A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away on the planet Insultaron, there was a race of people known as the Zings. They were far more technologically advanced than all the neighboring planets because their technology was fueled with the fire of a million red hot suns. Yes, they used the burning red of embarassed faces and the tittering of giggles to run all the engines and fire up all the circuits. In order to perpetuate the free flow of energy from the angry and debased members of its society, they built the Zingbots, electronic creatures with tiny little arms (that were more or less completely ineffective), glistening aerodynamic hulls, and one beady red eye that can find the flaw in any human being and expose it to the world in the meanest, cleverest, ZING!-iest insult to maximize their embarrassment, their anger, and the laughter of others. The bot then snatches up all that extraneous energy and stores it to power the planet of the Zings. When it does this, it makes an indelible noise that sounds something like, "ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!"
Many, many years ago (many cycles of the Zing calendar), the elders of the planet had a plan. They thought that instead of sending the ZingBots roaming aimlessly around the globe insulting everyone in the populace, they could just take 12 people — 12 of their most ridiculous citizens — and put them in a house for an entire summer and let the Zingbot humiliate them over and over. They would put it on television and capture the laughter of the world at these eight people instead of inflicting the scars of harassment on everyone under their dominion. The funny thing is, when they got together in this televised event, the people started humiliating themselves and the viewers started laughing at them, and the Zinbot energy capture modules couldn't keep up with the overabundance of energy. This caused the whole entire planet to explode and destroyed the great Zing civilization.
But luckily for us, there was one Zingbot that was orbiting the planet at the time and his space shuttle was thrown across space as a result of the explosion of the planet Zing and landed in the back yard of Big Brother executive produce Alison Grodner. When she heard about the Zings she know that she could keep this insulting robot powered up by letting him loose in the BB house once a year. Last night, it was that holiday. Yes, for BB fans it is like Christmas, New Years, and your cousin Timmy's Bar Mitzvah all rolled up into one day. It is Zingbot day!
The Zingbot went around the house and insulted everyone. Ashley is stupid. ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! Shane wears pink tank tops. ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! Britney lost to the Brigade. ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! Boogie is old. ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! Ian can't get laid. ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! Frank looks like Little Orphan Annie (frankly, I would have gone with Carrot Top or Wendy of fast food fame, personally, but still...). ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! "Danielle, Shane has something to give you when you leave the Big Brother house. A restraining order." ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! Oh, Double ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! Oh, Jenn, you're still here. Whatever. No ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG for you. As for Wig, he didn't get Zinged. They cut it out of the show for whatever reason (at least as far as I could tell). I think because The Zingbot just said, "And Wig...." and just looked at him and everyone knew exactly what he meant and they all started to laugh and laugh and laugh. ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!
Then it was time for the Veto competition. My favorite part is that it wasn't one of those "Remember what Zingbot said" competitions. It had nothing at all to do with Zingbot, really. He was just there to insult everyone and then hang out and watch them construct some kind of pipe maze that would give him a little zinging son and whoever delivered that baby would win the Power of Veto. Meanwhile all the other contestants made up mean ranks about each other and said ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! "Oh, Shane, you suck at laying pipe. Just ask Danielle." ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG! Yes, Frank and Wig and Joe all played since they were up for nomination. Shane and Boogie were also in the competition and Joe chose Ashley because she's handicapped and he thought he could beat her. No, I'm not talking about her mental capacity (ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!) I'm talking about her bad back, which is keeping her from competing. Oh, there was also a slight rippling in the wind and a little ghost with red hair whose name no one seems to know was also playing. The puzzle pieces were just floating through the air as someone made a, "OOoohhhooooOOooOOOhhhhh...." noise like it was a haunted house. That is what happened.
So Frank finally wins the Veto competition, which seemed to be rather hard (something Boogie can't get anymore ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!) and everyone goes into a tizzy. Britney and Dan are nervous that Dan is going to go up on the block, and if he does they think that Frank and Boogie have the votes to get him out of the house. Wig, in a desperate attempt to save himself goes upstairs with Ashley and tells Frank he needs to get rid of Dan or they're going to vote against him, which I would say is a hair-brained scheme because Wig thought it up and brought Ashley, but it's actually a pretty decent plan.
