Bridesmaids

Melissa McCarthy

Well, turns out that Melissa McCarthy is bankable, and not just as an amusing bit player (though she can do that) or an Emmy-winning television actress (yup, she did that, too) or as a scene-stealing supporting actress (even though she does that, and particularly did that while also stealing puppies), but as an honest-to-goodness comedy star. Not sure about that, are you? What if we told you that McCarthy is now a half-billion-dollar star, co-starring in just five films in the past two years that have racked up more than five hundred million dollars at the domestic box office alone? McCarthy’s latest starring film, The Heat, is currently estimated to have pulled in a tidy $40m at the weekend box office, which brings McCarthy’s domestic box office haul since her breakout role in Bridesmaids to a cool $521m (including Bridesmaids, This is 40, Identity Thief, The Hangover Part III, and The Heat). With The Heat going like a house on fire, that number will only rise (numbers do tend to that, after all). McCarthy’s global box office success from those same five films currently stands at just over $928m, with The Heat not yet even open in overseas markets, suggesting that McCarthy’s total take will soon surpass $1b. What we’re saying is, yes, she’s bankable, and she’s especially bankable when she gets to flex her comedic chops alongside other funny ladies (like Bridesmaids’ Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph or her excellent cohort in The Heat, the also-notoriously-bankable Sandra Bullock). Women […]

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cmh sexism

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism released a study recently on the representation of women in film, both onscreen and behind the camera over the course of five years, and many of the conclusions paint a fairly distressing picture. But contrary to what several editorial responses would have us believe, these results are far from surprising in a post-Bridesmaids world. Hell, they’re not even all that sexist. Instead, it’s almost all about the money. Almost. Does sexism occur on a daily basis in Hollywood? Has Hollywood been one big boys’ club since the very beginning? Are there still too few women making big (and small) movies? Yes, yes and yes. Is sexism the singular reason? Not even close. Profit is and always will be the main deciding factor with talent disinterest, industry laziness and the slow nature of societal change following up well behind. Producing a film is betting on its success, and it makes sense that a business would try to ensure the best results by attaching known quantities to their biggest projects. Second, the lack of female directors in the big leagues can be attributed to several factors, but it seems unreasonable to exclude the possibility that a lower percentage of women are even interested in making movies featuring giant robots urinating on award-winning actors. Third, when studio decisions are working, as they did in 2012 to the tune of the highest domestic box-office tally in history, the industry is given no convincing reason to change their […]

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Aural Fixation - Large

Anyone who has watched a movie or a TV show knows how important song selection and music placement can be. A well-placed song can elevate a scene whereas a misplaced song can end up being distracting. While most films enlist a composer to create the score (i.e. the emotional backbone of a project), it is the music supervisor who is tasked with placing songs alongside those composed pieces. One of my current favorite bands, M83, has started gaining some traction and, unsurprisingly, started popping up in various films and trailers. I noticed that two different songs from the band were used in two different ways recently – one in a scene in Step Up Revolution (“Wait”) and one in the trailer for Cloud Atlas (“Outro”.) One of these placements worked well (see: Cloud Atlus trailer) and one did not (see: the kissing scene in Step Up Revolution.) M83’s otherworldly, electronic sound was the perfect fit for a film like Cloud Atlus and the use of “Outro” in the film’s trailer worked to add to the emotion of the stunning visuals. Granted such a small portion of “Wait” was used in Step Up Revolution it actually cut off before the lyrics really started to come in, but the song still seemed misplaced and felt more forced than a natural accompaniment to the scene. But when a band starts getting placed everywhere, instead of just getting that music exposed to new ears, it can sometimes cause the band to become oversaturated and end up […]

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Breaking Bad Walter White

Over at Badass Digest, the astute Meredith Borders is raising an important question about unlikable lead characters and the impact they have on audiences liking the movie they’re in. After all, negating the use of unlikable characters is creatively limiting, but some movie fans simply don’t care for those movies which glorify the dastardly and dickish. In her well-intentioned pursuit, Borders brings up the crew from It’s Always Sunny, Walter White from Breaking Bad and the various man-children and woman-children that have hit theaters in the past few years. The problem is, in trying to defend unlikable characters, all the characters she mentions are perfectly likable. They’re just assholes. The difference is an important distinction – one that plays toward how an audience responds to storytelling at a raw level.

