Tuesday, July 05, 2005

This is the kind of stuff I mean when I say people are idiots. If you are like me (and if you aren't, why not), you can't help but hear the weekend movie numbers come Monday. In fact, I get to hear them around midnight when the host on WGN radio goes over the latest movie releases. For some reason, these numbers have become important to the American dialogue. I'm old enough to remember when how long a movie ran was what people discussed; when Star Wars was released in 1977, like a book on the New York Times bestsellers list, what was news was that it was in the first-run theatres for over a year.

Anyway, that was a poor introduction to something else that attracted my attention: Cinderella Man was not even listed in the top ten this week. That attracted my attention, so I went to Box Office Mojo and checked what all the movies in release last weekend made. What the hell! Cinderella Man came in eleventh?

What is wrong with you? Why haven't you gone to see this movie? I won't even get into the "What is wrong with the movies that the box office is down for the umpteenth week in a row" discussion, that isn't what this is about (though I think it is unfair to expect this summer's movies to make as much money overall as last summer's). This is about more people still paying to see The Longest Yard; this is about so many people seeing Mr. & Mrs. Smith that it finished in third this week. You all realize, I hope, that none of you have any chance of sleeping with Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, right?

On the Fourth of July weekend, instead of seeing a movie that shows the hardship this country's endured and survived (and thrived), that shows the American Dream used to be an achievable possibility, rather than a perceived entitlement. Has the representation of patriotism become just pretty people trying to kill each other? Has Bush's view of America so warped us that we can only have happy movies. Not that Cinderella Man is freaking Sophie's Choice, but it is a happy movie by the end, showing what a man will do to keep his family together and maintain his self-respect.

I don't want hear you complain in an English-major-dressed-in-black manner "that the big studios just keep bringing out the same kind of movie" and you are "bored with typical Hollywood movies." When a studio does bring out something that doesn't fit into the stereotype of a summer release, you all avoid it. I know I see more movies than the average person, and across all genres (when was the last time anyone of you watched Gabriel Over the White House?), but even I have to make choices and I know when faced with the choice, Cinderella Man was what I chose to see. All I know is that there is a something wrong somewhere when in Cinderella Man's second week of release, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D did better.

I enjoy a nice 'splosion movie with the best of them. I saw War of the Worlds last weekend, Batman Begins the weekend before, and I'll be at Fantastic 4 (would it kill them to spell the word out) this weekend, but once in a while, you need to have some fiber in your diet. Just go see Cinderella Man while you still have the chance.