Monday, March 19, 2012

Box Office Beatdown - March 19th, 2012

After the dearth of positive reviews, order has been restored to the world once more as a film that scored 'fresh' on Rotten Tomatoes actually topped the Box Office. Further validating the ways of the Hollywood system, it was naturally a quasi-remake of a licence that had been relegated to a throwaway punchline in another Jonah Hill film. Sometimes life imitates art, and sometimes art imitates life. And then we are all just living in the simulacra.

The notion that an R rated comedy could make money was dismissed years ago when Judd Apatow started smashing all kinds of records, but lately the quality of these more extreme comedies have been hit or miss in terms of critical reception. Now I have been watching a lot of Mad Men lately in anticipation of the season premiere, and if there's one thing Don Draper taught me it's this: people are attracted to nostalgia.

So of course we all want to return to the world of high school as adults, and now we can live vicariously through Channing Tatum. Or Jonah Hill, if that's your cup of tea. He is an Oscar nominee after all.

Aside from the top three films this week (21 Jump Street, The Lorax, and John Carter) everyone else fought over the scraps. Sadly, even with a box office as fractured as the GOP race (count it, there's another easy GOP joke coming up!), new film from Mark and Jay Duplass, Jeff, Who Lives At Home, only brought in $840,000. But even the big guns ought to cling to whatever cash they make over these next few days because the behemoth is on it's way come Friday when The Hunger Games releases. Big or small, we will all be consumed.

Check below for a full list of the films that will be rendered irrelevant at the hand of Suzanne Collins.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

People Don't Live Or Die, People Just Float

Jeff, Who Lives At Home (Duplass and Duplass, 2012)

Mark and Jay Duplass, brothers behind Cyrus, Baghead, and The Puffy Chair, continue to expand the definition of mumblecore with their latest film Jeff, Who Lives At Home. While it would be easy to describe this movie as a tale of a slacker who attempts to find his place in the world, what the Duplass brothers do with this film is so much more expansive because of the way they build upon the concept of a genre they helped popularize. Existing between the realms of drama and comedy their latest creation is more concerned with the humanity than it is with laughs, but it also willingly paints with the broadest of strokes in order to further reach for the universal. But by doing this I couldn't help but wonder if the shift of focus from the nuanced examination of relationships that have defined previous Duplass brothers films would be needlessly sacrificed for a more sprawling affair.