My Top Ten Tom Petty Songs

I’ve listened to a whole lot of Tom Petty over the past few days since we’ve learned of the legendary singer’s untimely death. Yet more than most artists, his songs (the majority with his group The Heartbeakers) have been part of our fabric forever.

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for over a week now. Truth be told, deciding on a Top Ten Petty Songs is almost impossible. My best advice – get on your streaming service or get out your record player and enjoy this musical genius.

These are my personal top ten favorite songs by him-

10. “It’s Good to Be King” from Wildflowers (1994)

9. “Breakdown” from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)

8. “Walls (Circus)” from Songs and Music from She’s the One (1996)

7. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” from Greatest Hits (1993)

6. “Southern Accents” from Southern Accents (1985)

5. “I Won’t Back Down” from Full Moon Fever (1989)

4. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” from Full Moon Fever (1989)

3. “American Girl” from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1976)

2. “Free Fallin” from Full Moon Fever (1989)

1. “Don’t Do Me Like That” from Damn the Torpedoes (1979)



Box Office Predictions: October 20-22

We have an extremely busy weekend ahead with four new pictures looking to join the top five. They are the Tyler Perry holiday themed sequel Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, firefighter drama Only the Brave, disaster action flick Geostorm, and Michael Fassbender thriller The Snowman. You can peruse my detailed prediction posts on each here:

While I don’t have Boo 2! earning quite as much as its predecessor from last October, it shouldn’t have much trouble debuting at #1 as Perry’s fan base should show up.

It’s the 2-5 spots that could be really interesting. Current champ Happy Death Day scored a terrific debut and may not even fall 50% due to the Halloween proximity and decent buzz.

Only the Brave is receiving positive reviews and I’m forecasting it will premiere slightly above both Geostorm and The Snowman. All in all, I only have $3.1 million separating the runner-up to first place and the five spot.

There is one other debut as the Pure Flix feature Same Kind of Different as Me with Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger opens on a fairly low 1250 screens. I don’t expect much from it and I’ll estimate a $2.6 million take.

And with that, my top 5 predictions for the weekend:

1. Boo 2! A Madea Halloween

Predicted Gross: $23.8 million

2. Happy Death Day

Predicted Gross: $13.9 million (representing a drop of 46%)

3. Only the Brave

Predicted Gross: $12.3 million

4. Geostorm

Predicted Gross: $11.6 million

5. The Snowman

Predicted Gross: $10.8 million

Box Office Results (October 1315)

Friday the 13th was a lucky day and it was a lucky weekend for Happy Death Day, the latest hit from Blumhouse. The well-reviewed horror pic scared up a sizzling $26 million compared to my $20.6M projection, more than five times its tiny budget. With Split and Get Out having scored megabucks earlier this year for its studio, Blumhouse has announced itself as the premiere distributor for these genre titles.

Blade Runner 2049 dropped to second with $15.4 million. My prediction? $15.4 million! The sci fi epic sequel’s disappointing earnings sit at $60 million.

Jackie Chan’s The Foreigner opened at the greater end of expectations with a sturdy $13.1 million, easily eclipsing my $8.8M prediction.

It was fourth with $6 million. My prediction? $6 million! It’s made $314 million.

The Mountain Between Us rounded out the top five with $5.7 million. My prediction? $5.7 million! Its two week total is $20 million. So I’ll give myself a pat on the back for my holdover guesses this weekend!

Lastly, the Chadwick Boseman biopic Marshall opened rather quietly in 11th place with $3 million (I was a bit higher at $4M).

The House Movie Review

I’m not sure if I’m “spoiling” anything here, but Jeremy Renner takes a break from franchises and shows up in the final third of The House. Playing a bad guy, the mere fact of his presence is meant to elicit laughter because… well, I’m not entirely sure why. That’s emblematic of the film itself. You have have a lot of famous performers (most known for their comedic skills unlike Renner) trapped in a flimsy concept that only manages to wring less than 90 minutes of material. And there certainly isn’t an hour and a half’s worth of funny.

Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler are Scott and Kate Johansen, a middle-class couple about to become empty nesters as their daughter Alex (Ryan Simpkins) is about to enter college. It’s the summer before her exit and her folks are trying to maximize their time with her. They’re a bit of the overprotective type who smother their kid and guilt her into Walking Dead nights instead of visiting her friends. Alex’s higher ed plans take a hit when the Johansens learn a long-planned for scholarship is kaput because a corrupt city councilman (Nick Kroll) would rather spend it on a community pool.

With the need to make some fast money, what’s this seemingly normal couple to do? In this high concept exercise, the answer is teaming with down on his luck divorcee neighbor Frank (Jason Mantzoukas) and opening an illegal casino. The scheme yields dollars but other complications that come with the high roller life. Criminal elements enter the mix and this new job also gives the Johansens a personality transplant into a hard partying couple who start to believe their dangerous notoriety.

Bottom line is that we see Ferrell do his goofy Everyman type turned goofy comedic hard ass. If you find that irresistible, maybe there’s enough to sustain you here. Yet this effort from director Andrew J. Cohen (who co-wrote the much more satisfactory Neighbors) hits its marks with infrequency. Adam McKay is a producer here and he’s done better work with Ferrell. I couldn’t help but wonder if the sometimes sharp political commentary McKay brings to his work would have helped here. I’m pretty sure the script is trying to say something about the plight of the middle class and their earning power, but it’s buried in spurting blood gags and believing Jeremy Renner turning up will work as a gag on its own terms. There’s humorous moments peppered throughout, but nowhere near enough to recommend it.

** (out of four)

The Beguiled Movie Review

Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled is a more satisfying exercise in atmosphere than in storytelling. A remake of an early 70s Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood production, the film sets us three years into the Civil War in Virginia at a nearly abandoned girls school. The inhabitants consist of just five students, head teacher Miss Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman), and other instructor Edwina (Kirsten Dunst).

Their quiet existence is jolted when wounded Union soldier Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) seeks refuge to recover from his injuries. This is when a series of ulterior motives plays out over an hour and a half. Miss Farnsworth runs her enterprise with an exacting demeanor that the Corporal’s presence alters. Edwina is looking to escape the confines of the Southern mansion’s trappings and sees the Corporal’s presence as that chance. Alicia (Elle Fanning) is the feisty student and the Corporal’s presence awakens her desires for further rebellion. As for the Corporal? His motives are an ever-changing guessing game as he charms his way through the lonely home and the people in them.

The Beguiled is ultimately a tale of empowerment told in a melodramatic and brisk manner. Clocking in at just over 90 minutes, writer/director Coppola hits the mark creating the claustrophobic setting. There may be a massive war going on around them that’s affecting their lives, but the picture sets its sights solely on the drama in the home. That said, the action happening inside is only somewhat intriguing. That may just be a matter of a rather simple concept that can only go so far in dramatic weight.

The performances are uniformly fine, but it’s Kidman who has the best material to work with in shaping her character. You question where her actions come from and how her back story informs them. Not so much with the rest of the players. Ultimately The Beguiled is a bit of a disappointment that still evokes an often interesting sense of time and place.

**1/2 (out of four)

Oscar Watch: Wonder Wheel

As the New York Film Festival draws to its close, another piece of the Oscar puzzle has revealed itself with Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel. Early critical reaction is a bit mixed yet there seems to be general consensus that Kate Winslet’s lead performance is wonderful.

As has been discussed numerous times already on the blog, Best Actress looks packed with this year. There’s already acclaimed performances from Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Margot Robbie in I, Tonya, Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes, Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water, Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul, and Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game, among others. That’s in addition to Meryl Streep’s unseen but likely contending work in The Post. Even with all that significant competition, Winslet could well be in line for her 8th nomination, having won once in 2008 for The Reader.

