June 2007 Archives

My predictive powers have again proved to be less than stellar. (Anxiety over imminent surgery is my excuse.)

Last week, I predicted that a steady Ocean’s Thirteen would displace Knocked Up at the top of Culture Snob’s Box Office Power Rankings.

Not only did that not happen, but 1408 — an adaptation of a Stephen King story — came out of nowhere to tie Knocked Up for the top spot in this week’s rankings. It placed second to Evan Almighty in box office and per-screen average and was shockingly well-received by critics.

I won’t get burned again. This weekend, I’m taking the easy money and saying that Pixar’s Ratatouille will top our rankings, barring stellar notices for Live Free or Die Hard. See how I hedged?

Continue reading for the full rankings and the methodology.

Knocked Up once again triumphed in Culture Snob’s Box Office Power Rankings, with no serious threat posed by Fantastic Four (fourth, of course!) or Nancy Drew (sixth).

Now comes Evan Almighty, which — given the early reviews — won’t contend for the top spot, either. But that doesn’t mean Knocked Up will win its fourth-consecutive title next week. I’m guessing Ocean’s Thirteen will overtake it.

Continue reading for the full rankings and the methodology.

And ... cut! The final shot of 'The Sopranos'Have you calmed down yet?

Are you over the orgasmic delight you felt at the way David Chase defied all predictions about the end of his beloved series, The Sopranos? Have you recovered from your rage about ambiguity, a lack of closure, and Journey?

Good.

Now let’s clear a few things up. Tony Soprano did not die. That last scene was not at all a cinematic expression of Tony’s anxiety, and therefore David Chase did jab his middle fingers into your eyes. Yet there was nothing wrong with the way it ended, even if it was manipulative.

In this “Five Minutes” audio commentary, Culture Snob will explain all that and more, without abruptly cutting to silence mid-sentence.

As I predicted, Knocked Up retained its Power Rankings crown this past weekend. Although Ocean’s Thirteen ruled the box office and got decent reviews, it was no match for the stellar notices and the strong overall and per-screen performances that buoyed Judd Apatow’s comedy. And with the Fantastic Four sequel the biggest thing opening this weekend, another Knocked Up victory is all but inevitable.

Continue reading for the full rankings and the methodology.

'The Wire': McNutty and Bunk on the caseIn honor of the final episode of The Sopranos, Culture Snob takes a look at five minutes from The Wire — a show that probably wouldn’t exist were it not for that crime family from Jersey.

This brief audio commentary — part of the “Five Minutes” series — looks at one scene from The Wire’s first season. In these five minutes, the only dialogue that passes between Baltimore Police detectives Bunk and McNulty are variations on the word “fuck” and one utterance of “pow,” but the audience pieces together how this particular murder went down through visual storytelling and acting devoid of meaningful words.

A New Spark

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WilcoOne reviewer has called Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky the best Eagles record the Eagles didn’t make, and it’s impossible to shake the timeless soft-rock vibe in the sound, the vocals, and the easy pace.

A Ghost Is Born was to me really jagged ... abrasive,” bassist John Stirratt said of his band’s last studio album. “And this record has a certain warmth.”

Letting Go

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LowThe lyrics that open Low’s Drums and Guns are as forceful as singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk is tentative.

“Pretty People,” over a stark wave of fuzz, sets the tone for the record: “All the soldiers / They’re all gonna die / All the little babies / They’re all gonna die / All the poets / And all the liars / And all you pretty people / You’re all gonna die.”

It’s a grim assessment, and the mood doesn’t abate for the Minnesota band, known for its minimalist, slow songs and the often-haunting vocal interplay between Sparhawk and drummer Mimi Parker.

It was fairly obvious once the reviews started coming in that Knocked Up would top this week’s edition of Culture Snob’s Box Office Power Rankings. What was surprising was that it came within $14 million of a first-ever perfect score.

Judd Apatow’s comedy (the follow-up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin) topped our rankings in per-screen average, Rotten Tomatoes score, and Metacritic score, but it came in second (with $30.7 million) to Pirates of the Caribbean ($44.2 million) in overall box-office receipts.

I predict that Knocked Up will remain atop our power rankings for several more weeks on the strength of its reviews and box-office staying power.

Continue reading for the full rankings and the methodology.

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