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« Stockholm: Wrapping Up with Uma, Ingmar Bergman and ABBA! | Main | A Multitude of Links »
Sunday
Nov162014

Box Office: America Loves... Dumb Things?

Amir here, reporting to box office duty. Dumb and Dumber To came out on top this weekend, beating Big Hero 6 to the number one spot. It’s curious that my anticipation for this sequel which had been building up and gradually increasing over two decades completely deflated the minute it was released, but that tends to happen when reviews, commercials and even the film’s stars seem unenthused about their work.

Meanwhile, the weekend’s other wide opening, Beyond the Lights, finished fourth. I want Gugu Mbatha-Raw to be a star so badly, so here’s hoping it sticks around in the top ten for while. And speaking of sticking around, Gone Girl remained the top 5 for the seventh week in a row, a bigger success than most had imagined and now the second biggest success of David Fincher's career (after Se7en) if you adjust for inflation.

TOP DOZEN
01 DUMB & DUMBER TO $38 NEW
02 BIG HERO 6 $36 (cum. $111.6) Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
03 INTERSTELLAR $29.1 NEW Michael's Review
04 BEYOND THE LIGHTS $6.5 NEW 
05 GONE GIRL $4.6 (cum. $152.6) The Podcast /  Jason's Review
06 ST. VINCENT $4 (cum. $33.2) Michael's Review
07 FURY $3.8 (cum. $75.9) Michael's Review
08 NIGHTCRAWLER $3 (cum. $25) The PodcastNathaniel's Review 
09 OUIJA $3 (cum. $48.1) 
10 BIRDMAN $2.4 (cum. $11.5) The Podcast Nathaniel's Review
11 JOHN WICK $2.2 (cum. $38.9) Michael's Review
12 ALEXANDER... VERY BAD DAY $1.5 (cum. $62.3) 

PLATFORM / LIMITED
excluding wide openers losing theaters
01 ROSEWATER $1.2 371 locations NEW
02 KIRK CAMERON'S SAVING CHRISTMAS $1 410 locations NEW 
03 WHIPLASH $.8 419 locations (cum. $2.4) The Podcast / Michael's Review
04 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING $.7 41 locations (cum. $1) Nathaniel's Review
05 FOXCATCHER $.2 NEW 6 locations Nathaniel's Review / Michael's Review

I saw Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and while I have you here in our intimate little corner of the internet at The Film Experience, away from the wrath of Nolan fanboys, let me vent for a minute about how awful it is. Seriously, do any of you want to stop Nolan, pull him to the side and whisper in his ear: “your films are too long; your plots are convoluted; several of your characters are redundant; your dialogue is atrocious; your spirituality is plastic; get a screenwriter”? Those are the same problems comings up in every one of his films since… The Prestige? Anyway, Matthew McConaughey was the saving grace, making his earthy, warm presence felt through Hans Zimmer's loud screeching in the sound mix.

High profile openers were happening in limited release: Jon Stewart’s story of political imprisonment in Iran, Rosewater, didn’t do great business but you’ll hear more on that one soon right here. Doing exactly 40 times the business per screen was Bennett Miller’s Oscar hopeful, Foxcatcher. It’s going the same route that most of Sony Pictures Classics’ awards contenders go and it’s probably the correct strategy for this film. Finally, there was Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman, which won far better reviews than its Cannes reception predicted, doing decent business on only 4 screens.

Have any of you seen of those yet? If not what did you see this weekend?

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Reader Comments (30)

I had already seen Dumb and Dumber To, pretty bad, IMO.

This week I saw Interstellar (HATED it), The Guest (loved it, Dan Stevens yum) and Mockingjay Pat 1, which I really liked. Julianne Moore is great in it.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Nolan fanboys aren't the only ones who appreciate his movies. Awful? Get some perspective and learn to recognize ambition when you see it.

Grown Ups is awful. Dracula Untold is awful. Interstellar isn't awful. It's a flawed, ambitious effort with a great score and great performances that could've used a trim and another draft. It's emotionally effective if not intellectually effective.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertr

Arrived home just ahead of a snow storm so didn't venture out. Tried to catch up on the DVR and rewatched Grand Budapest and think I'll replay Poirot Murder on the OE to pay more attention to Miss Jessica.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

tr- Interstellar is entirely awful, and ambition does not a great film make.
Take your condescending trolling elsewhere.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I clearly associate "Dumb" with the author of this article. While "Interstellar" is flawed, it's far away from awful, and it's among the best films I've seen this year. And I'm not even a Nolan fanboy. The other great films in the top 10 are Gone Girl, Fury and Nightcrawler.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPI

I saw Force Majeure, a complicated stew of family dynamics that was a great tonic for the trite emotionalism of Interstellar. I'm with Amir on this one. Though I'd go even further: McConaughey is just doing a version of those Lincoln commercials here.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

Birdman finally came to my town, so I saw that. I'd say it may be even better than the raves it's gotten, though I want to think about it for awhile and see it again. It's just top-notch throughout, even in areas I wasn't expecting like the production design and the score.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

I saw "Interstellar" and "The Way He Looks." "Interstellar" had some thrilling moments, and I admired that it approached science seriously. In fact it may have been a bit too serious since a lot of it went over my head. In a way, while I would not call the film awful, I agree with a lot of Amir's criticism. The pacing was plodding, especially in the beginning, and the whole "poltergeist" revelation was both hokey and predictable. I went away from "Interstellar" feeling the same way I felt about "Inception" and the "Dark Knight" movies. I think I liked them, but I'm not entirely sure why and what they were about.

