Monday Morning Quarterback: Part Two

By BOP Staff

December 14, 2005

Just think. One of us is getting stuck with the Jets.

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What powerful subject matter? You got anything where a gigantic family has hijinks?

Kim Hollis: Syriana opened to $12 million in 1,752 venues. What do you think of this performance?

David Mumpower: I expect that you all will disagree, but I find this unsatisfying. A Matt Damon/George Clooney film should do much better than this independent of the subject matter.

Reagen Sulewski: This number seems to say "polite acknowledgement" to me, as opposed to the gaudy numbers it put up in limited release.

David Mumpower: That's a great way of saying it, Reagen. "We applaud the effort now please go make Ocean's 13 and don't screw up like last time."

Kim Hollis: Given the venues and the downbeat subject matter, I think that's pretty damned good. I mean, this isn't Danny Ocean and friends. This is a guy who fought the establishment and is embittered about the way it turned out.

Kim Hollis: How much further do you see Syriana expanding, and also, do you think the film is an Academy Awards contender?

David Mumpower: Honestly, I think this is pretty much the audience for the film and the pre-release Oscars buzz seems to be vanishing. It's been received as a good but not great film and only the second best Clooney release of the season.

Joel Corcoran: I think it's an Academy Awards contender, much like Traffic was, but at the same time, I don't think the opening box office really warrants expanding it. I think Syriana is one of those movies that will trickle outward across the country, but never expand far beyond 1,700 venues or so.

Reagen Sulewski: It's a cynical and not altogether transparent film, and I don't really see audiences turning the tide on this one. It might expand to the 22-2300 range. There's a few nominations I could see (extreme dark horse: Alexander Siddig), but no more than a few.

Kim Hollis: Yeah, the fact that Good Night, and Good Luck has such universal praise and admiration is not a happy thing for Syriana.

Aeon No Big Bucks

Kim Hollis: Aeon Flux opened to $12.7 million last weekend before plummeting 64% in its second frame. It has a running total of $20.3 million with a reported budget of $55 million. Factoring in that costs have been kept relatively low by action film standards, is this a bomb?

Reagen Sulewski: I think it could show some small black ink after DVD sales (masochists?) but it's not going to get into the Paramount highlight reel.

David Mumpower: I just don't see how no one took a look at these dailies are realized there was a disaster in the offing. Six months ago, we were ready to write it off as the next Catwoman. Why wasn't anyone involved with the project more self-aware? I generally don't like to do so much finger wagging, but this one isn't even close. Have they not seen Frances McDormand's hair?

Kim Hollis: Seriously. As someone who actually liked the animated series a great deal, the trailer completely turned me away from this one and I hope to never see it.

Joel Corcoran: I think it's a bomb in almost every respect, but it still will be profitable (unfortunately). I was a fan of the animated series on MTV and was completely disappointed in the film. I'm having trouble finding a shred of artistic redemption in the movie, and I hope it dies a quick death.

Kim Hollis: I think you'll be getting that wish, Joel. DVD in, oh, February, I'm guessing.

Reagen Sulewski: Filming a female-centric superhero or sci-fi movie seems to be the equivalent of the search for cold fusion. Everyone who tries has fallen flat on their face (with the notable exception of James Cameron) with the hopes that they can be the first to do it and strike it rich.

Kim Hollis: I guess we'll have to wait for Battle Angel to see if Cameron's still got it.

Joel Corcoran: I think I'll buy a used DVD off eBay and crush it with a ball-peen hammer, then go back to watching the DVD of the animated series.

David Mumpower: At this point, I can't decide if Ashley Judd's decision to eschew Catwoman for 73 atrocious crime dramas was savvy or not.

Everybody hates Chris

Kim Hollis: With the news that Chris Rock won't be returning to host the Oscars this year, who should be the next person to take the job?

David Mumpower: I maintain that the best host for the Oscars is George Clooney, but that's impossible this year due to the conflict of interest. My next favorite choice is Steve Martin but with Cheaper by the Dozen 2 looking to rack up so many awards, there could again be the...okay, seriously, let's give it to Steve Martin again.

Kim Hollis: I think they should look to Jon Stewart. He's so popular in Hollywood circles right now and he's not simply a talk-show host, either. He's actually had some film roles so he can relate to the people out in the audience better than a Letterman. In the alternative, I think Zombie Bob Hope would be fantastic.

Reagen Sulewski: In that same vein, I'd think about Steve Carell.

Kim Hollis: Carell is certainly the It Guy of the moment.

David Mumpower: Considering the ratings spike she would give the show, Oprah Winfrey merits consideration. She's too soft to do a good job, though.

Joel Corcoran: I'd like to see David Letterman or Steve Martin come back and host the awards show. Jon Stewart would be good, but the venue and format seems better suited to Letterman or Martin. Zombie Bob Hope would be great, but what about the threat of a zombie outbreak?

Kim Hollis: A zombie outbreak is the best possible thing that could happen to Hollywood. Think of the possibilities! In fact, get George Romero on the phone right now.

Finally, the Rock has come back to the Oscars!

David Mumpower: I think we should upgrade from Chris Rock to THE Rock. I mean, nobody else we're talking about has as much experiencing doing live television than him, right?

