Not Following

Martin Scorsese‘s Shutter Island was the top ticket seller yesterday ($6.7 million) for a second weekend in a row. I have one question — why? It’s laboriously over-shot and over-saturated. Why would anyone recommend it to a friend with any enthusiasm? Is it the word “island” that’s attracting people? Cop Out (Warner Bros.) is second with $5.9 million, and The Crazies (Overture) is third with $5.9 million.

96 thoughts on “Not Following

  1. Chinaski94 on said:

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that not everybody agrees with you on the quality of Shutter Island.

    It got a lot of good reviews, which you failed to post here.

    It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a fun night at the movies.

    Certainly better than the Pelham 123 disaster, which you approved of.

  2. Who’s going to be the first person involved w/ “Cop Out” to use the east-coast-winter-storm-excuse for low box office this weekend?

    My. . um. . . gut tells me Kevin Smith is getting ready to tweet it just about now.

  3. Keep hearing The Crazies is a really solid horror remake. Must check that one out next week when the snow clears up.

  4. I asked one of my classes at UNC-Wilmington if they’d seen ‘Shutter Island,’ and a bunch of them had. They all thought it was good creepy fun – so that’s the kind of audience the recommendations are coming from (I’m with Jeff, think the film is way overbliown).

    As to ‘The Crazies,’ it totally rocks – a solid, well-directed ‘B’ movie that delivers the goods.

  5. You are wrong on this one Wells! Shutter Island is exceptional film noir. It deserves a second viewing. You call it “laboriously over-shot and over-saturated.” This is obviously intentional on the part of Scorsese and he knows what he is doing.

    I have recommended Shutter Island to all my friends.

  6. You’ve got to love the fact that Wells seems genuinely shocked that not every member of the film-going public parks their car in the same garage as he does. Once word got out that Jeffrey Wells didn’t much like the film, it should have KILLED the box office. What happened??!?!?

  7. Wells, I’m going to go out a limb and actually say most people disagree, and thank god. Probably the first great film of 2010. Give it up.

  8. (Cue Wells’ frantic invocation of the Movie Godz to strike down “Shutter Island” in the name of all that is right and true. ‘Cause, y’know, that worked so well with “Inglourious Basterds”)

  9. ALICE will be shown on 3,400 3D screens next weekend, so it’ll be interesting to see what will happen to AVATAR’s weekend gross.

    SHUTTER will be a $120M hit, maybe more.

    I thought COP over-performed given how bad the trailer was and how little buzz it had.

  10. I think it’s the opposite. It IS complicated for many people. I’ve been hearing a lot of confusion regarding the ending and the way the should interpret it.

    Anyway, I believe the movie has some flaws and strange moments. But it is equally fascinating because of that.

  11. My wife, who cannot stand most modern films, absolutely loved SHUTTER ISLAND and is still debating the ending with her friends a full week after we went to see it. I would say that it’s a much better film than it may appear to be on the surface (for some people). I always worry about Scorsese when he veers towards making a flick that seems to fall into more “conventional movie” territory. However, this time it actually worked….for me, anyway.

  12. The other day I heard some people waiting to be seated at a Tex-Mex restaurant and one of them told the other about this SHUTTER ISLAND and the person’s response was, “I don’t know, I hear it’s laboriously over-shot and over-saturated – I’ll skip it.”

  13. I’ll eat crow. I thought word of mouth was going to be bad because of the drawn out ending.

    I guess I should be happy that a 2.5 hour, R-rated, period piece with few action sequences and a lot of dialogue can still find an audience these days.

  14. “Is it the word ‘island’ that’s attracting people?”

    Yeah, that’s it exactly. It was the same thing with “Island Fever” starring Tera Patrick; THE WORD “ISLAND.”

    Nip, nip, nip.

    Also: Nice work, LDKA0186.

  15. Agree. Most aspects over done. End twist doesn’t support what came before like the end twist of Sixth Sense did.

    Probably still the best movie available, though. Hope The Crazies can take advantage of having no competition.

  16. The other day I heard some people waiting to be seated at a Tex-Mex restaurant and one of them told the other about this SHUTTER ISLAND and the person’s response was, “I don’t know, I hear it’s laboriously over-shot and over-saturated – I’ll skip it.”

    “Plus, Mike Fleming liked it, and it’s hard to trust him with his ‘Friends of Marty’ bias…”

  17. “Is it the word “island” that’s attracting people?”

    There have been plenty of movies with the word “Island” in the title that didn’t connect, notably “The Island”.

    Clearly, it’s the word “shutter” that’s attracting people.

  18. Give it a rest, Jeff. You’re really complaining that a fucking Martin Scorsese film is doing well at the box office? So it wasn’t to your taste; you can’t even respect any of the artistry involved? This wasn’t done for a paycheck, it was an exploration of a genre by a director who has a lot of admiration for some of the old masters of the form. And the fact that it actually inspires debate among its viewers is something we should hope for from every film.

