Five Things About the Oscar Nominations

Updated 9:27ET

It’s time for Oscar nominations, that special time of the year when Hollywood women move far away from candles to prevent their new faces from melting off and George Clooney sits down with “The View” to explain how gosh-darn adorable he is to your grandmother (though he lost a director nomination to Terrence Malick, he has acting and writing nominations for two different movies).

As always, there were some major surprises. For those more interested in seeing if “Jack and Jill” (which this blog tragically, became deeply connected to on the Internet because of this going viral in its own way) will win the Razzie award for worst film of 2011, you have to wait another month for those nominations.

Five things to consider:

(1) The rules have changed. After expanding from five to ten Best Picture nominees in 2009, the Oscars have now taken an “Anything goes! We don’t care, just please, please watch us!” approach, allowing anywhere from five to ten nominees, depending on the year’s quality. This expanded list brought us “A Serious Man” in 2009, which might be my least favorite Best Picture nominee in recent memory (I can’t judge “The Tree of Life” because I refuse to see it), but was partially expanded to prevent films like “The Dark Knight” from missing out again (it didn’t make the cut of five in 2008, but would have made the top ten) so it did have some value. 2011 was not a strong year but we have nine (with instant commentary):

The Artist  (excellent)

The Descendants (great but overrated)

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (surprise, see #5 below)

The Help (audience favorite to get viewers)

Hugo (good, not excellent, but strong direction, see #3 below)

Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen makes a commercial hit? Award him before he dies!)

Moneyball (This year’s “The Social Network” but with less chance of winning)

The Tree of Life (I cannot express my hatred for this movie only because I refuse to see it based on all of his other pretentious films)

War Horse (likely more disappointing than his “Terra Nova”)

(2) “The Artist” is a great movie deserving many Oscars, but it’s not for everyone. Even though it received nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, etc., you have to answer this question: “So… wanna see a black and white silent film from France with some American actors?” If the answer is “hell no!” (you know who you are), then the awards are not going to change that. If the answer is “maybe”, consider the awards and its spot as the leading contender for Best Picture reason to go check it out. It’s more enthralling than you’d expect.

(3) As stated by this blog earlier, Hollywood loves talking about itself and glamorizing itself. That’s partially why “The Artist” and “Hugo” are making big runs for awards. Despite a quiet spot behind “The Artist” and “The Descendants” in many Best Picture awards this year, “Hugo”‘s Martin Scorsese grabbed a well-deserved Best Director Golden Globe earlier this month. His direction is great, the premise is great, but “Hugo” lacks the magical punch it needed to be an instant family classic. Still, nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, among others, keep it in the big leagues.

(4) “Bridesmaids” fails to get a Best Picture nomination, but scores screenplay and best supporting actress nominations. This is being portrayed as a surprise but is “Bridesmaids” really a best picture contender? Sure, I enjoyed it but ehh … Oscars do not give awards to comedies and this wasn’t the one to change that. The only sure comedic bet is Pixar, which won two Oscars last year for “Toy Story 3”. But even Pixar is losing steam, with “Cars 2” being its first film rejected for Best Animated Feature, an award pretty much created for Pixar. Woody Allen also brings a strong chance to the comedy genre with “Midnight in Paris” but it’s hard to call Woody Allen movies comedies. They’re more just “Woody Allen movies” in their own genre.

(5) In what truly did surprise me, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” shot from nothing to Best Picture. Its nomination even got a loud yell and clapping from the audience at the nominations. This expected to be schlocky, maudlin, melodramatic 9/11 drama needed a big day to jump start its D.O.A. box office, even with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock behind it. A Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor nomination might do that, though its chance for Best Picture is only slightly higher than that of “The Muppets” which did not get a best picture nomination. I was very pleasantly surprised at the “Margin Call” and “A Separation” writing nominations, though disappointed they knocked out “Win Win” which I loved. I am fickle, especially now than “Real Steel” is an Oscar nominee and “Win Win” is not. [Updated 9:30ET]

Acting snubs included Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin” (killing its box office chances), Albert Brooks for “Drive”, and Michael Fassbender for “Shame” (NC-17, constant full front nudity may be a bit much for the octogenarians on the Academy committee). The Oscars chose Jonah Hill as their (formerly?) fat supporting actor comedian in a semi-drama award for “Moneyball” over Patton Oswalt in “Young Adult.” I love Patton, but I hear Jonah was excellent.

