Yup, it's been decided. You're next, Europe. Elsewhere this weekend, some old has-beens fared pretty well, people just kept on taking stuff, and a romantic comedy turned out to be something else altogether.
1) The American — $16.3M
America: Fuck yeah! Good ol' red, white, 'n' blue is comin' for you! This movie about charming grin-professional George Clooney romping around stupid, smelly old Europe blowing away French people and Belgians or whatever with his enormous AmericaGun did so well on a typically slow weekend. Probably because it was about America's rakish millionaire uncle trotting around shooting weirdo foreigners while awesome electric guitar rock blared in the background. And— Hm? What's that? It's a decidedly unAmerican movie all about pigeon-gray European feelings and moral ambiguity and maybe that he's an American is trying to say something about Americans? What the fuck! People were hoodwinked. Rightly the good Christian women of this, the best nation, spoke up and gave the movie a big fat F in audience exit polling. Why didn't they just call this fruity movie The Fruit or The Girly-Man Who Likes Eating Panini and Listening to Faggy French Church Bells? Real American men don't go to Europe for vacation or work. They go to Cody, WY or Destin, FL. They go to Comfort Inns the nation over and sit in sharply air-conditioned rooms and watch baseball and eat potato chips and fall asleep five minute into a (straight!!) pay-per-view porno, hands rested on belt buckles, somewhere outside an American flag that should have been taken down before sunset flapping in the night wind, lonely but protected. That's what Americans do, George. They don't go to Europe.
2) Machete — $14M
On the one hand you could say that this is a little disappointing because, though the film had a low $20m budget (same as The American, actually), it was pretty hyped and could have performed a tad bit better. But on the other hand? Don Johnson is in the number two movie in the country. Lindsay Lohan opened a movie at $14m. There are now vehicles for Danny Trejo. Steven Seagal is in a popular movie that doesn't involve the words Under or Siege. These are all watershed moments in the history of cinema. These are big deals. So I think we really ought to look at Machete that way. It gave some tired old actors hope in a mostly hopeless world. It brought us back to the strange, smooth karate chops of Seagal. We can once again marvel at Don Johnson's sad oiliness. Lindsay Lohan hasn't died, not just yet. And Danny Trejo continues to have a convict's dream of a post-prison life. So those are pretty happy things, are they not? Dry those American tears and go see Machete, oddly this summer's most life-affirming movie.
3) Takers — $13.5M
They just keep taking! They had the highest per-screen average of the week and have already made back their budget in two short weeks. Takers: Taking stuff because they like to take. Takers. Does Hayden Christensen wear a fedora? I think he does. Does Paul Walker once again open his mouth only to have mayonnaise come pouring out? Yes, yes that's correct. Is Chris Brown there in the shadows, lurking like an asshole? I believe so. This movie is chock full of things that normal humans shouldn't like. But then again, teenagers aren't normal humans. If there is fast music and people wearing sunglasses in a movie trailer, teenagers will almost assuredly see that movie. "Sunglasses AND sweet music??" they say, stinking of BO, popcorn falling out of their mouths, zits glowing in the blue movie theater light. "I'm there!" And then they type a reminder to themselves to go see this movie into their magic computer-phones: "Sunglasses... 8/27." Well, OK, teenagers aren't that organized. But if they were, they would definitely type "Sunglasses". Teenagers love them some sunglasses. Also, oddly, they love Matt Dillon. Can't get enough of what other kids couldn't get enough of twenty years ago.
4) The Last Exorcism — $8.8M
For a movie that cost less than $2m, this one sure has done well. For a movie starring Professor Lasky, this movies has done BONKERS BULLSHIT BOFFO BOX OFFICE. For that, it's done insanely. I don't know. Are you still upset about the ending? Do you still feel gypped or cheated or something else? And do you really think this is going to be the last exorcism? 'Cause I don't know. I saw Linda Blair rooting around in a dumpster behind the Short Hills mall the other day and she had that wild look in her eye that says "I've got a movie deal going with Dark Castle." You know, that crazed Linda Blair development deal look. So that does make me wonder, I gotta say. And, you know, Ellen Burstyn and Max von Sydow are still kicking around, so this thing really could happen. Another exorcism. A whole 'nother one. Put the pea soup in the microwave. They like it hot when it comes out.
5) Going the Distance — $8.6M
Here's a line from the review of this movie from MovieGuide.org: "The core romance shows the couple is in love, but its pagan worldview makes living together seem as romantically ideal as getting married." Pagan worldview??? Did you know this movie was about pagans???? Please tell me that Drew Barrymore walks around in a druid robe and has to move to Stonehenge to do secret rituals while Justin Long goes on a goat-sacrificing business trip or something. Are there strange festivals with bonfires and wooden flute playing and people dressed up as animals and stuff? Does Christina Applegate play Badb, goddess of war?? Is Jim Gaffigan Sucellus, guardian of the forests? Pagan! How exciting. Here I thought this was just a better-than-average romantic comedy featuring the likable pairing of Barrymore and Long. But no. It's a curious religious movie all about the holy tribes of the Tuatha De'Dannan. Thanks, MovieGuide!