Hollywood Playbook: Wednesday's Top 5 News Items
71 Point Gap: Critics Hate, Audiences Love 'Mom's Night Out'
With one exception, America's elite critics brutalized the new Christian comedy "Mom's Night Out." Overall, only 15% of Rotten Tomato critics gave the film a positive review. A full 86% of moviegoers, however, "liked it." That's a whopping 71% chasm between critics and the audience.
On IMDB, "Moms Night Out" has so far earned a positive score of 7/10.
According to Facebook, nearly 1.4 million people are "talking about" the film.
Last weekend, "Mom's Night Out" opened on a little over a thousand screens, grossed $4.3 million, and enjoyed the third highest per-screen average of the weekend. The studio was hoping for something closer to $7 million, but that kind of per-screen and good word-of-mouth hopefully means good things this coming weekend.
Some critics are outright threatened by Patricia Heaton's faith-friendly PG-rated comedy and apparently have changed their minds about a woman having a right to CHOOSE … if that choice is to stay at home and raise their children.
RogerEbert.com's Christy Lemire called the film, "Depressingly regressive and borderline dangerous, 'Moms’ Night Out' peddles archaic notions of gender roles in the name of wacky laughs."
The New York Daily News was quite offended at the sight of women who choose to stay home: "'Moms’ Night Out' is really all about moms staying home, where, according to this movie, they apparently belong."
The Wrap's Inkoo Kang blasted the film as "anti-feminist" and claims "Allison's lack of a profession consigns the character into Eisenhower-esque irrelevance."
With all the critically-acclaimed movies out there exploiting women in demeaning sex scenes, what bothers these bigots is a movie character who chooses kids over a career?
The left's hold on the culture is tight and impressive. None of these critics will face any kind of blowback for their obvious prejudices. In fact, reviews like this tend to traumatize filmmakers. In order to avoid them, movie moms will either be portrayed as "having it all" with careers, or as stay-at-home whack-jobs. Because if you don't have a career there must be something wrong with you.
'Grace of Monaco': Nicole Kidman's 13-Year Losing Streak Marches On
The word out of Cannes is that Nicole Kidman's "Grace of Monaco" is every bit the disaster it was predicted to be. The Hollywood Reporter calls it "A stiff, stagey, thuddingly earnest affair which has generated far more drama off screen than on." The Guardian is unsparing, "The resulting film about this fantastically boring crisis is like a 104-minute Chanel ad, only without the subtlety and depth."
Kidman is the true definition of box office poison. She hasn't made a smart choice since 2001. Now, at 46 or 47, she decides to play Grace Kelly at 25?
It sounds like the script and director let her down. But it was Kidman's choice to go with both and since winning the Oscar, Kidman's judgment has gone to hell.
One of the ways movie stars become movie stars is that the audience trusts the actors to make good choices -- good movies. We'll forgive a misstep or two -- a "Regarding Henry" or a "Mary Reilly." During his heyday, Harrison Ford made all the right choices. So did Julia Roberts. So did Nicole Kidman.
And then they don't.
And then it's over.
Report: 'We Are Becoming a Nation of Cord-Cutters'
More proof the end is nigh for the evil that is bundled cable. A new report from Sandvine suggests…
…there's growing evidence that we are becoming a nation of cord-cutters. The company is unable to determine whether an individual is actually a "cord cutter" -- someone who ditched cable or satellite in favor of Netflix and other services delivered over a broadband connection. But it did find that the top 15 percent of users on "several U.S. networks" use a ton of data, suggesting that they "exhibit cord cutting behavior" and "are likely using streaming as a primary form of entertainment."
This group of broadband subscribers uses a whopping 212 gigabytes of data each month -- more than seven times that of a typical subscriber.
The report also shows that at night, during peak television viewing hours, Netflix Streaming accounts for 34.2% of total Internet usage. Moreover, in the first three months of this year, Netflix Streaming added 2 million U.S. subscribers, bringing the total to 35.67 million.
Here's what I think is happening: A majority of those 35.67 million are probably still paying for a bundled cable package on top of Netflix. Over time, though, as they find themselves getting used to and watching more Streaming, they are going to start to wonder why in the world they are paying $100 a month for a bundled cable package they hardly watch.
Then it becomes a question of losing access to sports and Fox News; "Are they worth $1200 a year?"