Frank is determined to use the veto and back door Dan. Britney, afraid something is going on, dispatches Ian, who is loyal to the "Quack Pack" but doesn't know that his fellow alliance mates have founded the "Silent Six" without him, goes and finds out that Frank does want to put up Dan. (On a side note, Britney hating to have to say Quack Pack out loud is one of the bajillion reasons that she is my favorite.) Ian, who is turning into a savvy player, tells them about it, but tells them not to freak out because then his cover is blown and Dan will definitely go up. Ian is getting smarter and smarter, but his place in the game is so uncertain. What he really needs to do is pit the Quack Pack and Mike and Frank and come out the victor. But I think his feelings are going to be so hurt about the Silent Six that when he finds out he'll totally implode.
This was smart because, in the morning, Frank tells Boogie his plan and Boogie tells him how freaking stupid it is. If Frank goes after Dan they are screwed from then on. No one will trust them, everyone will be after them, and if Boogie doesn't win HoH, they'd both get nominated. Boogie says, "If you do this, it's game over." He's right. That would be the end of Frank's game. So he does the smart thing and leaves the nominations the same. Now, if only he'd do the smart thing and get himself a haircut. ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!
So, who do you think is going home? I gotta say it's probably Wig, because he's more of a threat, but he at least has a few friends which Joe doesn't. And he yells so much. So maybe we should keep Wig around for a bit, or maybe he can eke out a victory by a hair. ZZZZZIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGG!
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: CBS]
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Jay Roach’s political comedy couldn’t have come at a better time. Just as the U.S. is beginning to suffer from the fatigue that comes with enduring the final months of the heated presidential campaign between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis give us exactly what we need: a good laugh.
The Campaign stars Ferrell as Conservative Senate shoe-in Cam Newton who gets himself in a bit of a campaigning pickle – if you can call a widely publicized sexual slip-up a pickle – and prompts the powers that be (an evil duo courtesy of the always fantastic John Lithgow and Dan Aykroyd) to bring in a ringer: Marty Huggins (Galifianakis). Huggins is flanked by his two trusty pugs and spends his days giving empty trolley tours of his tiny North Carolina town – a naïve happy existence that flummoxes his former political operator of a father (Brian Cox). But once Marty’s appointed campaign manager gangster Tim (a ruthless and surprisingly hilarious Dylan McDermott) Pretty-Womans the grinning familial misfit into a standard cutthroat political candidate the messy misinformation-driven games begin.
Everything we’ve ever feared or discovered about our shiny politicians during campaign season is magnified for the sake of this 90-minute cathartic joke. Right as Romney and Obama are getting headlines for the underhanded loosely regulated practice that is the campaign commercial Ferrell and Galifianakis’ characters take the seemingly lawless practice to a wonderful hyperbolic place where having a mustache makes you a friend of Sadam Hussein and splicing quotes to blaspheme your opponent is kosher. Oh wait that last part is actually true.
This story from frequent Ferrell collaborator Adam McKay along with Chris Henchy and Shawn Harwell plays on the clichés of the campaign trail and dresses them up with baby-punching and butt-licking. Right out of the gate we’re treated to Ferrell cheating on his wife with a squealing harlot in a porta-potty. The writers have no mercy for the political world and coincidentally neither do most of us. And even as the film stretches the limits of our ability to stomach schlocky gross gags it’s not entirely uncalled for. In fact this over-the-top flick is practically an extension of the way many of us view the idea of campaigning in the U.S. – the key is abject cynicism.
Raunchy gags are the name of the game but The Campaign doesn’t shirk the necessary weight of its source material. Sure Ferrell’s requisite nude scene merits a few giggles but it’s the moments that are centered on speeches and strategy that really make the film. They’re rife with spot-on frustrated commentary about the emptiness of political speeches and promises and draped in the hilarious inflections of the films’ funnymen.
