The Week In

The Week In: Box Office Speculation - Adolescence Unites Class Brackets!

This weekend, All the King's Men will serve as the first prestige film of the fall and no doubt will garner a significant adult audience who have been left in the lurch by the summer's onslaught of genre films.

Nevertheless, three genre films open wide this weekend, and at least one of them will triumph over the aforementioned Academy-hopeful. Jackass Number Two will bring in adolescent males of all class brackets from all states, demonstrating how obscene sketch comedy is more commercial than traditional narrative. And also how TV and cinema are now essentially the same medium.


1. Jackass Two - $26mil
2. All the King's Men - $15mil
3. Flyboys - $13mil
4. Fearless - $9mil
5. Gridiron Gang - $7mil
6. Illusionist - $3.6mil
7. Black Dahlia - $3.2mil
8. Last Kiss - $3mil
9. Covenant - $2.7mil
10. Invincible - $2.5mil

possible upset: Little Miss Sunshine - $2-3mil

Indie Spotlight:

Old Joy - $38k in 1 theater


1. Jackass Two - $28.3mil
2. Fearless - $10.6mil
3. Gridiron Gang - $9.7mil
4. Flyboys - $6mil
5. Everyone's Hero - $4.7mil

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The Week In: Box Office Speculation, Recap & Henceforth...

I follow film box office stats much the same way that most people follow political elections: with mouth agape.

In speculating about how a film will do over its opening weekend, it is hard not to overestimate one's own demographic (haven't my friends been talking a lot about Werner Herzog lately? Must mean mega-hit!). But the act of such speculation, while seemingly futile and certainly geeky, is a way of engaging with people one normally doesn't have a chance to engage with, and whose ticket-purchasing is really a kind of "voting."

Of course, box office means less now than ever before. Whereas once a film's box office could be indicative of how much people liked it - see "Jaws," which in 1975 was truly the "movie of the summer" as people returned to it over and over again and its box office remained steadfast over a period of months - now it is up to marketing strategists to deceive a huge audience into seeing a film in its opening weekend so that it can earn back its investments before anyone can decide if it's actually any good. (Hence, a movie like "Godzilla" can be universally despised and still gross $375 million.)

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The E-Life: July 17-21

July 17

Say it Ain't So, Bill!
At a time when his Joementum is fading, CT Senator Joe Lieberman gets a big endorsement just before the primary. The guess here is that the high ups in the party must really want Joe to win; Clinton is a party guy (no pun intended). We still say (hope?) it goes to Lamont.

Bush makes faux pas, is unclear about how far China is from Russia, drinks Diet Coke, calls the British PM just "Blair," and thinks Syria should get Hezbollah to "stop doing this shit." (Can't say we disagree on the last point, although he might be over-simplifying things.) (Video and more here.)

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The E-Life: July 10-15

Ok, so the next week is already started. But what better time to look back? We all spend most of the time looking back anyway. Might as well start longingly pining for the week that was 10-16 July 2006. We did this once before and it turned out pretty well.

July 10

Cup Over, Sadness, Sadness
Alright, so it was bound to be a rough week since Sunday heralded the end of the world cup. And oh boy, what an end it was. Everyone's favorite French-Algerian maybe-best-footballer-of-all time with the initials ZYZ fucking dropped that Italian—I remember his name, but I don't want to look up the correct sequence of vowels. Anyway, the world's press went into high gear, giving the deaf lipreaders of the world a chance to really make a difference. Their interpretations of what was said (seen well from this angle) were many, ranging from the standard mother/sister is a whore cracks, to the big T word, to a might I say quite elegant combination of the two: "You are the son of a terrorist whore." But will the world ever know for sure? FIFA has started an inquiry, apparently. Read More...

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The Week In: Food Adventures--Asian Class Struggle

While most nights, you’d probably find me on the couch watching TV and eating something from a box out of a pot precariously balanced on my lap, most know I’ll eat just about anything, especially if free. A week or two ago, I found myself delving into some Asian food. Not the most exciting, right?

