After seeing the trailer, I assumed that Wreck-It Ralph would be a feature-length nostalgia-fest for '80s kids, what with the 8-bit game the titular character hails from and the cameos from Pac-Man ghosts and the like. So when I actually saw the movie, I was not just pleasantly surprised to be wrong, but thrilled to have seen such a sweet, charming, genuinely funny story that I really hope joins the pantheon of classic Disney films.
Stateside, the top dogs at the box office were kids' movie Wreck-It Ralph, Denzel Washington's drunk-Sully drama Flight, and Ben Affleck's deathless prestige hit Argo, in that order. As EW reports, Ralph's $49.1 million haul makes it "the strongest debut ever for a Walt Disney Animation production (i.e., not including Pixar titles)." Flight managed $25 million at 1,884 theaters, meaning, at $13,275 per, it had the strongest per-theater average in the top 20. Most important: Argo, which pulled in another $10.2 million for $75.9 million overall, is on pace to break $100 million, and therefore is on pace to become the biggest Affleck movie since yep, Daredevil (that one crashed out at $102 million). This dude Affleck is just exorcising any and all demons right now, huh?
Meanwhile, across the oceans, James Bond crushed. After opening internationally 10 days ago, Skyfall has already pulled in $287 million, off the back of $156 million — spread over 81 countries, including Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Austria, India, Taiwan, and Mexico — this weekend. And that's just the beginning: It's now tracking at an $80 million opening for America. And so wait a minute — what is going on? Why can't we defeat 81 other countries — including Germany, Italy, Spain, Holland, Austria, India, Taiwan, and Mexico — in showing our financial appreciation for a British secret agent? What ever happened to American exceptionalism?!
Silver: Stories about struggles of enduring love have been so thoroughly explored in both comedic and dramatic films that sitting through one is more comforting in its familiarity than it is challenging. What you don’t see a lot of, and it’s the reason why I’m excited for Smashed, are stories about late 20s, early 30s couples who are dealing with not only the loss of youth, but the overwhelming pressures of real life. It’s the grayish middle between "Zac Efron prom date gone awry" and "Meryl Streep dancing with Tommy Lee Jones on a beach." And it's harder to truthfully capture on film because a couple, much less a married couple, in their late 20s or early 30s are in a constant state of transition. And much like Celeste and Jesse Forever dealt with a young couple’s divorce, Smashed ups the drama by throwing in some “real-life shit” like the combined act of getting sober. So even if Smashed didn’t star two of my biggest crushes — Ramona Flowers ... err ... Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron “Bitch” Paul — based on all this I know it’s a film I’d still want to see.