But beyond the parts that make us laugh hard enough to eke out a sideways tear The Campaign actually has something that most raunchy Ferrell comedies only purport deliver: a heart-warming gooey center. We can chalk this up to Galifianikis’ Marty who represents the political fantasy we try to believe in every election: the existence of a truly honest well-meaning politician. He’s the guy who runs on the platform that “Washington is a mess” and he actually believes he can clean it up. When Cam is running his mouth about loving America Marty is the one who actually offers up idealistic solutions. To some extent Marty is a character we’ve seen before but he’s this bright spot that keeps The Campaign from becoming a long-form rant.
In addition to Galifianakis’ lovable Marty we find gems in the form of McDermott – whose phantom-like presence throughout the film is always worth a laugh – and newcomer Katherine La Nasa as Rose Cam’s gut-wrenchingly opportunistic Barbie of a wife. Oddly enough a big name like Jason Sudeikis receives low-billing this time around and perhaps it’s because his role is a rather mild one for a man who’s solidified himself as the overgrown frat-boy du jour. Still it’s Galifianakis who carries the film and Farrell’s usual shtick that provides the platform for his character’s unavoidable goodness.
The Campaign is a surprising oddly adorable summer comedy combining the disgusting cringe-worthy visuals we’ve come to expect from a Will Ferrell flick with the brains we hope for any time we see the word “political” tied to a film.
Looks like people were ready for more Middle-earth action.
As if anyone is truly surprised, the second installment of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy dominated the box office this weekend with its continuing tale about some good-hearted Hobbits who want to destroy an evil Ring, while a bunch of nasty Middle-earth denizens try and stop them.
Over the three-day weekend, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers took in a whopping $61.5 million*, towering over the number two spot captured by the new Sandra Bullock/Hugh Grant film Two Weeks Notice. The romantic comedy only managed to take in about a quarter of The Two Towers' haul at $14.4 million.
Other openers this week included another epic saga, Gangs of New York, which came in fourth with $9.1 million and the animated The Wild Thornberrys Movie, which opened strong at number six with a respectable $6.1 million.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's PG-13 rated The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers opened with an amazing three-day weekend total, ESTIMATED at $61.5 million at 3,6 22 theaters ($16, 980 per theater) and also taking in almost half of the weekend's box office (46.4 percent). Since its Wednesday, Dec. 18, opening, the film has brought in an ESTIMATED $101.5 million in total over five days.
Directed by Peter Jackson, it stars Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Orlando Bloom and Liv Tyler.
The middle part to J.R.R. Tolkien's literary fantasy epic clearly surpassed its predecessor by nearly 25 percent. On the same weekend last year, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which also opened on the Wednesday before Christmas, took in $47.2 million in three days. The film went on to pull in $94 million after its first five days, eventually grossing $313 million in North America and about $550 million overseas, according to Variety.
The Two Towers also posted the second highest domestic Wednesday opening ever, with a healthy $26 million, behind 1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace at $28.5 million, according to New Line. Fellowship of the Ring was the previous holder of the December one-day record, opening with $18.2 million.
"We are pleased and astounded," New Line distribution president David Tuckerman told Variety of The Two Towers performance.
Warner Bros.' PG-13 rated romantic comedy Two Weeks Notice opened in second place with an ESTIMATED $14.4 million at 2,755 theaters ($5, 229 per theater).
Directed by Marc Lawrence, it stars Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant.
This romantic comedy about a corporate lawyer's love/hate relationship with her boss is Bullock's second best opening in the last five films she has made. Her best opening was this summer's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which opened with a strong $16.1 million and went on to gross $69.5 million domestically. Bullock's top film Miss Congeniality opened to the smaller tune of $10 million in December 2000 but grossed $106.8 million domestically, proving the comedic actress has the star power to open films strong--and keep them that way.
The third spot belonged to Sony Pictures' Maid in Manhattan, this season's other romantic comedy, which opened last weekend at number one. Falling 41 percent, it still managed to rake in an ESTIMATED $11 million at 2,866 theaters (+28 theaters; $3,838 per theater). It's cume to date is approximately $35.5 million.
Directed by Wayne Wang, it stars Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Fiennes.
