Tag Archives: Walk Hard

US Box Office Report: 12/06/15 – 14/06/15

People f*cking love dinosaurs, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Jurassic World made $204 million, making it the second biggest domestic opening weekend of all-time.

(*drops mic, leaves*)

(*walks back in*)

So, apparently, I have to write more than that for these things.  But, I mean, I’m slightly at a loss as to what to write.  That figure and those numbers kinda tower over everything else, grabbing the eye and the attention so totally that to talk about anything else feels like trying to hold a conversation at a party that’s about anything but the grizzly act of cannibalism that everyone just saw occur in the parlour room moments ago.  You know how ridiculous that opening is?  I ran the opening of Jurassic Park back in 1993 ($47 million) through an inflation converter, and the result ($77 million) was still nearly three times less than what Jurassic World just made.  I am at a loss to explain this, I really am.  Like, I knew that Jurassic Park was a beloved touchstone for a generation of moviegoers, and that everybody loves dinosaurs, but DAMN!

That said, it was not the only film making waves this past weekend.  For, in the land of the limited releases, it was time to unleash Me and Earl and the Dying Girl upon the world.  This year’s Sundance darling, having premiered to a standing ovation and winning the Grand Jury and Audience Prizes for Drama at the festival, critically beloved by most, and looking absolutely and totally motherf*cking INSUFFERABLY GODAWFUL, was launched in the Little Miss Sunshine slot to a pretty great success – $210,000 from 15 screens with a per-screen average of $14,000.  On any other weekend, that would be a per-screen average to kill for, but this was Jurassic World’s weekend and that film managed a per-screen average of $47,871 FROM 4,274 SCREENS.  So, dinosaurs beat sh*tty-looking try-too-hard indie dramedies in the public sphere!  This is information that makes me happy.

Finally, before we get into the part that matters, there’s the issue of Love & Mercy, the biopic of Brian Wilson that came out last week.  Now, as you may know, I didn’t talk about it last week or, in fact, any of the week’s limited releases as I was far too busy making easy jokes at the expense of Entourage – which, as I discovered about 8 hours after that post went live, was letting that film off was too easily – to report on them or the fact that United Passions only made $607 from 10 screens – side note: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (*continues like so for another 10 minutes).  Besides, I had the feeling that the supposedly great film would make an appearance in the Top 10 eventually, as it was too star-packed, too widely-released, and too critically-slathered to not break in at some point.  Well, it did!  This week, even!  So, there!


jurassic world 2015

This Full List found a way, the clever girl.

Box Office Results: Friday 12th June 2015 – Sunday 14th June 2015

1] Jurassic World

$204,600,000 / NEW

My review is over here, for those of you who are interested.  Ended up digging this one a whole lot, even though it’s got characters that might as well just be breadsticks, dialogue that’s on the level of a five year-old, and themes that are communicated on the same level as that of a first year film studies student with a distrust of the military.  But who cares about any of that when you have dinosaurs fighting each other and Chris Pratt – albeit minus any gratuitous shots of his abs, which is UNACCEPTABLE – both things I’ve wanted since I was 5 years-old?  Not me, that’s for certain!

2] Spy

$16,000,000 / $56,937,000

Very strong 45% hold between weekends, which is very good for an R-rated comedy that is being released in this utterly insane Summer season.  Can I also echo The Playlist’s demand that Melissa McCarthy gets a look-in for the Best Actress race come Oscar season?  She is absolutely phenomenal in this, and I guarantee you that she’ll have put in a better performance than at least half of the people whose names get trotted out in this year’s Battle of Apparently Lowering Standards.

3] San Andreas

$11,010,000 / $119,321,000

…hey, Hollywood.  Can’t help but notice that you haven’t gotten back to me about that goldmine of a film pitch that I gave you last week.  Tell me, do you have a negative disposition towards the act of making money?  Seriously, who doesn’t want to see Chris Pratt and The Rock solving crimes together in a buddy cop movie?  I know that America wants to see The Rock lay the smacketh down on a bunch of candy asses whilst Chris Pratt says something Burt Macklin, FBI-y before The Rock raises his eyebrow inquisitively and humanity collectively creams its pants and explodes in pure glee!

No, seriously, this is pure f*cking gold, Hollywood!  Hit me up about this!  I’ll even convince my actually talented writing friend to sell out his principles to help me write this script, as it is surely guaranteed millions upon MILLIONS of dollars and millions of dollars and millions of dollars!

4] Insidious Chapter 3

$7,300,000 / $37,371,000

Forgot to mention this last week as I was too busy… whatever I was doing last week, but now’s as good a time as any.  If you are writing a box office piece and use the phrase “scares up” when talking about the performance of a horror movie, quit.  Just quit.  Stop writing, resign from your position, and go and do something else with your life.  I am dead serious.  That phrase is so, so old and worn out, that even complete hacks will look at that and go, “Yeah, you absolutely put no effort into this whatsoever.”  I find it a personal insult that professional writers are paid money to be that lazy whilst I slave away trying to find new spins on material and new talking points every week for free.  So if you do use that phrase, quit.  Give your job to people who deserve it.

