Archive for December, 2011

Top Grossing Films of 2011 – J. A. Bove

Greetings and salutations my good friends, it’s been an interesting year.  It’s also been the first year in which I started this blogging campaign. Although this was not something I ever intended to endeavor, through some strong-armed persuasion, I gave it my best attempt. Twelve months later, I’m still at it. That stated, due to the holidays and a much-needed vacation, this will be my last post in 2011. Have no fear, I will return in 2012 with a shot of adrenaline, ready to tackle the new-year. For those of you new to the blog, please feel free to scroll though the many topics I tried to tackle over the past twelve months. I did my best to entertain.

Looking back at a number of posts published, I noticed I was heavy on the reviews; therefore I thought it best to give an assessment of the top grossing movies released this year. Granted I did not see all of the movies listed below, but I did come really close. Below I listed the top ten grossing movies of 2011 in reverse order and my thoughts about the films (the final numbers vary and may change after this post). I am happy to state that most of the movies listed below had a heavy emphasis on fantasy. I found this encouraging. It only supports the reason as to why I became a fantasy writer in the first place. Without further ado, here is the list. You may be surprised at what you see.

10) Rise of the Planet of the Apes – $175 million. This was the last blockbuster released in a year filled with summer blockbusters and frankly I thought a lackluster ending to a great summer. The idea was unique; go to the origin of how the Planet of the Apes came to be. The movie was entertaining and the actors were solid. The only reason for my possible disappointment in the film may have been both a burnout of summer films viewed over a three-month span, and some very high expectations of this movie. I just don’t think it lived up to the hype.

9) Captain America: The First Avenger – $175 million. This film barely beat out Apes by a few thousand, but the caliber was much the same. I admit I had extremely high expectations for this film, because Cap is my favorite Avenger. Unfortunately I felt the film spent too much time focusing on his past and how he came to be versus the ass-kicking action adventure hero that he is now. I know, the traditionalists will tell you that you have to start somewhere, but frankly I’m sick of seeing a hero’s intro story only to see the same exact film released again in another ten years from now (Batman, Spiderman, Superman … you get the point).

8) Thor – $179 million. Remember the thought I shared about seeing the intro story of a hero, none of that going on over here. Thor was the kick-ass super hero movie of the summer, bar none. They brought out all the big guns with this early release: star power, entertaining story, creative scenery – the film didn’t disappoint.  My only dismay was that I thought they could have done a better job with the ending. I didn’t care much for the daddy-issue route. Regardless, I would highly recommend viewing this over the other two mentioned above. Way to go super heroes, two of the top ten grossing movies this year. Keep them coming, the people will watch.

7) Cars 2 – $189 million. I saw this one with my kids, granted on Blu-Ray, and not in the theater. Regardless, I found it entertaining. I particularly liked the James Bond spin. What else do you need to know other than the kids enjoyed it. Due to its success, I’m sure there will be a Cars 3 in our future. Enough said.

6) Fast Five – $207 million. I know, I don’t get it either. No, I did not see the film, nor do I have any intention of viewing it in the future. Someone tell me why I’m wrong.

5) Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $238 million. I have mixed feelings about this one. As many of you know by now, my book has a heavy Atlantean theme, mixed with pirates, the fountain of youth, etc. Therefore on the one hand I felt dejected that my idea was already out there on film. That stated, I was encouraged that this film did so well. It shows me that there is a major interest in the subject matter that I embarked upon. I was also equally encouraged that this film was terrible. Read my book and compare the stories. I think I’ll win you over.

4) The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 – $244 million. I’m soooo sick of vampire films, but clearly what do I know. I considered this to be a chick-flick/teenybopper film; therefore I didn’t see it. I’m sure my girls will make me watch it with them though when it comes out on Blu-Ray.

3) The Hangover 2 – $252 million. This one, although not as good as the first, did live up to expectations. In a word – hilarious. What I loved about this film is that there was no subject off limits. Nothing was taboo and everyone was humiliated. What I don’t understand though is why the gratuitous male nudity? Know you audience. I didn’t see many women in the movie theater. Regardless, if you’re looking for a great laugh, this is a must watch. I’d rank it up there with other classic comedies like: Step Brothers, Old School, Anchor Man, etc.

2) Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $349 million. It may come as a surprise to many that I didn’t see this one as well. I’ll be frank, although I found the previous two films good mindless entertainment, I was never really a fan of the series. When I heard that Megan Fox didn’t care to come back I figured, why should I? My son saw the movie and gave it an ehh rating. I’m sure I’ll watch it … someday.

