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September 08, 2005 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-08

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September S, 2035
of Warner
Courtesy of 20th
Century Fox
T his summer, speculation on a box-office slump went from a Hollywood conspiracy theory to the national spotlight as news outlets
everywhere reported or high-profile bombs from "Kingdom of Heaven" to "The Island," "Bewitched" to "Stealth," which collec-
tively led to the weakest summer in revenue since 1997. And so the era when a full slate of Jessica Albas and Michael Bay moviesa
e and Batmobiles could win summer moviegoers over was no more. But summer '05 wasn't a total wash.There was a myriad of celebrity
gossip (Russell Crowe beats concierge with telephone! Tom Cruise takes Katie Holmes hostage!), people spent more than a month in line
for a single film and a long-dormant franchise was reborn with one of the most accomplished comic-book movies ever. The months flewesw
by, but not all of it is in a haze. If you didn't go to the movies this summer, here's what you missed (or didn't miss) at the multiplex.
Compiled by Daily Arts writers Amanda Andrade, Jeffrey Bloomer and Zach Borden
Crowe angry! Crowe smash!
Russell Crowe scored three Oscar nominations in as many years, headlined two Best Picture winners and rose.from critically lauded obscurity to
A-list sex god. Now, he's a surly bully with a movie bomb and at least 30 extra pounds. Crowe kicked off his PR nightmare this year by decrying
actors Harrison Ford and Robert DeNiro for hawking international products, thereby violating their "fucking social contract" (Rousseau would
be so proud), only to trump himself by allegedly assaulting a hotel worker with a telephone. His reprieve should have come with the well-
reviewed "Cinderella Man." Sadly, the movie, otherwise known as "Seabiscuit 2," probably would have done better if the horse boxed and the
moody Aussie was put out to sleep.
Sex gags rule
It's been years since Hollywood scared itself into an MPAA-sanctioned corner of "clean" comedy - where it's OK to have sex so long as it
is a frantic, 30-second embarrassment in a cramped space - but this summer the crude finally ruled again. Sure, "Monster-in-Law" and
"The Longest Yard" drew crowds, but neither of them had anything on the R-rated "Wedding Crashers," the almost-$200-million comedic
behemoth that outgrossed action flicks that cost five times as much to make. And now, with a leggy run for "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," it's
clear that the R-rated comedy is hereto stay. It's a moment to cherish for 15-year-old boys everywhere: The T&A they have been so rudely
deprived of since the "American Pie" heyday is now just a casual sneak in away.
Penguins, Moore-lite
America's love affair with documentaries. continued with the little French nature documentary that could "March of the Pen-
guins," which became one of the season's biggest surprises. Audiences were also charmed by watching inner-city preteens
get dance lessons ("Mad Hot Ballroom"), energized by fast-paced hip-hop routines ("Rize") and had
their adrenaline pumped up a notch thanks to some quadrapalegics playing an unlikely extreme sport
("Murderball"). And here's the most exciting part: People went to see these movies even though
Michael Moore had nothing to do with them. (Contrary to popular belief, he
a wasn't one of the plumper penguins.) ~
Show's over
The sight of Jessica Simpson washing a car in nothing but that skimpy pink bikini
z M .*might be the only reason that the critically mauled "Dukes of Hazard" raked in more
-f than $30 million in its opening weekend. The fact that all those boys too shy for Inter-
net porn spent their allowance on Simpson's airbrushed legs as soon as possible might
explain the enormous second-weekend dip that ensured the Good 01' Boys were a one-
Egaweekend wonder. Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman's long-awaited "Bewitched" proved less than
magical, while audiences jilted "The Honeymooners" at the cinematic altar. But all puns aside,
people, please stop making these movies.
Explosions lose their bang
While low-cost comedies and documentaries raked in the big bucks, $100-million-plus action tentpoles
lagged behind. "Stealth," "The Island" and even "Kingdom of Heaven" - from Ridley "Gladiator"
Scott, the new master of the historical blockbuster - massively underperformed at the box office. Maybe audi-
ences know who Josh Lucas, Jamie Foxx, Orlando Bloom and Ewan McGregor are, but will they really rush out
to see a big movie because they are starring? Guess not.
Courtesy of New Line No, I love you ore
There's no point making fun of that beyond-bizarre TomKat multimedia spectacle anymore. That
it's a hoax has been reported since day one, and that it's overex-
posed has been established in even the most masturbatory pop-cul-
ture rags - but that it might prove lucrative? There's a scary notion. Yet
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise scored two of the biggest blockbusters of the season
("Batman Begins" and "War of the Worlds"). Meanwhile, "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
:. ? inexplicably drew box-office receipts to the very sweet tune of $184 million in the
Cv3*, . kUnited States alone. To say that the public's insatiable fascination with the Brange-
1 ""' """'slina phenomenon might have helped'the gimmicky, lame-looking movie is a bit
like saying Tom Cruise ought to look into a new publicist. Or, given the numbers,
t>. r,". : . rv..'ta perhaps dignity is just a liability.
...''k.,° A star is born
n r °.P s . '3 atsOK, so even, if you combine the box-office returns of all three movies Terrence
Howard made this summer, youd still end up with a figure smaller than the
~likes of, say, "Fantastic Four." But with dazzling turns in the ensemble seeper
" Crash," Sundance favorite ,Hustle & Flow" and John Singletons"Four Broth-

ative unknown to an Entertainment Weekly cover boy, and as if that isn't
R ' impressive enough, he did it with scene-swiping performances in some of
4. ' the summer's most provocative movies. To hell with it, we're even willing to
rforgive him in advance for his forthcoming stint opposite 50 Cent in "Get
Rich o i r n.
" ° zr t In a multiplex not so far away...
4;"at ,Twenty-eight years later, George Lucas finally completed the beloved
i science-fiction opus with "Titanic in Space" - er, "Star Wars Episode
III: Revenge of the Sith." Fans dressed up as Obi-Wan and Darth,
lined up a month before
the movie opened and
~~~~~~~Courtesy of 20th Century Fox geswaI a tl
H f 3}< rG~lpretty mediocre! How exactly is this one better than the other pre-
quels? It had the same wooden acting, the same barebones dialogue
and Anakin's dark descent proved to be the ultimate anticlimax
Naturally though, it became the summer's biggest hit. Everyone's
to blame for this one: Even if you thought it was "just OK," you still
.paid to see the damn thing six times.
Not exactly ascreama
Of". i-It's considered a rule of thumb in Hollywood that teenag-
e l' 9x K b yers will never get sick of watching horny caricatures ofBrs
___on the big screen, but sometimes even the most enduring
'22 t D a American pastimes hit a rough patch. This summer, "Dark
15 REt A. 1 r St was the least of "High Tensions" problems. Meanwhile,
rAE 9 NEET....... .<LMKI~ LNE "Land of the Dead" found many dead theaters, and not
even the promise of a red-lingerie-clad Paris Hilton
,s T impalement could sell genre fans on the in-name-only
"House of Wax" remake. Well, at least we have that
"Kill Reality" masterpiece to look forward to.
*, ' . *'~' ~ . ~..If you adapt it, they will come
'Despitebombs like "Elektra earlier this year,
3 , a AIDit's clear that audiences will still go nuts for a
big comic-book adaptation. "Batman Begins"
-which has made more than $200 million in

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