Monday, January 10, 2022

Media: Don't mistake it for a film worthy of praise

Blame it on Krystal Ball.  We tried to ignore the film.  We knew it was garbage and that it was already fading.  It's not even in NETFLIX's top ten, for example, hasn't been for two weeks.  But a friend kept asking all last week, "What's up with Krystal?"




Was she putting on the pounds?  Was she wearing a wig?  Could her new platform BREAKING POINTS not afford good lighting the way her previous platform RISING (on THE HILL WEBSITE) had been able to?  She just didn't, we were told, look right.

If only looking right were Krystal's biggest problem, right?

But we said, sure, we'd check it out.

And that's when she had on a guest.  David Sirota.  Heaven help us, are we really going to have to go there?

Yes, we were because she was congratulating him on his new "blockbuster."


Just no.

Really people, shut up when you don't know what you're talking about.  

What is a blockbuster?

It is a film that people line up to pay money to see.  They line up . . . around . . . the . . . block.  Hence, the term blockbuster.

A NETFLIX film is nothing more than a TV movie -- whether it's HBO or ABC, it's a TV movie.

Again, we didn't want to touch the subject and we were trying to be kind and ignore DON'T LOOK UP..

But we can't ignore stupidity, especially when it's spreading lies.

It's one of the most expensive TV movies ever with a shooting cost of $75 million.  Prints and advertising raise that cost even higher.  It died a fast death at the box office -- NETFLIX does brief releases in a small number of theaters to qualify their offerings for Academy Awards nominations -- not even raising one million in ticket sales.  Not even a million in ticket sales.

In the last fifty years, one of the biggest bombs is considered to be Neil Jordan's MARY REILLY starring Julia Roberts.  With a forty-seven million dollar budget, it only brought in $12.9 million in ticket sales.  Compared to DON'T LOOK UP, MARY REILLY is a blockbuster.  

Krystal might not understand -- she probably doesn't even grasp the true story of MARY REILLY being a flop (the world doesn't want to see Julia -- or any woman -- in a romance with John Malkovich) -- but, hopefully, everyone reading this does.

There's a lot of talk about the viewers that the film has had.  Viewers, not ticket buyers.  And it's probably had a great deal.  But here's the thing?  NETFLIX inflates its figures.

That's not news to readers of this site.

We broke the news years ago that NETFLIX was lying about its streaming.  We then broke the news that they were counting if someone stopped on the main page on a film and a scene or trailer automatically played for even three seconds as a view.  

NETFLIX is 'measuring' itself.  This is not accuracy.  We broke that news earlier thanks to friends at NETFLIX.  It helped force NETFLIX to be a little more transparent.  A little.  

DON'T LOOK DOWN?  It's streaming well.  It is not streaming as well as they are claiming.  This is part of their effort to garner Academy Award nominations.  They have to make it stand out and they're doing that by hyping it as the most streamed ever.  

No.  It's not even the most streamed of 2021.  

We thought Krystal Ball was a professional journalist.  Clearly, she has standards when she's attacking Katie Couric and then she has faux standards when she's promoting her own friends.  

DON'T LOOK UP isn't a film.  It's an ill conceived do-gooder project.

David Sirota gets a story credit with Adam McKay who takes sole credit for the screenplay despite all the input he received from others.  It's a bit hilarious to see McKay pull a Barbra Streisand ego trip until you grasp this is his big moment, this hideous LOVE BOAT like feature is his only real shot at anything.

He's broken up with Will Ferrell and that was his only meal ticket.  He didn't manage anything great there.  There are no comedy classics in his oeuvre.  He's basically spent his life directing the equivalent of ERNEST GOES TO JAIL.  And his career was floundering.

Idiots like Krystal Ball probably think that THE BIG SHORT was a hit.  $133 million!  On a production budget of $50 million!  A hit!!!

No, cover up your stupidity, no one wants to see it. 


The film was made for $50 million -- give or take five million.  Then you had prints and advertising.  There were big money campaigns for various awards so you're looking at $75 million as a conservative estimate.

"So what! It grossed $133 million!!!"

Worldwide, you idiots.

First off, let's deal with us -- and the North America gross (commonly known as "US" even though it includes Canada).  Even that is not what it appears you stupid asses who know nothing about the entertainment industry.  People spent $70 million on tickets to see THE BIG SHORT.  That was not $70 million that went to the studio that made the film.

Movie houses get money from ticket sales.  The way it works is that in the first week of ticket sales, the studio gets a bigger percentage.  Each week after, the movie houses increase the percentage that they receive.  That's why a film like THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY delights movie houses.  That film made money for everyone but theater owners were thrilled when, Labor Day Weekend of 1998, ticket sales jumped up to $10 million (two million more than the previous weekend).  Why?  That was the eighth weekend.  They were getting more from the ticket sales than the studio at that point -- a bigger percentage.

Studios no longer care that a film craters quickly if they think it'll open big because they get the biggest percentage from ticket sales that first weekend of wide release.  

