Daily Archives: November 7, 2018

Fall Movie League – Mercury Rising

Week nine of our Fall Fantasy Movie League has now flown by.

The options for week nine were as follows:

Bohemian Rhapsody       $510
The Nutcracker          $260
Halloween               $201
Nobody's Fool           $180
A Star is Born          $127
Venom                   $80
Goosebumps 2            $62
The Hate U Give         $42
Smallfoot               $42
Hunter Killer           $39
First Man               $35
Suspiria                $31
Night School            $24
Mid 90s                 $23
The Old Man and the Gun $17

And I have to admit it was probably foolish for me to bet against the only film on the list that I had any intention of seeing last weekend, Bohemian Rhapsody.

On Monday I was still on board with Freddie Mercury, going with 1x Bohemian Rhapsody , 1x Halloween, 1x Nobody’s Fool, 1x First Man, 1x Mid 90s, and 3x The Old Man and the Gun.  A scattered lineup if ever there was one.

But then I started to let the news and reviews get to me.  And the hard core fans.

The reviews were not great.  There was lots of carping about what the movie could have been, how story was change to make things a nice little package, and how seemingly essential events were omitted.

What I failed to detect was the problem of the connoisseur in play.  This wasn’t the story hard core fans wanted.  This was not what those in the know could go along with.  Bohemian Rhapsody was pretty much a Greatest Hits album that visited some key points but mostly just gave the posers and bystanders what they wanted without too much to think about.  Boy finds band.  Boy and band reach wonderful heights.  Boy gets bored, leaves band.  Boy feels regret.  Boy and band reunite.  Sprinkle on a little pathos and social commentary and bake at 350 degrees for 134 minutes and you’re set.

The thing is, record labels don’t keep cranking out Greatest Hits albums because they are bad sellers.  It turns out most people aren’t as into your favorite band as you are.  They don’t want to hear the B-side songs or the creative experiments or that soulful ballad you love but which never got any air time.  They want to hear the hits that they’ve heard on the radio, the songs they know just enough of the words to that they sing along aloud.

Which is all wonderful hindsight, but I was reading all the negatives, with forecasts as low as $30 million being predicted.  With that in mind I got as far away from Bohemian Rhapsody as I could, deciding to throw in my lot with Tyler Perry, who tends to blindside me with the popularity of his films.

So by lock time my picks were 5x Nobody’s Fool, 1x Smallfoot, 1x First Man, and 1x Mid 90s.

And then Bohemian Rhapsody did $51 million, exceeding the highest forecast I saw by a good $10 million, becoming the best performer and the winning anchor.  Greatest Hits album wins.

Also, as an aside, Rami Malek looks so much like young Omar Sharif at times in that movie… just put a gap in those front teeth and you’re there… that they need to make a bio-pic about Omar next, before Rami gets much older.  Do it!  Omar Sharif lived a fascinating life.

The perfect pick was 1x Bohemian Rhapsody, 5x Venom, and 2x Smallfoot, leaving the week’s scores looking like this:

  1. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $105,170,333
  2. Paks’ Pancakes & Pics – $94,427,321
  3. Goat Water Picture Palace – $93,238,640
  4. Miniature Giant Space Hamsterplex – $93,238,640
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – $91,704,872
  6. Too Orangey For Crows – $89,460,183
  7. Joanie’s Joint – $87,943,399
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $87,062,016
  9. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $78,042,410
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $77,382,648

Ben got the perfect pick, which boosted his fortunes greatly.  Otherwise, if you anchored on Bohemian Rhapsody, you were in above the $80 million mark.  Below that were two people who went all-in on the Nutcracker.  Tyler Perry only got me into 11th place, and Po into 12th.  You can’t make the top ten every week I guess.  Halloween was the disappointing anchor.  I guess people don’t go to seasonal movies after the season has passed.

That left the overall scores for the season looking like:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – $656,388,528
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – $642,913,881
  3. Too Orangey For Crows – $630,234,013
  4. I HAS BAD TASTE – $623,232,202
  5. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – $622,193,961
  6. Ben’s X-Wing Exp(r)ess – $593,230,983
  7. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – $587,634,041
  8. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – $585,890,989
  9. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – $584,789,242
  10. grannanj’s Cineplex – $583,842,796

Inertia from previous weeks kept me on top, but Goat is not far behind me.  Ben’s perfect pick, along with Vigo missing his pick and SynCaine betting on Halloween as an anchor, jumped him from 11th to 6th place overall.  Corr, who nearly missed out when his picks failed to copy (you get a free, one time petition to fix that I hear), fell back a couple of places as well.

