21 May 2012


I'd like to say that the impulse for this list came from a desire to talk about box office as The Avengers continues to devour records like Galactus devours civilised planets. But in reality, over the weekend I was having a conversation with a friend that included the question, "what is the highest-grossing movie you" - meaning me - "haven't seen?" And I thought, and said, that would be a fun list. So thanks to Andrew L for inspiring my list of:

The Ten Highest-Grossing Films That I Haven't Seen (as of 21 May, 2012)

That's world-wide box office, mind you; the domestic list (which I include as an appendix) is far less interesting.

And there's more! I'm going to include a poll, including all ten of these movies, and I will watch and review which ever film wins. The poll is open till Saturday, which should give me enough time to arrange to get any of the five movies next week.

All figures come from Box Office Mojo. I present them in increasing order of box office take, along with their rank on the all-time list.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked ($338,706,642, #213)
Why I Skipped It: It didn't go to #1 at the box office, and having forced myself through The Squeakquel the week prior, I wasn't about to revisit that well just because I could. These movies are too awful without being fun-bad to endure them for no reason.

I, Robot ($347,234,916, #206)
Why I Skipped It: Whatever affection I have for Will Smith, Movie Star (it was less in 2004 than it is today), it certainly did not outweigh my profound disinterest in seeing the work of Isaac Asimov, a writer I care for very deeply, abused and insulted.

Basic Instinct ($352,927,224, #196)
Why I Skipped It: Because at 10 years old, I wasn't in a position to engage with the controversy back in 1992, and I've never really been driven towards it since then, though due to my recent explorations into Paul Verhoeven's pre-American work, I've grown curious.

Notting Hill ($363,889,678, #180)
Why I Skipped It: It took Erin Brockovich the following year to convince me that hating Julia Roberts might not be a good idea. And while I've never hated Hugh Grant, I've never really sought him out, either.

Hitch ($368,100,420 #177)
Why I Skipped It: Not my preferred mode for Will Smith even a little bit. And my allergy to Kevin James is strong enough that if I found out he had a part in the new Terrence Malick film, I'd have to give serious thought to whether or not I wanted to see it.

What Women Want ($374,111,707, #166)
Why I Skipped It: Between Helen Hunt, romantic lead-style Mel Gibson, writer-director Nancy Meyers, and the groaning, gender stereotyping concept, I think the question is why I wouldn't skip it, but here's a fun story: my mom and granmother went to see it while my dad and I saw Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at the same time. My dad and I were happier.

The Bodyguard ($410,945,720, #145)
Why I Skipped It: As with Basic Instinct, I was too young when it came out. In the years since, neither my complete indifference to Whitney Houston nor my active avoidance of any Kevin Costner that I don't "need" to see have made this one anything like a high priority.

Sex and the City ($415,253,641, #141)
Why I Skipped It: I imagined that my nearly complete ignorance of the show made me a poor candidate to get any real pleasure out of the film at all. The rancid Sex and the City 2 did not call this belief into question.

The Matrix Revolutions ($427,343,298, #135)
Why I Skipped It: I would comfortably use "hate" to describe my feelings toward The Matrix Reloaded, and everybody I know who saw the series finale opening weekend described it in a way that made it seem like my problems with the second film had only been exaggerated.

The Day After Tomorrow $544,272,402, #82)
Why I Skipped It: As much as I don't really like effects-heavy disaster movies with over-stuffed casts, I like Roland Emmerich films even less. Though, truth be told, if the glowingly dumb 2012 had preceded this one the theaters, I probably would have made the effort.

Don't forget to vote! It's over there on the sidebar! Vote closed; The Matrix Revolutions won, with Basic Instinct coming just one vote behind, so I went and watched them both. This means, if you are interested, that Lethal Weapon 3 and the live-action 101 Dalmatians are now on this list.

Appendix: The Ten Highest Grossing Films at the U.S. Box Office That I Haven't Seen

AKA, "Tim Brayton Doesn't Like Contemporary Comedies: The List". Source: Box Office Mojo.

Grown Ups ($162,001,186, #197)
Big Daddy ($163,479,795, #193)
Three Men and a Baby ($167,780,960, #183)*
Wild Hogs ($168,273,550, #182)
Elf ($173,398,518, #169)
Hitch ($179,495,555, #155)
The Polar Express ($182,704,446, #145)
What Women Want ($182,811,707, #144)
The Day After Tomorrow ($186,740,799, #136)
Wedding Crashers ($209,255,921, #110)


Kevin J. Olson said...

