March 2020


The Year in Box Office


note:  There were some things I meant to put in the post that I forgot.  They are added at the end.

As may be obvious, I have become greatly interested in box office results lately, noting in the last several Adapted Screenplay posts the highest grossing adapted films I haven’t seen for the year.  I have also put a lot of Box Office Mojo’s information into spreadsheets, which is doubly good, since, first, they became a bunch of dicks and put a lot of stuff behind a paywall (fuck you Bezos) and second, because I make a lot more use of it than they did anyway.

One of the bizarre things they have done now is that all of their yearly results initially list the calendar year.  Who has ever wanted that?  Who wants to look at 2015 and see that Force Awakens grossed just short of what Jurassic World grossed simply because of how late in the year it was released?  It’s a stupid default setting.  I don’t deal with that shit.  These are all based off the release date, not the calendar year of when grosses were accumulated.

It seems safe now to run this list now that COVID-19 has pretty much decimated the movie theater industry and brought box office to a virtual standstill, which means I can be pretty confident that nothing on this list will change much, if at all. (more…)

I’m going to keep posting for as long as I can, but there are limits to that.  The 2001 Adapted Screenplay post will go up in a week or so but I can’t go past that because I don’t have the books I need and all the libraries are closed.  I have a 2019 specific post ready to go (probably going up Saturday) but it’s a different one than normal and I have to make a decision about the Year in Film / Best Picture posts.  Do I use our $15 in Fandango money to watch Uncut Gems and Bombshell and be in a position to do the post?  Or do we spend it on Emma which we would much rather watch and costs $20?  I would gladly spend $20 to see Portrait of a Lady on Fire (the only film other than Uncut Gems and Bombshell with more than 3 award nominations that I haven’t yet seen) but I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Neon will be making it available anytime soon.  Or should I just do the post without having seen those films?  I have a few other posts I am working on that don’t require anything that I don’t already have but we’ll see how long they take.

I don’t have unlimited time these days to work on posts because I am lucky enough to be working from home, joining Veronica who always works from home.  We’re keeping ourselves very isolated, only venturing out to buy groceries because Thomas is diabetic which makes him high risk if he came down with COVID.  So I’ll try to keep posting because maybe it will give something for people to read and escape from the shitshow of the world.

So, please, remember to follow the advice of Neil Diamond above.  I’ve sang “Sweet Caroline” during who knows how many Red Sox games and I’m glad he’s taking this seriously enough to adapt his lyrics.  So remember:

  • Wash your hands like you have a club stamp you don’t want your mom to see
  • Wash your hands like you were cutting jalapeños and have to change a contact lens
  • Wash your hands like you just convinced your husband to murder the king of Scotland
  • Love like Jesus but wash your hands like Pontius Pilate

note:  A little addition here.  From when I published it in February of 2011 until last month, my review of Camus’ The Plague never had more than 259 hits in a whole year.  It’s had 290 so far this month (with four days to go).  And my review of Love in the Time of Cholera, posted even earlier had only surpassed 100 hits in a month twice (one of which was the month Garcia Marquez died) and it’s up to 140.  So I guess we know what people are reading while stuck at home.

“I would rather be a ghost, drifting by your side as a condemned soul, than enter heaven without you.” Because the book has never been translated, I have no idea if that brilliant line exists there in any way.

My Top 10

  1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  2. Traffic
  3. Wonder Boys
  4. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
  5. High Fidelity
  6. Thirteen Days
  7. The Virgin Suicides
  8. Quills
  9. The Claim
  10. Aimee and Jaguar

note:  A truly fantastic Top 7 though it drops a bit after that.  My list continues down below though my #18 (Chocolat) and #19 (All the Pretty Horses) aren’t on that list because they’re reviewed as nominees. (more…)

A Century of Film


The Studio

A first note that the picture of the logo above, as always, comes from here and again there is an excellent piece on the history of the logo.

“[David] Sarnoff and Boston financier Joseph Kennedy created RKO back in 1928.  They merged several film companies into a fully integrated major, RKO-Radio Pictures, with RCA providing the sound, and the new studio immediately took off.  In 1930, its second full year of operation RKO pulled in profits of nearly $3.5 million.  But business had been so good during the talkie boom that it was impossible for a major studio not to make money.  Only when the Depression hit in 1931 did Sarnoff realize how inefficiently the studio was being run.  He was impressed when Selznick looked him up in New York to pitch his unit-production scheme. … David Selznick, at age twenty-nine, became RKO’s ‘vice president in charge of production’.”  (The Genius of the System: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Studio Era, Thomas Schatz, p 127-28) (more…)

“So I said, I love him and I’ll do anything if you make him alive. I said very slowly, I’ll give him up for ever, only let him be alive with a chance, and I pressed and pressed and I could feel the skin break, and I said, People can love without seeing each other, can’t they they, they love You all their lives without seeing You, and then he came in at the door, and he was alive, and I thought now the agony of being without him starts, and I wished he was safely back dead again under the door.” (p 95)

My Top 10

  1. The End of the Affair
  2. Eyes Wide Shut
  3. Toy Story 2
  4. The Talented Mr. Ripley
  5. The Insider
  6. Election
  7. Metroland
  8. Felicia’s Journey
  9. My Son the Fanatic
  10. The Cider House Rules

note:  A solid Top 5 but not so much for the Top 10.  But of course that’s balanced, as if often is, by a truly incredible original group of original scripts (American Beauty, Magnolia, Being John Malkovich, Three Kings, Topsy Turvy, Sixth Sense, Sweet and Lowdown, Following, Run Lola Run, Princess Mononoke, Abre Los Ojos).  This list is a bit different from the Nighthawk Awards because I saw Metroland since then and Fight Club dropped a bit when I re-watched it for the project – I still reviewed it because I had already gone through the effort of writing it, so it’s down at the bottom.  The rest of my list is shorter than usual and Fight Club (#11) is reviewed below as are my #16 (An Ideal Husband) and #17 (October Sky) because of award nominations. (more…)