GRANDMA'S BOY, BLOODRAYNE, HOSTEL. HOODWINKED. TRISTAN & ISOLDE. UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION. Give us a box office break. At the multiplex, January is sometimes called Landfill Month, because that is when distributors finally dump the garbage they've collected all year. After the holiday rush to the box office in November and December, January commonly sees attendance decline. Rather than releasing "must see" movies to counter the attendance drop, distributors write off the month by dumping their odds and ends.
Chances are: When 10 Best Lists begin appearing at year's end, there won't be a single January release among their number.
How do the distributors' dregs escape the fate they so richly deserve: straight to video, or directly to a recycle bin? Sometimes a distributor releases a dud because it was written, produced, or directed by his college sweetheart. Or maybe the money man is the person who gave the distributor his first break in the business. Other times, a movie looks way better in Cannes, after five shaken, not stirred, martinis, then it does when the distributor is sober, and watching the debacle in his Culver City screening room. He vows not to be duped, or drunk, again. But the following year, the movies, the night, and the martinis conspire to repeat his mistake.
And so the best of 2006 is yet to come. It can hardly get worse. Take heart, movie lovers: the really good flicks, the ones first released in between the times when you ate your turkey dinner and when you toasted Auld Lange Sine, are still playing.
January is a great month for the American movie lover to catch up with the excellent movies s/he missed during the gift shopping-tree trimming season.
For those of you in search of quality motion picture entertainment, get thee to one of the many truly excellent movies first released between the holidays.
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN is the Golden Globes' most-honored motion picture of 2005, with four wins, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Song. This classic, tragic American love story is not necessarily a chick flick, but women are stampeding box offices to see it, often without their boyfriends and husbands. A note to the Guys: Real men are not cowed by a same gender kiss.
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK is an excellent black and white movie about Edward R. Murrow, one of the twentieth century's most colorful and esteemed real-life broadcast journalist. Everyone shines in this award-winning movie from director George Clooney.
If you didn't get around to seeing THE PRODUCERS between the holidays, see it now. Even if the only thing you like about Matthew Broderick is Sarah Jessica Parker, you're going to spend two belly laugh-filled hours watching Mel Brook's politically incorrect comedy classic about larceny: Broadway style. The amazing Will Ferrell and Uma Thurman will razzle-dazzle you with their heretofore unseen dancing and singing talents. Who knew?
WALK THE LINE is still walking proud and tall at the multiplex, and it deserved the three Golden Globes it took home earlier this month. The saga of Johnny and June Cash is a compelling real-life story of love, music, and reformation.
If quality leftovers are not your taste, then why not try a specialty flick? Judi Dench's exquisite MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS comes to mind, as does TRANSAMERICA, starring Golden Globe-winning Best Actress Felicity Huffman.
If you're not adventuresome enough to try something different, then you and your date might as well stay home and watch one of the many motion picture awards shows on television. These self-congratulatory, ego and fashion fests just may remind you how good the movies can be when distributors aren't using your favorite multiplex box office as a landfill for their waste products.
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Does advertising, public taste, or overindulged stars determine a movie's box office fate? Christoper Stone explores what's going on behind the box office.
Christopher Stone is the author of the international best seller Re-Creating Your Self. With Mary Sheldon, he co-authored three highly successful hardcover books of guided meditations.|
He is a member of the Writers Guild of America, West.
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