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – $377 million. Really, was there ever any doubt? This has been one of the most successful franchises in the history of franchises and well deserved. Both Parts 1 and 2 were excellent films and I thought they did a spectacular job of concluding this series. Harry and the gang will be missed. At least we’ll always be able to visit Hogwarts in Orlando.

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Once Upon A Time – J. A. Bove

Once upon a time there was a television program called Lost. This program was so well written and so original in its idea that it received critical acclaim and a mass following. Then one day this show had reached it conclusion. The viewers were saddened and were left wanting more. What were the creators of the show to do? Ahh, we’ll they decided to reach back into the recesses of time to come up with a new program to please the viewers. This program is called ‘Once Upon a Time’. Will it comfort the masses? This may be just one man’s opinion, but in short – no.

The concept itself was original and very Lostesque (I just made that up). They took some very common fairy tale characters, ranging from Snow White to Rumplestiltskin, and brought them into modern day America. You got an opportunity to look into their lives after the common story had concluded to see what became of our beloved characters. Apparently, it was a good thing they ended these stories when they did, because life for the fairy tale heroes wasn’t happily ever after at all.

No, the evil queen, (this particular one is from Snow White) decided that she did not like happy endings (don’t go there) and decided to cast a spell on all of our beloved friends. A spell so evil that not only will it transport them from the pages of our books, but into a sleepy little northeastern town in modern day America called Story Brooke. The rub here is that all the characters from the fairy tales are now simply common men and women, no longer princesses and dwarves, etc. No one remembers their past lives, nor for that matter, each other. Only one little boy knows the true secret. He alone (well, with some help from the mother who abandonned him) will end the horrible every day existence of the common man, end the curse, and place our friends back into their storybook lives.

The Lost spin placed on the story (beyond opening the first scene by staring at an eyeball) is that they would jump from fairy tale time, to modern day present time in good old Story Brooke. Ok, this sounds intriguing. It’s an interesting spin on a familiar tale, so what’s the problem? If only there were just one.

Maybe I was living under the high expectations of Lost, but this story plays out, to me at least, more like something I’ve seen in the eighties, or dare I say it … The Cape. Ugh, I can’t believe I said it. There is something that I like to refer to as the cheese factor. It may not be a Webster’s term, but I think you all know what it means, and this show has enough cheese to feed France. Below are my top 5 suggestions to fixing the program.

Replace the cast: What? Replace the entire cast? How? Why? That’s impossible. No, this is not impossible, this is a story based on fairy tale characters. There’s a lot more out there than Snow White, Pinocchio, and Rumplestiltskin. The only character in the program worth a grain of salt is the evil queen (played by Lana Parilla) all the others should be replaced. Bring in some newer, more appealing blood.

Lose the kid: This kid is one of the most annoying, unlikable characters in the show (next to the main protagonist, Emma). This kid is supposed to see and understand things that no other adult in this timeless town can. Why? Is he that more intelligent than every other member of this city? Does he have some insight into the world of fairy tales that no one else knows? What is it? Not only is he a know it all; he’s a disobedient little troublemaker that doesn’t listen to anyone. Ground him and throw away his book.

Lose Emma: All right, first of all we’re to believe she’s only 28 … come on. Second, she abandoned her son, gave him up for adoption, and now it’s her only goal in life to prove this boy right. What’s with the outfits (my eighties reference earlier)? Her character is a very unappealing protagonist that you root against. Hey if Snow White and Prince Charming really had a kid, I would like to think that s/he would have turned out better than being a washed-up bounty hunter with nothing to live for.

Make better backstories: Come on, does any one really want to believe that Snow White was the Robin Hood of her land? Does a grow man, who’s been granted only one wish in life, really wish to become a cricket? A cricket? Are you F#$%^ kidding me? Does anyone really think the evil queen from Snow White is a more powerful sorceress than Maleficent (my girls would hotly debate this one)? I like that you wanted to create interesting back stories, but make them a little more realistic. I mean you are, after all, trying to bring these characters into the real world.

Pick your audience: Is this program meant for children or adults? I watched it at first because I thought it would share some resemblance to Lost, but man was I disappointed. My girls watched it with me because they wanted to see their favorite fairy tale princesses living in the real world. Well, I’m bored, and my kids are having nightmares. Did you see the episode in where the kind, generous family was turned into ugly wooden dolls? My girls haven’t had a good night sleep in a week.

Anyhow, I truly try to do my best to not rip any creative idea, because it is just one man’s opinion. Clearly EW and ABC would disagree with me. It was written up as one of the new fall show winners. ABC has decided to pick-up the tale for another season. I just don’t see it. No, it’s not as bad as The Cape, but if you’re not watching it, does it really make a difference?