Drew Latham (Ben Affleck) is a handsome smart millionaire (how he got so rich is a mystery) who is dumped by his girlfriend right before Christmas because he wants to take her to Fiji for the holidays (and if you think THAT is stupid wait for the rest of the movie) instead of staying with family. My god! The nerve. Now facing Christmas utterly alone Drew pays a wistful visit to his idyllic childhood home meets the family living there--the dysfunctional Valcos--and decides he's going to bribe them to be his family through the holidays. Here's the wacky part: They agree. Well at least patriarch Tom (James Gandolfini) who only sees the dollar signs does--his wife Christine (Catherine O'Hara) and teenage son Brian (Josh Zuckerman) go along reluctantly. They have to; it wouldn't be a movie if they didn't. Soon the obnoxious Drew is dragging the lackluster bunch all over the place re-creating happy Christmas memories like taking pictures with Santa and singing carols and just when they think they can't take another moment their sharp-as-a-tack eldest daughter Alicia (Christina Applegate) shows up--and throws a crimp into all of Drew's best-laid plans. I mean he has to fall in love with her and get all mushy and make the disgruntled Valcos realize the meaning of family and Christmas and all that junk right? Because that makes sense right?
It's really a shame when something this bad happens to good actors. Gandolfini tries his hand at making people laugh but comes off just about as sinister as he does playing Tony Soprano especially when he's pelting Drew with grenade-like snowballs. Meanwhile O'Hara usually a whiz at the whole comedy thing ends up throwing away her lines. Not to mention she looks oh-so-bedraggled with stringy hair and puffy eyes (she really should have demanded a better makeup person). Applegate fares a bit better as the sharp Alicia and romantic foe to Drew but the lightning-quick speed at which the two go from hating each other to making out just belittles them both. And then of course there's Affleck. Poor poor Ben. He really is a likable fellow with a wicked sense of humor; anyone who has seen him on the talk show circuit can attest to that. He just can't seem to find the right material be it comedy action whatever. Perhaps he should consider looking at an indie film or two maybe play a really juicy supporting part build some credibility. But he most definitely needs to get a new agent and stop making these awful duds.
It's not at all a good sign when there are four credited writers on a movie and the director Mike Mitchell is best known for Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Nope that's a big giant red flag--and Surviving Christmas doesn't do anything to prove otherwise. Granted the premise isn't half bad but the key to it would be emphasizing the eccentricity of a millionaire who wants to bribe a family to be his through the holidays. Don't make the millionaire some guy who's drop-dead gorgeous and actually pretty together if only a bit obnoxious and give him a love interest that makes no sense. You need to build up exactly why he so unconventional. Is he like Howard Hughes weird or Richie Rich oddball? Then throw him in the mix with this dysfunctional family and without him ever changing who he is watch how he affects the lives around him. Imagine the part being played by a younger Christopher Walken or Steve Buscemi. That would be hilarious.
The third and final installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Return of the King, its director, Peter Jackson, Sean Penn and Charlize Theron took top honors at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards.
The Return of the King took home best picture, best director honors for Peter Jackson and best acting ensemble Saturday at the ninth annual Broadcast Film Critics' Association Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif, The Associated Press reports.
The blue-collar crime saga Mystic River won two prizes, best actor and supporting actor, for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, respectively, while its director, Clint Eastwood, took home a previously announced lifetime achievement award.
Other winners included Charlize Theron as best actress for playing real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster and Renee Zellweger for her supporting turn in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain.
The Beverly Hills Hotel event was organized by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn., which bills itself as the largest such group in the United States and Canada with 182 members from the television, radio and online worlds, AP reports.
The full list of awards:
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Sean Penn, Mystic River
Charlize Theron, Monster
Best Supporting Actor
Tim Robbins, Mystic River
Best Supporting Actress
Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain
Best Acting Ensemble
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Jim Sheridan, Kirsten Sheridan, Naomi Sheridan, In America
Best Young Actor/Actress
Keisha Castle-Hughes, Whale Rider
Best Animated Feature
Best Family Film (live action)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Best Picture Made for Television
Angels in America
Capturing the Friedmans
Best Foreign Language Film
The Barbarian Invasions
"A Mighty Wind" from A Mighty Wind by Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Eugene Levy.
Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
There was lots of slicing and dicing at the box office this weekend as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's Leatherface took on Kill Bill's Bride, proving that samurai sword is no match for a grungy power tool.