Now let's turn to overseas.  THE BIG SHORT sold $63 million in overseas tickets.  

Again, there's the issue of the movie houses getting their percentages.  There's also the advertising and print costs.   There's also the outside distributors and so much more.  $63 million overseas? The studio is lucky if it saw $30 million of that -- and that's before you factor in the advertising and print and various other fees.  

Here's something even worse.  You had actors on that movie with gross profit -- not net.  People feel ripped off when they get net points because films rarely show a huge return that allows a person with net points to actually see money.  Gross is much different.  And if you're getting gross participation and you're a big enough name -- THE BIG SHORT had one -- you're getting it from first dollar in ticket sales.  (While a Tom Cruise thus far deserves that, Brad Pitt does not.  He's been lucky to have a career.)


It did not make a big profit for the studio.  


And when you're looking for big profits, you're looking domestically.  


Reality on Adam McKay's work?  He's been struggling for years at the box office.  TALLADEGA NIGHTS is his only real blockbuster.  

Krystal Ball might argue for STEP BROTHERS and THE OTHER GUYS.  And we'd agree with her if this was 1992.  $100 million domestic was seen as a blockbuster . . . back in the 90s.  Nothing has ever topped TALLADEGA NIGHTS in terms of McKay's box office as a director.

And studios have realized that nothing ever will.  Which is why he's gone to NETFLIX which is spending money like crazy and still having so damn little to show for it.

Leo di Caprio.  He's in the film.  Shouldn't be.  This is a bigger embarrassment for him than that season on GROWING PAINS.  But it's worse than embarrassing, it's potentially career damaging.

What grandpa is Robert De Niro playing now?  We were happy to watch that career rot because he's a blowhard who is an ass on the set -- and tries to hide behind being in character.  


All actors have types.  They like to pretend they can play everything and anything -- but they can't.  You have a type.  It is within that type that you are believable.  Robert could play Romeo in ROMEO AND JULIET opposite Selena Gomez as Juliet if someone was stupid enough to hire him for the part.  That doesn't mean he could carry it off.  

In addition, Robert cannot play every man.  He's not Gary Cooper or Harrison Ford.  He's a stilted performer who can't connect with others onscreen.  That's why he's so good at playing psychopaths.  When he plays them you expect him to be strange.  You don't cringe the way you do when, in STANLEY AND IRIS, his grown man is trying to one-up a child about who had the better father.  That's just creepy and creepy is what happens when you try to cast him as a normal person in any film.  Robert's not given a performance worth applauding since GOODFELLAS.

But, ha-ha, didn't we love him in MIDNIGHT RUN?  No, we didn't.  But some idiots did and he trusted those idiots and they led him onto the Focker franchise -- a huge embarrassment -- and they led him to those two 'comedy' films with Billy Crystal and to DIRTY GRANDPA and THE WAR WITH GRANDPA and so much worse.  He needs career rehab and has for several decades now.  He's such a joke in the industry that Meryl Streep is no longer whispering about how vile he is and how much she detested working with him.  In fact, she bad mouths him now more than she's bad mouthed Robert Redford and she loathes Robert Redford for script issues during the filming of OUT OF AFRICA and for the way the director (his best friend) backed him on every conflict during filming.


Leo's not Robert.  But another film like DON'T LOOK UP and he could be.  He has a type.  When he plays it, the film does well.  When he ignores it, when he ignores what people realistically will see him as, the film flops.  He hasn't had anything like THE BEACH in years.  But his looks are fading and no one on his team has the guts to tell him how bloated he's looked -- comment cards at previews for ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD noted it, over and over.  He's chunky and he's fat, that's reality.  He couldn't pull off a romantic film today.  But he tries to pull off the romantic element of DON'T LOOK UP?  With a woman 16 years younger than him -- the bloat makes her seem 26 years younger than him.  Well, Leo, as one studio head said to us when we were getting feedback for this piece, you're Marlon Brando now -- in the fat years.


Crap like this?  He can't afford it.  It was a real mistake for him to do it.


Meryl Streep?  Her career's over.  She knows it.  So she'll grab whatever -- especially this deluxe episode of THE LOVE BOAT since others will carry the blame for it hitting an iceberg and sinking.  


No one's giving a performance in this film because they're nothing to act out.  


There are no levels.  There's no subtext.  People with the movie and its defenders are flailing about trying to defend DON'T LOOK UP.  "It's got good intentions!  If you hate it, you must not want to save the earth!"


Again, you've had a stupidity slip, use your hands to cover it up, no one wants to see it.


We want to save the environment but a film like MOONFALL can do more than garbage DON'T LOOK UP.  Yes, it's well intended garbage.  Somewhere, Stanley Kramer is smiling, we're sure.  


But it's still garbage.


The script is the most on-the-nose writing you'll ever see -- go to DEADLINE if you can't suffer through the film because DEADLINE's published it.  It is such bad writing.  Shane Black may never write a screenplay with an 'important' theme but he will write screenplays worth making into films because he understands basics like character development, beats, plot points, journeys.  


