By George Rose
May 26, 2009
Despite the known ending to the film (the title sort of gives that away), it only failed to meet my expectations with regards to profits. The shallow revenue seemed shocking due to the absurd and inexplicable gross of Streep's much less Oscar-worthy Mamma Mia! though I suppose it makes sense since the subject matter isn't really geared towards the family-holiday. My faith in the public (critics and ticket buyers alike) was restored when, despite the lack of mainstream appeal, the film was nominated for a bevy of acting awards (Streep for actress, Phillip Seymour Hoffman for actor, Amy Adams and Viola Davis for supporting actress). All were deserving and though the film was a bit awkward to watch with my more-religious-than-me mother, it was more than worth seeing nonetheless.
HBO's True Blood: Season One (2008)
Oh no, it looks like I broke a rule! Am I seriously recommending a season of television instead of a fifth movie? You betcha! Sometimes you have to break rules and go against the grain to be unique and stand out. Sometimes you have to be different than the other "critically acclaimed" critics and occasional recommend something unexpected. BOP itself is proof to that, since we discuss more than just films on the site as forms of entertainment, despite being self-proclaimed Box Office Prophets. In honor of this week's DVD/Blu-Ray release of True Blood, I offer it to you as my final suggestion for entertainment.
Yes, I know you barely have time to watch a two hour movie, let alone a 12-hour-long episode season of TV, but you will (hopefully) not regret taking my advice. Vampires are sexy. HBO knows sexy. Based on The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, and adapted for television by Alan Ball (of Six Feet Under fame, so the man knows death), the story follows Sookie Stackhouse (for which Anna Paquin won a Golden Globe) as a small town waitress who meets and falls in love with a gentle vampire named Bill (Stephen Moyer). Think Twilight (which I only saw because of True Blood) but for adults, with plenty of sex, mysterious murders and vampire-blood drugs to go around. Where Twilight is mostly teen-romance with a bit of action, True Blood raises the bar and brings philosophical questions to the adult-oriented table. Are vampires hunting humans or are we hunting them? What are the implications of having a society where vampires legally co-exist with human? Who has the right to tell us who we can love (vampire-loving humans are taunted as "fang-bangers") or what sub-culture of the mainstream we can be a part of? Inserting the ability for humans to drink vampire blood for drug-like consequences (I wasn't kidding) and a killer on the loose whose primary target seem to be these fang-bangers makes for a tough break between episodes.
Considering the length of the season, much discussion could be had around the show. There is far too much for this one portion of the article which may be a critic's reason for my "poor selection" (they won't be saying that after they watch the season). Given the DVD release and the upcoming June 14th Season Two premiere, I think the good outweighs the bad here. If nothing else, it will leave you with one final question for you to ask yourself as you part ways with this week's Take Five: are television shows really that different from movies? Yes, in many technical ways, but for the sake of entertainment the answer is no. I have seen the first season twice now (some episodes more) and would rather find the time to watch it again than watch Wolverine EVER again. Thanks to True Blood, my interests have fallen further away from the once beloved super-hero genre and closer to the blood-thirsty world of vampires. At least their lives are filled with exciting drama and not pointless action sequences. And if I need to justify my selection any more than I already have, here is one last excuse: I've already picked four films that satisfy my interest as a critic but have picked none to satisfy my selfish needs to market and promote things I like outside the ordinary. Is it so wrong to every now and then indulge in our darker side? True Blood says no. So what do YOU think?