The cinematography for Wheel has also received praise and that’s certainly a race where a nod is doable. However, I am now thinking Woody’s latest is a long shot to nab a Best Picture nomination and Original Screenplay seems less assured now (that’s another crowded category). Juno Temple has received some decent ink today, but a Supporting Actress nomination could be a stretch. Male costars Justin Timberlake and Jim Belushi appear to be non-factors.

Bottom line: Winslet keeps her name in the mix, but other categories seem less likely now than they did yesterday.

My Oscar Watch posts will continue…

Todd’s 2017 Weekly Oscar Predictions: October 12th Edition

It’s Thursday and that means a fresh round of my weekly Oscar predictions in the eight major categories. Some thoughts from the past week:

I can’t help but wonder if the disappointing box office performance of Blade Runner 2049 will hurt its chances at nominations for Picture and Director. It certainly doesn’t help. I had the film and director Denis Villeneuve getting in last week. Today that changes, but we’ll see if it manages to rise back up in subsequent weeks.

Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel is slated to premiere at the New York Film Festival tonight and that means reviews will be up. I have it getting nominations in Picture, Actress, and Original Screenplay right now, but lots of questions will be answered in a matter of hours.

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project seems to be garnering a lot of goodwill and for the first time, I have it taking a major jump into an actual nomination. We’ll see if that sticks.

Finally, it appears Steven Spielberg’s The Post will qualify for Original Screenplay and not Adapted as previously thought. That change has been reflected here.

Let’s get to it!

Best Picture

Predicted Nominees:

1. Dunkirk (Previous Ranking: 1)

2. The Post (PR: 2)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 6)

6. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

7. Mudbound (PR: 7)

8. Wonder Wheel (PR: 9)

9. The Florida Project (PR: 19)

Other Possibilities:

10. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 8)

11. Last Flag Flying (PR: 12)

12. Detroit (PR: 13)

13. Battle of the Sexes (PR: 11)

14. The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 15)

15. Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

16. The Greatest Showman (PR: 14)

17. I, Tonya (PR: 17)

18. Downsizing (PR: 18)

19. Get Out (PR: 16)

20. All the Money in the World (PR: 21)

21. Wonderstruck (PR: 24)

22. Lady Bird (PR: 20)

23. The Big Sick (PR: 22)

24. Wind River (PR: Not Ranked)

25. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Molly’s Game

Best Director

Predicted Nominees:

1. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk (PR: 1)

2. Steven Spielberg, The Post (PR: 2)

3. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water (PR: 3)

4. Joe Wright, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

5. Dee Rees, Mudbound (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 7)

7. Denis Villeneuve, Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 5)

8. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 8)

9. Woody Allen, Wonder Wheel (PR: 9)

10. Sean Baker, The Florida Project (PR: Not Ranked)

11. Kathryn Bigelow, Detroit (PR: 11)

12. Clint Eastwood, The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 14)

13. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread (PR: 10)

14. Richard Linklater, Last Flag Flying (PR: 12)

15. Jordan Peele, Get Out (PR: 13)

Dropped Out:

Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Battle of the Sexes

Best Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour (PR: 1)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread (PR: 2)

3. Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman (PR: 4)

4. Tom Hanks, The Post (PR: 3)

5. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger (PR: 6)

7. Steve Carell, Last Flag Flying (PR: 8)

8. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel Esq. (PR: 7)

9. Andrew Garfield, Breathe (PR: 11)

10. James Franco, The Disaster Artist (PR: 9)

11. Donald Sutherland, The Leisure Seeker (PR: 10)

12. Jeremy Renner, Wind River (PR: 13)

13. Christian Bale, Hostiles (PR: 12)

14. Algee Smith, Detroit (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Jason Clarke, Chappaquiddick (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Domhnall Gleeson, Goodbye Christopher Robin

Best Actress 

Predicted Nominees:

1. Meryl Streep, The Post (PR: 1)

2. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya (PR: 3)

4. Kate Winslet, Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes (PR: 5)

Other Possibilities:

6. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water (PR: 7)

7. Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (PR: 6)

8. Judi Dench, Victoria and Abdul (PR: 8)

9. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Daniela Vega, A Fantastic Woman (PR: 10)

11. Brooklyn Prince, The Florida Project (PR: 13)

12. Annette Bening, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (PR: 11)

13. Diane Kruger, In the Fade (PR: 12)

14. Carey Mulligan, Mudbound (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

Jennifer Lawrence, mother!