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And just when you thought awards season was over! In continued proof that MTV doesn’t give a sweet biscuit about anything like music or television, the network has today announced their nominees for the 2012 MTV Movie Awards. As ever, the kids are still going for the big franchises (like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight), but even they’re not immune to the awards push for The Help (kids liked The Help?). Yet, this year, the MTV Movie Awards appear to have done right by at least one film that got snubbed by the big dogs during the traditional awards season – Nicholas Winding Refn‘s Drive. Despite massive critical acclaim (and, let’s face it, a metric ton of cool points), Drive was only nominated for one Oscar – Best Achievement in Sound Editing, better known as the “Sorry, Albert Brooks and Ryan Gosling Snubb-o Award.” The MTV Movie Awards nominated the film for Best Male Performance (Ryan Gosling), Best Gut-Wrenching Performance (also Gosling), and Best Music for “A Real Hero” by College with Electric Youth (though the song will inevitably lose to LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” because, you know, kids these days). As totally bitching as that all is, let’s take a moment to question just how all those MTV-consuming kiddos got into Drive in the first place. And were they texting the entire time they were watching the film? Of course, it’s still the MTV Movie Awards, and they still feature categories like “Best Kiss,” “Best Gut-Wrenching Performance” (which includes a nod […]

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Paul Feig has been winning nerd hearts for years now by directing episodes of beloved TV shows like Freaks and Geeks, The Office, and Arrested Development, but last year he won the hearts of the whole world when he directed the lady-centric comedy Bridesmaids, and sold about a gabillion movie tickets in the process. Seeing as he’s now such a well-regarded figure, it would stand to reason that everyone is eagerly anticipating whatever he’s going to do next. Well, lucky us, Deadline Royal Oaks has some news about one of his upcoming projects. Feig is attached to direct a film called Garlic and Sapphires, which is an adaptation of the memoirs of “New York Times” food critic Ruth Reichl. The source material details the lengths she used to go to in order to disguise herself and dine in top restaurants semi-anonymously (apparently it involved wearing a lot of sapphires). Before Feig gets to work on the film, however, Deadline says that Elizabeth Sarnoff will be giving the screenplay a rewrite.

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I may not have been completely on the Bridesmaids bandwagon like a lot of other people, but I love Kristen Wiig as a performer and might go as far as to say she’s the most talented female to ever work on Saturday Night Live; so I’m very interested in where her film career is going to go now that she has some clout in Hollywood. And, according to a report from Variety, her next movie is one that is going to be well worth my attention. Wiig has reportedly attached herself to star in a new action comedy written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, or as they’re otherwise known, Nat Faxon and Dean Pelton from Community, or as they’re otherwise known, the two guys who just won an Effin Oscar for writing The Descendants. Add Wiig’s unparalleled skill as a comedic performer with these guy’s obvious skill in crafting big screen stories, and it sounds like we might be in for something special. Factor in that all three of these talents know each other from back in the day when they performed in The Groundlings together, and we may just be looking at one of those perfect pieces of synergy that becomes an all time great. I mean, this new movie is being described as an action comedy, for the love of Mike. That’s a genre I generally can’t get enough of, and when’s the last time you’ve seen a good action comedy made in Hollywood? If this movie’s […]

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Original Screenplay

Hey, who says there are no original ideas in Hollywood? Well, us actually, whenever we have to write about the next 80s-era television show getting a big screen reboot that no one on God’s green earth could possibly want to flash in front of their eyeballs on a giant cinema screen. But this year, there were at least five films that sprung from original ideas that were solid enough to get the ol’ Best Original Screenplay nod. Really, at least five. There’s five in this category! There could be more, but I’m too busy thinking about the Valley Girl reboot to come up with any of them right now. Giggles and bad jokes aside, this year’s Oscar race for Best Original Screenplay is actually pretty, well, original. We’ve got an awards season frontrunner, a raunchy lady-centric comedy (how often do you hear “raunchy” when it comes to the Academy Awards? Not often, that’s how often), a Sundance flick about the financial crisis, a foreign film getting all sorts of (well-deserved) praise, and the latest from one of the Academy’s most nominated filmmakers. This category is truly one hell of mixed bag. What’s perhaps most interesting about this race is that it four of its nominations belong to newcomers to the Oscars, while its fifth nominee is Woody Allen, who has received more nominees in this category (15) than any other screenwriter in the history of the awards. But does that little bit of trivia spell “winner”? Read on for the […]