Basic Instinct is one of my absolute favorite Verhoeven films. It's a nice companion to The Fourth Man (and a little bit of Spetters). It's not nearly as good as those movies (or RoboCop, Starship Troopers, and Black Book,for that matter), but it ranks as one of my favorites. It's a wall-to-wall crazy ass neo-noir that is all at once beautiful to look at and hilariously operatic. It just may be one of the craziest homages to Hitch ever made. I almost always have to watch it when I stumble across it on TV.

MH said...

Shame on you for missing The Day After Tomorrow. Deliriously stupid in the best ways, and I was deeply disappointed by how boringly dumb 2012 was.

franklinshepard said...

I voted for Matrix Revolutions, because I think everyone who watched the first two should be forced to sit through that film once. It's really awful, but in a very distinctive way, so there's that.

My uncle loves Wild Hogs. Like, really loves it. I believe he's said it's one of his favorite movies.

DerFuhrer said...

If you're going to review The Matrix Revolutions (as you're probably going to; I personally voted Chipwrecked because I'm a bastard), I request a double review of both Reloaded and Revolutions, to double the suffering.

David Greenwood said...

I know it's not on the poll, but I really wish you'd review "Elf". I had zero interest in it at the time (My love of Will Ferrell had not been cultivated yet), but since then I've had double digit numbers of friends tell me that I'm really missing out. Unlike the options on your poll, it has a chance to be a legitimately good film, and I really don't like to punish you.

Or you could just review Nobuhiko Ohbayashi's "House", and wouldn't we all leave happier? ^_-

Matt said...

I have long held the theory that the world's power problems could be solved by hooking the corpses of authors up to dynamos, showing movie adaptations of their works, and harvesting the energy created as they spin in their graves.

Asimov tops my list.

jjjonatron said...

Oh man my vote is so much for Wild Hogs. I would love to see that review *so much* . You'd have to get good and drunk before watching it I think.

Mark said...

As much as I was tempted to vote for The Day After Tomorrow based on your 2012 reference (and review), I am compelled to admit that TDAT has all the badness without the benefit 2012 did of having its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. 2012 knows it's bad and revels in it--TDAT takes itself oh so seriously.

I'll go with Basic Instinct as the only one I think makes a serious effort at effectiveness.

Surly Duff said...

While I love, truly love, your scathing reviews of bad movies, I in no way would wish to watch or read anything involving the chipmunks or Sarah Jessica Parker (equally related to rodents). I'll stick with a legitimately "good" film with Basic Instinct.

Your aversion to "movie star" Kevin James is well-founded, although he is actually the more entertaining half of the Will Smith-James duo in "Hitch". I am a generally big fan of Will Smith, but I am concerned about many of his recent film decisions. You are aware that he is involved in "I, Robot 2", right? Insert comment about spinning graves and such...

Neil Fulwood said...

Although 'I, Robot' passes muster as a post-pub Friday night movie, on the whole I'd say you haven't really missed much.

BTW, are you familiar with the Bill Hicks take on 'Basic Instinct'? "Bill's quick capsule review: piece of shit. Say it and walk away. Piece. Of. Shit."

Tim said...

First, I only just realised that the comment I thought I published had been swallowed. Which reflects very poorly on me. Short version: thanks everybody for voting, my own vote went to Basic Instinct, Der Fuhrer is worthy of his namesake (I tease!) and David raises a good point, but it's so much fun to write bad reviews!

More to the point, though, I received an e-mail last weekend from Don Mancini, who was also unable to post a comment, and only just received it. Here it is:

"Count me in the BASIC INSTINCT fan club. As Kevin says, it's a great modern noir. The combination of its elegance -- in filmmaking, luxe settings, and Sharon Stone's icy beauty -- with its aggressive (and sometimes goofy) smuttiness and sheer nastiness (which I would characterize as misanthropic, rather than homophobic or misogynistic) is weirdly powerful. And Sharon Stone became a star off this for good reason: She is amazing, her performance really complex, conveying glimpses of occasional girlishness and seeming vulnerability (or is it just more manipulation?) amid the character's scary sociopathy."