Friday, January 6, 2012

This Week's Flavorwires

Open Thread: What Is Your Pop Culture Cold Spot?

Last week, your author was charged with working up our most anticipated movies of 2012, and I must confess, it's an assignment I was dreading. Not because there weren't movies in the upcoming year worth anticipating (as we saw, there are many), or that it would be difficult to explain why they were worth looking forward to. No, it was because I knew I was going to have to deal with The Hobbit.

I anticipated it, even, noting in the call for comments that there would certainly be hoots and catcalls for the exclusion of Peter Jackson's return to the world of J.R.R. Tolkien. And there were, sure enough. But here's the problem, as briefly noted when discussing the release of they eagerly-greeted-by-everyone-but-yours-truly trailer: I don't like The Lord of the Rings. I just don't. It's one of my pop culture "cold spots." We've all got them. Right?

10 Great Movies Streaming Free on YouTube

Hey there, film lover. How's your January? I know, I know, not much in the way of new movies worth seeing this month, what with January being the Hollywood dumping ground and all. How's about just staying in and streaming some Netflix? What's that? You dropped your subscription because they raised the price by five bucks? Way to take a stand! Okay, so, go hit the Redbox. Yeah, you're right, it's pretty cold out. No need to bundle up and head all the way over to the Walgreens, only to go find that they're all out of Fast Five. So what now? Well, come to find out, your old pal YouTube has a surprisingly excellent collection of feature-length flicks streaming for the bargain price of zero dollars. I know, right? And, sure, a lot of them are junk, or the same public-domain titles that have been turning up on bargain DVDs at the Dollar Tree for years now. But there are some gems in there, and (being a service-oriented organization), we've sifted through their offerings to find the best of the bunch. Check 'em out after the jump.

10 B-List Actors Who Should Be A-Listers

The Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle I Don't Know How She Does It, in which Ms. Jessica Parker plays a woman has both children and a career OMG HOW DOES SHE DO IT, is out this week on DVD, giving you another opportunity to not see it. But the most confusing aspect of IDKHSDI (besides the fact that it exists) is its supporting cast, which is just full of people we like: Christina Hendricks, Seth Meyers, Jane Curtin, Busy Phillips, Kelsey Grammer, Greg Kinnear… and Pierce Brosnan. Wait, what? What’s Pierce Brosnan doing filling a supporting role in a warmed-over Sex in the City retread? He was JAMES FRICKING BOND, for God's sake. Brosnan is but one of many actors who either used to be A-list or should be, yet have inexplicably fallen to B-list status. Sometimes it’s voluntary; some actors choose to concentrate on smaller, supporting roles, or to focus on stage work and the like. But more often than not, a couple of unfortunate moves can create a narrative as to what kind of an actor someone is — what they can do, both qualitatively and financially — and that becomes the common wisdom. It's a crap shoot. After the jump, we'll take a look at ten actors who aren't getting the kind of work they deserve.

The Worst January Film Releases of All Time

January is upon us, and we film fans know what that means: nothing good. The first month of the year is traditionally the dumping ground for Hollywood studios, the month in which they unload the films that aren't quality enough for the Oscar-courting fall, but not commercial enough for the lucrative holiday, spring, and summer seasons. January is where bad movies go to die, and where studios hope we won't notice them. They're usually right; viewers either tend to catch up on the prestige pictures that are going into wider release, or just stay at home and watch football. But our nation's film critics, fat and happy after the holiday feast of smart, highbrow entertainment, are often subjected to the sugar crash of January dogs, and as a result, their reviews often pack a little bit of extra vitriol. After the jump, we've assembled the ten worst movies released in the month of January — according to the reliable aggregators at Rotten Tomatoes — along with a few choice words from the scribes who sat through them.

Trailer Park: Upside Down, Inside Out

Welcome to "Trailer Park," our regular Friday feature where we collect the week's new trailers all in one place and do a little "judging a book by its cover," ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. Though we took a week off for the holidays, the pre-Christmas trailer flood has slowed to a trickle; that said, we've managed to rustle up six new films for you. Check 'em all out after the jump.

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