Reagen Sulewski: Only if we're guaranteed a Jack Nicholson powerslam.

David Mumpower: All four losers in each category get Rock Bottomed!

Joel Corcoran: If we're going to The Rock, then why not launch all the way up to Vin Diesel?

Kim Hollis: I would suggest that Vin is a downgrade from The Rock. Though we'll have to wait for The Rock's daddy changing diapers movie to know for sure.

Reagen Sulewski: Is Robin Williams sane enough these days?

Kim Hollis: Only when portraying animated characters.

Joel Corcoran: Why not have Robin Williams do a voice-over for a CGI Oscars host, then? Andy Serkis could model the movements.

David Mumpower: The time has come for Pixar to host the Oscars. It would be like having Billy Crystal, but funny.

Kim Hollis: Ugh, I bet Crystal comes back.

Reagen Sulewski: You realize that's going to lead to Mike Myers hosting as Shrek, right?

David Mumpower: Why does every hosting scenario lead to nuclear escalation?

Kim Hollis: I'm sure Mike Myers is eagerly sitting by the phone right now.

Gay cowboys? How Village People

Kim Hollis: The biggest film critics awards announcement so far occurred this weekend with L.A. critics citing Brokeback Mountain as the year's best film. Will a country that made gay marriage a hot-button issue in 2004 feel preached at by a film that supports similar subject matter to them?

Joel Corcoran: I haven't yet seen the movie, but the story is not "preachy" at all. I think it strikes right to the heart of that segment of middle America that has nothing against gay people, but doesn't like the idea of gay marriage.

David Mumpower: I think that a message is being sent out by Hollywood this awards season. Transamerica, Brokeback Mountain, Breakfast on Pluto, Mrs. Henderson Presents, and Capote all bring sexual fluidity into the spotlight in at least some capacity. Even if mainstream audiences reject the films financially (and I suspect this will be the case with Brokeback Mountain), simply introducing the discussion is a positive. The incendiary hatred of the 2004 political season needs to be addressed head on.

Reagen Sulewski: Is this anymore out there than The Crying Game?

David Mumpower: I think that's a great point, Reagen. It's certainly not treading any new ground, but the timing of it is pointed.

Kim Hollis: I heard some older folks whispering during the trailer the other night, but I would posit that they wouldn't be the film's target audience anyway. Of course, that was a preview for Capote, so maybe they were simply not particularly aware.

Reagen Sulewski: I'm shocked that Philip Seymour Hoffman didn't suffer permanent vocal chord damage from Capote.


David Mumpower: I'm not convinced Brokeback Mountain's success will continue deep into the awards season, but Philip Seymour Hoffman strikes me as the favorite for Best Actor right now.

Joel Corcoran: I think the timing of the movie is geared toward Oscar season, not toward changing the hearts and minds of red state America. It's a very good story, there is every indication that it's a well-made, beautifully filmed movie, with controversial subject matter. The fact that a bunch of movies with controversial sexual themes are released late in the year strikes me as coincidence, not conspiracy.

David Mumpower: I don't think anyone is seeing conspiracy in it but rather applauding a decision to attack the prevailing ignorance from 2004 political zeitgeist.

Joel Corcoran: Well, I meant "conspiracy" from the point of view of those who might think Hollywood has some sort of "homosexual agenda."

Kim Hollis: If mainstream audiences do reject Brokeback Mountain, will it still be an Academy Awards contender?

David Mumpower: I don't see box office as crucial to its candidacy but all other things being equal, it's important to have a financial basis of support.

Kim Hollis: I think it will be a contender. The Academy likes to be stubbornly in opposition to the trending in Red State America a lot of the time, and Brokeback Mountain allows them an opportunity to strike back, so to speak.

Reagen Sulewski: The Academy likes to reward success, that's no shock. It depends on what you expect it to contend for; I suspect things like Cinematography, Screenplay and maybe an acting nomination are more achievable.

Why is no one talking about Serenity?

Kim Hollis: At this point in the season, if you're picking the most likely Best Picture winner from films that have received even a token release, what one do you believe is the front-runner?

David Mumpower: Good Night, and Good Luck strikes me as the leader in the clubhouse.

Joel Corcoran: Either Good Night, and Good Luck or Capote.

David Mumpower: I look at Capote more in the vein of Vera Drake or Ray in that it's a star turn performance rather than a great movie.

Reagen Sulewski: I think Walk the Line might have a slight edge at this point due to box office success.

Kim Hollis: I'm a little torn between Walk the Line and Good Night, and Good Luck. I think both are likely to be nominated, but we'll just have to see how the buzz develops between now and awards time to see who comes out ahead. Besides which, it's going to be all about Kong anyway.

David Mumpower: I'm starting to think that the Peter Jackson version of King Kong might do better than the 1976 Jeff Bridges version.

Joel Corcoran: I'm also torn between Walk the Line and Good Night, and Good Luck. I'll be curious to see what nods Nobody Knows gets from the Academy, though.

Kim Hollis: I would say Nobody Knows will be Nobody Known. It was released way too early in the year for any consideration at this point.



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