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Box-Office Septembr Songs
by Christopher Stone

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Something for THE WOMEN

Something for THE WOMEN
As lyricist Clifford Brown puts it in his American pop standard, SEPTEMBER SONG, "Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December, but the days grow short when you reach September."

Let's paraphrase for the box office. "Oh, it's a long, hot while from IRON MAN to TROPIC THUNDER, but the box-office beefs up when it reaches September."

If the summer box office is all about the sizzle, then Match-Flickers, here comes the steak.

BURN AFTER READING (September 12): One side, Maxwell Smart and Agent 99. Here come Academy Award-winning brothers Joel and Ethan Coen's dark spy comedy that has set its sight on grabbing nominations and awards and spiking the slow post Labor Day box office. In this R-rated opus, the Brothers Coen offer up John Malkovich as an ousted CIA official whose memoir falls into the hands of two self-centered gym employees (Brad Pitt and George Clooney), intent on exploiting their find. Frances McDormand is on board as Linda, an online dater who clicks online with Clooney.
Let's hear it for the boys!

Let's hear it for the boys!
Hilarity ensues, but so does the kind of acting that gets noticed by those who hand out golden statuettes of men and globes.

THE WOMEN (September 12): Something for the girls - and for the Academy's consideration. This is the 21st Century remake of the 1939 George Cukor-directed, MGM classic. Clare Booth Luce's catty caper, a long-ago Broadway smash hit, was also re-tooled as the 1956 MGM cinemascopic musical THE OPPOSITE SEX, starring June Allyson, Joan Collins, Ann Miller, Agnes Moorehead, and Leslie Nielsen. This time "out," the she-devils painting their fingernails Jungle Red and drawing blood with their claws and razor-sharp wit are Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Debra Messing, and Bette Midler, among other "must-see" gals. Guys, you can just write this one off as "the ultimate chick flick," or, you could more wisely take the woman in your life to see THE WOMEN, and learn for your self what your ladies do, think, and say, while you're tossing down Cold Ones with your boys. Women, this September
Something for the menopausal?

Something for the menopausal?
ditty is definitely playing your song.

RIGHTEOUS KILL (September 12): If you just can't get down with the Estrogen-energized THE WOMEN, then RIGHTEOUS KILL, also opening today may be your ticket. It's near-impossible to imagine more of a testosterone fest than this thriller starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Donnie Wahlberg, Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, and Dan Futterman. De Niro and Pacino both appeared in THE GODFATHER, PART II, then starred together in 1995's HEAT, which didn't generate much. RIGHTEOUS KILL serves up the silver screen's preeminent Italian-American acting stallions as two detectives searching for a serial killer.

Ladies, do the right thing. Tell your Match-Flick squeeze du jour that you'll see his September song, RIGHTEOUS KILL, with him, if he'll sit through your September tune, THE WOMEN, with you. That sounds like a win-win to me.

NIGHTS IN RODANTHE (September 26): If you're feeling hormonal neutral, you may want to pass on both THE WOMEN and RIGHTEOUS KILL, in
Something for Everyone in BURN AFTER READING

Something for Everyone in BURN AFTER READING
favor of this romantic drama for the post-menopausal, AARP set. Richard Gere and Diane Lane, two of the box-office's finest actors, headline this romance drama about Boomers in crisis who come together in a small coastal town to face their stormy lives along with stormy weather in the September of their years.

TOWELHEAD (Limited now, wide September 26): Writer-director Alan Ball serves up the steak consistently, but he sizzles, too. He makes movies that win Oscars (AMERICAN BEAUTY), and he creates television series that cop Emmys and huge viewer-ship (SIX FEET UNDER). His September song follows the rocky, daring, and funny life of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl, as she navigates the rocky road of adolescence on her way to sexual awakening. Aaron Eckhart, Toni Collette, and Maria Bello support newbie Summer Bishil in this box-office version of Alicia Erian's acclaimed novel.

There you have it, Match-Flickers, a variety of cinematic September songs that won't leave you asking, "Where's the beef?"

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The Business of Show
Every other Friday

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.

Other Columns
Other columns by Christopher Stone:

The Cautionary Box-Office

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up. Part Two

Box-Office Holiday Season Heads Up, Part 1

Quality Is Independent

Oh, the Horror!

All Columns

Christopher Stone
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.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Christopher Stone by clicking here.

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