5] Pitch Perfect 2

$6,000,000 / $170,715,000

This has managed to jump up one place, this week.  People would rather see this again in its fifth week than Entourage in its second week.  Humanity is not totally doomed, folks.

6] Entourage

$4,340,000 / $25,870,000

I saw Entourage last Monday.  If it weren’t for the fact that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is looming on the horizon like a strategically placed solid object aimed directly at one’s junk that you can’t avoid for whatever reason, I would feel very secure calling this the worst film I will see all year.  It is just so totally abysmal.  Brooker is still reviewing it for this site, but my thoughts were graciously housed by both Movieblort and my friend Charlize of HotMales.net.  They’re absolutely worth a read at either location, I genuinely believe it’s one of the best reviews that I have ever written.

7] Mad Max: Fury Road

$4,130,000 / $138,630,000

Goddammit, I’ve been too busy to find the time to see this a third time.  If I get lucky, it might hang around next week and I’ll be able to squeeze it between the new releases (otherwise known as the films I don’t give a sh*t about), but otherwise my chance has been and gone.  Sigh.  I’d say “at least I saw it twice”, but we all know that twice is nowhere near enough cinema-based viewings of Fury Road.

8] The Avengers: Age of Ultron

$3,641,000 / $444,743,000

I am excited and optimistic for Ant-Man.  There, I said it.  Revoke my “Film Critic” pass if you want, I don’t give a sh*t.  It’s the truth and it’s how I feel.

9] Tomorrowland

$3,417,000 / $83,607,000

OK, homework for us all: let’s all watch The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille prior to meeting back up next week.  We’re not actually going to talk about or do anything with them, it’s just always worth having seen those films.  Great?  Great.

10] Love & Mercy

$1,765,000 / $4,774,000

Here’s a scene from Walk Hard.  Go and watch Walk Hard.  This is not optional.

Dropped Out: Aloha, Poltergeist

Callum Petch only cares about that thing, that thing, that thing.  Listen to Screen 1 on Hullfire Radio (site link) and follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Sex Tape

I did not laugh once during all 98 minutes of Sex Tape, and that is the least of its problems.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

sex tape 2I am convinced that Sex Tape is some kind of deliberate Andy Kaufman-esque prank on the rest of us.  It has to be, I will not accept any other excuse.  How did Cameron Diaz, a talented comedic actress, Jason Segel, a talented comic actor and a very good comedy writer, Nicholas Stoller, a very talented writer and director of comedy, and Jake Kasdan, responsible for the brilliance that is Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, create a comedy film so utterly dreadful?  Hell, not just a comedy, a dreadful film in general?  This is a failure on every single conceivable level, to such an extent that I feel like it’d be easier to list the things that the film does right, like “string enough moving pictures together so that the result technically resembles what one would consider a movie to look like”.  This is one of those times where I utilise the phrase “fundamentally flawed” and I absolutely mean it.  This should not have been released, this should not even have been filmed, and I refuse to believe that everybody involved went ahead on this project not realising this fact; there is too much talent involved here to give anyone any benefit of any doubt.

The premise is that Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel make a sex tape that Jason Segel accidentally syncs to a whole bunch of iPads and, because neither of them have any clue how technology works, this leads to the two of them trying to hunt down the iPads in order to erase it before anyone sees it.  I specify “premise” and mention the fact that Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel are in this film because I want to specifically draw attention to the fact that those things are all that Sex Tape has.  It has a premise and a cast and literally nothing else.  There are no jokes in Sex Tape.  There are no characters in Sex Tape.  There is no structure to Sex Tape.  There is no thematic backbone to Sex Tape.  There is no emotional undercurrent to latch onto in Sex Tape.  There is nothing to Sex Tape except the premise, the cast and 98 torturous minutes.

It all comes back to that screenplay, written by Segel & Stoller and Kate Angelo, who also came up with the story.  It’s barely a first draft, that’s how awful the thing is.  For example, despite running at a relatively svelte 98 minutes, there is still too much dead weight to Sex Tape.  There are too many characters that drop in, get extended sequences of screen-time and then drop out again despite having no effect whatsoever on proceedings, the most egregious example being Nat Faxon as Jason Segel’s workmate who pops up in one scene for three minutes, which is mostly focussed on his character despite him never showing up again and the scene having no reason for existing.  A good fifteen minutes, at least, of the runtime are spent at Rob Lowe’s house as they try and find his iPad.  Fifteen.  Fifteen whole minutes of this film are dedicated to one scenario where Jason Segel is chased by a dog and Cameron Diaz acts surprised that Rob Lowe isn’t a completely wholesome guy.  Lowe even disappears completely from the film after it’s done, just to rub salt into the wound!  Jack Black pops up at one point and the film stops dead for a full minute (not an exaggeration) to have him rattle off a seemingly endless list of porn site names.  It’s padding of the most blatant and egregious kind, as if it’s straight up admitting that there is not enough material to cover an entire 98 minutes of film.

