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I was going to start with a box office preview piece and ask if Casino Royale or Happy Feet would take the weekend, but the consensus seems to be that Happy Feet has a definite edge- family film + Thanksgiving + 3,800 theatres = $40-50 million, against a new, low-tech, gritty Bond in about 3,400 theatres… $25-35 million. I’m not really sure why Happy Feet is tracking so much better than the last, oh, dozen CGI movies about talking animals, but hey- good for you George Miller. It was a long journey from Mad Max to Happy Feet.
Since I’m not a big Bond fan, and, frankly, I’m a little creeped out by penguins, I’m just not that interested in how that’s all going to pan out. On the other hand, Bobby opens in something like two theatres this weekend, yet I’m more inclined to ask: am I the only one that’s happy for Emilio Estevez?
I saw the TV spot for Bobby for the first time a few nights ago, and it’s a decent trailer. Reviews are mixed (52% on RottenTomatoes), but I hear it’s playing for well with older, baby-boomer types who remember the era, and it’ll probably do decent biz and maybe even score a supporting actor nod for Anthony Hopkins or some other member of that distinguished cast.
By all accounts, the guy pulled every string and called in every favor to get this one made, and it really is just a last-ditch effort to be taken seriously as a writer-director. Of course, this isn’t going to launch him into superstardom, but I bet he’ll get some more work, and maybe improve further down the road.
I guess my point is, when all you have to recommend you as a director are Wisdom, Men at Work, The War at Home, and Rated X (combined box office total- $22 million), it takes balls to even approach a project as ambitious as Bobby. A.O. Scott put it very succinctly in his NYT review: “With “Bobby,” Emilio Estevez… sets himself a large and honorable task. It is important to appreciate this in spite of his movie’s evident shortcomings.” I admire the fact that Estevez is trying to say something important, even if it doesn’t quite work, a lot more than I admire Charlie Sheen (who got a much more promising start from Oliver Stone than Estevez did as a brat-packer) for doing Two and a Half Men.
Plus, I just love Emilio in the Young Guns movies. That laugh was so perfect. I was a fan of Judgment Night, too, but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen it. Any thoughts, especially from anyone who’s been to an early screening? Did it play well with the audience?
Also, before I shove off, a quick weekend Netflix recommendation for anyone who shares my aversion to small, flightless birds as well as my sadness at the dying gasps of Asian horror films for American audiences. It’s a Korean film called R-Point that might best be described as Platoon meets The Shining. Need I say more? I won’t give away too much, but it’s stylish, moody, and ultimately unsettling if not jump-out-of-your-seat scary. It follows a group of Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War as they search for a missing platoon in a supposedly haunted area known as- you guessed it- R-Point. I thought it was especially interesting to see a film set during the war and told from the perspective of our allies, but not about Americans. They do encounter some American soldiers at one point, and the interaction is oddly unsettling, if only because we’ve done so much self-reflection on Vietnam, especially on film, but never gotten a sense for how another Asian culture saw us. Not perfect or brilliant, but fascinating enough to warrant a look. If anyone checks it out, post up and let me know what you thought.