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April 21, 2008 | Comments ()


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Them Bitches Are Crack-Whore Zombies

The Weekly Box Office Round-Up / Dustin Rowles

Box Office Round-Ups | April 21, 2008 | Comments ()


*5. 21 (Weekend: $5.5 million ; Total: $70 million ): Not so fun fact: Bringing Down the House, the Ben Mezrich book 21 is based upon, actually has a sequel, Busting Vegas, which follows a different MIT student, Semyon Dukach, thought to be the greatest blackjack player in the world (he’s been banned from all of Vegas’ casinos). After giving up his blackjack career, Dukach started an online dating service, an obvious career move if there ever was one. And given the success of 21 (this is it’s fourth goddamn week in the top six), it seems fairly likely that Busting Vegas will follow in its footsteps to the big screen. But don’t worry — it’s a very different animal. Dukach didn’t count cards, he legally manipulated the game and steered cards into favorable hands, which I’m sure will make for some very exciting action sequences on the big screen.

4. 88 Minutes (Weekend: $6.8 million): Whenever a critically reviled movie like 88 Minutes — which has absolutely nothing redeeming about it, and which no sane person could actually find enjoyable — comes out, I’m always fascinated with the two or three positive reviews it’s given. There were only two positive U.S. reviews for 88 Minutes: 1) The Worcester Telegram and Gazette, which at least qualified it as a “guilty pleasure”; and 2) The New York Observer’s Andrew Sarris. I’d pile on, but the poor old guy (he’s 80) — a once immensely respectable critic who brought the term “auteur theory” to these shores — has to be reeling in a new age where comments can be left on his reviews. He had five, and the first one kind of made me want to go to the guy’s house and give him a hug: “This movie was terrible. You need to retire.” That’s not as bad as the third comment, though: “I’ve been reading a lot about how newspapers are downsizing their staffs of reviewers, and until I read your review, I thought it was deplorable. Now I’m not so sure.” Ouch. It’s one thing if you intentionally provoke your readers (see, e.g., Hellboy, in which I take needless potshots just to get a rise out of you folks and incite a little bitchiness, which has disappeared a bit since you good people decided to get chummy with the reviewers [I blame B-Slim’s sudden absence]), but Sarris’ earnestness, as well as his blind devotion to Pacino (“the suspiciously seductive power of a little man with an outsize [sic] talent”), makes the drubbing all the more painful to read. The guy was once an institution at The Village Voice, and he’s been reduced to blather and puns. That’s me in 50 years, I suppose, still fawning all over an arthritic Ryan Reynolds and mocking geriatric fanboys playing Age of Conan XXII in their nursing homes.

3. Prom Night (Weekend: $9 million; Total: $32 million): Of course, by the time I’m 80, Generation Douchebag will have a representative in the White House (State of the Union addresses will be delivered in text-speak, on Facebook, and running the country will be turned into a reality show — wait! That’s a decent idea) and Prom Night will be on its fourth remake, now a G-rated, 3-D, animated version (in Smellovision!) that will eschew violence. The killer, instead, will murder everyone with kindness and hugs and the prom itself will have a smattering of corporate sponsors, including Buttfuckers, of course.

2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Weekend $17 million:): Say what you want about the Apatow formulism, folks, but I will take an Apatow Mad-Libs created movie (just rearrange the jokes, the sight gags, and the cast) any day over standard studio comedy fare. If the law of diminishing returns applied to Apatow productions, it’d take 447 of his movies to reach the nadir of comedy represented by Superhero Movie or Fool’s Gold. I sincerely appreciate that the merits of his movies are being so vehemently debated on this site and others, but come on: At the end of the day, most self-respecting people would choose Forgetting Sarah Marshall over Norbit. Unfortunately, judging by the box-office receipts, there are not that many self-respecting people left in this country. Still, not a bad showing.

1. The Forbidden Kingdom (Weekend: $20 million): It’s hard to say exactly why The Forbidden Kingdom took the top spot in this week’s box-office, but I’m guessing it has something to do with a scene in which Jet Li pisses on Jackie Chan (H/T BFFredo). I understand Forbidden Kingdom is tantamount to a Boston Celtics/L.A. Lakers NBA finals — a sport no one really cares about anymore that nevertheless gains some interest because the two participants are legends in their field. Unfortunately, it sounds like the equivalent of both Kobe Bryant (Jet Li) and Kevin Garnett (Jackie Chan) coming in off the bench for a few minutes and playing second-fiddle to a “thin white slab of dumbass,” a.k.a., Michael Angarano. I don’t know enough about the NBA to name his basketball equivalent. How about Brian Scalabrine?

Finally, apropos of nothing, here’s an NSFW trailer for Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!, just to get your Monday morning off on the right foot. The zombie foot, that is. Enjoy.

*Nim’s Island was actually this week’s No. 5 movie, but there’s only so much I can say about Abigail Breslin before reducing myself to cheap, tacky prostitution jokes, and I’d like to think I’m above suggesting a 12-year-old girl gets her parts via the casting couch.



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