    I’ve said it before: save your ammo for something or someone that deserves it. or stop claiming you’re such a “film Catholic”. Because gunning for Scorsese so hard is grounds for ex-communication.

  19. If people want to see the first great film of 2010 then they should go see The Ghost Writer. That movie puts Shutter Island to shame.

  20. Have to read the book first, then watch the movie. The trailer looks like it’s worth it. How many people will not watch a movie if they haven’t read the book?

  21. “Is it the word “island” that’s attracting people?”

    Aw, c’mon, Jeff. It’s Marty and Leo in a creepy noirish thriller, what’s not to like? I haven’t gotten to the movie yet but will definitely be going at first chance. I’ve read the book and even knowing the story I’m been eagerly anticipating this movie.

    What am I supposed to go see this weekend, Cop Out? Yuck; Crazies? Even Timothy Olyphant can’t get me to see that.

  22. bub: It’s a pretty good opening, considering it was up against The Crazies. But then it’s still a crappier opening than Zack and Miri, even though it has bigger talent attached to it…

    Gordon: Island of Dr. Moreau.

  23. “What am I supposed to go see this weekend, Cop Out? Yuck; Crazies? Even Timothy Olyphant can’t get me to see that.”

    What about a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes for a genre that a majority of the critics can’t even stand?

  24. Sorry Welles. I have to go with the crowd here. Shutter Island is a good movie. It’s not great, but it’s fun. And when you are throwing down good money you expect to at least be entertained. I would say Shutter Island accomplishes that.

    Now, something you mentioned about being overworked. Are we talking about style here. Are you suggesting that Scorsese attempt to compose a film different than how he has in the past 4o years. Maybe you just don’t care for his aesthetics. Would you say that Goodfellas is overworked? How about Raging Bull? I mean, those are pretty stylized films.

  25. DZ: “But then it’s still a crappier opening than Zack and Miri, even though it has bigger talent attached to it…”

    Zack and Miri’s opening 3-day total was $10m. Cop Out will hit at least $14m or so.

  26. I thought that the movie was very good and this is coming from someone who also read the book. The group I was with enjoyed it as well. It’s a cerebral popcorn thriller and that’s why it’s playing well. Also any film that makes you think, debate and discuss after it’s over… or for several days later is worthy of something.

  27. I’d say it’s a good opening weekend for a Kevin Smith film but isn’t a $16-18 million opening below average for a Bruce Willis flick? From what I remember of most ads and trailers, this was billed as a Bruce Willis movie first (and second and third) — Smith’s name was only mentioned sporadically, if at all.

  28. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that not everybody agrees with you on the quality of Shutter Island.

    of course they do, didn’t you see all those reviews he cherry-picked

  29. “but isn’t a $16-18 million opening below average for a Bruce Willis flick?”

    Willis movie grosses are surprisingly erratic for a star as big as him. If you leave off ‘Die Hard 4′, this is on point to be the biggest opening weekend he’s had since ‘Unbreakable’.

  30. re: olyphant — just watched the first three eps. of his upcoming fx series ‘justified’ and feel pretty safe in guessing that his price quote is going up considerably…. he’s usually a pleasure to watch but this one kicks it up a notch…..

  31. Gordn27 wrote:

    There have been plenty of movies with the word “Island” in the title that didn’t connect, notably “The Island”.

    Anyone remember the 1980 THE ISLAND from Peter Benchley’s novel, directed by a hoping-for-a-hit Michael Ritchie with Michael Caine and David Warner?

    Went beyond simply not connecting. Presuming Universal keeps it under lock and key these days.

  32. The 1980 Michael Caine/Ritchie/Benchley THE ISLAND is one of my most-wanted MIA DVDs; I saw it ONE TIME on superstation WOR in like 1984, and have never, ever seen it broadcast anywhere since, never even saw a VHS of it back in the day. Sometimes I’m half-tempted to read the Benchley novel just to recreate it in my mind, since I remember next to nothing about the movie, except a) it’s very bad, b) Caine’s ‘fro is out of control.

  33. Also I don’t know where to put it so I’ll post my thoughts on THE YELLOW HANDKERCHIEF here since this is about movies YOU SHOULD SEE THIS WEEKEND.

    K-STEW is IMMORTAL. Saw this three times already, hopefully two more either tomorrow or at least before the week is out. She is INCREDIBLE, *every* emotion and beat is natural and hypnotic and earnest… she is the rawest and most innately intelligent performer since James Dean, maybe even in the entire history of the medium.

    And give it up for William Hurt. Goddamn this guy can act… a true original and so glad he’s having this nice character renaissance; Seems like there was a lean era after THE DOCTOR where he kind of trailed off, but he’s as good as he’s ever been here, which if you remember his 1980-1991 streak of masterful performances is saying a LOT.

    The film itself is like the Victor Nunez-David Gordon Green coproduction that time forgot. Can’t say the energy doesn’t flag at times, and I DEFINITELY could’ve done without the toothy kid who plays K-Stew’s UNFIT love interest. Her scenes with Hurt and so raw and breathtaking, it’s a bummer when that goofy mentally ill kid comes sniffing around and douching up the works.