New Line Cinema proved with its remake of Tobe Hooper's low-budget 1974 cult horror film Texas Chainsaw Massacre that there is strength in a name. The thriller, rated R for strong horror violence/gore, language and drug content, took in an insatiable $29.1 million* over the weekend, which is not surprising considering the film scored very well in its preview screenings, especially with under-25 horror aficionados.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre's bloody take was also enough to make it the second best October opener of all time, bumping the comedy 2000 comedy Meet the Parents to third place. TCM follows the likes of October champ Red Dragon, which debuted in 2002 with $36.5 million; the 2000 comedy Meet the Parents, with $28.6 million; the 2002 comedy Jackass: The Movie, with $22.7 million; and the 2001 drama Training Day with $22.5 million.
Last week's box office champ, Quentin Tarantino's equally brutal R rated thriller Kill Bill Vol. 1, wasn't able to fend off Leatherface's onslaught. The film came in second with a tame $12.5 million.
This week's only other new wide release, the courtroom thriller Runaway Jury, debuted in third place with an expected $12.1 million, while the Jack Black comedy School of Rock rolled into fourth place with a rockin' $11.3 million. Clint Eastwood's Oscar buzz pic Mystic River, which took in an impressive $45,491 per-screen average when it debuted in 13 theaters last week, rounded out the Top Five in its first week of wide release with $10.3 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's R rated horror The Texas Chainsaw Massacre debuted with an ESTIMATED $29.1 million in 3,016 theaters with a tangible $9,649 per theater average-the highest of any film playing wide this week.
In the film, a free-spirited road trip across Texas runs headlong into madness for five friends when they encounter a bizarre family and a chainsaw-wielding man known as Leatherface.
Directed by Marcus Nispel, it stars Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, Mike Vogel, Erica Leerhsen and Andrew Bryniarski.
Miramax Films' R rated Kill Bill Vol. 1, last week's box office champ, came in second in its second week with an ESTIMATED $12.5 million (-43%) in 3,102 theaters (unchanged, $4,030 per theater). It's cume is approximately $43.3
Directed by Tarantino, it stars Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah and David Carradine.
Twentieth Century Fox's R rated courtroom thriller Runaway Jury opened in third place with an ESTIMATED $12.1 million in 2,815 theaters with a $4,298 per theater average.
In the film, the latest Grisham adaptation, a young widow brings a civil suit against a powerful gun manufacturing corporation she holds responsible for the death of her husband.
Directed by Gary Fleder, it stars John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz.
Paramount Pictures' PG-13 rated comedy School of Rock, dropped two positions to No. 4 in its third week with an ESTIMATED $11.3 million (-27%) in 2,951 theaters (+22 theaters; $3,829 per theater). Its cume is approximately $55.1 million.
Directed by Richard Linklater, it stars Black, Joan Cusack and Michael White.
Warner Bros.' R rated drama Mystic River expanded in its second week to round out the Top Five with an ESTIMATED $10.3 million in 1,467 theaters (+1,454 theaters; $7,059 per theater). Its cume is approximately $13.4 million.
The film centers on three childhood friends who share a tragic event from the past and cross paths again 25 years later when one of the men's daughters is found brutally murdered.
Directed by Clint Eastwood, it stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Laura Linney and Marcia Gay Harden.
MGM's PG rated canine comedy Good Boy! fell three spots to come in sixth in its third week with an ESTIMATED $9 million (-31%) in 3,225 theaters (unchanged; $2,791 per theater). Its cume is approximately $25.7 million.
Directed by John Hoffman, it stars Liam Aiken and the vocal talents of Matthew Broderick, Brittany Murphy, Carl Reiner and Vanessa Redgrave as the dog Hubble and his four-legged friends.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
Universal Pictures' PG 13 rated romantic comedy Intolerable Cruelty dropped three rungs to place seventh in its second week with an ESTIMATED $6.8 million (-45%) in 2,570 theaters (+6 theaters, $2,680 per theater). Its cume is approximately $23 million.
Produced by Ethan Coen and directed by Joel Coen, it stars George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
MGM Pictures' R rated police thriller Out of Time fell three notches to eighth place in its third week with an ESTIMATED $4.1 million (-52%) at 2,344 theaters (-732; $1,749 per theater). Its cume is approximately $35.3 million.
Directed by Carl Franklin, it stars Washington, Eva Mendes, Sanaa Lathan and Dean Cain.
Buena Vista's PG-13 rated romantic comedy Under the Tuscan Sun fell five notches to No. 9 in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $3.4 million (-31%) in 1,663 theaters (-38 theaters; $2,044 per theater). Its cume is approximately $33.7 million.
Directed by Audrey Wells, it stars Diane Lane, Sandra Oh, Vincent Riotta and Raoul Bova.