As for the alternate scoring, this is how it fell out:

  1. Wilhelm’s Kul Tiras Kino – 49
  2. Goat Water Picture Palace – 48
  3. Corr’s Carefully Curated Cineplex – 47
  4. Too Orangey For Crows – 44
  5. I HAS BAD TASTE – 37
  6. Vigo Grimborne’s Medieval Screening Complex – 36
  7. Darren’s Unwatched Cineplex – 34
  8. Po Huit’s Sweet Movie Suite – 33
  9. Cyanbane’s Neuticles Viewing Party – 28
  10. SynCaine’s Dark Room of Delights – 24

Not getting in the top ten let everybody catch up to me.  We now effectively have a tie race between myself, Goat, Corr, and possibly Bhagpuss.  Ben’s big finish for the week still only got him into 11th place.  He will need to swing some more first place finishes to catch up.

And there we stand after nine week.  Just four more to go.  And the week ten options look like this:

The Grinch                   $800
Bohemian Rhapsody            $372
The Girl in the Spider's Web $150
The Nutcracker               $126
Overlord                     $107
A Star is Born               $100
Nobody's Fool                $80
Venom                        $65
Halloween                    $59
Thugs of Hindostan           $40
Goosebumps 2                 $22
The Hate U Give              $25
Smallfoot                    $26
Hunter Killer                $25
Can You Ever Forgive Me?     $21

Gone this week are First Man, Suspiria, Night School, Mid 90s, and The Old Man and the Gun.

Replacing them are The Grinch, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Overlord, Thugs of Hindostan, and Can You Ever Forgive.

The Grinch.  It is November, time for Christmas movies, so let’s re-pillage a classic.  I guess we should feel lucky it isn’t another version of A Christmas Carol. (My favorite version of that stars Mr. Magoo, though Bill Murray’s Scrooged doesn’t displease me.)

The original TV special has its flaws, but it also has freakin’ Boris Karloff.  How to you top that?  Not with Jim Carrey, that is for sure.  But that was 18 years ago, so I guess we’re probably overdue at this point.

What can I say?  Name recognition is through the roof on this one, and most people will have forgotten the 2000 film by now.  Long range tracking puts it at $70 million.  What else are you going to take the kids to see this weekend?

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is the next installment in the English language remakes of the Stieg Larsson Millennium trilogy about what Swedes are really like.  No wonder 20% of the country got up and moved to America a century or so back, some ancestors of mine included.  I made it through the books, but wouldn’t bother reading them again.  I tried watching the Swedish versions of the films, but subtitles break me out of the movie too often, so I didn’t enjoy them.  And then there was the first film back in 2011, which I enjoyed, but which didn’t do well enough to continue on right away.

But now we’re back, with Claire Foy as Lisbeth Salander, which would have been a lot easier to swallow if I hadn’t enjoyed her in first two seasons of The Crown.  Now, in the back of my head, it is going to be young Elizabeth Regina kicking ass and taking names… which honestly wouldn’t be a bad idea for an action adventure comic or film.  The secret crime fighting life of Queen Elizabeth.  We’d get a chance to see what is really in that purse… or under those hats!  Faster corgi! Kill! Kill!

Has nobody done this yet?

Instead we have the middle novel, made into a film sequel, when most people have forgotten the first one by now.  You can get away with that if you’re The Incredibles, not if you’re a goth Swedish avenger.  Reviews are down, recognition is low, and long range forecasts were calling it at $12 million.

Then we have Overlord, which I rightly assumed would be about the allied landings in Normandy in 1944.  What I did not expect was for it to me a zombie horror film about secret Nazi experiments directed by J. J. Abrams.  I kind of want to see that.  But I might not be in a big crowd with that, as the last forecast has it at $8 million.  It needed to be out in August, not in November.

Thugs of Hindostan is, to quote directly from Wikipedia, an “…Indian Hindi-language epic action-adventure film.”  It looks pretty cool.  A pity I don’t speak Hindi.  And that will be the problem in the US.  Though we have a sizable Hindi speaking population in some areas… like here in Silicon Valley… it isn’t enough to break any box office records.  No estimates yet, but pricing seems to indicate maybe $3 million.

And, finally, there is Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy in a serious role in the story of Lee Israel, who forged letters from deceased actors and writers when her own literary career had ended.  An art house film that has been out for a few weeks, it is getting an expansion in theaters this week.  Pricing seems to put it at about $1.4 million.

So there we go.  With all of that I let the Cineplex Builder make my Monday Hot Takes picks, and it gave me 1x The Grinch, 1x Venom, 1x The Hate U Give, and 4x Goosebumps 2.  We shall see.