Monday, August 24, 2009

"His Ugliness Is Oddly Fascinating..."

I was checking on box office numbers for the summer for the first time in a while. It's been some time since I wanted to see several mainstream films that were out at the same time:: Inglourious Basterds and District 9, so I wanted to see how the late summer season was going. What caught my eye was Funny People's stunning disappointment given the number of ads I saw. It was a $75M that's brought in less than $52M globally after 3.4 weeks and suffered weekly successive drops of 65, 62, & 69%. I wasn't surprised to see that Funny People went down in flames, given its odd marketing strategy. Was it a touching laughing-in-the-face-of-death-but-everything-turns-out-ok-in-the-end feel good romp or was it about the struggling-comic-who's-really-funny-but-is-given-a-break-by-dying-comic-but-everything-turns-out-ok-in-the-end-and-the-dying-comic-who's not-dying-after-all-tries-to-get-the-love-of-his-life-back buddy movie. Good marketing can "buy" a certain amount of box office, but bad marketing can not only be ineffective, but signal to the audience that the film's a turkey.

I find Sandler more miss than hit, his best work being in Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love. I find Rogen's appeal to be perplexing. Like Sandler and many other comic actors, he plays the same role over and over. Rogen's been doing it since Judd Apatow's Freaks & Geeks. What does he do? Rogen continually plays this schlubby smartass that you'd put up with if he were a friend, but you'd want to punch otherwise. My take on Rogen is that he's fine in an ensemble, but as a lead {Zack and Miri Make a Porno; Observe & Report} or supporting actor {Funny People}, mainstream audiences find him too much to take. I'm sure someone has made a crack about his potential appeal in France à la Jerry Lewis. It looks like the ideal Rogen project is one with about $10-12M budget. While Rogen may not be ready for mass-appeal, he does has his fans and, apparently, Rogen has his detractors over at Entourage::

Rogen's is dissed throughout the episode and his response to E!'s Daily Ten was::
"Yeah, those guys are assholes. I actually ran into Matt...Kevin Dillon in a Starbucks. And he's like 'you know, I've got to kind of apologize because apparently the guy who created our show doesn't like you so much.' And I said 'well I have reason to believe because I think [showrunner] Doug Ellin is a moron from all I can understand so it makes sense he doesn't like me.
And I’ve kind of said some disparaging things about the show. Although in our defense, ["Entourage" producer] Mark Wahlberg called us misogynistic in an interview, so I think they kind of started that. … It’s on. Luckily, I never have and never plan on watching 'Entourage.' "
OK, so this might be an isolated incident, right? Wrong. Katherine Heigl, Rogen's co-star in Apatow's "Knocked Up" complained that the film "painted women as shews." Both he and Apatow were peeved by this, so when Heigl's "The Ugly Truth" came out, here's what Rogen had to say::
"That film looks like it really puts women on a pedestal in a beautiful way!...I hear there's a scene where she's wearing underwear with a vibrator in it, so I'd have to see if that was uplifting for women."
Rogen really needs to develop a thicker skin and stop taking himself so seriously. It's not as if entertainment types were accusing him of faking mercury poisoning and calling for a need for "asshole insurance." His churlishness is oddly fascinating. Anyway. I wonder about the forthcoming The Green Hornet, which Michel Gondry is directing and Seth Rogen co-wrote.

So, enough about Rogen, someone needs to explain to me the appeal of Julian Schnabel as an artist or a director. Talk about churlish {clip from Guest of Cindy Sherman}.

Image:: Separated at birth, Rogen & Schnabel?

Twitterversion:: Reviewing box office for #FunnyPeople and comtemplating #SethRogen's off-screen mouthiness. Tapping his inner-#Schnabel? @Prof_K

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