Universal Pictures' PG-13 rated jungle actioner The Rundown fell three rungs in its fourth place week to round out the Top Ten with an ESTIMATED $2.8 million (-45%) in 2,099 theaters (-724 theaters; $1,355 per theater). Its cume is approximately $44.5 million.
Directed by Peter Berg, it stars The Rock, Seann William Scott, Rosario Dawson and Christopher Walken.
Buena Vista' PG rated biopic Veronica Guerin debuted in 472 theaters with $603,000 with a soft $1,278 per theater average.
In the film, set in the mid-1990s, journalist Veronica Guerin covers the powerful drug lords battling for control of the street of Dublin, Ireland.
Directed by Joel Schumacher, it stars Cate Blanchett, Gerard McSorely and Ciaran Hinds.
Focus Features' R rated biopic Sylvia debuted in three theaters with an ESTIMATED $52,000 with an impressive $17,333 per theater average.
The film is a biopic of American poet Sylvia Plath and her turbulent marriage to a future poet laureate of England, Ted Hughes.
Directed by Christine Jeffs, the film stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Daniel Craig.
United Artists' PG-13 teen drama Pieces of April opened in six theaters with $48,000 with a strong $8,000 per theater average.
In the film, 21-year-old April Burns invites her estranged, straight-laced family for Thanksgiving dinner for a disastrous evening.
Directed by Peter Hedges, it stars Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt and Derek Luke.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $105.2 million, up 7.5 percent from last weekend's $73.5 million. The Top 12 movies were also up 43 percent from this time last year when they took in $97.9 million.
Last year, Dreamworks' R rated thriller The Ring debuted at No. 1 with $15 million in 1,981 theaters ($7,580 per theater); Buena Vista's PG-13 rated comedy Sweet Home Alabama also stayed in second place in its fourth week with $9.5 million in 3,282 theaters ($2,913 per theater); and Universal's R rated thriller Red Dragon followed in third place in its third week with $8.7 million in 3,307 theaters ($2,650 per theater).
This is the dawning of the age of Kelly Ripa.
The All My Children actress and Live with Regis and Kelly co-host could walk away with two Emmys this year. Ripa was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the ABC soap, and her morning chat show with Regis Philbin received a nod for Best Talk Show.
Ripa's husband, actor Mark Consuelos, was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role on AMC. Ripa and Consuelos met while working on the show, where they play married couple Hayley and Mateo Santos.
In all, AMC leads the way with a total of 21 nominations. Star Susan Lucci, who finally won an Emmy in 1999 after being nominated 21 times, is up for Best Lead Actress. But the actress is facing stiff competition: She's up against co-star Finola Hughes, The Bold and the Beautiful's Susan Flannery and As the World Turns' Martha Byrne and Colleen Zenk Pinter.
With 55 nominations, CBS leads the way in overall network nods. ABC and PBS are close behind with 49 nominations each.
Nominations were announced at a special ceremony hosted by Maury Povich in the Rainbow Room restaurant on Thursday. Highlights of the nomination announcements were broadcast live on CBS' The Early Show.
The 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards presentation will be broadcast from Madison Square Garden on May 17 on CBS.
Here is a list of the major nominations:
All My Children (ABC)
As the World Turns (CBS)
One Life to Live (ABC)
The Young and the Restless (CBS)
Lead Actress, Drama Series:
Susan Lucci, All My Children (ABC)
Martha Byrne, As the World Turns (CBS)
Susan Flannery, The Bold and the Beautiful (CBS)
Finola Hughes, All My Children (ABC)
Colleen Zenk Pinter, As the World Turns (CBS)
Lead Actor, Drama Series:
Peter Bergman, The Young & the Restless (CBS)
Jack Scalia, All My Children (ABC)
Vincent Irizarry, All My Children (ABC)
Hunt Block, As the World Turns (CBS)
Robert Newman, Guiding Light (CBS)
Supporting Actress, Drama Series:
Maura West, As the World Turns (CBS)
Kelly Ripa, All My Children (ABC)
Kelley Hensley, As the World Turns (CBS)
Beth Ehlers, Guiding Light (CBS)
Crystal Chappell, Guiding Light (CBS)
Supporting Actor, Drama Series:
Josh Duhamel, All My Children (ABC)
Benjamin Hendrickson, As the World Turns (CBS)
Mark Consuelos, All My Children (ABC)
Cameron Mathison, All My Children (ABC)
Paul Leyden, As the World Turns (CBS)
The Rosie O'Donnell Show (syndicated)
Live with Regis and Kelly (syndicated)
The View (ABC)
The Montel Williams Show (syndicated)
Talk Show Host:
Rosie O'Donnell, The Rosie O'Donnell Show (syndicated)
Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa, Live with Regis and Kelly (syndicated)
