Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The DUP : Year End Edition

Here’s 2008’s twelve highest grossing films:

12. Mamma Mia : $143,762,955. Many, many, many people had no idea that a movie musical with a story based around ABBA songs would be this successful. But for me the story goes a little farther back. I first heard of the show when it chose to tour the States before it came to Broadway. And it was selling out all across the country! That had never happened before – but it worked. It has been a huge hit for Broadway, and now is a hit movie. Hell, it’s the highest grossing film ever to be released in the United Kingdom! It even beats Titanic there! I always say bet on Meryl Streep, she knows what she’s doing. More importantly, [and why this movie works at all] is Meryl. Yes she's the preemininent actor of her generation - we know that. But what really sets her apart from her peers is that she never gives the wrong performance for the movie she's in. Her performance in this movie is different than one she would give in a heavy drama [have you seen "Doubt?"], yet it is still a perfect example of world-class acting. And that is why we love Meryl.

11. Sex and the City : $152,647,258. We all knew it would not fail – even if only the die-hard female fans of the show showed up at the theater. But we never knew it would do this well, and it really does deserve it. This movie was brave enough to tell a real story. Who cares if it took 2.5 hours, not one second was wasted time. It deftly handled a real relationship story and stayed true to the characters – even staying true to their growth since the series ended. Smart and brave – all involved should feel proud to have done such a swell job.

10. Horton Hear a Who : $154,529,439. This one got away from me, but it tells you that even the bitty kids movie market is underserved. Most kids/family movies are meant to entertain the 9-13 age group and everyone younger is left behind. Make a movie for six year olds and you can have box-office gold! I will see animated features meant for tweens - but I don’t have kids, so I just can’t bring myself to see stuff for the itty bitty tykes.

9. Quantum of Solace : $164,302,659. The highest Bond opening ever. ‘Nuff Said.

8. Twilight : $169,925,169. Call me stupid – but I had not heard of this until three weeks before the movie came out and it was suddenly the only thing people were talking about. I am also not a teenage girl, so… It’s undeniably doing well, and secured a sequel before the end of its opening weekend! They also fired the director, Catherine Hardwicke and will be going with a new director for the next feature. I guess it’s time to put in a call to Chris Weitz and beg for a role in the next one. Too tacky...? Not tacky enough...?

7. Madagasgar 2 : $175,433,314. Well. What’s there to say? A bad sequel to a mediocre movie is the seventh highest grossing movie of the year? It’s not the first time it’s happened. I haven’t seen it, but I can still judge it.

6. Kung Fu Panda : $215,434,591. This did not get the kind of reviews that would lead people to think that it would do this well. But people love, love, love this movie so there you go...

5. WALL•E : $223,783,432. Now this I understand! I went and saw this movie on the first Saturday morning that it was open at CityWalk out in the Valley. There weren’t many empty seats and the house was full of kids. What surprised me the most was the way this movie kept their attention the whole time even though it’s 75% silent! Well done, Pixar. Well done.

4. Hancock : $227,946,274. Okay. I guess.

3. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull : $317,023,851. This movie was very entertaining - and just what I needed on a super hot Saturday afternoon. I think many people disliked this movie because they needed it to be more than this genre actually is. We’re not 12 anymore, so the genre is not going to feel transcendent in the same way it does for the little’uns. And it shouldn’t – but it sure as hell was fun.

2. Iron Man : $318,313,199. Call me cynical – but haven’t we all known that Robert Downey, Jr. is an amazingly gifted actor for like, 20 years? I certainly did. And if critics are saying that it’s the first time they knew that – then they’re giving everyone a reason not to trust them. Downey definitely deserves to be in a certified hit – and he had two of those within twelve weeks of each other this year! [He was the single best part of Tropic Thunder, if you ask me.] Way to go, RDJ!

