Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Box Office Bingo
Checking through the Box Office Boomtown List of 2006 is a little scary, as it's a listing that quite accurately reflects a disheartening lack of Hollywood creative imagination, demonstrating that the money-makers were largely animated, sequels of some sort, or lifted from the colorful pages of comic books,... not that there's anything wrong with any of that. But, still. (1) Pirates of the Carribean:Dead Man's Chest---Second-helping of a Hollywood Family Serial. (2)Cars---Pixar animation, a fill length cartoon. (3)X-Men:The Last Stand--3rd installment of a hollywood serial and a Comic Book Movie. (4)The DaVinci Code---Hollywood Big League Potboiler, Best Seller-Into-Movie,Ron Howard Prestige Film. (5) Superman Returns--Prequel to a Hollywood serial and a Comic Book Movie. (6)Ice Age:The Meltdown---Part 2 of a Hollywood Cartoon Serial. (7)Happy Feet---Full length cartoon. (8)Over the Hedge--Full length cartoon. (9)Talladega Nights:The Ballad of Ricky Bobby---Contempo Comedy, Will Ferrel Pic. (10)Casino Royale---upteenth helping of a Hollywood Serial, with upteenth new Bond in place. Not much there that highlights the writerly or directorial aspects of Hollywood filmmaking, is there? Let's go back a decade and quickly peruse the same list. 1996:(1) Independence Day--Big-budget Hollywood Disaster Movie. (2)Twister---Big-budgetHollywood Disaster/Action Flic.(3) Mission Impossible---Tom Cruise Pic, TV-Into-Movie Pic, Big-budget Action Flic.(4)Jerry Maquire---Tom Cruise Pic, Romantic Comedy, Critical Fave with truly Original Screenplay. (5) Ransom----Mel Gibson Pic, Ron Howard Prestige Film, Big-budget Hollywood Pyschological Action Flic.(6)101 Dalmations---Live action remake of Disney full length cartoon. (7) The Rock---Big budget Hollywood Action Flic,Nic Cage Pic. (8)The Nutty Professor---Eddie Murphy Pic, Family Comedy, Remake of Classic Hollywood Comedy.(9)The Birdcage---Family Comedy remade from stage musical that was remade from a Frenchy Movie Comedy. (10)A Time To Kill---Hollywood Potboiler, Best Seller-Into-Movie, John Grisham Pic. Surprisingly ther ain't that much happening there either, other than a whambam collection of actioneers, although it is a year largely devoid of sequels and big timey cartoons. Back it up another ten years. 1986: (1)Top Gun---Tom Cruise Pic, Big-budget Hollywood Action Flic. (2)Crocodile Dundee---Aussie Paul Hogan achieves his 15 minutes. (3) Platoon---Truly Original Screenplay, Critical Fave-Rave,Oliver Stone's Hollywood flag-setting effort. (4) The Karate Kid Part II---Hollywood Serial Movie, part II. (5)Star Trek IV:The Voyage Home---Big-budget Sci-Fi, Hollywood Serial Movie. (6) Back to School---Contempo Comedy, Rodney Dangerfield Pic(hard to believe that actually once meant something at the box office). (7) Aliens---Second time around Sci-Fi Serial, James Cameron plunges his own flag into Hollywood ground. (8) The Golden Child---Eddie Murphy Pic, Family Comedy. (9) Ruthless People--Contempo Comedy with truly Original Comic Screenplay. (10)Ferris Bueller's Day Off---Teen Comedy, John Hughes Pic (remember when that meant something at the box office?)A year dominated by comedies, most of which were at least original, one all time corn-fest (Top Gun) and two actual keepers--Aliens and Platoon. Neither 1996 or 1986 makes much of a case for smarter, better movie years, and somehow I was not able to get the results for 1976 so the brief study must end there. It goes without saying the box office bingo isn't Oscar bling-bling, yet it undeniably illustrates what real people actually go out to see in any given year. Can any of you free-thinking movie mavens put yer shakey finger on that three-decade movie board?