erik lundegaard

Triple Feature in Hell

We're nearly at the vernal equinox and no 2011 movie has grossed more than $100 million. “Just Go With It” (that Adam Sandler thing) is at $98 m, “The Green Hornet” is at $97m, “Gnomeo and Juliet” $93.6m. The quality of the top three raises the question of whether any 2011 movie deserves to be over $100 million; but then I hear Clint Eastwood's voice of wisdom in my head, reminding me, “Deserves got nothin' to do with it, kid.”

Even so, I was semi-intrigued: When was the last time no film had reached $100m by the vernal equinox? Last year at this time, after all, three movies were already past that mark, and one, “Alice in Wonderland,” was on its way to $300 million. The year before we had (or you had) “Paul Blart,” and the year before that ... OK, that was the last time we didn't have a $100 million grosser by this point: 2008. Just “Cloverfield,” “Jumper,” “27 Dresses,” all in the $70m range.

As I kept checking back in time, though, confirming this and that, I began to pay less attention to the grosses and more attention to the movies themselves. The first three months of the year are traditional dumping grounds for studios, and the top three films by the first day of spring often read like a triple feature in hell. Pick your poison:

  • 2011
  • 2010
    • “Alice in Wonderland”
    • “Shutter Island”
    • “Valentine's Day”
  • 2009
  • 2008
    • “Cloverfield”
    • “Jumper”
    • “27 Dresses”
  • 2007
    • “300”
    • “Ghost Rider”
    • “Wild Hogs”
  • 2006
    • “The Pink Panther”
    • “Eight Below”
    • “Big Momma's House 2”
  • 2005
    • “Hitch”
    • “Are We There Yet?”
    • “The Pacifier”
  • 2004
    • “The Passion of the Christ”
    • “50 First Dates”
    • “Along Came Polly”
  • 2003
    • “Daredevil”
    • “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”
    • “Bringing Down the House”
  • 2002
  • 2001
    • “Hannibal”
    • “Save the Last Dance”
    • “The Wedding Planner”

Which is the worst? To me, it's gotta be 2007. Machismo repeating itself, first as tragedy (“300”), then as farce (“Wild Hogs”). Not even a frilly, stupid, rom-com as a somewhat icky palate cleanser. Instead just raw meat. How frightened and cowardly does a country have to be to keep indulging in this kind of crap?

poster for "300"  poster for "Ghost Rider"  poster for "Wild Hogs"

If you go far back enough, of course, you reach a time before everything became solidified and commodified, and good movies might reign even in late winter:

  • 1985
    • “Witness”
    • “The Breakfast Club”
    • “The Falcon and the Snowman”

Give or take, that's a triple feature worth seeing.


Posted at 06:53 AM on Tue. Mar 22, 2011 in category Movies - Box Office  
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