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Reel Sex

People were up in arms Tuesday after the announcement of nominees for the 84th Annual Academy Awards. So many seem to forget that every year they are disappointed with the nominees and every year there is some film or performer who was left off or included on the prestigious list. I may have spent the final weeks of 2011 lamenting my utter ennui with last year’s films, but I never in a million years expected some of the Oscar outcomes. No Supporting Actor nomination for Albert Brooks, whose performance in Drive unnerved audiences to the core? Or the blatant disregard for solid documentary filmmaking in The Interrupters, Buck, or Project Nim, three entries into filmmaking that will forever impact the way we view the world around us? No, the Academy seemed to forget the impressive and daring offerings in favor of an adorable dog in a silent film. What is this, 1920? Last I checked The Jazz Singer pushed us into the land of the talkies. I could spend all day gnawing my tongue over which films shouldn’t have been included in this year’s awards recognition, but just like arguing the virtues and evils of the MPAA, our time is better used talking about some of the sexy pieces of work that the Academy felt were too provocative to include (for reasons I have completely made up in my mind. Hey, they have their prerogative, I have mine.). Going along with the Academy’s new voodoo math rules of deciding the […]

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Once Ben Stiller got his claws into the Secret Life of Walter Mitty remake it pretty quickly went from being a long-floundering project that was maybe going to happen and maybe not going to happen, to becoming a hot comedy prospect on the fast track to getting made. I guess it didn’t hurt that Stiller is pulling double duty by both starring in the film and serving as the director; that’s one less person they had to hire. Still, barring some pretty amazing prosthesis, Stiller won’t be able to play every role that this story requires, so it looks like it’s time to begin the casting process. And Stiller and company seem to be starting by going big. According to THR none other than Ms. Bridesmaids herself, Kristen Wiig, is currently in negotiations to play the role of Mitty’s co-worker, a lady who often becomes the damsel subject of his ridiculous pulp-inspired daydreams. If the deal gets done, this would be the first mainstream role that Wiig takes following her breakout turn in last summer’s wildly successful women-can-be-gross-too comedy, so that should put a lot of heat on this one as far as media attention goes. Sounds like a win-win for Stiller: he gets both a hilarious comedic actress to play opposite and some free publicity for his film. I’d say that now’s the time to back up the money truck and dump out whatever Wiig wants.

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The last couple weeks have been full of chatter about a sequel to Kristen Wiig’s hugely successful starring vehicle Bridesmaids. It all started when Wiig herself (who also co-wrote the film) said that she wasn’t working on a sequel, and instead was moving on to writing something new. That got us all speculating. Just because she’s not doing the sequel now doesn’t mean she never will, we told ourselves. Then there was the reality that needed to be faced that the studio could try to put together a sequel even if Wiig wasn’t involved. As long as they got breakout star Melissa McCarthy back, fans would probably be more than happy to file back into the theaters for some Wiigless fun, wouldn’t they? But now, after some additional comments Wiig has made on the subject, it’s looking like all the speculation was for naught. McCarthy has gone on record as saying that she would never participate in a sequel that didn’t involve Wiig, so that possibility is out. The only hopes for a sequel then lie in the notion that perhaps Wiig will want to come back to the property after she does something else. But no, that’s not the case. Wiig flat-out told E! at the Golden Globes, “We’re not planning on doing one.”