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The E-Life: April 17-21

Given the fact that I have a day job, as do many of my friends and acquaintances, in a given week, I'll view and receive in my inbox boatloads of links and general wittiness. Some will provide news, others junk, and yet others beautiful bits of information from the e-world.

So for those of you too busy to keep up in world news or in the wonderful things the internet has to offer (or those of you just missing out for one reason or another), here's a survey of what you missed in the last week:

[Editor's note: The information below is meant as entertainment. If you're really too busy to keep up with news that affects you, we can't help.]

April 17

Pigs Playing Sports = Cuteness!
In Russia, they have pig olympics. Among the events are pig-racing, pig-swimming, and pig-(non-US)football.

Oil Men Are Evil, Duh.
In the past year, some places in the United States have started charging $3 for a gallon of gasoline. Last year, Exxon CEO Lee Raymond made $69.7M, and received $400M+ in a retirement bonus. Oh, and by the way - last year, Exxon made the most profit EVER by a corporation. (Read that sentence again and think about the fact that it's true.)

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The Week In: Tactical Solicitation -- Echelon Formation

Most people are familiar with the high numbers of working women in Saigon. That is, ladies interested in a certain kind of dalliance (and I'm not talking about the font family buster!) But on recent evening I was strolling the streets of Saigon with a Hawaiian associate, fending off the usual advances when I witnessed something rather incredible. Two motor-bike riding (or wielding) hookers. Now this would have been impressive enough, but following our polite refusals, these girls didn't just motor away. No, instead they did something quite remarkable. Let me invite the reader to examine my hand-drawn account of the scene as it unfolded below.


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The Week In: Debauchery -- Boy Meets Vegas

As the old/cliched/major advertising campaign saying goes, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Well, Cosmodrome readers, that ain't so this weekend as I head to the city of sin for massive amounts of debauchery and chaos. Here are some specs:

1) I, mwang, have never been to the city. I'm a casual poker player and have been to two casinos in my life, each time limiting myself to an allowance of $100. And I didn't enter each establishment until at least 3am each time. The first casino I went to was two years ago in Palm Springs. And I may have been on ecstasy at the time. So I lost my $100 and called it a night. The second time, Atlantic City, I found myself drinking heavily at some bar when my friend suggested that we take a quick bus to the Jersey shore. This was at 1am. We reached an incredibly depressing casino around 3:30 EST and left after six hours of staring at cards and trying to sober up, while playing hold 'em with a bunch of senior citizens and drunks who couldn't help but bet their rent money.

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The Week In: Military Aviation -- The Tomcat Retires, or, The Ayatollah's Need For Speed

The touch of Hollywood changes lives! Forever!

Even jets are aware of this. It’s likely people who don’t know anything about airplanes could still successfully ID an F-14 Tomcat, because, yes, Hollywood has laid upon it its golden finger. That was done via someone called Tom Cruise and something called Top Gun.

Last week, the F-14 was officially retired from US active duty. The two squadrons that flew the jet will be switching over to the F/A-18, a plane that apparently does almost everything the F-14 does (take off from aircraft carriers, shoot down other planes/missiles from a long, long distance, and attack targets on the ground [a role the F-14 wasn’t intended to assume, but for which it was successfully modified]) at something like 1/10th the operating cost. And if there’s one thing the US military industrial complex (bigup DDE) is good at, well, it’s being fiscally efficient. Right? So the Tomcat is done. Sort of.

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The Week In: Cartography Discovery -- The Decline of Western Civilization

Trina likes to tell the story about how her family loves colonization and the omnipotence of globalization. Without the British Empire, where would the world be? My guess is a) all white folks would be Catholic after the Spanish Armada wiped out everyone back in the 16th century, especially with no Francis Drake; b) "America" would be (even more) Spanish-speaking and probably still have a thriving slave industry; c) I'd be buried underneath a giant wall somewhere, my stomach containing only tofu rather than delicious fried foods.

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