Eric D. Snider

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Archive for the 'Movies' Category

All the wide releases of 2010

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

For people who like lists of things, here is a list of the 137 movies that opened in wide release in the United States in 2010. “Wide release” means it played in at least 1,000 theaters. Some movies started much smaller than that and expanded; this list includes those, as long as they eventually made it to 1,000. Missing are the 300+ movies that opened this year but didn’t go into wide release. That isn’t a judgment against those movies, just a way of sorting them. Information is according to Box Office Mojo. Links are to my reviews.

I saw 117 of them. How many did you see?

1/8 Daybreakers
1/8 Leap Year
1/8 Youth in Revolt
1/15 The Book of Eli
1/15 The Spy Next Door
1/22 Tooth Fairy
1/22 Extraordinary Measures
1/22 Legion
1/29 Edge of Darkness
1/29 When in Rome

2/5 From Paris with Love
2/5 Dear John
2/12 Valentine’s Day
2/12 Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
2/12 The Wolfman
2/19 Shutter Island
2/26 Cop Out
2/26 The Crazies

Continue reading…

Vote in the TSR Movie Awards

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

My friend Jeff Bayer’s site, The Scorecard Review, is hosting its 8th annual TSR Movie Awards, in which the films of 2009 are judged not by snooty, knowledgeable, well-informed members of the Academy, but by YOU, whoever you are. They’re arranged by categories: Funniest, Saddest, Scariest, etc. And it doesn’t matter how many movies you’ve seen, because you’re simply giving each nominee a score of 1 to 10, and you skip the ones you haven’t seen. So go vote here.

Funny story about the TSR Movie Awards. Jeff put up the nominees a couple weeks ago, and the “Twilight” sequel, “New Moon,” was mentioned a few times. This caught the attention of the Twilighters, who vigilantly scour the Internet for all references to their sparkle-monster franchise, and hundreds of them showed up to vote in the TSR Movie Awards. In one day, Jeff said he got twice as many votes as he’d gotten in last year’s entire contest. But the way these people “voted” was to give everything “Twilight”-related a 10 and everything else in the category a 1. In the Best Supporting Actress category, they gave Anna Kendrick high scores for her work in “Up in the Air” while giving her fellow nominees low scores. Why? Because Kendrick is also in “New Moon.”

That’s the mentality we’re talking about. “It’s a movie we love! We need to go stuff the ballot box so that it will win awards so that we can love it more!!” As punishment, Jeff deleted all those frivolous votes and removed most “New Moon” mentions from the ballot. You want to vote for “New Moon”? Too bad. Your loser friends ruined it for everyone.

The rest of you, go ahead and vote.

Update on the bad movie suggestions

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Thank you, one and all, for your suggestions for the Eric’s Bad Movies column (Thursdays at Film.com!). As always, my call to action has yielded many viable choices for future editions. More on that below.

First, let me explain (again) why I said I didn’t want any comedies. Some of you seemed to think it was OK to suggest a comedy as long as it wasn’t funny, which kind of misses the point. The point is that it’s very hard to make fun of comedies because they already don’t take themselves seriously. Often, all the satirist can say is variations of, “Boy, this sure isn’t funny!” Ask anyone who makes fun of things for a living — the people at “Mystery Science Theater,” MAD Magazine, The Onion, “Saturday Night Live” — and they will tell you the same thing. Satirizing comedy is very, very difficult.

That’s not to say it can’t be done. My experience has been that it helps if a comedy has supernatural, fantasy, or sci-fi elements. The problem is that I usually have to commit to a film before I’ve had time to watch it, not after. So I need to be pretty confident going in that it’s going to be suitable for the column, and comedies are so fraught with peril that I’ve mostly avoided them. When I have attempted them, I have often not been satisfied with the results.