As for "The Way He Looks," Brazil's Oscar entry was a charming coming of age film. It got many of its tender moments so right, but it also came off a bit simplistic, much like a Belle & Sebastian song. The cast was terrific and very appealing to look at, and it's also beautifully photographed. It's definitely one to see. I doubt "The Way He Looks" is substantial enough to garner an Oscar nomination.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Interstellar (seen on Friday): not awful, but not as much fun as Inception. Too long, and oddly unengaging in its first act (it got better and better for me). I liked the acting, and I'm not a Nolan fanboy btw.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

People, do you know what 'having an opinion' means?

Geez, people and their sacred cows... Amir doesn't like Interstellar; SO WHAT? Grow up.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJay

I saw 2 films this weekend. Nightcrawler and Big Hero 6. Neither were what I thought they would be but i enjoyed them anyway.

With Interstellar, I was ok until the last 20 minutes lost me. I was there right until the infinite bookcases.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

I'm with Derreck on Interstellar; it was okay up until that very point, then it got so ridiculous and saccharine, my eyes started to hurt from rolling them back into my head so hard.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

Interstellar could have been told in half the time and been just as effective. The score is one of the most irritating I've ever had blasted in my ears at a movie theater. The acting was good but the twists were not nearly as clever as everyone involved seem to think they were.

I'll echo what's already been said. Ambition does not automatically mean a film can't be criticized. Avatar was ambitious and it had a plot that could have been told in the length of a regular Twilight Zone episode. Only God Forgives was ambitious and it made no sense.

I often say in my own film writing that I'd rather see an ambitious film fail spectacularly than a mediocre concept die a slow death. Interstellar is one of those ambitious failures that I'll surely revisit to try to piece together where I think it went wrong.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

I saw Ida and Stranger by the Lake; the first was amazing, the second was amazingly unerotic and just plain silly - though you could have blown me away with the money shot!

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermatt

Nolan wants to create a space epic with heart and almost makes it with " Interstellar"- there are moment of breathtaking beauty but by the third hour it threatens to become the film that doesn't know when to end. Nolan is a good director but he lacks Kubrick's cinematic balls - "2001" is a timeless masterpiece because Kubrick did not spell out everything.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I don't like Nolan as much as his crazy fanboys do - but I like him quite a bit.

He likes sci-fi. He is one of the few directors who has the pull to make big budget films that are NOT sequels or superhero films and he's good with actors and he has some interested ideas. Those are all very good things.

I haven't seen interstellar but Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises was very troubling in how much suckage made it to the screen. I was hoping that could be blamed on the studio as it was such a big property, but maybe not...

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteranonny

New releases:

Beyond the Lights- Not enough plate smashing or modern pop critique for me, personally, but a filling, lovely film of great performances and very well done film. I guess I wanted more Machine Gun Kelly?

John Wick- W/e to all this Nolan talk. Let's talk about the dawn of a Keanu revival tied with the incoming fun, impressive, directorial, unpretentious work of Chad Stahelski. Also, Michael Nyqvist is on my short list of Best Supporting Actor for his amazing line readings and being an excellent villain- for some reason these types of films exhausts themselves of a decent enough villain, but here, excellent. May Keanu live long and prosper in a Liam Neeson-like revival because he somehow was never yet cast as a hitman and maybe Stahelski, surely on his way up, can work with him on another. This was one of the most enjoyable times I had at the movies this year.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Gosh, Amir, who spit in your popcorn? I quite liked Interstellar. And even when Nathaniel really doesn't like something, he explains his reasons with humor and grace. There is room for dissenting views in civilized society.

I'm not a fanboy nor a troll, but I appreciate Nolan's efforts and this film is certainly entertaining on a few different levels. His recent interview with Elvis Mitchell on KCRW's The Treatment is definitely worth listening to, especially the part about his reverence for classic cinema, way before Kubrick's time.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Birdman: As an All About Eve-style showcase of egos colliding behind the scenes of the entertainment world, I thought this was highly enjoyable. It's a bit odd structurally, as it starts off with a bunch of supporting characters who slide into irrelevance by the final third (including Edward Norton, really).