For loyal viewers like you, this was written after the major nominations were announced. The complete list will be available soon at: http://www.imdb.com/oscars/nominations/ and it sure as hell better have a best song nomination for “The Muppets”. (Update: It did. “The Muppets” received one of only TWO Best Song nominations (new formula this year). It looks like the stars of “The Big Bang Theory” and “HIMYM” will be singing at the Oscars.)

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Five Things You Did to Change 2012

Hollywood is more short-sighted than Mr. Magoo, so everything you did in 2011 is going to come back and haunt you in 2012. Here are five ways your 2011 entertainment choices will lead to more of the same:

(1) “The Lion King 3D” made $94 million.

“The Lion King 3D” was a smash hit despite the fact it’s more than a decade old and you probably own it on DVD, VHS, Laserdisc, or BetaMax. So what happens now? Well, the movies are already made so, in 2012, you’re getting “Beauty and the Beast 3D,” “Finding Nemo 3D”, “Titanic 3D” and “Star Wars: Episode I: #^!@#! Jar Jar Binks in 3D”. Yes, an even more annoying Jar-Jar is your fault because you wanted to sing Hakuna Matata and that is NOT a wonderful thing.

(2) You refuse to stop watching “Glee!”

Sure, the “Glee” movie bombed horribly (see HERE) and the ratings are in decline, but you’re still watching it and buying the singles. In fact, the cast of “Glee” already has more songs on the Billboard music chart than The Beatles ever did. See HERE (via KK).The cast of “Glee” has had more songs chart than the Beatles

So, what happens now? You’re getting “Joyful Noise”, a choir musical/dramedy/race riot film with Dolly “Country is Better, Honey!” Parton squaring off against Queen “No, it ain’t, bitch!” Latifah in a giant Jesus-inspired musical. And you’re getting “Rock of Ages”, the hair band musical starring Tom Cruise. And the clearer rip-off “Smash” on NBC, with “American Idol” wash-out Katherine McPhee as a singer trying to make it on Broadway with the help of Debra “Grace of Will & …” Messing. Maybe the new “Les Miserables” musical starring Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, and Russell Crowe will be good. Yes, you read those names correctly.

(3) Speaking of Jesus, “Courageous” was a huge hit in theatres.

Never heard of “Courageous”? Then, you’re probably too busy sinning and performing unspeakable acts of sodomy. “Courageous”, a heartwarming tale of why Evangelical Christians are far better people than you, cost $2 million and made $34 million (before the 100,000 DVDs bought by “Movie of the Month” church groups). So, what happens now? Tim Tebow won’t be the only one praying on your TV screen. Expect more Christian-amped entertainment, though the new 2012 TV show “Good Christian Bitches” should be more snarky than sanctimonious.

(4) Your favorite movie franchises are ending so … back to superheroes!

Harry Potter waved his wand for the last time and the Twilight cast is getting ready to put their shirts on and head into much less spectacular movie careers, so Hollywood knows it needs something big. With no superhero movie hitting big (“Thor” was the highest as the 8th biggest movie of 2011), Hollywood is set-up for an amazing superhero year. “The Dark Knight Rises” alone warrants an entire summer, but there’s also the much-hyped, much-anticipated “The Avengers” and “The Amazing Spider-man” getting its reboot. And that just includes traditional superheroes … “Men in Black 3” is also on its way, as are “G.I. Joe 2” and a Jason Bourne movie expected to be awful because it lacks … well … Jason Bourne. Matt Damon was too busy buying a zoo.

5) You refuse to accept new things.

In addition to all of the sequels listed in #4, let’s look at 2011’s top 5 films in order: (1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2; (2) Transformers: Dark of the Moon, (3) Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I; (4) The Hangover Part II, and (5) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

… notice a trend? No? Well, #6 is “Fast Five” and #7 is “Cars 2”. How about now? Hollywood knows you get scared of new things, so, don’t worry, you can return to the same-old, same-old with 27 franchise films in 2012, and the long anticipated “The Hobbit.” Heck, they’re making two movies based on Snow White (see HERE), NBC’s newest legal show is based on a book and movie more than 15 years old “(The Firm”) and there’s even a new movie starring Rihanna and Liam Neeson about the plot-heavy board game “BATTLESHIP!” Can’t wait for the “Mouse Trap” movie. I predict the budget is going to skyrocket when they can’t get the damn set to work.