Best Supporting Actor

Predicted Nominees:

1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project (PR: 1)

2. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 2)

3. Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 3)

4. Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name (PR: 5)

5. Mark Rylance, Dunkirk (PR: 6)

Other Possibilities:

6. Jason Mitchell, Mudbound (PR: 7)

7. Ben Mendelsohn, Darkest Hour (PR: 4)

8. Michael Shannon, The Shape of Water (PR: 8)

9. Will Poulter, Detroit (PR: 11)

10. Kevin Spacey, All the Money in the World (PR: 9)

11. Christoph Waltz, Downsizing (PR: 13)

12. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water (PR: Not Ranked)

13. Patrick Stewart, Logan (PR: 12)

14. Colin Farrell, The Beguiled (PR: Not Ranked)

15. Jim Belushi, Wonder Wheel (PR: 15)

Dropped Out:

Bryan Cranston, Last Flag Flying

Laurence Fishburne, Last Flag Flying

Best Supporting Actress

Predicted Nominees:

1. Allison Janney, I, Tonya (PR: 1)

2. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird (PR: 4)

3. Melissa Leo, Novitiate (PR: 2)

4. Hong Chau, Downsizing (PR: 5)

5. Holly Hunter, The Big Sick (PR: 7)

Other Possibilities:

6. Kristin Scott Thomas, Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

7. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound (PR: 8)

8. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water (PR: 6)

9. Kirsten Dunst, The Beguiled (PR: 9)

10. Claire Foy, Breathe (PR: 10)

11. Julianne Moore, Wonderstruck (PR: 11)

12. Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck (PR: 12)

13. Tatiana Maslany, Stronger (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Juno Temple, Wonder Wheel (PR: 13)

15. Sarah Paulson, The Post (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

Margot Robbie, Goodbye Christopher Robin

Cicely Tyson, Last Flag Flying

Best Adapted Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Call Me by Your Name (PR: 2)

2. Mudbound (PR: 3)

3. Molly’s Game (PR: 5)

4. Last Flag Flying (PR: 4)

5. Wonderstruck (PR: 8)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Beguiled (PR: 10)

7. Victoria and Abdul (PR: 7)

8. Blade Runner 2049 (PR: 6)

9. The 15:17 to Paris (PR: 12)

10. All the Money in the World (PR: 9)

11. The Disaster Artist (PR: 11)

12. Stronger (PR: 13)

13. The Death of Stalin (PR: Not Ranked)

14. Thank You for Your Service (PR: 15)

15. Wonder (PR: 14)

Dropped Out:

The Post (moved to Original Screenplay)

Best Original Screenplay

Predicted Nominees:

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (PR: 1)

2. The Post (PR: Not Ranked, moved from Adapted Screenplay)

3. The Shape of Water (PR: 2)

4. Wonder Wheel (PR: 4)

5. Darkest Hour (PR: 3)

Other Possibilities:

6. The Florida Project (PR: 11)

7. The Big Sick (PR: 5)

8. Get Out (PR: 6)

9. Lady Bird (PR: 9)

10. Dunkirk (PR: 7)

11. I, Tonya (PR: 8)

12. Downsizing (PR: 12)

13. Phantom Thread (PR: 13)

14. Wind River (PR: 14)

15. Detroit (PR: Not Ranked)

Dropped Out:

The Greatest Showman

And there you have it! I’ll be back at it next Thursday with fresh predictions…

Geostorm Box Office Prediction

Next weekend we will find out if Geostorm is a direct hit or disaster at the box office… or somewhere in the middle. The disaster pic marks the directorial debut of Dean Devlin, known most for producing efforts from Roland Emmerich, including Stargate, Independence Day and its sequel, and 1998’s Godzilla. Gerard Butler headlines a cast that features Ed Harris, Abbie Cornish, Jim Sturgess, Andy Garcia, and Richard Schiff.