Whiplash: Intense, and overall an exceptional piece of filmmaking, whether you're talking about acting, editing, camerawork (there's only so many ways you can film a guy playing the drums, but they milk everything they can out of it), or what have you. If the Academy voters actually watch the film, J.K. Simmons should win Best Supporting Actor this year.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

So I saw 4.2. Whiplash. Birdman. Fury. And 20 minutes of the Lego Movie. Whiplash -- well played. Not my genre, but awesome all around except for the screenplay. Why, in 2014, does the bad coach need to spew homophobic remarks so persistently? Sound and cinematography awards please. And are there no female musicians? Birdman -- amazing parts. acting, editing, cinematography, screenplay, score...and yet, not more than the sum of its parts. I was not moved. Fury -- better than expected. Whoa, Brad looks good at 50. Is that really what unfriendly fire looked like? Looking forward to a Lerman future. Lego Movie -- jesus christ. This is crap. If this gets a nomination for animated feature, the branch should be shamed. Woefully inconsistent work. Good lord. Original song maybe, cuz that was awesome, but not everything was awesome. Dreck. Go back to three nominations.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermikey67

Pam- Interesting coincident, as I think grace and humor are the two things that Nolan's storytelling lacks most.

November 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterAmir S.

Oops. 3.2 films

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermikey67

San FranCinema- re: the Lincoln commercials, I totally thought that too. He completely did the rolling-finger thing in a scene. I was aboard the McConaugh-train when it stopped at Magic Mike Station, but since then it's careened off the tracks for me. He's starting to buy into his own hype.

I saw Big Hero 6 and Foxcatcher. I thought the former was adorable if simplistic and the latter impeccably shot but a little ridiculous. Imagine Vanessa Redgrave's reaction to Carell's character. That was my reaction to the film at times.

November 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

We saw Birdman and Maps to the Stars on the same day. Kind of a strange double feature. I liked both, but both were a little different from what I had expected.

Maps isn't a black comedy or a satire. Those characters are truly troubled. They made the crazy in Birdman seem like the traditional well-loved theatrical crazy, like Harvey and his rabbit.

And although I like Keaton and Moore's performances, in memory they are like fabulous flamboyant fashionable wallpaper, against which the more intimate moments of Norton and Watts, and Wasikowska are played out.

November 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

In theaters I saw Big Hero 6 (a pastiche of other, better films, but still very good in its own right, with a thematic core that I found quite moving) and Rosewater (bland and poorly made, despite Stewart's evident good intentions and personal investment).

At home I tried watching Stretch. Within the first fifteen minutes Ed Helms, in pancake makeup and a pencil mustache, was calling Patrick Wilson a f*ggot, and the whole thing felt like an ugly Tony Scott rip off (oh, how I miss Tony Scott), so I bailed.

Instead, I watched Polanski's Venus in Fur and loved it, wobbly ending aside. It's a totally disposable little entertainment, but the acting, writing and direction is impeccable. A fine reminder that pure craft can make something minor feel sublime.

November 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I saw The Theory of Everything and it's exactly what you'd expect, which I know sounds not exactly complimentary, but it's also very well made, beautiful and touching, dealing head-on with some complicated dynamics, like Jane's attraction to her choir teacher and his evolving relationship with Stephen. Redmayne really is fantastic: as his physical limitations grow tighter and tighter, he works in remarkably subtle physicality and emotional nuance. I kept waiting for the film to dig a little deeper into Hawking's inner emotional world once his body truly fails him but maybe that's just wishing for it to be something it isn't.

And while Jones was lovely, there's something generic about the role and her performance (not her fault, she's doing the best she can with what she's given). Can it REALLY get enough No. 1 votes to be nominated? Will enough people really think it's the No. 1 best female performance this year? I guess it's likely but I'm not sure why.

November 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

DJDeeJay...I'm amazed, in that you said almost exactly what I was thinking about The Theory of Everything, and likely more fluently than I would have done. I'm sure that Redmayne will get a nomination...and I would not be disappointed if he won...but I'm not sure about Felicity Jones.

The only other film I saw on the weekend was Citizenfour, which was certainly the best documentary I've seen this year (with the proviso that I haven't seen all that many docs). I'd like to see it get a nomination...and win.

November 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

Thanks, Bill_the_Bear! I don't want to sound like I'm underappreciating Jones. It can be VERY hard to play the "straight" woman (and the quietly suffering one, at that) against the showy, genius male character, and I try to give a fair shake to the smaller, quieter performances that the Oscars so often overlook. But I have a hard time believing she'll ignite a passionate fanbase.

However, she does fall in to the young, pretty demo that the older, white male Academy members seem to reward over and over again, so there's that. So maybe she'll be their crush this year, especially if she's charming on the campaign trail.

November 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

This'll probably be the only time I say this but I (half) agree with Amir: Ambition does not a great film make. You can have all the good intention in the world but if the execution isn't there then the project has failed in some way. In saying that, I liked/admired Interstellar for what it tried to do and for the moments within the film that worked. Unfortunately, I found this to be one of the shoddiest Nolan's screenplays to date.

There were too many weird and unnecessary choices made to get the plot moving and the third act is just plain silly. I'll buy it on Blu-Ray and I may see it again in theaters but I can't say I'm fully on board the Nolan train this time (except the soundtrack, which I thought was great). As for the subject at hand; I didn't see anything this weekend but I have the next two days off from work, so I'll try to catch Beyond The Lights, The Theory Of Everything, Foxcatcher and MAYBE Rosewater... maybe.

November 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

Saw "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" which was very beautifully done. It kinda went on too long for me, but I did enjoy it.

November 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

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