Five Things About The Golden Globes

Golden Globe nominations were announced today (full list HERE). As always, there were disappointment and surprises, but no embarassments like the recent decision to give “Burlesque” a Best Picture nomination.

Five Things to Consider:

(1) The Golden Globes hate “The Muppets”. This was the time for “The Muppets” to shine with a Best Comedy (Best Picture) nomination. Instead, the Globes nominated the supposedly sub-par “My Week with Marilyn” alongside expected nominees “50/50” (very good, but more drama than comedy), “The Artist” (get used to seeing this one on lists), “Bridesmaids” (all to help leverage Melissa McCarthy’s possible Oscar nom), “Carnage” (phenomenal play, phenomenal actors, phenomal yet pedophilic director…), and “Midnight in Paris” (Woody Allen has a commercial success?). It also received ZERO nominations for best song, despite two of the best of the year.

(2) The Golden Globes love Ryan Gosling. Nominated for Best Actor-Drama (“The Ides of March”) and Best Actor-Comedy (“Crazy Stupid Love”, though more like “Sexy” than “Stupid” based on People magazine’s obsession with Gosling’s abs), the Globes ignored “Drive” but was it really an acting performance? He’s pretty quiet and somber throughout the stylistic movie but, then again, the whole cast of “The Artist” is silent as it’s a silent film and all.

(3) The Golden Globes love TV creator Ryan Murphy. You say “Glee” has fallen asunder into a weekly rehash of trite performances and unbelievable plots? The Globes say it’s a Best Comedy nominee, much more deserving than “Community” and “Parks and Rec.” You say “Breaking Bad” and “The Good Wife” are two of TV’s best dramas (and “The Walking Dead” one of the most entertaining)? The Globes say “American Horror Story” is better. Both Ryan Murphy shows, both denied better shows a good nomination.

(4) George Clooney is the new Johnny Depp. The Globes normally just gave a nomination evert time Depp touched a movie (“The Tourist”, anyone?), but now it’s Clooney, with Best Screenplay (“Ides of March”), Director (“Ides of March”), and Actor (“The Descendants”) nominations. The second two are deserved, but the first knocks out better writing this year like in “Win Win.”

(5) There’s still room for surprises. Because the Globes have drama and comedy categories, some well-deserved performances can make their way in. Two examples: Brendan Gleeson’s excellent performance in “The Guard” and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s strong, dramatic performance in “50/50”; neither Oscar likelies, but both nominated here for Comedic Actor. Ignore all of the crying, “I have cancer” drama — “50/50” is a comedy! Yeah …

All in all, not bad, but it begs the question: These are the best movies of 2011? Not a strong year. Here’s to 2012 and “The Dark Knight Rises.”

My Listed Guide to Movie Lists

This is the time of year when critics far and wide start to list their favorite movies. Sometimes you see an unheralded gem slide into a spot. Other times, you are shocked in disbelief (Time magazine … this means you and your inclusion of “Fast Five”). But there are some universal truths that everyone needs to know and sharing them with you will be cathartic so thank you for this therapy session. You are permitted to envision me laying on a couch in your office. I am fully clothed … the whole time.

(1) Critics are temperamental little bitches who love to be glorified

How do I know this? I am one, though try my best to separate myself from the pretentiousness as much as possible (example: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” has a very strong shot of making my top 10). You need to understand that most critics are emotionally flawed in some way as you look at their choices. Is “Hugo” a good movie? Despite some minor flaws, Martin Scorsese absolutely deserves an Oscar nomination and perhaps a win. But what will propel “Hugo” far up in the lists is that it’s a movie for people passionate about movies. It’s not often someone makes a 2-hour epic about the importance of film preservation, so this film will give added meaning to the lives of people who live only through critiquing others’ movies. And critics LOVE that!

