Before the fireworks

A few odds and ends as we head into the big holiday weekend…

* It’s not really about the reviews (neither film was liked by critics), but as a human being who likes to watch movies about human beings (and anthropomorphic animals, too), I find it somewhat reassuring to report that, according to Variety and everyone else, “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” edged out “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” $13.8 to $10.9 million.

Christian Bale in In other mildly good news for movies that at least attempt to tell actual stories, “Public Enemies” came in an unsurprising third, but performed somewhat above expectations with $8.2 million on its first day. I’ll give you more definitive box office info on Sunday, as usual.

* The Hollywood Reporter says that the very old video game, “Asteroids,” is being turned into a movie. I guess “Pong: The Movie” was already taken. (That joke can’t be original, can it?) Begging the question: Why?????????!!!!!!! I’m not saying it couldn’t turn out to be a fun movie — miracles happen. However, in a world where we have thousand of science fiction novels, comics, and TV shows of all levels of quality to adapt, why use a game only old guys like me remember as an excuse to make a silly sci-fi flick? I don’t see even a small marketing advantage here.

* This is in the category of things I’m glad I didn’t happen to notice. Earlier in the day, Nikki Finke reported that IMDb had shuttled the writing credits for all movies down from just beneath the director to the “below the line” portion of the page, below the cast, down into the land of lowly DPs and production designers and the like (who actually deserve a lot more recognition than they usually get, too, by the way).

We all know that writers are undervalued in the film business, but that was a case of adding insult to injury — and also would have driven me crazy in my research. Every film is different and some directors really do make or break films, but in 99 cases out of 100, movies are only as good as their screenplay allows them to be. If there’s one reason that TV is doing a better job of catering to grown-up audiences than movies are, it’s the fact that television actually respects its writers to some degree. In any case, the situation has been corrected, reportedly partly through pressure from the Writer’s Guild. Good for them.

* There are a few limited releases coming out, but the trades are barely bothering to cover them. Looking over at Rotten Tomatoes, Nia Vardalos is probably okay with that given the absolutely horrendous reviews for an indie flick her new film as writer/director/star received. On the other hand, “Tony Manero,” which not only does not feature John Travolta, but is actually Chilean and apparently a very twisted homage indeed to “Saturday Night Fever,” looks intriguing in a sort of darker-than “King of Comedy”/”Taxi Driver” way. From the sounds of it, it’s definitely not for everyone. I’m not even sure it’s for me.

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That’s it for today. Posting will continue over the holiday weekend more or less as usual. However, seeing as I’ve been writing my little heart out here for the last couple of weeks and have to take care of some other projects, I’m going to be taking it relatively easy. So, for the next few days, assuming nothing earth shattering happens in the movie world, there’ll be more cool movie-oriented video and a lot less of my silly verbiage. At least that’s the idea.

  

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