Ferrell vs. Crowe

Nikki Finke has reported that among the 11.10 openers, Marc Forster‘s Stranger Than Fiction is tracking much better than Ridley Scott‘s A Good Year. Ironic given the unmistakable fact that Year is a somewhat better film — not a great one, but certainly better written, better assembled, and more in touch with itself and how to best say what it’s saying.
Year isn’t a comedy, like I said a few days ago, but a light mood piece about nurturing those things in one’s life that need nurturing. One of those tonic-for- the-soul movies about slipping out the back door and being a little bit happy at times, it left yours truly in a pleasant, sitting-outdoors-as-the-summer-sun-sets, enjoying-a-good-glass-of-wine frame of mind.
Fiction has some amusing moments but it isn’t “funny”, trust me — although the folks out there who buy books because of their covers are thinking it must be at least clever because it stars funny-guy Will Ferrell. When I saw it in Toronto I called it a middle-range mindfuck movie that isn’t especially clever or funny or up to anything that holds metaphorical water. That’s because the “imaginative” meta- physical scheme behind it doesn’t really add up or pan out. I almost hated it. In some ways I do hate it. It’s a half-assed little failure.
But Ferrell is biggger than Good Year star Russell Crowe, and Ferrell never threw a phone at anyone so there it is.

  • Mark G.

    Well, the signs are not good…
    THE GOOD YEAR opened to just $791,000 in 285 theaters in the UK…

  • RoyBatty

    What is so “ironic” about this?
    Tracking is about trailers and general awareness. FICTION has a funny one with the top male comedy actor of the moment. YEAR has a more serious, “this about what is important in life” tone and an actor who hasn’t been putting butts into seats lately. Was this supposed to be news that FICTION is doing better?
    Not sure what the point of this was then when you lead with the Finke info. Perhaps this was a PSA, intended for 12 year olds who don’t understand that just because something is better doesn’t mean it will be more popular.

  • Earl Hofert

    Didn’t you forget to mention that anyone who goes to “Stranger Than Fiction” is also presumably overweight and a Sofia Coppola lover?
    As for “Stranger Than Fiction” vs. “A Good Year,” both of them are pretty bad. However, while the former is a confused mess (a Charlie Kaufman film for people who know they should like Charlie Kaufman films but just don’t quite get them), “A Good Year” is perhaps the more excruciating of the two because it is an exercise in whimsy from two people, Crowe and Scott, whose considerable talents simply do not extend to whimsy. And ending with a French-language rendition of “Itsy-Bitsy Teenie-Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”? Not even the considerable sight of Abbie Cornish can make up for that affront.

  • http://moovyboovy.com kojled

    it doesn’t hold metaphorical water? that does sound half-assed

  • http://www.incontention.com Kristopher Tapley

    Maybe it’s because A Good Year looks like a total snooze.

  • http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/invisible jesse

    Kristopher, I agree — admittedly, I’m touch-and-go with both Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, so I’m not exactly objective on this, but I was willing to see A Good Year. In fact, I had pretty much accepted though it doesn’t sound like my type of comedy *or* drama, the Ridley/Crowe factor would get me in to see it (if not on the first weekend, at some point). But after I saw the trailer, my interest levels plummeted to almost zip; it will now have to get some sterling-ass reviews to get me to see it. Everything about it looks cheesy, right down from the scene-setting with Crowe as a soulless financial go-getter; is it just me, or does he seem like the feyest imitation of that kind of guy I’ve ever seen? (Maybe this is a tribute to Crowe’s range, which he does have, but it doesn’t make the movie look particularly dramatic, or funny, or even believable.) The dashes of slapstick and “comic” dialogue (that cheesy and quasi-witty “the thought never crossed my mind… more than six or ten times” line and, oh, get this, Crowe shouting SHUT UP!! at an automated GPS system!) aren’t doing it for me.
    Stranger Than Fiction, on the other hand, at least looks amusing and full of good actors. I’m a Ferrell partisan and, again, no point in trying to sound objective about that, but Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Emma Thompson, Buster from Arrested Development… that’s just a more appealing cast than Russell Crowe plus Albert Finney in a few flashbacks. I see how it does look like Kaufman for Dummies, but in this case the mainstreaming of something original looks more intriguing than the pretensifying of something hackneyed.
    (Of course, it’s unlikely the general public is listing Maggie Gyllenhaal or Emma Thompson as a major draw, but I can’t fault anyone for preferring Ferrell over Crowe in a dramedy.)

  • EDouglas

    How is posting private tracking information done by research companies for a fee considered “reporting” let alone an “exclusive”? I have a source for this same information given to me with the understanding that the info is for me and not for public consumption.

  • jeffmcm

    What’s ‘unmistakeable’ about the differences between the two movies? Stranger Than Fiction has a funny trailer and a good cast; A Good Year is yet another one of those movies that asks its audience to feel sorry for a rich guy who learns to enjoy his life; the kind of movie that is likely to be enjoyed by other rich, self-obsessed a-holes.

  • Mike Ock

    “Year isn’t a comedy, like I said a few days ago, but a light mood piece about nurturing those things in one’s life that need nurturing. One of those tonic-for- the-soul movies about slipping out the back door and being a little bit happy at times, it left yours truly in a pleasant, sitting-outdoors-as-the-summer-sun-sets, enjoying-a-good-glass-of-wine frame of mind.”
    Will I be able to find this in the “light mood piece about nurturing those things in one’s life that need nurturing” aisle or the “tonic-for- the-soul” aisle at Blockbuster??
    P.S. Hey Jeff, it’s ok to get your tongue out of Russell Crowe’s ass now. The phone thing was not the reason why Cinderella Man wasn’t a boxoffice hit, and Good Year probably won’t be either.
    Never underestimate the importance of word of mouth and quality.

  • austin111

    Two words: Will Ferrell.
    Trailers for movies like “A Good Year” rarely play well unless you are much older and frequently female, trust me. Trailers starring Will Ferrell will almost always win over the young crowd, especially male, trust me.
    Does this mean that the above will be the only ones to enjoy these films — not necessarily.

  • KWorkman

    I’m backing “A Good Year”. Once Farrell’s “Taladega” fanbase catches his muted performance in “Stranger”, the box office will take a dive the following weekend.
    Also, didn’t Nikki Finke predict that “Flags” would take in $20 mil last week? (It ended up closer to $10.)
    After the anguish of “Little Children”, “Catch a Fire” and “Babel”, I’m looking forward to something that goes down alittle easier.

  • The Movie Man

    I haven’t seen either movie but the trailer to “Stranger than Fiction” puts me to asleep, dull, cutesy, hard for me to take in a 2 minute format let alone 100 or so minutes. Forster doesn’t really seem to have much of a voice to me, and has yet to do anything I have responded to. (He does boring, PC, “not bad” movies, including the fairly respected “Monster’s Ball”.)
    “A Good Year” looks like formula, but it seems to be an appealing, we know what this is but let’s have some fun anyway type movie, much like Scott’s underrated Matchstick Men.
    Of course I could be totally wrong on both, but that is my impression based on the trailers.

  • Hallick

    “But Ferrell is biggger than Good Year star Russell Crowe, and Ferrell never threw a phone at anyone so there it is.”
    No…Ferrell’s trailer is better than Crowe’s trailer, so THERE it is.