(2) The “best” movie is not usually the “most enjoyable”

Hands down, “The Muppets” is going to be my pick for most enjoyable film of the year. It is unbridled fun and, in the words of my mother, “pure joy on screen.” It has laughs, singing, dancing, some witty lines and smart cameos (some bad cameos (Serena Gomez, I’m looking at you)) and is an epic mixture of nostalgia and the rebirth of the Muppets. Yet I have a hard time picking it as my number one because is it really a masterpiece? An advancement in film? No, but … life’s a happy song! And I’m a man, not a muppet! Instead, expect to see a lot of “The Artist”, which has potential to be very enjoyable — or it might just be a way-too-artsy black and white silent film from France about the film industry (see #1, above, for why this matters a lot).

(3) Movies released before September don’t exist.

The best film lists can’t possibly avoid nine months. Well, they do. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three films released before September that won Best Picture in the last two decades: “The Silence of the Lambs”, “Gladiator”, and “The Hurt Locker.” “Hurt Locker” benefitted from a DVD push and some residual “Avatar”‘s been-here-before-but-it’s-oh-so-pretty malaise, while “Gladiator” and “The Silence of the Lambs” were box office smashes. Hopefully, the Oscars don’t again avoid brilliant performances from months past (Paul Giammati in “Win Win” is better than George Clooney in either “The Ides of March” or “The Descendants” or, frankly, Paul Giamatti in “The Ides of March” though all four performances are worthy), but they tend to. So, those of you looking to see those masterful January releases “Season of the Witch”, “From Prada to Nada” or “The Green Hornet” at the Oscars … sorry. There is an exception, of course …

(4) The Oscars are starting to sell out

The Golden Globes are about as reputable as a Congressman saying “I did not have sex with that woman, man, small woodland creature….” Want an example? “Burlesque” was nominated for Best Picture. Here’s an interesting anecdote:

“The whole reason the Globes exist as the boozy, star-filled public spectacle we TiVo today is because, back in 1958, Old Blue Eyes, along with fellow Ratpackers Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin, got tired of that whole boring part where they announce the winners. Sufficiently soused, the three jumped on stage with cigarettes and high-balls in hand, and hi-jacked/hosted the then modest awards show.” (via VF)

So, okay, the Golden Globes are the drunken uncle of awards and, like that drunken uncle, can be absolutely hilarious — but not the Oscars! Well, yes, the Oscars. Back when “The Dark Knight” was denied a well-deserved Best Picture nomination, fans were angry and people stopped watching. So, instead of deciding to expand the nominees to an unset number of worthy films each year, they expanded the field to ten films a year. That brought the hideously boring “A Serious Man” and the tear jerker I loved so shut up but it’s not a best picture nominee “The Blind Side”. And, for 2011, it will bring “The Help”, also helpful because the list of Oscar winners is really just a few shades darker than a KKK rally. (I held back on my even less PC my first analogy here…)

and (5): Critics who have not seen all likely winners shouldn’t post lists, but they do

Many critics feel that the list of their top 10 movies deserves attention. It often does not. There’s a reason why you won’t see my top 10 list in the next few weeks and not just because I’m on this hiatus. It’s because there are at least 15 films I haven’t seen yet that have made lists. My list is woefully incomplete. However, this doesn’t stop critics with deadlines (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “War Horse”, and “The Iron Lady” were shown to critics a week after some big lists started to get published), so keep an eye out if the list includes movies that have all been released.

Remember these five simple things as you look at the lists and, oh, one more thing: Mahna Mahna.

Monday Morning @ the Movies … done?

Of course, right after I decide to end the “Monday Morning @ the Movies” weekly feature due to low readership (compared to other posts), I get emails asking where it is today.

If you want it back, just let me know. I’m very accomodating to loyal readers. That being said, if you want a particular post on ANYTHING movie or TV related, write a comment on one of the posts. If you want posts on music, you’ll have to negotiate with BK.

Stay tuned for the November Sweeps TV Discussion coming soon, which will involve discussions on the recent bad news for “Community” and “Cougar Town” and predictions on which of your favorite shows will be dead by May.

Vampires and Werewolves!

So, I was looking at the movies coming out this weekend and did you know there’s a movie about a woman, a vampire, and a werewolf?!?!? And that there have already been FOUR of these movies?? That sounds AWESOME!

