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Tangential Thinker: Bomb Scare - Ladue News: Arts & Entertainment

Tangential Thinker: Bomb Scare

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Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013 12:00 pm

There’s no doubt that this has been one of the worst summers for Hollywood in recent memory. Correction: Hollywood actually did pretty well. We were the ones who had to suffer. And every time a big-budget movie faltered this summer, it didn't simply disappoint, it went down in flames. You can almost hear Will Smith and Johnny Depp laughing over single malts at Teddy’s:

     "My my movie was bad, but yours? The plot...the CGI...that thing was Pluto-Nash bad. That was Ishtar bad."

     "You’re just saying that. And don’t sell yourself short. The Lone Ranger is looking at Sahara losses...Cutthroat Island losses--that's huge.

Go big or go home.

Now there are as many ways to get to the bottom line in Hollywood as there are ways to shoot a final scene. You can consider domestic box office, worldwide box office, DVDs, downloads, merchandising—with a good calculator and a positive outlook, any movie can be a winner. Nevertheless, there were numerous big-budget films this summer that euphemistically failed to meet expectations. In layman’s terms, they stunk.

The Lone Ranger

There’s not a lot left to be said, except that it is on track to be the biggest box-office bomb in movie history.

White House Down

In a calculated risk to show that stripper-turned-actor Channing Tatum is more than just a pretty face, the studio did just that. They showed that he also has a great physique. Talent? Nope, not an ounce.

Bullet to the Head

With the success of his over-the-hill action movie The Expendables, Sylvester Stallone was lulled into the delusion that he still had action-hero cache. He doesn’t.

The Last Stand

Substitute Schwarzenegger for Stallone and see above.

After Earth

Clearly, a bankable science-fiction movie needs incredible special effects. Oh yes, there’s that other thing too: a plot. Did John Carter teach us nothing?


Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds star in this absurd comic-book adaptation about afterlife police officers. At least I think that’s what it’s about—I never once saw a trailer, a commercial or an ad. Hmmm.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

The disappointing sequel to a mediocre original found itself swimming with sharks. Not only has it been three-and-a-half years since the first installment—an eternity for a kid—the series has been completely overshadowed by The Hunger Games and other teen-lit franchises.

Jack the Giant Slayer

Substitute ‘fairy tale re-imagining’ for ‘science fiction’ and refer to After Earth entry above.


The numbers for this predictable tech thriller aren't in; but if opening weekend is any indication, Johnny Depp should save Harrison Ford a seat at the bar.

Well, at least we have autumn. If the few independent films that have popped up are any indication, there is hope. We shall see…

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