Viewing Diary (8/8/14)

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I know what you’re thinking. “A Viewing Diary at the end of the week? How strange!” Indeed, it is. However, it was either get this out there now or go an entire week without a new blog post, and I decided to choose the former. There will be no Viewing Diary next week, but the next Summer of Cruise will certainly go up at some point. That’s also been moving a little slowly, I’ll admit, but it shall be resumed shortly. As for the movies we shall talk about this week: how about the smash hit Guardians of the Galaxy, with a side of Hercules and I Origins? Plus, for the classic film of the week (the new thing I’m calling the Miscellaneous section) I finally get around to Richard Linklater’s breakthrough film Slacker. Continue reading

Ones on 1: The brief, unprecedented success of “Fahrenheit 9/11”

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Welcome to the first edition of Ones on 1, a new monthly feature I will be doing for the blog. The basic premise is simple: on the first of every month, I will write about a random film that was number one at the box office for precisely one weekend. That may sound like a broad topic, and it is, but the goal will be to choose films that achieved that peak, but didn’t quite belong there. Every Sunday, film journalists look at the box office standings, and most of the time the “winning” film is the most obvious choice. Ones on 1 will shine a light on some of the misfits who found themselves in a very exclusive, blockbuster-filled club. On that note, it feels appropriate that the first installment of this feature will examine the single most successful documentary of all time: Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. That’s right: to this day no documentary has been more financially successful, and it made headlines upon its release for being the first film in that genre to top the weekend box office. In the spring of 2004, it won the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival. This is an insane level of success and attention, but just ten years later it seems almost nobody thinks about it anymore. Most wouldn’t even call it the best Michael Moore movie. This was a documentary that burned impossibly bright, then quickly faded away. Continue reading