Guess a historical period piece about 1860s New York can't beat Hobbits or romance. Miramax's highly anticipated R-rated Gangs of New York opened with a less-than-exciting ESTIMATED $9.1 million at 1,504 theaters ($6,064 per theater). Still, with the film's recent slate of Golden Globe nominations, the momentum should give Gangs a fair amount of shelf life.
Directed by Martin Scorsese, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis and Cameron Diaz.
20th Century Fox's drum showstopper PG-13 rated Drumline continued to boom at number five with an ESTIMATED $7.6 million (-40%) at 1,837 theaters ($4,137 per theater). The little-film-that-could about an underdog high school band opened at No. 3 last week and has so far gained a respectable $22.8 million.
Directed by Charles Stone, it stars Nick Cannon, Zoe Saldana and Orlando Jones.
Another new flick on the block this weekend was Paramount Pictures' PG-rated The Wild Thornberrys Movie, which opened in sixth place with an ESTIMATED $6.1 million at 3,012 theaters ($2,025 per theater).
Based on the hit Nickelodeon TV show, the animated film about a family of wildlife documentary filmmakers, is directed by Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath and includes the vocal talents of Lacey Chabert, Tim Curry, Rupert Everett, Lynn Redgrave and Marisa Tomei.
Chortling in at number seven is Disney's PG-13 rated The Hot Chick, taking in an ESTIMATED $4.5 million at 2,217 theaters ($2,030 per theater). Dropping 39 percent, the body-switching comedy bowed last week in fifth place and has made approximately $13.7 million thus far.
Directed by Tom Brady, it stars Rob Schneider, Anna Faris and Rachel McAdams.
Warner Bros. PG-rated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dropped a couple of notches to No. 8 with an ESTIMATED $4.45 million (-30%) at 2,750 theaters (-275 theaters; $1,620 per theater). The second movie about our fab boy wizard and his adventures at Hogwarts has managed to eke out approximately $228.9 million in its six weeks at the box office. Not too shabby.
Directed by Chris Columbus, the film stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Isaacs, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane and Maggie Smith.
The once-popular franchise seems to have lost its steam. Paramount Pictures PG-13 rated Star Trek: Nemesis continued its disappointing run, slipping from its bow at second place last weekend to ninth with an ESTIMATED $4.4 million (-76%) at 2,711 theaters ($1,623 per theater). Its cume is approximately $26.4 million.
Directed by Stuart Baird, it stars Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Tom Hardy, Ron Perlman, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden and Marina Sirtis.
Tenth place belongs to Bond, James Bond. MGM's megahit, PG-13 rated Die Another Day, continued reaping the rewards with an ESTIMATED $4 million, dropping 49 percent at 2,075 theaters (-1,302 theaters; $1,928 per theater). One of the highest-grossing Bond films ever, its taken in approximately $138.4 million so far.
Directed by Lee Tamahori, it stars Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike, Toby Stephens and Rick Yune.
Three of the higher-profile independent films of the season opened in limited theaters this weekend, including Denzel Washington's Antwone Fisher, Spike Lee's 25th Hour and Narc starring Ray Liotta.
Fox Searchlight's PG-13 rated Antwone Fisher opened Thursday in 15 theaters at an ESTIMATED $217,500 ($14,500 per theater). The film, about a man struggles to come to terms with his abusive childhood, is directed by the Oscar-winning Washington, who also stars along with newcomer Derek Luke. Fisher will open wide Jan. 1.
Buena Vista's R-rated 25th Hour also opened Thursday in 5 theaters and took in an ESTIMATED $109,811 ($21, 962 per theater). The intense drama focuses on a drug dealer's last 24 hours before he goes to prison and how he chooses to spend it. Directed by Spike Lee, it stars Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson and Brian Cox. The film opens wide Jan. 10.
Paramount's Narc opened in 6 theaters Friday, making an ESTIMATED $66,000 ($11,000 per theater). The gritty drama stars Ray Liotta and Jason Patric as two undercover narcotics detectives after a cop killer.
The top 12 films this weekend earned $132 million, up 46.4 percent from last weekend.
This time last year, New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was number one at the box office with $47.2 million, while Warner Bros. Ocean's Eleven came in second with $14.7 million and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius third with $13.8 million.
*All estimates as reported by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.