Continue reading…

The scrapped ‘Transformers’ parody

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

I started to write a parody of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” in the spirit of my “Twilight” and “Titanic” screenplays, but stopped before I got very far. I soon realized that, after less than a week of release, the movie had already been so thoroughly dissected, mocked, ridiculed, and satirized on the Interwebs that there wasn’t anything left for me to say. In the interest of completeness, however, here’s what I came up with before I abandoned the project.

My Rejected “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” Screenplay

SCENE 1

OPTIMUS PRIME:
(voice over) For the last two years, the Autobots have secretly been working with the U.S. military to hunt down and destroy the remaining Decepticons. We work in secret not because people would freak out if they knew alien robots were real, but because they’d be angry over how different the alien robots are from the alien robots they used to see in cartoons. Luckily, there were no witnesses to the large-scale, broad-daylight destruction of Los Angeles in the last film, so we’ve been able to keep the whole thing hush-hush.
ARMY GUY: Optimus! Shut up with your narrating and get to work! The Decepticons are attacking Beijing!
OPTIMUS PRIME: OK, OK. Hey, do I need to put in for overtime on this?
ARMY GUY: No, just mark it on your time card and we’ll let H.R. sort it out. And save your receipts!

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A truly indecent ‘Proposal’

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

While walking through Union Square in New York on Saturday, I passed a man handing out fliers for a preview screening of the upcoming Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy “The Proposal.” Here is what the flier says, with italics, bold, and underlining reproduced accordingly.

SPECIAL ADVANCE SCREENING
“THE PROPOSAL”

THE PROPOSAL is an all-new fun-filled comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.

Margaret, a powerful female executive (played by Bullock), oversees a glamorous New York City publishing firm — while Andrew, her under-appreciated, stressed-out male assistant (played by Reynolds) dreams of getting promoted. But the tables get quickly turned when Margaret stunningly learns that she faces deportation back to her native Canada. Faced with no other way to stay in the country, Margaret is forced to marry her assistant Andrew! Now with the upper-hand, Andrew goes along with the sham marriage and takes Margaret to rugged Alaska to meet his quirky family. But as the mismatched couple bicker up North — they just might be able to find love where they least expected it.

Featuring hilarious comedy and charming romance, THE PROPOSAL also stars Craig T. Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, Malin Akerman, Betty White, and is from Anne Fletcher, the director of 27 Dresses and Step Up.

This invitation will admit you and one guest.
Both you and your guest must be ages 16 to 54. There will be no admission charge.

DATE: Monday, April 27, 2009

TIME: 12:00 PM noon Start Time. Please arrive early as seating is available on a “first come, first served” basis and no one will be admitted once the movie begins.

PLACE: Regal E-Walk Stadium 13 Theatres
247 West 42nd Street (between 7th and 8th Avenues)
New York, NY 10036

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Various items for your amusement

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Happy April 20 to you! For some of you, 4/20 means celebrating marijuana. For others, it means celebrating Hitler’s birthday. For still others, it means celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Columbine shootings. Whatever your celebration of choice, I hope you are able to spend it with friends and loved ones, stoned.

Speaking of Columbine, one of the movies that got blamed for it was “The Basketball Diaries” — which, coincidentally was released April 21, 1995, and is the subject of this week’s edition of Eric’s Time Capsule at Film.com.

Last week’s Time Capsule was “James and the Giant Peach.” You may recall that this film was blamed when a disturbed youth hijacked a giant peach and rolled over his aunts with it.

Filling in for the ailing Mike Russell, I appeared on KUFO’s Cort & Fatboy program Friday to discuss “State of Play” and “Crank: High Voltage.” You can hear it in the C&F podcast, available here. I show up about two-thirds of the way in. (If you download it, I’m at 38:45.)

My late reviews of “Crank: High Voltage” and “17 Again” are also online, for your approval.

Elsewhere, Eugene Novikov summarizes the weekend box office in the style of H.P. Lovecraft.

Here’s FX’s safe-for-TV edit of Samuel L. Jackson’s famous line from “Snakes on a Plane.”

