I was not expecting this response, and I was not expecting my single CROTCH PARTY to climb so fast on the billboard top 100. But when you’ve got The Dust Brothers as your producer, magic happens. Magic at your Crotch Party.
TASTE THE GOLDEN ACAI BACKLASH SPRAY
The word is out on Jennifer’s Body, and it’s mixed. Such is to be expected. One, it was a strike movie. Such explains its director, Karyn Kusama. Though she made an indie splash with Girlfight, Aeon Flux and its tortured release meant it was going to take a seismic event to get her out of director jail. Let me pause for a second. JB is a movie written by a woman, directed by a woman, and starring two women. Can you name the last mainstream film where that happened? That isn’t a Nicole Holofcener film (which are not exactly mainstream, but whatever).
Strike two is that it stars Megan Fox. After a couple of films, it’s fair to say she gives good magazine cover, which is a textbook definition of being the female lead in a Transformers movie (“Run! Run in your Wonderbra with an open shirt like your life depends on it! Bend over for no apparent reason!”) But Megan Fox is not cute. She’s not pretty. She’s psycho-hot. She will – at least for the next couple years – never wait in line for anything. She will never have to buy herself a drink. She will make other women jealous what coaching, a body trainer, perhaps some enhancements, and luck can do to favor some over the other. She does not generate empathy. She generates boners, and a desire to objectify her. She may be incredibly boring or supremely intelligent, a terrible or a great lay, the sort of person who will ram their car into yours at three-thirty in the morning because she saws you talking to someone at work or a knitter and a darner, and/or the diva Michael Bay’s crew suggests she is, but that does not keep her from being an unobscure object of desire. Which means her playing the villain of the piece is the best possible casting, but also means that a film that is this femme-centric is going to be harder to swallow on date night if your girlfriend won’t admit some sapphic attraction to Fox.
Strike three is slightly more inside baseball, but Diablo Cody wrote her first screenplay after writing a book about being a stripper. The screenplay won her an Oscar. The world is filled with bitter people. Do the math. And though Juno was undeniable, it’s likely that the same number of critics who fawn over Jason Reitman’s follow-up (and will suggest a growing maturity, etc.) will be the same number of people who may or may not have an Axe to bear about Cody’s precious dialog.
Note to readers: People don’t talk like actors do in movies. Ever. Maybe a little. Most writing has affectations. Screenwriting, RE: dialog is about having an ear for how people talk and how conversations turn. Presenting necessary information in a way that isn’t simply exposition. Writing to a certain extent is the first step in editing, because you cut out the less necessary often. Obviously it all depends on what you’re doing. Who can one call as naturalistic? Cassavetes? After that, it’s a slippery slope. Yes. Cody’s writing is stylized, you either go with it or you don’t. The same can be said of many writers and auteurs. The Coens are stylized. Walter Hill’s quiet characters are stylized. The mistake of this criticism is like saying that a spoon is uncomfortable to sit in. If it’s tinny, well there’s that. I once found the writing in Clueless irritating, now, it’s a passable teen comedy. Partly now because the film is no longer of the moment, and though the writing is heightened, at the time, it felt like it was trying to create forced slang, now it just feels like a purposeful affectation. A lot of these things are about age and experience. The truth is that as a teen, most films about teens aren’t about you. If you think they are, then maybe you’re wrong. People in life generally don’t break into dance (except at clubs), and when they do it often feels forced. That doesn’t mean people in movies can’t and/or shouldn’t. It’s about the end goal that’s important.
Anyway, Cody has been in the targets now for a while, so though the film might open okay, the knives are out. But people love sophomore slumps. It shapes a comeback narrative. People called Tarantino’s Jackie Brown his sophomore slump, and now it’s regaled as one of his best. Such is life.
NOW THAT YOUR PREDICTION’S IN THE PAPER BEING RHYTHMICALLY ADMIRE, YOU CAN HAVE EVERYONE THAT YOU HAVE EVER DESIRED… NOW ALL YOU GOT TO TELL ME NOW IS WHY WHY WHY?
Though Body will both generate discussion and some ticket sales, 3-D! Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is way more kid-centric than 9, and supposedly not bad. That’s enough to win the weekend. Body may take second or third, but should do over $10 Million. On some level, I expect this was a not that expensive production, with Cody and Fox walking out with the bigger tickets, but even so… If the film does $40 I’m sure it will be okay when the unrated DVD/Blu-ray hits the streets (sometime in December or January).
I like Matt Damon, and hopefully audiences like him enough to make something of The Informant! If it’s a surprise winner it’s because of Damon, but WOM is going to have to play it like a motherfucker. Love Happens is coming out, and should not completely shit the bedroom.
And life is… too short:
1. Hairy with a Chance of Balls - $19.5 Million
2. The Informant! – $15 Million
3. Jennifer’s Body – $12 Million
4. I Can Masturbate All By Myself – $10 Million
5. Love (and Semen) Happens - $7 Million
Honestly I’m going high on The Informant!, it’s likely closer to a ten million weekend, but I like to live dangerously, which is why I’ve started using oxycotton. Sunday……….