What I assume this crazy woman who can handle both looks like:

I can barely imagine the exciting plot lines here. Does the woman join forces with the vampire to murder werewolves all around the world? Does the woman collude with the werewolf to stake out (pun intended, Jake) vampires and kill the entire vampire race? Or does she, and let’s hope!, pit them against each other so all of vampire and werewolf kind are obliterated. So many action scenes! So much blood and gore! I can’t believe … oh, wait, you’re telling me it’s a love story? And that the vampire shine like glitter? And that the werewolf’s main power is to make teenage girls swoon when he takes off his shirt? And that it doesn’t even star Kate Beckinsale in a tight leather suit?

Oh.

Huh. Well, this is different.

Monday Morning @ the Movies (Nov. 14)

This week’s new movies are all either successes or miserable failures … it all depends on your perspective.

1) IMMORTALS 3D     ~$32.0 Million Weekend     (NEW)

“Immortals” led the pack of new releases with an estimated $32 million. This is a lot of money, especially for an R-rated 3D film, and it will make a nice profit. However, “300” debuted to more than $70 million in 2007 and “Clash of the Titans” debuted to more than $60 million in 2010, so it really pales in comparison. This is especially true when compared to “300”, which made its sum from significantly lower ticket prices (both because it was 2007 and because people didn’t pay 3D prices).

2) JACK AND JILL      ~$26.0 Million Weekend    (NEW)

$26 million for this brutally unfunny, horribly reviewed, supposed “comedy” sounds impressive. But, again, it’s all about perspective. “Jack and Jill” is the first of the five director Dennis Dugan- Adam Sandler films (“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”, “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan”, “Grown Ups” and “Just Go With It”) to debut with less than $30 million. It’s also the worst performing Sandler comedy in the last ten years (excluding dramedy “Funny People”). But, still, $26 million of people went to see “Jack and Jill” this weekend and viewers under 18 years old gave it an A- average rating. This is the best indication yet that we’re really screwed when the next generation takes over.

3) PUSS IN BOOTS     ~$25.5 Million Weekend        ($108.8 Million total) 

“Puss in Boots” broke $100 million continues to dominate family audiences. I’ll also be checking to see if the final numbers put “Puss in Boots” at #2 and knock down “Jack and Jill”. Let’s hope!

4) TOWER HEIST        ~$13.2 Million Weekend          ($43.9 Million Total)

After everything that happened with the director and Eddie Murphy this past week, it didn’t affect families heading out to see this surprisingly well-reviewed comedy.

5) J. EDGAR                 ~$11.5 Million Weekend          (NEW)

Once a guaranteed Best Picture nominee, the critics trashed “J. Edgar” this weekend. This blog offered a middle-ground review. $11.5 Million isn’t bad for an Oscar prestige biopic, but for a Clint Eastwood / Leonardo DiCaprio project, it’s a major disappointment. DiCaprio is still a lock for a Best Picture Oscar nomination, but the film’s chances (even if the Academy nominates ten films like it did last year) are slipping by the day.

6) HAROLD AND KUMAR 3    ~$5.9 Million Weekend    ($23.2 Million Total)

A steep fall for this 3D pot comedy, but it’s already exceeded its budget and, even though it’s a 3D film, this is a movie a lot of stoners are going to watch at home. A success, but not enough of one to make a fourth film … or is it? Depends on DVD sales.

7) IN TIME       ~$4.2 Million Weekend      (Total $30.7 Million)

“In Time” continues to chug along … not an impressive box office performance, but it’s doing better than its first weekend would have led many to believe. Justin Timberlake might still have an acting career.

8 ) PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3         ~$3.6 Million Weekend      (Total $100.8 Million)

“Paranormal Activity 3” just crossed $100 Million and has a chance to equal the first film’s $108 Million gross. None of the three have come close to “The Blair Witch Project” but they avoided Blair Witch’s epically disastrous attempt at a sequel.

9) FOOTLOOSE          ~$2.7 Million Weekend      (Total $48.9 Million)

Still refuse to acknowledge.

10) REAL STEEL        ~$2.0 Million Weekend      (Total $81.8 Million)

 

Which is better: J. Edgar, Immortals, or Jack and Jill?

“J. Edgar”, with an Oscar winner writing the screenplay, an Oscar winner directing (Clint Eastwood), and an Oscar winner (Judi Dench) and nominees (Leonardo DiCaprio, Naomi Watts) in the cast, has to be good, right? Check out the review HERE.

