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Posts Tagged ‘Martin Scorcese’

It’s so true…many movies we’ve come to love and make classic were really box office flops in their day!  You’re going to be shocked by some of these, I’m sure.

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane

1. CITIZEN KANE:  Most often listed as the Number 1 top movie on many lists and the must-see handbook for aspiring film-makers and actors, this movie didn’t do much for Orson Welles career at the time.  Initial reviews were favorable but much of the American public was shielded from them because Randolph Hearst, the newspaper mogul, blocked any mention of the movie,  believing the character was based on him.

2. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE:   There wouldn’t be a holiday season if there weren’t a broadcast of this now-loved classic Christmas story.  It’s hard to imagine a film watched so often by so many could have failed miserably in the theaters, but it did.  The movie cost $3.18M to make and only grossed $3.3M.

3. BLADE RUNNER:  With an opening weekend revenue of only $6M, things looked dim for this movie that cost $28M to make.  It received mixed reviews, while viewers were awed by the imagery, they were alienated by the narrative.  It probably would have been better if the studio had left Ridley Scott alone and kept his original vision instead of meddling with the final cut. The film resurfaced with a Director’s Cut in 1992 prompting critical reevaluation and huge home video sales.

4. RAGING BULL: A favorite of mine as I am in still in awe of Robert DeNiro who totally transformed his body to play the thuggish Jake LaMotta.  It was nominated for 8 Oscars but tanked at the box office.  It lacked the feel-good factor of ROCKY and alienated the viewers first by being shot in black and white which was exactly how it should have been done artistically and then there was the prevalent violence for 2 hours – most people go to the movies to relax and enjoy some form of escapism.

5. THE WIZARD OF OZ:  Can you believe this movie actually lost money?  It cost $2.7M to make and garnered $3M in its opening run.  Viewers did not flock to see Judy Garland, a cute dog and a tornado in technicolor.  However, over the years and many re-releases,  the viewing of The Wizard of Oz has become an annual event in many of America’s  households.

Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption

6. SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION:  Tell the truth now, do you switch the channel when you see Shawshank Redemption playing? The film finally found its audience on TV.  In 1994 when it was released, it was overwhelmed by PULP FICTION AND FORREST GUMP.  It cost $25M to make and grossed $28M.

7. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW:$  Budget-$1.4M.  This one requires some explanation. Despite making next to nothing ($22,000) its opening weekend, the late night flick is actually the longest running movie in continuous theatrical release, attracting a cult of folks who dress up and shout along to the campy comedy with kick-ass songs. With ticket sales, and home movie availability, it has reportedly made over $365 million! Just like the movie itself, it’s financial success is in a category of its own.

8.THE FIGHT CLUB: Budgeted at $63M it grossed $37M.  Maybe the first rule of Fight Club shouldn’t have been “Don’t talk about Fight Club.” David Fincher’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel was the victim of a botched marketing campaign (or at least that’s what the studios are saying). It lived on through home video sales.

9.  THE BIG LEBOWSKI: Happy to admit I’m part of the cult club that will watch The Big Lebowski whenever it is on TV.  Not many box office bombs can claim such a cult following, an annual fan festival and religion! Released in 1998 during the immensely successful box office run of “Titanic,” the film starring Jeff Bridges, which cost $15 million to make, debuted to $5.5 million opening weekend.  The film recieved mixed reviews with Variety calling it “hollow and without resonance” while others like Roger Ebert found it “weirdly engaging” like the Dude himself.  The film eventually pulled in $17 million at theaters, but it wasn’t until years later fans used the internet and social media to re-evaluate the film and turn it into a cult sensation.

10.  I’m leaving number 10 blank and giving you all some suggestions.  What do you think was a great film but one didn’t make any money?  Here are a few;  The Fountain, Water World, Assination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Ed Wood, Cleopatra, Heathers, Vertigo, Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, The Postman, The Hudsucker Proxy, Tron-The Legacy, Donny Darko, Once Upon A Time In America

OK guys it’s your hands, let’ s vote for number 10 – one of the above or one of your own.