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Perhaps you watched Bridesmaids and wondered to yourself, “self, I wonder what it would be like if Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm’s characters had a functional romantic relationship. And, perhaps what it would be like if Maya Rudolph and Chris O’Dowd‘s characters were married with kids. And maybe Adam Scott and Jennifer Westfeldt could be there, too.” Fine, if you wondered about any of that, it was probably just the first part – but, hey, bonus! Actress Westfeldt has already penned two romantic indies that she’s also starred in (Kissing Jessica Stein and Ira & Abby), and she’s pulling triple-duty on her next, the amply-titled Friends With Kids. The film follows just that – three very different couples who are all at different points in their lives, particularly when it comes to child-rearing. While Wiig and Hamm are newlyweds and Rudolph and O’Dowd are married parents, Scott and Westfeldt play best friends who decide to have a kid together, even though they’re not romantically involved. As the film’s first trailer shows, that kid comes – followed by a romantic interest for both of his parents. Stock up on your folic acid and check out the film’s first trailer after the break.

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Amidst the pinky-out prestige of awards season sits the manic pixie of The People’s Choice Awards. Perhaps they can easily be dismissed by the cinephile crowd for not being nearly well-rounded or interesting enough, but looking at the nominees and the winners can provide a bird’s eye view into the abyss of mass-entertainment. With over 200 million votes cast, according to a press release, the winners included Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds as The Green Lantern, Adam Sandler‘s comedy and Bridesmaids. To put that into perspective, that’s a ridiculous amount of people. To really put it into perspective, it’s 7.6 million more people than the entire population of Brazil, and it’s 2/3rds the population of the United States. The giant, faceless wad of “the people” have made these their movie champions of 2011:

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With a bit of kerfuffle already surrounding even the possibility of a Bridesmaids sequel, and his recent dropping of Bridget Jones 3, comedy director Paul Feig has signed on for what will be his first post-Bridesmaids feature. Feig will next direct The Better Woman, a comedy being set up at Universal (Bridesmaids’ home) that has been penned by Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino (from an idea by Ron Bass and Jen Smolka). The attachment of both Feig and Sherman-Palladino gets me excited for a film that sounds somewhat basic, as both of them are original talents who have a real knack for elevating material (legions of Gilmore Girls fans can certainly speak to that for Sherman-Palladino, and Feig’s turn with Bridesmaids catapulted the industry veteran into the limelight). The Better Woman “follows a high-powered young executive who is dumped by her boyfriend for an older woman. She befriends the woman to discover why her boyfriend chose her, and rediscovers herself in the process.” At one point, Reese Witherspoon was attached to the project, but is apparently no longer involved, but that does give us an idea of the sort of plucky young lady the film might be looking at for the lead role.

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Last week the news broke that Bridesmaids co-writer/star Kristen Wiig doesn’t intend on making a sequel to the film, and is instead focusing on other projects. This is a potential problem, because Bridesmaids made a lot of money, which is going to make it pretty tempting for Universal to go ahead and cobble together some sort of shoddy sequel regardless. It was my opinion that the only way this could work is if they got a great script and shifted Melissa McCarthy’s character to the lead role…but now it’s looking like that strategy probably won’t work out either. Recently, E! confronted McCarthy about the potential sequel at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and got some pretty choice comments. At one point she tried to go the Judd Apatow route and be diplomatic by saying, “I don’t know anything about it. But I know that nobody wants to do it unless it’s great. If it is, I will show up wherever those ladies are.” That might sound like a willingness on McCarthy’s part to pick up the franchise and run with it, but I think it was more just a brush off answer meant to not limit any possibilities.

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The Writers Guild of America has released the nominees for their Writer’s Guild Awards today, and while there’s certainly some room for quibbling as far as their choices go, the screenplays they’ve nominated in their film categories are at least a diverse array of projects. There’s something here for everyone. I balked at these choices a bit on first glance, they’d left off many of my favorite films of the year. But after thinking about what was missing for a few seconds I started to realize that a lot of the films I really loved over the course of 2011 relied more on mood and photography than they did their screenplays. In my mind, there was no real superstar script this year, like Inception and The Social Network last year. I loved things like Drive and Shame, but did their greatness really lie in their screenplays? Still, I can think of a handful of things that I would have liked to have seen included that weren’t. As far as original screenplays go, I think a film like Warrior was a master of structure, and is more deserving than something like Bridesmaids, which was a fairly generic comedy plot and which probably relied largely on improvisation for its humor. And I really miss a nomination for something like The Skin I Live In when it comes to the adapted screenplay section; especially when they’ve nominated a film like The Help, which cannot name writing as one of its strengths. Check out […]

