Voting at the Movies

“Hollywood makes shitty movies.” -Ron Meyer, NBC Universal Studios COO

Avatar made $2,782,275,172 in international ticket sales. Its budget was about $237 million. I’d be happy to give you a minute to let that settle in.

Welcome back. Movies are BIG business.

Studios produce different tiers of movies, which they have different expectations for. The tiers are defined by the budget they allocate to the making of different films. Let’s take the last couple Oscar-winners for Best Picture. The King’s Speech‘s budget was $15 million. Care to guess what The Artist had a budget of? $15 million.

Anomaly? Fine, we’ll go back another year. In 2010 The Hurt Locker won Best Picture. Its budget? $11 million. We all knew The Hurt Locker was shot on a small budget though.The year before was Slumdog Millionaire. Its budget? $15 million. You have to go back to 2007 before the budget of the Best Picture winning film takes a jump; and No Country for Old Men only had a budget of $25 million.

The purpose of these stats is to say that the little guys make damn good movies too. Hollywood today works a lot like our government. Things that are projected to help the bottom line get the most funding. And people love to bitch about how this means Hollywood continues to pump out more garbage. Well you know what? Hollywood is a business and if you quit going to shitty movies, they’ll quit making them.

In 2007, Norbit unfortunately came out. Norbit had a budget of $60 million (that’s about the same as No Country for Old Men+Slumdog Millionaire+The Hurt Locker for those of you keeping score at home). How in the world they used up $60 million to make it is beyond me. But you know what? It brought in $95 million in box office sales and then you can tack on DVD sales and royalties and all that mess. In the end DreamWorks doubled their investment.

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Voting at the Movies

Voting at the Movies

2011 Movie Rankings

Tree of life movie 1 11 2011 Movie Rankings (1 10)

“Certain things leave you in your life and certain things stay with you. And that’s why we’re all interested in movies- those ones that make you feel, you still think about. Because it gave you such an emotional response, it’s actually part of your emotional make-up, in a way.” -Tim Burton

Welcome to Part 2 of my 2011 movie rankings. If you need to catch up on 11-25 here is a link. As some of you know I absolutely love ranking things, so I’m sure ranking various film related topics will become a bit of a recurring theme. Also be sure to check back on Saturday for a special edition of The Imaginarium featuring Joseph Williams as we make our Oscar picks. This is a tradition we have done for many years on Facebook and I’m excited to have a new platform to display who is truly more knowledgable than who. If you would like to submit your picks feel free to do so to Here is a list of all nominees and, for your submissions, just predict the first 9 on that page and then Best Documentary to make 10 total. Anyone that beats me on those 10 will be recognized in next week’s post. Submissions must be in by noon on Saturday (or before my picks are posted). May the odds be ever in your favor.

Now let’s get down to the top 10…

10. Melancholia- Easily the most hauntingly depressing film of 2011. And yet, easily the second most beautiful film of 2011. Throw in Jack Bauer, Mary Jane and the end of the world and you have, well, a mess to be honest. This is certainly not a movie to pick up at Redbox and watch with some friends at “movie night”. Instead, this is one to experience without any distractions. Preferably on a cold, rainy day.

9. Midnight in Paris- I really don’t want to be a Woody Allen guy, but I can’t help it because we embarrassingly think so much alike. As a bit of a closet romantic with an often cynical point of view, I feel like I just “get” Woody Allen. Midnight in Paris is a bit of a change of pace for Allen as it has a fun, creative script that brings back some elements of The Purple Rose of Cairo (which is also recommended viewing).

8. The Descendants- This is a film that thrives on George Clooney’s performance. I loved what Alexander Payne tried to do with this film and while I don’t think he quite reached the conclusion he meant to, The Descendants is a fun ride with a good balance of dark comedy and drama.

7. Moneyball- I love Aaron Sorkin. I love Brad Pitt. I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I loved Moneyball. I could go on and on with my Brick Tamland rant professing my love because there are a plethora of reasons to love Moneyball. A solid script, a great story and great acting all contributed to this being in the top 10.

6. Drive- Drive was one of the most underrated films of 2011. I am proud to announce that this movie pushed me over the edge on both Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan as legitimate players in Hollywood. When you surround them with numerous other outstanding actors and actresses, a smooth directorial effort, and then set it to a slick soundtrack, you get an arthouse dream team. To be fair to my readers, I feel like you should know on the front-end that this is a very dark and violent film. But it is so so good.

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