Screenplay Problem #2: there are no characters here.  None.  None whatsoever.  Our leads barely qualify as one-dimensional and their romance is seemingly predicated entirely on sex.  One would think that this would lead to them going through a nuanced arc as they discover the true reasons why they married one another, but that’s not how it goes.  How it instead goes is that they both get angry and annoyed at one another until the film decides that they then love each other totally.  There’s no real change, no growth, no reason why this is brought on; they just hate each other until they don’t.  This is the most character development that goes on in the whole movie.  Rob Corddry and Ellie Kemper turn up as happily married friends of Segel and Diaz, and the film promptly uses that set-up to have the pair of them be turned on by Segel and Diaz’s sex tape.  Yes, that is it.  The villain (yes, this film has a villain, don’t be surprised) is evil for literally no reason, Rob Lowe’s trait is that his character is a debauched degenerate who is the head of a family company ha ha ha, and Jack Black’s character amounts to “he has a stupid moustache and a fur coat.”

You may have already figured out Screenplay Problem #3 from that prior paragraph: there is no meaning to any of this.  You could use this premise to explore the issues of married life, of breaking out of modernity and revitalising the spark, of how making a sex tape maybe isn’t the most desperate thing you can do in a relationship, maybe contrast Kemper and Corddry’s happy marriage with Segel and Diaz’s unhappy one, or maybe even have the tape become something that the duo can treasure as proof of how strong their bond is.  As you may have figured out, none of that happens.  Scenes just lurch from one to another with no real meaning behind them, no theme, no character arc, no emotional reason to exist.  That last bit is especially ridiculous when the film decides, in the final fifteen minutes, to crash headfirst into sappy sentimentality and it all falls incredibly flat due to the aforementioned lack of characters, arcs or reasons to care.  There is nothing going on here and yet it lasts 98 minutes!  98 minutes of nothing!  This is literal time-wasting, people!  A lack of characters, well-developed or no, in a comedy doesn’t have to be a problem if that’s the point (like how Airplane! is a nonsense parody of disaster films, or how 22 Jump Street is an all-in parody and embracing of pointless comedy sequels), but you need a point, a reason for existing, otherwise you are literally just time-wasting.

Honestly, that last problem makes Screenplay Problem #4 seem completely irrelevant or, at the very least, minor in the grand scheme of things, but it needs mentioning anyway: there are no jokes in Sex Tape.  Stuff happens and you’re expected to laugh.  Hey, hey, did you know that the f-word is naughty and that saying it is funny for that exact reason?  Did you also know that sex is absolutely gross?  As is talking about sex?  And that white upper-class people can like metal and rap music?  Also, aren’t kids that don’t speak like kids just adorably funny?  And that adults who don’t know how to use technology are weird and out-of-touch?  There, I just listed every single bit of “humour” that Sex Tape wants to throw at you.  It’s all extremely obvious and very easy, lazily tossed off with near-total contempt for the audience who inexplicably were busting multiple guts during my screening.  I realise that humour is subjective, more so than pretty much anything else in life, but to laugh at this is to basically admit that you have no standards for comedy.  I’m sorry if you’re not willing to hear this, but it’s the truth, and the sooner you accept this fact, the sooner you can learn to better yourself.

Two further issues, real quick.  1) This film’s shilling of the iPad is absolutely ridiculous.  I get that the iPad is a necessary part of the film’s premise (again, not plot, big difference) and I am willing to suspend my disbelief when characters mention the thing by its brand name instead of just as “tablet” or some such.  When you repeatedly have characters stop the film and openly express the virtues of its camera and resolution and durability in extensive detail, then it crosses the line from a part of the film to gaudy and blatant product placement.  Unsurprisingly, this happens a lot.  An unacceptable amount of a lot.  2) You think late-series How I Met Your Mother was Jason Segel phoning it in as an actor?  Son, you have no idea.  You have no idea…

I don’t like to parrot my reviews 100% as consumer advice, because different people will find different things entertaining, especially with comedy, and I can’t tell you what you will and will not like, but I cannot order you enough to stay away from this one, folks.  What we have here are a whole bunch of really talented people, really talented people that have proven that they are really talented people who can do better, who have created 98 minutes of absolutely nothing, with nothing to say and no value whatsoever.  And I have come to two theories as to why this has happened.  Either everyone involved decided to see if they could get away with making and releasing a film with as little effort or work put into it as possible in an attempt to see how much damage their careers would take as a result, or they have purposefully crafted a comedy with no jokes or reason to exist to see if such a thing would be possible.  Attempted career suicide or performance art.  I don’t much like either theory but they’re the only ones I can come up with as to how these very talented people could fuck up so totally.  This may be the worst comedy of the whole dire year.  Blended may have been racist, sexist, and twenty unbearable minutes longer than this, but at least that movie had thematic and emotional arcs and a reason to exist!

Again, I don’t like parroting my reviews as full-on consumer advice, but I really did see Sex Tape so that you don’t have to.  And if you do see Sex Tape and laugh at it, with that laughter brought on by the film and no outside factors, then you have no sense of humour or low standards in humour and should devote extensive time to bettering yourself as a human being as a result.  Do not reward everyone involved in this.  Stay far away.

Callum Petch loves your love action.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!