DON'T LOOK UP is the kind of writing a bad writer -- or a gifted third grader -- completes.  


You can round up all the names you want, that's not going to make it a film. 


"But the message it will impart!!!!"


First, to who?


It's sneering tone isn't gong to reach out to anyone not holding an hymnal and warming up with the choir already.


Second, what message?


Climate change is bad.  Got it.  Had it without the movie.  We're not paying attention to it -- like they don't pay attention to the possible extinction level event in the film!!!!  Well, no, that's not the same thing.  There's no reality in the film -- a reality would have had people not be gushing over the looks of facing-down-fifty and fat, squinty-eyed, bloated face Leo -- as happens when he appears on a talk show.  Second, the title really isn't an awakening.  "Don't look up"?  A description of the movie?  A tired response to the world?  It's all so muddled.

And you sit through 138 long minutes (don't miss the post-credit scenes!) waiting for the thing to end.  

There are many comedy classics.  There's TOOTSIE (116 minutes), SOME LIKE IT HOT (121 minutes), MY FAVORITE BRUNETTE (87 minutes), TO BE OR NOT TO BE (the original, 99 minutes), 9 TO 5 (110 minutes), SHAMPOO (110 minutes), BRINGING UP BABY (102 minutes), DUCK SOUP (68 minutes), ZELIG (79 minutes),  PARTY GIRL (94 minutes), SLEEPER (87 minutes), A NEW LEAF (102 minutes), ANNIE HALL (93 minutes), HAROLD & MAUDE (91 minutes), CLAUDINE (92 minutes), MARRIED TO THE MOB (104 minutes), IN THE SPIRIT (94 minutes), SHE DONE HIM WRONG (66 minutes), BEST IN SHOW (90 minutes), PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE (91 minutes), MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING (104 minutes), NORBIT (102 minutes), DOLEMITE IS MY NAME (118 minutes), COMING TO AMERICA (117 minutes), BAD TEACHER (97 minutes), B.A.P.S, (92 minutes), THE NAKED TRUTH (92 minutes), BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE (105 minutes), THE PLAYER (124 minutes), NASHVILLE (160 minutes), LOGAN LUCKY (119 minutes), FRENCH EXIT (110 minutes), SCHOOL DAZE (121 minutes), CAT BALLOU (96 minutes), DAZED AND CONFUSED (102 minutes), ED WOOD (127 minutes), AFTER HOURS (97 minutes), WAITING FOR GUFFMAN (84 minutes), THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (118 minutes), CARNAL KNOWLEDGE (97 minutes), TERMS OF ENDEARMENT (132 minutes), PRIZZI'S HONOR (130 minutes), ABOUT SCHMIDT (124 minutes), SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (112 minutes), LEGALLY BLONDE (96 minutes), PRIVATE BENJAMIN (109 minutes), FRIDAY (97 minutes), HOUSESITTER (101 minutes), MASCOTS (89 minutes), DEATH BECOMES HER (104 minutes), BULWORTH (108 minutes), QUICK CHANGE (89 minutes), KEANU (100 minutes), LOVE & DEATH (85 minutes), THE HEAT (117 minutes), MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY (107 minutes), WORKING GIRL (113 minutes), A MIGHTY WIND (92 minutes),  CHASING AMY (113 minutes), HEATHERS (103 minutes), SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE (128 minutes), ANALYSIS PARALYSIS (131 minutes), HEARTBREAKERS (123 minutes), SMALL TIME CROOKS (95 minutes), SLEEP WITH ME (86 minutes), SILVER STREAK (114 minutes), CADDYSHACK (98 minutes), PEE-WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE (91 minutes), WHAT'S UP DOC? (94 minutes), SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE (105 minutes), THE BIRDCAGE (117 minutes), BRIDESMAIDS (125 minutes), THE HEARTBREAK KID (original, 106 minutes), FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION (86 minutes), BEETLEJUICE (92 minutes), SISTER ACT (100 minutes) and many more.

Notice something about the list?  Only one film on the list is as long or longer than DON'T LOOK UP -- NASHVILLE.  And Adam McKay is no Robert Altman.  He's not even Rob Marshall.  If he can't offer more than one dimensional words on the page, are we at all surprised that his film lacks visual charm and is filmed like a single-camera TV sitcom?

There was never a good moment for this awful garbage to have been filmed.

It's a bad, boring and flat film.  It never takes off -- and not just because it's so damn heavy-handed.  Blame it on good intentions -- they usually don't result in good films.  And blame Krystal's poor look these days on her hair.  She's grown it very long and all that's done is weighted it down and made it look like it's thinning and limp.  Well, it's done something else.  It's made her face look fat.  Yes, Krystal, Ali MacGraw and Susan Dey both carried off similar hairstyles back in the early 70s but the difference there?  They were models who became actresses.  Meaning?   They weren't "MSNBC attractive" -- where well scrubbed passes for pretty; they were drop dead gorgeous.  What's up with Krystal?  To answer our friend, she doesn't know film and she doesn't know hair.



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