 

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I bet you think this is going to a list of badly-acted B movies.  Well, not exactly!  Some are certainly in questionable taste and others….you’ll see and decide for yourself.

1.  AMERICAN HISTORY X

I  love Edward Norton and his performance in this movie is one of his best and also probably the most upsetting.  He portrays a young man drawn into Neo-Fascist community –  from quiet teen to violent adult.  The movie is bleak and replete with scenes of shocking violence and jaw-dropping racisim.

2,  BIUTIFUL

Janvier  Bardem was acclaimed for his performance here, scooping awards at Cannes and even getting nominated for an Oscar. To receive the nomination, the judging committee had to watch this film once, but I doubt they could bear to sit through it again. Bardem plays a drug dealer diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the combination of the dark and disturbing world matched with Bardem’s ever-worsening situation marks this as one of the finest films you’ll never, ever want to see again. Don’t be fooled by the title.

3. REQUIEM FOR A DREAM

Requiem for a Dream completely will blow you away the first time you see it. Maybe this is the movie they should show to kids in middle school to convince them not to do drugs? Because it’s way more effective than any after-school special. Once you see what Jennifer Connelly gets herself into just to score some dope, you’ll never be the same.

The Birth Of A Nation

The Birth Of A Nation

4. THE BIRTH OF A NATION

This movie is considered one of the first ever movies in the sense that we see them today-with a coherent story, use of jump cuts, and a long running time, which is all good.  But then you  realize the movie is a heartily enthusiastic celebration of the Ku Klux Klan.  Real film buffs and historians will find it worth watching but for the rest of us, a grim example of days gone by to be left on the shelf.

5.  A CLOCKWORK ORANGE

Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgesse’s “unfilmable” dystopian novel is now seen as a seminal movie-but at the time was banned and panned for it’s constant violence and the depiction of rape. A Clockwork Orange is a difficult movie to talk about, because it’s one of those ‘you have to see it for yourself’ kind of films.

6. THE ELEPHANT MAN

Director Lynch excelled himself here with The Elephant Man. The movie tells the true-ish story of John Merrick, played by British thespian actor, John Hurt, a grotesquely deformed man with a heart of gold.  The film shows the despairing plight of humanity and is just too depressing to watch twice. The performances are amazing and the prosthetics  brilliant.

The Road

The Road

7.  THE ROAD

I read the book, shivering through most of it and yet had this yearning to see the movie.  As graphic and dismal as the book was, it’s nothing compared to the cold bleak relentless scenes shot in shades of gray.  It’s the story of a man trying to keep his son and self alive in a post-apolcayptic  wasteland.  Full of misery but performed beautifully.

Sophie's Choice

Sophie’s Choice

8.  SOPHIE’S CHOICE

The film itself has become a byword for onscreen misery, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t see the  film once. Meryl Streep’s performance is typically brilliant-she allegedly only shot the “choice” scene with one outcome, and refused to perform the other.  The tale of her struggling with what she did during the second world war is harrowing and devastating in equal measure. It might be almost synonymous with sadness, but it’s something you have to see to appreciate fully.

9.  APOCALYTO

Frankly I couldn’t bring myself to watch this movie even once.  Every time I saw the trailer I had to turn away.  The story line is about greed, power and human sacrifices.  In the Maya civilization, a peaceful tribe is brutally attacked by warriors seeking slaves and human beings for sacrifice for their gods. Jaguar Paw hides his pregnant wife and his son in a deep hole nearby their tribe and is captured while fighting with his people. An eclipse spares his life from the sacrifice and later he has to fight to survive and save his beloved family.

10. GANGS OF NEW YORK

I was exhausted after watching this film.  Filled with horrible violence, filth and poverty, it’s quite a snapshot of life in the Five Points in New York City.  At one point I actually did leave the screening room and fled to the ladie’s room to avoid one of the bloodiest scenes.  The narrative and characters are weak but the general sweep and spectacle of the whole thing makes it worth a look. I’ll seen any movie Scorcese does, so I went, but I’ll never watch it again.

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