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Last year’s lady-centric comedy Bridesmaids cost Universal $32 million to produce and ended up banking over $288m at the box office. Plus it made viable, hit anchoring stars out of both Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. So, would you imagine that the studio wants to make a sequel? The answer is yes, yes they do, very much, but unfortunately they have a huge stumbling block in front of them. According to a report from THR, the original film’s co-writer and star, Kristen Wiig ,isn’t interested in doing another one. When asked about the potential sequel, that should definitely be once again written by Wiig and her collaborator Annie Mumolo and directed by Paul Feig, Wiig replied, “We aren’t working on that. Annie and I aren’t planning a sequel. We are writing something else.” Oh. Ouch. That sucks for Universal. THR’s speculation over why Wiig refuses to play ball centers on the minuscule $100 thousand bonuses the cast got on the first one, after it became a runaway financial success, but Wiig refused to comment on whether her reluctance to work on another Bridesmaids is financially motivated or not. She also might not want to start doing comedy sequels because she’s trying to move her career in a more dramatic direction. She’s got upcoming dramatic roles opposite people like Annette Bening in Imogene and Robert De Niro in The Comedian. That sounds like a potential springboard into Oscar territory to me. Doing something as lame as a “getting the band back […]

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This started out as a list of overrated movies, but we (“we” being Rob Hunter and Kevin Carr, rabblerousers) decided fairly quickly that “overrated” is an overused and abused term. Who are we, or anyone, to tell you that you like a movie too much? It’s a rude thing to say regardless of whether or not we’re right. But thanks to the internet sometimes one person’s exuberance can find a virtual megaphone in all the tubes and anonymous users online, and that misguided praise can become deafening. And yes, we’re just as guilty as the rest of you…especially in regard to our first pick below. To be clear, most of these are not bad movies. The majority of them are actually good. But none of them deserved the near-constant accolades that seemed to echo from one corner of the web to another ad nauseum. So without further ado, pomp, or circumstance, here are 11 12 movies (in alphabetical order) you people wouldn’t shut up about in 2011. (**Note, there may be a few minor spoilers below.**)

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Reel Sex

Last week we delved into the top layer of sexy films out this past year, suggesting that 2011 might have been one of the bolder years when it came to honest portrayals of sex in cinema. In 2011 we saw characters dealing with sexual violence, sexual addiction, and sexual curiosity, all in the most brutal and thoughtful ways possible. It’s years like this that we are reminded film is art that not only speaks to our souls, but also to our real life experiences while captivating us in intense and engaging 90+ minute periods. But as you’d expect for all the good we saw this year, there was also awkward, ridiculous, uncomfortable, and even maddening sexual depictions. We could spend the next four paragraphs discussing the “sharting” scene in Hall Pass or attack the universally despised wet dream that is Sucker Punch (despite how much I enjoy the latter film), however the really disgusting cinematic sexual moments this year actually said something about a film’s characters while making the audience squirm with disgust. While there are a few films I have yet to see before next Sunday ushers in the beginning of a new year, I have seen enough this year to offer up a varied selection of some of the worst sex moments in 2011.

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The Holiday Gift Guide: Books for Movie Lovers

It may shock you to realize that you, dear reader, are a reader. You are reading this right now! Bizarre, right? And, if you can read things on the Internet, you can certainly read things that come in the traditionally accepted reading format, better known as a “book.” And if you can do it, surely the people in your life that you love enough to buy holiday presents for can do it, too! Enter The Holiday Gift Guide, and more specifically, enter this particular contribution: 18 Books for Movie Lovers. So shiny and wrap-able! So easily order-able and ship-able! So key to preventing widespread illiteracy! After the break, check out seventeen (but really eighteen) books for the movie lover in your life for holiday season gift-giving. Unlike some of those other guides, not all of these books hit shelves in the past eleven months, as I stretched beyond just this calendar year to come up with some unexpected literary picks to make your gift-giving that much more original. Did I make an egregious omission? Of course I did. Put your obvious suggestions in the comments. And, hey, if you gift one of these books and it’s a big hit, let us know which one it was. It’s always nice to hear praise. Happy Chrismakwanzakuh, you guys.

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