But really, where ARE the audiences for these great films?

Anonymous said...

That's a hot mess.

Anonymous said...