Well, the critics aren’t very impressed. If you go to the movies this weekend, the following nationwide, big-budget films are all doing significantly better (critically) than “J. Edgar”:

In order from best rated:

PUSS IN BOOTS (uh huh …)

A VERY HAROLD AND KUMAR CHRISTMAS 3D

FOOTLOOSE

TOWER HEIST

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3

REAL STEEL

THE RUM DIARY

IMMORTALS

… yes, “J. Edgar” is seen by critics as worse than all of these. What a crazy way to start the Oscar-heavy fall and winter award movie season!

At least it’s dominating Adam Sandler’s “Jack and Jill” right? The first four films in the Adam Sandler-Dennis Dugan (director) partnership opened to more than $30 million each, and made more than $100 million. Let’s hope “Jack and Jill” breaks that impressive trend.

As of writing, “Jack and Jill” had a rare 0% on Rottentomatoes. Yes, that means not a single person found it worthy of a good review. This picture just begs for an Oscar though, right? No? Maybe Katie Holmes will win Best Actress for it? I just hope Al Pacino doesn’t suddenly die and this becomes his last film.

Monday Morning @ the Movies (Nov. 7)

The Puss is mightier than the Tower and stronger than Christmas.

1) PUSS IN BOOTS     ~$32.1 Million Weekend     ($75.5 Million total) 

Dreamworks thought they had a hit on their hands. But then children chose, selfishly, to go to Halloween parties instead of the opening weekend of “Puss in Boots” and egotistical East Coast parents who clearly don’t love their kids decided not to trek through two feet of snow to head to the theatre. What jerks. But Dreamworks was right: “Puss in Boots” made only three percent less in its second weekend than in its opening weekend, which is smallest drop ever for a non-Holiday release from more than 2,500 theaters. That’s a big deal. Still, “Puss in Boots” is trailing all four of the “Shrek” movies and will face some heavy competition in the next few weeks (hello, Muppets!)

2) TOWER HEIST        ~$25.1 Million Weekend          (NEW)

Eddie Murphy’s latest attempt to prove he’s not a coked-up, unfunny corpse, hidden away in the back alley of fame made almost exactly what his huge success “The Nutty Professor” did. Problem is: “The Nutty Professor” debuted back in 1996 when ticket prices were reasonable and not equivalent to buying a new car, so significantly fewer people came to “Tower Heist” despite an all-star cast of Ben Stiller, Tea Leoni (still alive!), Casey Affleck, and Precious.

3) … HAROLD AND KUMAR … CHRISTMAS    ~$13.1 Million Weekend    (NEW)

The third “Harold and Kumar” movie, previewed HERE, didn’t make as much as the second film, despite additional 3D prices. Still, it cost only $20 million to produce, so it’s going to be a hit. Interestingly, 95 percent of audiences saw the movie on 3D screens, even higher than “The Lion King 3D”, which got 92 percent of its money from 3D screens. Despite Christmas movies generally lasting awhile in theaters, the big 3D offerings of fall (and “Immortals”) will likely remove some of “Harold and Kumar”‘s contact high.

4) PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3         ~$8.5 Million Weekend      (Total $95.3 Million)

I now have it from good authority that this film is not that scary, though my source (like me and that good friend I mentioned before… you know who you are) didn’t find the first one scary either. That puts the three of us in the 1%. Wait, that’s a bad number to use nowadays; I don’t want someone occupying my front lawn. I just raked the leaves away!

5) IN TIME       ~$7.7 Million Weekend      (Total $24.2 Million)

Despite a slow start, “In Time” isn’t doing that badly, with a better retention of viewers than “Source Code” earlier in the year. Justin Timberlake … your film career is still alive.

6) FOOTLOOSE          ~$4.6 Million Weekend      (Total $44.5 Million)

Still refuse to acknowledge.

7) REAL STEEL        ~$3.4 Million Weekend      (Total $78.8 Million)

8 ) THE RUM DIARY    ~$3.0 Million Weekend     (Total $10.4 Million)

This is now Johnny Depp’s biggest flop of the century. Well, since 1999, but it sounds more dramatic when we consider centuries.

9 ) IDES OF MARCH    ~$2.0 Million Weekend      (Total $36.8 Million)

Review here and previewed here.

