How you like me now? Thanks to Litmus Configuration, I now have my own graphic. And it’s bad ass. I asked for an image of me riding a unicorn fighting of mutant zombies, but this will do.


It means if you plan on going to a new movie this weekend, you’re going to get a lot of counter-programming.

Only Strange Wilderness, that Happy Madison production starring Steve Covert, Steve Zahn, Justin Long, and the lovable, hugable Jonah Hill (along with Broken Lizard’s Kevin Heffernan) could be considered a guy film. With 1200 screens, it could also be considered a sacrificial lamb. Grandma’s Boy – last year’s similar Happy Madison production – ended up being a great success on DVD, partly because the unrated version, and partly because it was a stoner comedy. We shall see how this one does, but odds are it debuts in the second half of the top ten. The truth is it’s probably half funny, but the trailers did the film no favors. I like Fred Wolf for his cameo in Dirty Work (“What do you mean almost shit your pants”), but his work with Chris Farrelly and David Spade erred towards the bad.

The Eye is a horror film, for sure, and stars Jessica Alba. Women have yet to warm to Alba (perhaps the baby will help), men don’t necessarily go to movies to ogle her (the Internet has made ogling a daily ritual for many), while remakes of Asian horror films have had their day in the sun. It’s hard not to think that this too is not a film that Lionsgate has any hopes for. But it’s also tracking the best of the bunch. It should take the weekend, partly because of Friday/Saturday business. but also because it’s a good time of year for this sort of film. It’s not that kids or whoever goes to these films are indiscriminate, I think there’s a real appeal to seeing fake horror movies because they can lead to hugging, touching, feeling. So now here I stand with open arms, nothing to hide, hear what I say. And so if after the movie if some lucky teen gets a hand job in the back of his Camaro, well, HEY NOW!

What’s great about Over Her Dead Body is that Eva Longoria seems to be remaking Shelley Long’s Hello Again. Hit TV show stars often make romantic comedies that flop, so at least Paul Rudd got a paycheck. A romantic comedy? Might this be the trade off for Superbowl Sunday for some men? You’d like to believe it New Line, wouldn’t you? If someone put any effort into this release, maybe.

And then there’s the sexual chocolate of Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. Supposedly this has been a big hit on Fandango, and we may see some sizable returns for the 700 screens the film is on.  I’m a 31-year old-male who lives alone and without cable. I don’t watch television, excepting The Wire. I’m not saying this to earn my place in the elitist club (I did that by writing an essay about the influence of Christopher Marlowe on the works of Val Lewton, and I wear my smoking jacket with pride), I say that because I have no idea who they are, outside of reading gossip blogs occasionally (and by occasionally, I mean daily). From the outset it looks like a porno title. Not to digress too far (who am I kidding, you know I’m going to digress anyway), I’ve accepted my great fade-out from that side of pop culture. I don’t listen to the radio because I have an iPod – though I use the kids and DaveB to stay up on the popular music I might like. But I can no longer get outraged at the latest pop acts (not that I expressed more than “lame” at the New Kids on the Block, and every iteration of the boy-band since), and I – like most people who get older – have past through the stage of being an advanced contrarian who defends the odd great pop song by an overrated and over-hated  pop singer. If tweener girls want to fall in love with Zac Efron, who am I to espouse anything but a sigh and ignore the thought bubble that says “you know, that’s nice and all, but he gives off vibes like he may not… care.” I have accepted that there are some things that just aren’t meant for me, and I’m okay with that, because my plate is constantly full with way more interesting things (though I did borrow an Academy screener of The Bucket List, so who am I kidding?) So my point is this: Get offa my lawn.

The movie nerd connoisseur will likely stay home and either watch the Superbowl with interest, or Tivo it to simply watch the movie commercials. I may update this column later if I get confirmation, but I’ve yet to hear if Warner Brothers is running a Dark Knight spot. My gut tells me “too soon.” But it’s a weird thing that, because it’s unlikely that that will make an appearance, nor Indy IV. Those are two of the summer’s biggest movies with hype attached, so you may get your Iron Man or Hellboy II, but – if The Dark Knight bows out – there’s not the normal swinging dick of a summer release. Such is life.

This year, January was good to the geek, the film fan, with the proliferation of Oscar movies (note: There Will Be Blood is expanding this weekend, check it out), and then Cloverfield and Rambo. February looks like a January. Only worse. It’s like a January and February rolled into one. Movies will pick up again in March. Thanks 300. But if this column gets thin, well, that’s that.



Rambo should hold better than Meet the Spartans, so it’s not all a loss, but with all the beer bought, and parties planned, this tends to be a mellow weekend for the movies, and such is why you have films that will likely bomb, or off-seasoners hoping to be able to add “#1 film in America” to their TV ads and DVD sell-through ads.

Otherwise, The Eye should take the top spot in one of the softest weekends in a while. Last week we saw some robust numbers for the time of year, all things, but as I’ve said before, time of the year has no longer become an obstacle for studios or audiences. Oh, yeah, Cloverfield is past done. It could hang in the bottom of the chart, but if it slips through the cracks and out of the top ten, don’t be surprised.

Let’s do this:

1. The Eye – $13.5 Million
2. Rambo – $10.2 Million
3.  Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour- $9.8 Million
4. Meet the Spartans - $7.9 Million
5. 27 Dresses - $7.5 Million

The Spoiler here would be Hannah and Miley. With Juno past $100, Fox Searchlight has their big win, though word of mouth may keep it going, and There Will Be Blood could conceivably jump Dresses or Spartans (which could take more than a 60% dive), and end up in the top five. But I’m like John: Only dancing. Don’t get me wrong.