1. The Dark Knight : $530,917,814. It’s no secret how I feel about this movie. This picture was in the second ever edition of The Round Up and was our ninth feature. This is the best comic book adaptation ever, easily stealing that title from Spider Man 2. Every single actor puts up some great work in this picture and Heath Ledger just kills it. He went from being the sentimental favorite for the Supporting Actor Oscar to the plain old favorite. He would deserve it – this performance in any other movie would win him two Oscars! As an actor, I sat in the theater and actually cried about what we will never be able to see from him. In this movie he became a great actor - posthumously.

So those were the top twelve movies of 2008! It was a good year for movies! This list, as you can tell, is not the decider for quality this year – many great pictures did not make the list, but will be around at Netflix for sure and maybe even your local video store. So check them out! And keep going to movies – it may be the last form of cheap entertainment! Happy New Year from everyone at MD TOTAL! Stay safe, and watch out for the amateurs!

[© MMVIII MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Everyone Is Stupid : Holiday Spectacular!

Hello All from a cold and snowy Southern California! Here in Hollywood, it's about 44 degrees and there's snow 20 miles from here! Basically, if you get higher than 2000 feet above sea level, you're about a foot deep in snow. SNOW! Luckily - there's the fourth episode of Everybody's Stupid to keep you warm while you sip your cocoa or your adult eggnog! And it's a super-sized version, nearly twice as long as usual! We'd also like to give a special thanks to the folks at the youtube for finally getting a widescreen video player! Now that's progress!

Everyone here at MD TOTAL is extremely proud to present the Everybody's Stupid Holiday Spectacular! So sit back relax,and enjoy - there's a payoff to those who stay through the credits!

Happy Holidays!

[© MMVIII MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Everyone Is Stupid : Episode Three

Open the champagne, Episode Three of Everybody's Stupid is here! They said we couldn't do it! They tried to to get us to stop! BUT WE DON"T STOP! Uh-Oh, uh-oh WE DON"T STOP!

I want to say thank you for the phenomenal response to the series, it really does mean a lot. I've gotten many emails, phone calls and messages that mean more to me than you'll ever know. The positive energy is... UNBELIEVABLE. There have been haters too, but that's okay - we don't let it get us down, and they definitely won't make us stop. It just means we're doing our job on the series!

And as always, thanks for watching! So - sit back, relax, micro some popcorn [but for the love of all that's holy, if you're at the office: DON'T BURN IT!] pour yourself a beverage and enjoy EPISODE THREE of Everybody's Stupid!

Haters Are Jealous.

[© MMVIII MD TOTAL all rights reserved]

The DUP : December 4, 2008

Here’s last weekend’s box-office totals:

1.` Four Christmases $31.1 million
2. Bolt $26.6 million
3. Twilight $26.3 million
4. Quantum of Solace $18.8 million
5 Australia $14.8 million

The Holiday season has officially begun! I figured that Four Christmases would win the weekend, but I will admit to being happily surprised that it did as well as it did! It did not get great reviews, nor was it tracking that well. But that goes to show you what can happen when you put a female star who women adore and a male star that men find to be hilarious in a holiday picture together that opens on a holiday weekend.

Many people will say that Australia did not do as well as some may have expected, but I say hold on. This picture will be around through the holidays and will quietly rack up money each week. And to be fair it did better than the opening weekend for Moulin Rouge! In fact, it’s Baz Luhrmann’s highest opening of his career! I say raise a glass to quality movies! They just don’t make them like this anymore. Luckily, some directors still understand how great the form can be. Not only should Fox be happy with this weekend’s grosses, they should be rejoicing that the movie about the magical little boy moved it’s release date from now until June!

One final thought - with the current economic realities people are turning to movies (thank all that’s holy!) as affordable entertainment. And you know what? That’s the whole point of the storytelling arts – to give people a break from the drama of their own lives and have them laugh, or cry or laugh and cry as a release. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – that is exactly the reason that I do what I do.

And that’s the weekend! This is our 90th feature, btw. Who would have thought? It just shows what you can do...

[© MMVIII MD TOTAL all rights reserved.]