Monday, February 09, 2004

News of ROTK got me thinking about top-grossing movies. I wasn't sure what they were but was sure most of them were disgraces. It turns out they're not so bad (U.S. gross only):

1 Titanic $600,788,188 1997
2 Star Wars $460,998,007 1977 (and re-releases)
3 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial $434,949,459 1982
4 Star Wars: Phantom Menace $431,088,295 1999
5 Spider-Man $403,706,375 2002
6 Jurassic Park $357,067,947 1993
7 Return of the King $345,331,815 2003 (as of last week)
8 The Two Towers $341,748,130 2002
9 Finding Nemo $339,714,367 2003
10 Forrest Gump $329,694,499 1994

Like every other heterosexual male in 1997, my girlfriend yammered at me to take her to Titanic. Geek that I am, I enjoyed the beginning with the robotic excavation submarines but wasn't impressed by the main story.

My girlfriend (now wife) hated it.

Every time Kate or Leo did something physically or logically impossible, she snorted and yelled up at the screen. Around us the sobbing middle-aged women began to twitch and growl. I've seen Ozzy twice and never has a crowd seemed so menacing.

She also hated Forrest Gump. Again I wasn't awed by the movie but I didn't hate it either. When I teach Intro. to Lit., it's a good example of framing in a story, tragicomedy, and first-person narration. Lucky for me, we saw it on video so no Gump-fans beat me up.

The rest of the movies are all science fiction and fantasy (I include talking fish in the category of fantasy). I liked all of them but one.

I'm not as fanatical about Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series as some people but I think they're beautifully filmed and constructed, and do as good a job with Tolkien's material as humanly possible.

Spiderman was faithful to the spirit of the comic yet not mired in some of the details that Stan Lee included back in the 60s.

Jurassic Park did a great job of portraying dinosaurs as real animals (or maybe I'm biased by my kids having watched Disney's Dinosaur one time too many).

E.T. seems dated now but I remember enjoying it very much back when it first came out. Again, my wife hates it so I haven't seen it recently. (And she actually liked Scary Movie. She should owe me for that.)

Finding Nemo is one of the few cartoons that actually seems to care about the story. When Disney presents previews of upcoming movies, they talk about the artistic style or the music or the actors. Pixar's motto is "Story is King." Plus, I love that Albert Brooks and Ellen DeGeneres starred in the biggest movie of 2003.

I absolutely loved Star Wars as a kid (and by the way it was always Star Wars; Lucas just tagged on "New Hope" when they did the modifications). My step-daughter loved it when we took her to it instead of the remake of That Darn Cat. As moronic as the Ewoks were in Return of the Jedi, my love for Star Wars made me deeply anticipate the new movie in 1999.

My belief is that Lucas, stung by criticism of his flop Howard the Duck, was determined to create a character so bad that Howard would look brilliant in comparison. How else do you explain Jar Jar? I don't agree with Spike Lee and others who accuse Jar Jar of being a racist caricature. He's just plain horrible. Why? Why? Why?

Attack of the Clones sits alone on the shelf of the local library. I could see it for free whenever I want. I hear it's got Jar Jar. I let it lie.

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