10) MONEYBALL    ~$1.9 Million Weekend      (Total $70.3 Million)

Monday Morning @ the Movies (Oct. 31)

This weekend’s big movie surprise wasn’t that “Puss in Boots 3D” debuted as number one … it’s that everyone really liked it, so much so that it might set the Halloween box office record (and take away the record from the SAW movies).

1) PUSS IN BOOTS     ~$33.7 Million Weekend     NEW

No, this is not a sequel to the little seen indie gem “Kinky Boots” about a cross-dressing Black British man who grows up to co-star in “2012” and “SALT.” Critics and audiences alike loved “Puss in Boots”, meaning it might just be a return to the quality of “Shrek” and “Shrek 2” and not the trite awfulness of “Shrek 3” and “Shrek Forever After.” For someone who was heralded as a sexy Latino sensation back in the 1990s, audiences only see Antonio Banderas movies when he’s nowhere on screen. If you look at his IMDB movie history (here), you’ll see most of his films are either failures or animated. 2011, however, might be his comeback, with “Puss in Boots” and “The Skin I Live In”. Spain refused to pick “The Skin I Live In” as its 2012 Foreign Language Oscar nominee, but that’s more because Spain has an embarrassing problem with the Oscar-winning director.

2) PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3         ~$18.5 Million Weekend      (Total $81.5 Million)

I will go on the record that I did not enjoy “Paranormal Activity.” I was not scared, I rolled my eyes more times than I jumped out of my seat, and luckily I was with one of my good friends who agreed with me. That being said, the trailer for the third one looked scary and excellent. That’s probably why it broke a October box office record and will have a huge Sunday and Monday audience. Just to give you an idea of its success: its budget was $5 million and it should bring in $110 million. That’s a nice return on investment.

3) IN TIME       ~$12.0 Million Weekend      (NEW)

Back in our October movie preview (here), I said: “Is this going to be 2011′s “Inception” or 2011′s “The Island” (a supposedly thoughtful (but not) sci-fi Michael Bay movie with a good cast, but horrible writing)? I root for the former, but have no idea.”

Turns out it’s more like “The Island” with reviews trashing it for ruining a great idea. Amanda Seyfried, Justin Timberlake, and Olivia Wilde continue to grace magazine covers, but none can carry a movie. Timberlake has a huge career already, but will we still be seeing Seyfried and Wilde on screen in five years? Or will it be on Cinemax After Dark?

4) FOOTLOOSE          ~$5.4 Million Weekend      (Total $38.5 Million)

Refuse to acknowledge.

5) THE RUM DIARY    ~$5.0 Million Weekend      (NEW)

Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson’s biggest fan, gives it a second try after “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” gained a cult following after being a box office and critical disappointment. I always root for Depp when he leaves the blockbuster “Pirates” world. His best drug movie was “Blow”, and audiences have generally trashed “The Rum Diary”, so maybe he’ll stop his Thompson Trilogy at two films?

6) REAL STEEL        ~$4.7 Million Weekend      (Total $74.1 Million)

7) THREE MUSKETEERS  ~$3.5 Million Weekend      (Total $14.8 Million)

A total bomb of a movie that didn’t need to be re-made just for schlocky 3D imagery.

8 ) IDES OF MARCH    ~$2.7 Million Weekend      (Total $33.5 Million)

The budget remained low despite the A-list cast, but the lack of audiences will affect its Oscar chances. Which is fine, because it’s always good, never excellent. Review here and previewed here.

9) MONEYBALL    ~$2.4 Million Weekend      (Total $67.4 Million)

“Moneyball”, on the other hand, made just enough money to stay in contention for Best Picture. Yes, money shouldn’t matter for Oscar nominees, but it does. See “The Blind Side” as an example and “The Help” (likely nominee this year).

10) COURAGEOUS     ~$1.8 Million Weekend      (Total $28.6 Million)

Jesus saves … the film industry from low profits. With a super small budget, this Christian redemption film will be one of the biggest successes (based on % of money made over money spent) of the year.

ALSO:

14) ANONYMOUS ~ $ 1.0 Million Weekend     NEW

This “Who was Shakespeare?” movie was supposed to get a big release with its big director (two references to “2012” this post!) and critically beloved British cast, but Sony scaled back. Instead, it will remain fairly anonymous to moviegoers.