The Best and the Worst of the Year Keep Coming

Straight links today even though I wanted to put an end to an argument I witnessed nearly ruin a marriage Saturday night: Who’s better, Michael Jackson or Prince? I’m squarely on the Jack-O side and don’t even think it’s close, but feel free to comment away if you have an opinion.

get your hands off me, jeff

get your hands off me, jeff

The most interesting thing about this link isn’t the news that Tron: Legacy is the top movie of the weekend, with $43.6 million. That was pretty much a given that it would be. It’s also not that the movie looks like a pretty good gamble with that kind of opening weekend take, putting it in position to score over the upcoming holiday weekends. The interesting part is the picture of Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde on the rail. Bridges looks like he should have been caught by Chris Hansen on To Catch a Predator years ago with his arm around co-star Wilde, who is coming out of nowhere this winter to establish herself as one of the hottest women in Hollywood. That picture goes a long way in cementing that status. But poor Bridges looks like as soon as they got out of the view of the camera, Wilde slugged him square in the jaw and screamed, “If you ever tough me like that again, I will kick the snot out of you!”

I easily could spend the rest of the year linking to about 10 sites a day that are critics’ lists of their top 10s of the year in movies and TV then commenting on why they’re stupid. But one of my favorite yearly gimmicks does it a lot better at Metacritic. The site compiles dozens of opinions on top 10 movies of the year, listing just about every reputable critic in the country. Even better, they do an aggregate list of the all the movies that are included in the lists so you can get a good idea of how much certain movies have been loved. There’s nothing terribly surprising on the aggregate list except for one movie that seems to be coming out of nowhere to get some real impressive critical love — Carlos, the true story of a globe-trotting terrorist. I contemplated watching it over the weekend because it’s OnDemand, but got completely turned off by one thing — it’s five-and-a-half hours. I just don’t have that kind of time and can’t envision a situation where I would. Sorry Carlos. Maybe in 2030 or something. For the first time this year, Metacritic also did the same thing for TV and music critics’ top 10 lists. Just a fantastic resource if you like year-end pop culture lists — and that would be me.

there had to be 15 worse movies.

there had to be 15 worse movies.

What I can do though is link to hysterical explanations of the worst movies of the year. Looks pretty spot-on as to what I’d imagine would have been the worst movies of 2010 had I decided to spend one hard-earned dollar of my money to see any of this crap. Not a chance. The one I’ll take issue with is Hot Tub Time Machine. Yes, it’s a sloppy hodgepodge of stale 80s references, cardboard performances and pretty stereotypical characters that really don’t develop or grow through the course of the movie. But it’s also pretty darn funny in spots. There had to be 15 worse movies than it this year, but I’m not about to make a federal case out of defending it.

We hear a ton about Hollywood reunions, sequels, reboots, whatever, and how cool they are to put together, and how happy the people are to be working again together, only to see it suck rocks. Think The Lake House. But here’s one everyone should be happy about — Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman are planning on working together again with Jonze directing and Kaufman writing. This is the kind of news that should give people faith in the Hollywood system. Their first two collaborations have given us two of the most interesting mainstream movies in memory — Being John Malkovich and Adaptation. By themselves, their track records have been spotty at best. Jonze directed Where the Wild Things Are last year, but nothing else of note since Adaptation. in 2002. Kaufman scored by writing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2004, but went a long way to destroying whatever credibility he had with 2008’s Synecdoche, N.Y., his directorial debut. These two just work better together.

Speaking of sequels and reboots, Josh Brolin just gave the absolute worst quote possible on the state of Men in Black III by saying the script is better than Jonah Hex’s. Oh, really, Josh? The script for one of the most anticipated movies of 2012 is better than one of the worst movies of 2010? Fantastic! Too bad he couldn’t take it a step further and say, “Remember that Highway to Heaven episode I did back in 88? No? Well, you’re just going to have to believe me, because Men in Black III just destroys everything we did in that episode! No, really, I’m serious!” This is is a guy who just in the last three years has made Milk, No Country for Old Men, In the Valley of Elah and American Gangster. He couldn’t say the script was as good as any of those? He had to pick Jonah Hex? It could have been a mistake — or that could have been the only honest thing he could say about the script, that it was better than one of the worst movies of the year.

Blockbuster is losing another exclusivity deal with a major movie studio, as Warner Brothers no longer will be releasing its movies to the company 28 days before it releases them to Redbox and Netflix. Blockbuster gives off the impression of a company that waited wayyyyyyy too long to respond to the changes in the marketplace, and now is caught with both of its thumbs up its butt, and therefore can’t get its hands free to claw it out of what almost certainly is going to be its demise. There are hundreds of former video store owners laughing like crazy right now at the potential end to Blockbuster while they install someone’s DirecTV system.

not something to worry that much about

not something to worry that much about

This is from last week, but I was busy with other stuff and didn’t get to it — Jon Favreau is out as director of Iron Man 3. I don’t think this is that big a deal, because I was never really impressed with the direction. It’s the kind of movie and character that takes over any movie, and makes the director famous in the process. Actually, I thought the second one was a little on the over-directed side. The screenplay and Robert Downey Jr. are what makes those movies fantastic. If anything, Favreau’s main attribute was his extraordinary passion for the project and his ability to talk about it and promote it almost ad nauseum for the entire production process with his constant Tweets and other updates. Truthfully, I’m much more interested to find out whether he’ll be back as limo driver Hogan.

Not that it matters since movie music is so vanilla anymore — a product of the demise of actual music on MTV — but there are 41 songs eligible for the best original song Oscar. I may be wrong, but I don’t think any of these songs made it to the radio this year. At least I didn’t hear them. The best song category always has been a joke since some of the biggest movie songs never make it to the Oscars even though Randy Newman has his reserved spot in the nominations, but the lack of any good movie music is appalling. Even in down years there was always some kind of popular song that got thrown a bone (Jon Bon Jovi’s Blaze of Glory, Huey Lewis and the News’ Power of Love, etc.) with a nomination, but now there are no popular songs to throw that bone too. I was just trying to think about how many times I might have watched the Power of Love video in 1985 and I can’t even come up with an estimate. It had to be around 500 or so.


This is late too, but it would seen Good Guys is canceled. Not surprising in the least, and it won’t be official until May when it doesn’t show up on any of Fox’s summer or fall schedules, but it’s gone. Fox still has to be scratching their heads as to how this thing went bad. It’s a very good, entertaining show, with likable, recognizable stars that always had punchy scripts, lots of action and the tried-and-true formulaic crime-of-the-week format. So your guess is as good as mine as to why no one watched. Fans will say Fox killed it by putting it on Fridays, but it already had been horrible in the ratings over the summer on Monday nights. Fans will claim Fox killed it by airing it in the summer, but the network made it clear this wasn’t a show it was burning off, it already was on its fall schedule when it premiered in June. Even when the show continued to flounder in the ratings in October, Fox obviously didn’t lose faith in the show because it relentlessly and almost annoyingly promoted it during the baseball playoffs, when the network gets more eyes than any non-American Idol time. So just chalk this one up to “wrong show, wrong time.”

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