Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Joe July 4 plus the Trials and Tribulations of Travolta

Too many, July 4 is a day of fireworks and BBQs. To a vegetarian with an aversion fireworks, July 4th meant a movie day to me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy fireworks. It's a beautiful spectacle that "real" Americans feel a responsibility to attend every year. But it gets a bit repetitive. Movies, on the other hand, are different every year, each year trying to outdo the previous years offering in explosions, fun, and box office. This year was no different.

During the day I saw Ratatouille with Kate, my girlfriend and her family. It was entertaining and amusing. She loves the dramatic prarie dog.

But the real action came that night.
TRANSFORMERS.. ROBOTS IN DISGUISE!! Transformers was my youth along with He-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

Transformers. got a 59% positive overall but a 73% from the cream of the crop (major paper critics) which means a lot of fan boys were disappointed that all their nerd desires were not fully appeased or amused. Since the 11:15 PM and the added 11:15 were already sold out, an 11:30 was added, much to my delight and my Independence Day went out with a band. After seeing Transformers' ridiculous box office take on its first two days, there is little doubt, you will be seeing a lot more Transformers.

I truly must be getting soft in my old age because these all action fests this summer are not really getting on my bad side. My edge is gone and I loved Transformers. The plot is ludicrous but there has to be some reason to move a 2 hour and 20 minute movie along and for once this summer It didn't feel like one of these two hour plus movies was dragging, probably because I wanted to see robots continually blowing things up and sneaking around hacking computers and fucking with a multitude of government officials from Jon Voight to John Turturro. For the first time in a while, Bay didn't seem to go overboard, I just couldn't get enough. The Transformers themselves were mesmerizing and metallicly enchanting. Not even Tyrese Gibson with some bad one liners could ruin this movie.

Bay even got self-effacing in my favorite line where a tubby kid is running the streets
in the midst of carnage, recording video soon to be posted somewhere on the net, he says " This is a 100 times better than Armaggeddon." Maybe Bay is admitting some of his works weren't up to par. I'd like to add Pearl Harbor and The Island. Who can forget Team America's tribute to Pearl Harbor's futility? THere should be a July 4 traditional day to watch Team America, like watching It's A Wonderful Life on Christmas. Walk down memory lane... "I need you more than Ben Affleck needs acting school."

The key to
Transformers is it doesn't depend on the boring human action characters but kick ass giant robots with a human side to their personalities. They won't harm humans but they don't mind crushing their robot opponents. It's like the X-Men with Robots, each Robot with its own skill that transform out of its own specific vehicle. (That was one pet peeve, seeing the constant shots and repetition of what each car was, I'm sure GM laid a pretty buck to have this new Camaro given the coolness treatment of turning into a robot.)

On top of that the humans don't get in the way too much, Shia Lebouf is goofy and mildly amusing, John Turturro pops up for some craziness. The teenage chick isn't bad to look at

Listen to these box office news from Yahoo News!:

"Sci-fi action film "Transformers" smashed another box-office record by grossing $29.1 million on its second full day of release -- the most ever for a July 4 holiday, according to figures released on Thursday.

"Transformers," based on the shape-shifting characters of the popular toy line and cartoon television series, broke the previous Independence Day record held by "Spider-Man 2," which grossed nearly $22 million on July 4, 2004, the box office tracking service Media By Numbers reported.

The film's second-day tally across the United States and Canada also marked the biggest-ever Wednesday for a non-sequel movie, exceeding the $26.6 million in ticket sales generated by "The Passion of the Christ" on Wednesday, February 25, 2004."

You know you have a hit when you made more money than Passion of the Christ. I think it's time for Mel Gibson to remake the Ten Commandments with his unique artistic vision. Think Mayans, the sands of Mesopotamia and the time traveling possibilities of Jesus without some of the gruesomeness, just cursed bolts of lightning and casting another actor besides Morgan Freeman as G-d.

I remember my defining years from 6th-11th grade spending July 4th sneaking from theater to theater from 1 PM to 11 seeing 4 or 5 movies. Sometimes accompanied by my friend, or meeting one friend for a couple and then a different compadre for a the next few. I can distinctly remember going with my mother in 1996, (that was over a decade ago, man I'm getting old) seeing Independence Day as my movie of choice and then her insisting on seeing Phenomenon right afterward before we went home, yes the John Travolta has mystical powers movie not to be confused with Michael where he is a naughty angel. Middle aged women keep John Travolta's career alive but don't see The Punisher. They want to see Michael, Grease, Saturday Night Fever even Get Shorty Travolta, not Battlefield Earth, Swordfish Travolta.

It is about time you made a sequel John, why don't you resurrect Tom Cruises'
career with the project? I'm thinking
Battlefield Mars: A Saga for the Year A Million.
My people will call your people.

The basic Travoltian rule of thumb is if John has hair nearing his shoulders, it's a pass. Not so say that I have missed any of these movies, to me Travolta is always a must see especially for his future full of train wrecks, but even I couldn't bring myself to see Wild Hogs. Every time his career is about to explode some movie comes in to try and save it. I'm convinced that Disney bought every seat for the first week of release of Wild Hogs to boost the box office numbers and make it number one. Then people heard it was #1 and went the next week. That's my theory and I'm stick to it.

Travolta's next effort will be as a crossdresser in the upcoming Hairspray remakes. Their is an article form Winnipeg worth reading just for the title, "Travolta: 'I Was Just a Slut on Set."

It all comes back to Travolta in this world, doesn't it?

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