It’s Golden Globe nominees a-go-go on DVD this week with honorees Emma Stone and Michael Douglas‘ nominated performances hitting shelves with the releases of Easy A and Wall Street Money Never Sleeps, as well as surprise nominee Angelina Jolie‘s much bigger hit, Salt, also available on DVD.
All that, plus that M. Night Shyamalan’s elevator movie that wasn’t directed by M. Night Shyamalan. How exciting?! Check it out below…
There’s something very surprising about this film. Not any of the plot twists, not the fact that Jamie Foxx served as human wallpaper in the film, not the fact that the screenplay managed to have zero likable characters. No, it’s the fact that the movie was not called Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
I’m not trying to say that this movie ripped off the Steve Martin classic – its premise was certainly different. But it was in the same mold. A road trip film with two totally mis-matched companions forced to bunk in various motels and deal with a never ending parade of rubes.
Now those are similar films and nowadays if a movie has any semblance to a classic, it’s tweaked a bit and slapped with the same title, because I suppose that makes executives sleep easier at night – knowing that they have any sort of a built-in audience.
Witness Robin Hood without the Robin Hood, King Arthur without a round table and the upcoming Arthur that appears to be a spec script re-worked slightly due to its similarities to that classic comedy. (I have no proof of this, but doesn’t it just seem that way?)
And that’s what’s so surprising. A studio had a chance to make people say, “I loved that movie – can’t wait to see how they updated it!” and didn’t take it.
Who knows? Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a box office disappointment if it hadn’t.
If you don’t care that it’s not a remake, you can buy Due Date on DVD.
Think about this fact: This film featured Will Ferrell, Brad Pitt, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, David Cross and Johan Hill in its cast. If that’s a live action comedy, it’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World embarrassment of riches. One that would certainly have any comedy nerd quivering with anticipation. A comedy that would make the The Hangover look like an independent quirkfest and have a good chance at opening to at least half of Megamind’s $148 million gross.
Instead, this film barely makes its massive production budget back with that aforementioned gross. A budget that certainly saw much of its total consumed in assembling that all-star voice lineup.
My point? It doesn’t matter if you have big movie stars doing voices in your film. They’re voices! We can’t even see them. If you didn’t tell us who they were, we’d spend half the movie saying, “Who is that? He sounds so familiar! Is he on “NCIS”?” And with a glut of voiceover talent in Hollywood, there’s no need to cast them. The animated films can be just as good when you move away from the big stars. Because nobody goes to see a movie based on the voiceover talent anyway.
Pixar understands this. It led two of its most acclaimed films (Ratatouille and Wall-E) with the likes of Patton Oswalt and Jeff Garlin, respectively. Fine comic voices, but certainly not on the star wattage level of the team voicing Megamind. Meanwhile, these two films made in about five seconds what Megamind made in five months.
So what matters? The quality of the film, not the Q-rating of the talent. That’s how you make big bucks with an animated movie – and saves you some coin at the same time.
But if you do fall for the voiceover starpower – you can buy Megamind on DVD.
- Get Low – Buy Now
TV on DVD
Showtime Female Comedies
There’s some sort of conventional wisdom amongst TV writers that Showtime is now the network of strong powerful women.
Let’s examine that statement for a second.
There are three of these Showtime comedies that star women – barely 25% of the network’s original programming.
Each of these women has a problem. Nancy Botwin of “Weeds” is a drug dealer. Jackie of “Nurse Jackie” is a drug addict. Finally, Tara from “The United States of Tara” has multiple personalities.
These aren’t exactly the strong, independent women of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” or even “30 Rock”. If anything, these shows do nothing but show the only way to get a series made with a female lead is to give her some horrible character flaw that suddenly makes her “interesting”.
Ah, the latent sexism of Hollywood never fails.
Of course, if you enjoy these flawed women you can buy these freshly released series:
- Buy “The United States of Tara“: Season 2 on DVD.
- Buy “Nurse Jackie“: Season 2 on DVD.
- Buy “Weeds“: Season 6 on DVD.
And Just So You Know, This DVD Exists…
Yes, it’s called ‘Alien vs. Ninja’.