At Post Modern Barney, there is a list of uncomfortable plot summaries (some of them involving adult language). For example, “The Empire Strikes Back”: Boy is abused by midget, kisses sister, attempts patricide.

Finally, my 2-year-old nephew Logan says: “Wait, what?”

Why, yes. Yes I did.

Monday, March 30th, 2009

This is what I got when I searched for “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” on Amazon:

As a matter of fact, I did mean “Paul Bear: All Cop.”

[MOVIE TRAILER]

Meet Paul. He’s a regular police officer, with a regular partner and a regular life. Except for just one little thing: His father was a bear! [record scratch]

PAUL: Rroowwr!

Now he’s the only one who can stop an evil corporation from destroying a national park — if he can stop thinking about honey, that is!

He’s exercising his right to bear arms — and his right to arm bears!

Put your food in a bag and hang it from a tree branch, because here comes “Paul Bear: All Cop”! He’s part ursine, but he’s all police officer!

“Paul Bear: All Cop” — in theaters this summer! You’ll bear-ly be able to stop laughing!

TSR Movie Awards: the alterna-Oscar

Friday, February 13th, 2009

My pal Jeff Bayer has a site called The Scorecard Review, which rates various elements of a film on a scale of 1-10, making it the perfect movie-review site for numerophiles and illiterates. He also has the TSR Movie Awards, designed as an alternative to the Oscars, and he is eagerly awaiting YOUR vote! Yes, YOURS!

He writes:

It’s that time again …

The Academy Awards just don’t cut it. Every year I watch, and every year I think they get something wrong.
Not only that, why can’t there be more than five nominations? Categories that fans care about (no offense “Best Achievement in Sound Editing), and why can’t we know who got second place?

Instead of sitting still — I created the Scorecard Movie Awards.

Categories range from the typical (Best Overall Cast, Best Actor, Best Film) to the atypical (Best Ending, Best Quote, Funniest).

If you have seen two movies or 200, it doesn’t matter. You only vote for the films you have seen.

There are 27 questions including the Hall of Fame.

Enjoy.

Here’s the link. Go vote! Come on! WHO’S IT GONNA HURT??

Watch ‘Dear Zachary’ on TV this week

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

I neglected to tell you that “Dear Zachary,” one of the year’s best films and an extraordinarily moving documentary, was airing last Sunday on MSNBC. I totally forgot. Did MSNBC promote it? Would someone who never watches MSNBC have had any way of knowing it was coming up?

Anyway, we are in luck, because MSNBC is showing it again this Sunday at 1 p.m. PST (4 p.m. EST). Set your DVR and steel your emotions for an engrossing true-crime drama, a touching tribute to a murdered friend, and a gut-punching story about good’s attempt to triumph over evil.

In the meantime, avoid reading too much about the film. My review is safe, and so is the trailer (below), but some reviews and YouTube comments have been careless about spoilers. The less you know beforehand, the better.

P.S. I’m told that while the theatrical version has some swears — and you’d swear too, in these circumstances — they’ve been bleeped for MSNBC’s broadcast.

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‘Twilight’ fans react! Er, overreact

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

So I wrote that parody of “Twilight” a couple weeks ago, and some of the comments people have posted have demonstrated something I should have thought of beforehand: If you write about a subject that interests teenage girls, a lot of teenage girls will respond, and a lot of teenage girls aren’t very smart!

In particular, there seems to be a lot of confusion over a very non-confusing sentence in the parody’s preface. I wrote:

["Twilight"] has been enjoyed by millions of readers, and hailed as the best book they’ve ever read by people who don’t read a lot of books.

Note that I didn’t say the only people who enjoy the book are those who don’t read much. I said the only people who say it’s the best book they’ve ever read don’t read much. Enjoying the book: fine. Believing it to be the best book you’ve ever read: you don’t read enough.

But apparently some of my readers don’t read enough, because their reading comprehension skills are questionable.

For example, comment #79:

Continue reading…

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