    But most of all, the ELECTRIFYING (if platonic) chemistry between K-Stew and Hurt gives me hope, being a balding, much older man. I can’t say I wasn’t SEEING MYSELF as Hurt and his damaged middle-aged man character learning life lessons from this STUNNING MUSE. She’s positively ethereal, and makes all of us other actors and performers want to step up our game.

    Plus she has the most fetching EARS ever.

    3 stars out of 4 for the movie.

    4 stars out of 4 for Hurt

    A ZILLION stars out of 4 for Kristen.

  34. “I think Willis did worse in the early 90s, to be honest. ”

    Yeah, but at least those were *legendary* failures. I mean, the guy survived ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ and ‘Hudson Hawk’! The last ten years, his starring roles are roughly approximating the benchmark he set with ‘Mercury Rising’. Or that other one, uh, ‘Striking Distance’ (I think).

  35. While THE ISLAND remains in the Bermuda Triangle of home video, it turms up on the Starz/Encore channels, and has been shown on HDNet Movies.

  36. “K-STEW is IMMORTAL. Saw this three times already, hopefully two more either tomorrow or at least before the week is out.”

    LEX-G, if this is some kine of rococo, avant-garde performance piece, then I say good show, man. If you are for real, then I suggest that you seek out professional help. NOw. .

  37. Josh Massey – I’ve really liked Timothy Olyphant since Deadwood, and that series was chock full of talent. Another Deadwood alum I’ve followed more closely since then is Garret Dillahunt, Terrific character actor.

    scooterzz – thanks for the Justified review. I will definitely be checking that out. FX must be pretty high on it based on the number of ads I’ve seen, even in movie theaters.

    Olyphant/Justified tidbit – he said he drew inspiration for Raylen Givins from Russell Crowe’s Bud White and Guy Pearce’s Ed Exley.

  38. So, Jeff thinks The Taking of Pelham 123 deserves a best picture Oscar slot, and finds Shutter Island over-shot and over-saturated? Fucking wow.

  39. The only thing I remember about the 1980 The Island

    SPOILER

    was Caine using a mounted machine gun to lay waste to a bunch of pirates on the deck of a boat.

    That was pretty cool.

  40. This is better than Willis’s last opening. Surrogates. It’s sad but I think this is more about Willis’s falling than Smith. Get someone else a little younger with more cross cultural appeal and you get to 20 million. Right now there aren’t really any movies skewing heavy toward Black or Latino audiences. This would be closest one.

    did domestic: $38,577,772 34.0%

    + Foreign: $74,865,039 66.0%

    = Worldwide: $113,442,811

    DOMESTIC SUMMARY

    Opening Weekend: $14,902,692

    (#2 rank, 2,951 theaters, $5,050 average)

    % of Total Gross: 38.6%

  41. bit: It still doesn’t prove that Smith’s concepts are a draw, outside of his fan-base, though. Especially since, in terms of inflation, Cop Out probably did about as well as Dogma.

  42. Yah, I saw Shutter Island again this weekend. It was even better second time around. Guess I’m just a hopeless Scorsese fan willing to forgive him any indulgence. NOT. I really did enjoy it and was amazed by the acting. DiCaprio was absolutely fine, in spite of an really tough performance. His final scene was especially powerful. Props to Ruffalo, Kingsley, Levine, Haley, Mortimer, Williams and Clarkson — all in top form. Some great stuff there. Not to mention the cinematography and the mostly subdued score, which was quite evocative. Very cinematic movie if you care about that stuff.

  43. This post Jeff is very interesting. You have a specific opinion about the film, you don’t envision a scenario where someone would actually recommend it to a friend. So in a way you are saying that the idea that this would have any sort of positive word of mouth is impossible. And you are saying that based strictly upon your singular opinion on the film.

    Same thing happened with IB. Before it was released in the states you really had some negative things to say about it. Then it opened to be business here and was for the most part a very liked film by critics and the public.

    One critic’s opinion is just one person’s opinion. Nothing more/less.

  44. “It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a fun night at the movies. ”

    “Are you kidding me?!! What drugs are you smoking?”

    Nothing at the moment. What problem do you have with my comment?

  45. ” This from the guy who still owes me 10 bucks over that bet about what was gonna be the bigger movie – “E. T. ” or “Krush Groove”?

    ” You know, fuck you, man, ’cause time’s gonna tell on that one.

  46. Average C+ grade in Cinemascore exit poll, which is extremely low, so Jeff isn’t offbase on suggesting this movie doesn’t send people out eager to spread the good word. (Oddly enough, the L.A. Times’ box office story this morning cites the bad Cinemascore grade, then explains the good second-week box office away by saying that people must like it more after they’ve had a while to think about the twist. Somehow, I doubt that everyone leaves the theater thinking “C+” and then ups it to an A- the next day.)

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