Sunday, February 27, 2005


This paragraph, and some of the discussion in this Jonathan Yardley story, makes me want to read the book:
"'The massive moviegoing audience that had nurtured the [old] studio system simply no longer exists,' Epstein writes. 'In contrast to the 4.7 billion movie tickets sold in America in 1947, there were only 1.57 billion tickets sold in 2003. So, even though the population had almost doubled, movie theaters sold 3.1 billion fewer tickets than they had in 1947.'"
From The Big Picture: The New Logic of Money and Power in Hollywood, By Edward Jay Epstein

How can an industry that's changed so radically still survive? Evidently, it's become an Intellectual Property generator, which then divvies up the money it makes -- less and less raked in at the box office and more and more coming in from ancillary products. Read the story (or the book) for more facts. I guess movies will survive even this, but it's not surprising there's so much drek in theaters -- it's surprising there are any good movies at all.

And I did see some good 2004 movies, hough I haven't seen all the Oscar nominees. Here are my favorites from those saw last year.
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I knew Charlie Kauffman was a great writer before; this movie made me think he's brilliant. Don't go expecting a comedy -- it has Jim Carrey (who was fine in the role) and some funny concepts and bits, but actually it's dark and pretty disturbing look at relationships. It's a romantic comedy only if your genre-sorting machine is out of whack.
  • Sideways. Conversely, a dark comedy with emphasis on the comedy. Well written, acted, and directed.
  • The Incredibles. Pixar is making such damned smart animated movies. It's hard to resist this clever movie that's deeper in themes than a lot of live action features.
  • Shaun of the Dead. Hilarious zombie comedy from the makers of the even more brilliant TV show Spaced.
Also rans: Napoleon Dynamite (sweet idiotic comedy); Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (funny stoner comedy), Spiderman 2 (Raimi made it very good for what is it); Kill Bill Vol 2 (impressively stylish); Anchorman (stupid but funny); Collateral (better than expected).

A few I either want to or "should" see: Million Dollar Baby; Hotel Rwanda; Ray; Vera Drake; Der Untergang (US Title: Downfall -- Bruno Ganz is sure a helluvan actor); Bad Education; and probably a few more.

Two remakes that I thought could possibly have been good but which went wide of the mark: The Stepford Wives (a train wreck of mismatched tone and Rudnick's joke-generator) and Manchurian Candidate (too earnest and not as savvy as it thought it was).

I close by repeating one of the most often repeated phrases of the past few weeks: Paul Giamatti was robbed.


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