Montel Williams, The Montel Williams Show (syndicated)
Barbara Walters, Star Jones, Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar, Lisa Ling, The View (ABC)
The Price Is Right (CBS)
Hollywood Squares (syndicated)
Win Ben Stein's Money (Comedy Central)
Game Show Host:
Alex Trebek, Jeopardy! (syndicated)
Bob Barker, The Price Is Right (CBS)
Ben Stein and Nancy Pimental, Win Ben Stein's Money (Comedy Central)
Pat Sajak, Wheel of Fortune (syndicated)
Reading Rainbow (PBS)
Between the Lions (PBS)
Even Stevens (Disney Channel)
Discovery Kids Ultimate Guide to the Awesome (Discovery)
Pre-School Children's Series:
Blue's Clues (Nickelodeon)
Sesame Street (PBS)
Martha Stewart Living (syndicated)
This Old House (PBS)
Essence of Emeril (Food Network)
The Christopher Lowell Show (Discovery)
Wolfgang Puck (Food Network)
Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg (who just finished shooting Minority Report, set for June release), are set to team up again for Ghost Soldiers, a World War II film about the Japanese prison camp survivors of the Bataan Death March, Variety reports. The film will be based upon the bestselling book by the same name and will be produced by Cruise's company, C/W Prods.
Julia Roberts' production company, Shoelace Prods., is teaming up with Revolution Studios to create the CBS drama Queens Supreme (no, not a Taco Bell burrito for royalty). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show will take a behind-the-scenes look at the trial court system in New York.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, who worked together in the upcoming film Gangs of New York, will team up again for a film about legendary movie mogul Howard Hughes. According to Variety, Jim Carrey and Christopher Nolan (Memento) are also said to be working on a separate Hughes project.
Gene Hackman's absence from recent award shows like the AFI and the Golden Globes is due to his new purchase: an island! Variety reports the land is off the Washington coast, but the actor has been in the Caribbean shopping for a boat. Maybe being the "Royal" of The Royal Tenenbaums will prompt him to pick up a scepter for his new kingdom.
The appropriately named Jennifer Love Hewitt will star in Fox's new comedy My Romance that her own LoveSpell Prods. is co-producing, according the Hollywood Reporter. The show is about an artist who gives up on love, only to realize love ends up finding her. (Makes you wonder what the show would be about if Hewitt's name had "Forest" or "Frankfurter" in it.)
Speaking of names, Rosie O' Donnell ought to change hers to "Accident Prone." People reports the comedian told Rosie show guest Kate Winslet that she "may have broken a toe" after falling down several steps of her 112-step home Wednesday night.
The words "canceled" or "terminated" seem interchangeable, don't they? Not according to Mariah Carey's attorneys, who claim they're ready to sue record giant EMI for using the "T" word instead of the agreed-upon "C" word when they publicly announced their $28 million contract break from Carey. The BBC reports EMI is ready to counter-sue, if necessary.
The 66-year-old singer Loretta Lynn will soon be Dr. Loretta Lynn, according to The Associated Press. The University of Kentucky will bestow the honorary doctorate in arts to Lynn at the Society for American Music's 28th annual meeting March 6-10 on the university's Lexington campus.
Conan O'Brien's Late Night contract with NBC expires in Sept., and Fox is up for the chase. PageSix.com reports Fox could offer O'Brien substantially more than the reported $2 million a year paycheck he gets now from NBC. Negotiations have yet to be finalized.
Rapper Jay-Z and R&B star R. Kelly have collaborated for The Best of Both Worlds, a CD set to hit shelves March 26, the AP reports. Both artists are Grammy winners and multi-platinum artists.
Antonio Banderas will star in the Broadway revival of Nine, a 1982 musical based on Federico Fellini's film 8 1/2, Variety reports. The show will open in Jan. 2003, with David Leveaux directing.
Liza Minnelli begins her European tour beginning April 2, according to the AP, after she weds 55-year-old producer David Gest on March 16. The wedding will be Minnelli's fourth and Gest's first.
Rocker Stuart Adamson of Big Country reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.279, three times the legal limit, when he was found hanged in Hawaii in December, according to Reuters. The Honolulu Medical Examiner's office ruled the death a suicide.
Actress Rebecca Gayheart has settled a wrongful death lawsuit out of court, People reports. When the actress struck and killed a 9-year-old boy last year with her car, she was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to produce a safe-driving video.