In related news: Amazon's Deal of the Day is a Roku ($39.99), which gives your TV access to Netflix Streaming, Amazon, HBOGo, Hulu, and about a hundred other streaming channels. I have 4 of these babies. The Roku is about the size of a deck of cards and if you have a wireless router, you are all set. I have also found the Roku much easier to set up than other gizmos designed to do the same.
For $40 in equipment and $9 a month to Netflix, you can join The Revolution.
Kyle Smith Defends 'Godfather III'
I could not agree more with Kyle Smith. It's perfectly fair to claim "Godfather III" doesn't live up to its predecessors, but it is still a damn fine film with a just conclusion for Michael Corleone.
Granted, the story can get confusing but, as Smith writes, certain sequences live up to 1 and 2:
A thrillingly chaotic, completely unexpected shootout in a rooftop meeting room in Atlantic City, an equally well-staged bloodbath at the Little Italy street fair the Feast of San Gennaro, an intriguing conspiracist take on the events at the Vatican in 1979 (when three popes presided within a span of two months) and several more classic lines of dialogue added to the canon.
There’s “Treachery is everywhere”; “Finance is a gun — politics is knowing when to pull the trigger”; “It’s dangerous to be an honest man”; “Never hate your enemies — it affects your judgment”; and “He who builds on the people, builds on mud.” And let’s not forget the classics: “I don’t need tough guys, I need more lawyers” and “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
I would add to that list the confession of Michael Corleone.
Smith also points out that the hostility Sofia Coppola faced was grossly unfair and that Andy Garcia's crackerjack performance as Sonny's illegitimate son Vincent is top-shelf. Watching Vincent grow from street thug to extremely resourceful Mafioso is, in my opinion, one of the best things in all three films.
I also love how the overall story fits so well with the characters. Michael (Al Pacino) wants legitimacy but his past won't allow it. That innocent part of him we met at Connie's wedding, still wants Kay (Diane Keaton) but absolutely everything about his life is weighted down by the murder of his brother. For her part, Kay has managed keep herself and her children clear of Michael's life, but like Michael, she'll learn you never really get out. Connie (Talia Shire) has given up drink but shriveled herself with bitterness and a misguided sense of honor.
Every year or so we have a "Godfather" marathon and the third chapter is not only a worthy part of the marathon, it is necessary in bringing the saga to a close.
"Godfather III" also plays better as part of a trilogy, as opposed to on its own.
Now that I have a bonafide home theatre, I am looking forward to seeing the trilogy on the big screen.
I was only five, but I still remember seeing the original "Godfather" in the theatre and again at a drive-in. Sonny's toll booth death is what resonated.
'The Sopranos': Little Carmine Figures It Out
The wife and I have only two episodes left before we conclude our latest run through the entire "Sopranos" series. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how this scene was the series highlight. Another highlight is embedded below. This scene between "Little" Carmine Lupertazzi and Tony Soprano takes place early in the second half of the sixth and final season.
Little Carmine is the son of Carmine Lupertazzi, the powerful boss of one of the five New York families. When we meet Little Carmine, he is living the high-life in Miami and introduced to us as a clownish character whose IQ never matches the big words he attempts to use. He is the king of malapropisms ("The sacred and the propane").
After Carmine dies unexpectedly, Little Carmine decides he wants to become boss and goes to war with Johnny Sack (Carmine's number two). Once things turn murderous, though, Little Carmine suddenly backs down. We assume he's a coward but…
Flash-forward a couple of seasons. Johnny Sack is in prison dying of lung cancer, Phil Leotardo (Johnny's number two) is ill, and the vaccum is being filled with blood. To settle things, Tony goes to Little Carmine to tell him the chair is his if he still wants it.
Watch below. The scene starts at 1:30:
We have spent 5 seasons laughing at Little Carmine and then he ends up being the only mob character in the whole series who figures it out.
The look on Tony's face is priceless as he watches one of the dumbest people he knows spout genuine wisdom -- a wisdom that Tony himself holds, but won't listen to because of his wicked pride and lack of self-discipline.
By this time in the series, Tony is completely lost. When we first met him, Tony seemed redeemable. We kept hoping the therapy would bring him to the same realization Little Carmine has. Tony has only gotten worse. By the end of the series, he's given in completely to the darkside. He is a loathsome, tiring, unsympathetic villain who needs to be killed.
But out of the blue, Little Carmine, of all people, cracks the code. What a fabulous moment in a series I am going to miss (again) as soon as we get through these last two episodes.
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