The film was originally scheduled by Warner Bros for release over a year and a half ago. That kind of delay usually doesn’t inspire confidence. There are also movies debuting against it that could siphon some audience away, including Only the Brave and The Snowman. 

I’ll predict Geostorm doesn’t even reach the teens for a muted start.

Geostorm opening weekend prediction: $11.6 million

For my Boo 2! A Madea Halloween prediction, click here:

For my Only the Brave prediction, click here:

For my The Snowman prediction, click here:

The Snowman Box Office Prediction

Next weekend, Universal Pictures will find out whether The Snowman gets a hot or icy reception at the box office. The thriller is based on a bestseller and stars Michael Fassbender as a detective chasing a serial killer who goes by the title. Tomas Alfredson, maker of critically acclaimed pics Let the Right One In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, directs. The supporting cast includes Rebecca Ferguson, Charlotte Gainsbourg, J.K. Simmons, Toby Jones, Chloe Sevigny, James D’Arcy, and Val Kilmer.

While the director’s previous efforts have met with critical approval, reviews for this aren’t so good. It stands at just 27% currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Additionally, there are other pics opening directly against it that could compete for an adult crowd like Only the Brave and Geostorm. 

The marketing has attempted to stress a horror vibe, so it’s only hope could be genre fans coming out. That said, I’ll estimate this just manages to reach double digits for a rather cold opening.

The Snowman opening weekend prediction: $10.8 million

For my Boo 2! A Madea Halloween prediction, click here:

For my Only the Brave prediction, click here:

For my Geostorm prediction, click here:

Only the Brave Box Office Prediction

Only the Brave opens next weekend and it stands the best shot at being the second highest grosser of the five newbies hitting screens after Boo 2! A Madea Halloween. Joseph Kosinski, director of Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, is behind the lens for this true-life action/drama focused on a crew taking on devastating wildfires. Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, James Badge Dale, Taylor Kitsch, Jennifer Connelly, and Andie MacDowell are among the cast.

There will some competition for adults and action fans with premieres like The Snowman and Geostorm. However, Brave could have a minor leg up with its solid reviews and the unfortunate timeliness of its storyline.

I’ll say a debut in the low double digits is probable.

Only the Brave opening weekend prediction: $12.3 million

For my Boo 2! A Madea Halloween prediction, click here:

For my Geostorm prediction, click here:

For my The Snowman prediction, click here:

Boo 2! A Madea Halloween Box Office Prediction

Tyler’s Perry Madea character looks to say hello to the #1 spot again next weekend when Boo 2! A Madea Halloween debuts. As is the case with these ventures, the star both directs and writes. Costars include Cassi Davis and Patrice Lovely.

On this same weekend last year, A Madea Halloween opened a bit above expectations with $28 million, ruling the box office for two weeks and grossing $73 million overall. The uptick was a bit of a surprise since the previous holiday themed pic A Madea Christmas earned the lowest opening ($16M) of the six flicks carrying the Madea moniker and lowest overall domestic gross ($52M). 

Last October proved audiences still had love for the character and I don’t see that subsiding much here. Sequelitis may come into small effect, but a smallish decline of close to 20% under its predecessor still gets this in the low to mid 20s and that should be good enough for the top spot.

Boo 2! A Madea Halloween opening weekend prediction: $23.8 million

For my Only the Brave prediction, click here:

For my Geostorm prediction, click here:

For my The Snowman prediction, click here: