Marvel

Guardians of the Galaxy, a Most Unlikely Blockbuster

By Mike Corbett This weekend Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy film grossed 94 million dollars, shattering the record for biggest August opening and easily becoming the number one movie in the country. At a quick glance, this seems like it would have been expected, it’s a Marvel Studios film, distributed by Disney, and every single one of those has made several boatloads of money. However, a closer look will show that this film was anything but a sure thing, and its success is actually kind of mind blowing.

Don't recognize anyone? No one does.

Prior to the publicity blitz the film received, the Guardians of the Galaxy were a relatively unknown property. Unlike pretty much every other comic book film created thus far, these weren’t famous characters with decades of stories to draw from. This version of the Guardians of the Galaxy debuted in comics in 2008, spinning out of Marvel’s Annihilation event, a two year long epic story featuring a bunch of alien characters you’ve probably never heard of. But surely fans warmed quickly to these characters and they’ve had a long running series since then, right? Nope, the series was cancelled after seventeen issues. Yet for some reason, Marvel announced plans to make a film based on the characters. Do you know how long Iron Man was around before anyone bothered to make a movie based on him? Forty five years!   The Avengers were around for forty nine years before they got their film, and it took four years and five other films to build up to that point. These Guardians of the Galaxy existed for barely two years, got cancelled and still their film pulled in 94 million dollars in its opening weekend. Maybe you can chalk this box office triumph to Disney and Marvel knowing how to market their products, or the blood sacrifices they make to Satan, but even that doesn’t fully explain the film’s success.   This is not just simply a film full of characters you’ve never heard of, it’s full of weird characters you’ve never heard of.

Arguably the two biggest stars in this film are Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. Do you know how much screen time those actors get? Zero, zilch, none, you won’t see them for a single second, because they’re only there to lend their voices to a talking, gun toting raccoon, and a walking tree that can only say a single phrase. Go ahead, read that last sentence again; does that give you a clearer picture of how amazing this film’s success is? That raccoon, Rocket, and that tree, Groot, join up with Star-Lord, played by Chris Pratt, in his first starring role, Gamora, portrayed by green painted Zoe Saldana, and Drax the Destroyer, played by former WWE Champion and inexperienced film actor Dave Bautista. Their adventure takes place entirely in deep space, at a bunch of locales you’ve never heard of and it’s all directed by James Gunn, whose notable film credits include the indie superhero comedy Super, and the gross out horror comedy Slither. This is not the recipe for a summer blockbuster, much less a record breaking one, and yet that’s exactly what happened.

Oh, you’re going to watch a talking tree and a talking raccoon, and you’re going to love them.

Against all traditional logic, Guardians of the Galaxy has become a smash hit. In a world where, not too long ago, people were skeptical of whether or not a Batman film could be a hit, it’s an incredibly impressive feat. Yes, a lot of the praise should be given to the marketing arms of Disney and Marvel for doing such a good job promoting the film, but don’t sleep on the film itself. It’s a great movie; it’s got humor, heart and action. It may be a weird space opera full of talking raccoons and walking trees, but it stands shoulder to shoulder with every other film that Marvel has released thus far. If you had any doubts about this film, there were entirely reasonable, but I’m happy to report they’re entirely unfounded. Cast those doubts aside and go see the movie, because through either witchcraft, human sacrifices, or maybe just some magic from that famous mouse, Marvel and Disney have done it again.

Who are we kidding? It was definitely through witchcraft or human sacrifices.

Mike Corbett is a level 3 sketch writing student and intern for the DCH blog. You can find more about Mike HERE. 

 

 

What We're Loving: Life Experience, Cooked Hamm Sandwich, Illiterate Hollywood

photo (1)Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison finds a new favorite tv show, Ashley Bright might be the real Don Draper, and Ryan Callahan pays a visit to 1980's Hollywood.

imgresLook, I am well aware that Andy Daly has been talked about before on this website, specifically here and here. With that said, his new show Review is my favorite thing on television right now and you need to know to check it out.  The program is a stateside interpretation of an Australian show where a host, Forrest MacNeil (Daly), reviews and rates life experiences like doing cocaine, going to prom, and being Batman.  Each episode opens with the quote “Life, it’s literally all we have, but is it any good?” which is a perfect summation of what to expect.

The show is four episodes in and, unlike most shows of this type, each episode builds on the previous  Thus far, the peak has come in week three. The episode begins with his review of eating fifteen pancakes, a task he previously found unimaginable as he’s “never eaten more than two pancakes in a month.”  The way the episode heightens his pain in the next two reviews is beautiful and I refuse to spoil any of it.  Review can be seen on Thursdays at 9 pm cst on Comedy Central or you can just come over and we’ll watch it together. Either way works for me, I just want to make sure you check out this show. - David Allison

mad-men-season-6-jon-hamm-2I'll admit it: I'm partial to Jon Hamm. His appearances during the live 30 Rock episodes were some of my favorite moments of the show. And if I can personally relate to any fictional character, it's Don Draper. You may be thinking to yourself, "Geez Ashley, you must think you're quite the cool customer." I do, but I also relate to his less cool (i.e. slightly crazy) emotional complexities. Also, we learned in the "Zu Bi Zu Bi Zu" episode that Don's birthday is June 1 - so is mine! I've gotten off topic trying to convince you that I'm as cool as Don Draper. This week I watched A Young Doctor's Notebook starring Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe. I've only watched the four episodes available on Netflix, but it was such an intriguing 80 minute nugget that I can't wait to watch the rest. So far, two seasons of four episodes each have aired on BBC. The show is cringingly amusing. I literally cringed and covered my eyes while watching it. But I also laughed. It's dark and different and recommend giving it a watch. And not just because I'm partial to Jon Hamm. - Ashley Bright

jon-peters-book-0905-03Stories of behind-the-scenes drama and the clash of creative egos have always appealed to me. Over the past few years, books like Difficult Men, Pictures at a Revolution, and Marvel: The Untold Story earned a spot on my nightstand with their gossipy takes on artists and wannabe-artists behaving badly, boldly, and blindly. Hit and Run by Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters, which I read this week, tells the story of Sony's disastrous foray into the movie business. But that's not why I'm writing about it. I'm writing about it because it contains a treasure trove of the best kind of Hollywood stories: Jon Peters stories. Jon Peters stories are the best. For those who don't know, Peters, pictured at left carrying his business partner Peter Guber, is a famous Hollywood rags to riches story. A high school drop-out turned hairdresser, Peters became, thanks to then girlfriend Barbra Streisand, a producer on the remake of A Star is Born. Peters used Streisand's clout and his own brand of personal intensity to make the movie about his love affair with Streisand. It was a six million dollar home movie. And it was a hit. From there, Peters was off and running, using his relationships, his force of will, and his fearsome temper, to become one of the richest and most powerful producers in Hollywood, despite being largely illiterate.

Today, Peters is remembered, if he's remembered at all, as the man who wanted to make a Superman movie where Superman didn't fly, didn't wear his costume, and fought a giant mechanical spider. But in his day, Jon Peters was the 800 pound gorilla. Nobody did it bigger, costlier, or crazier. Hit and Run is full of Jon Peters stories: Jon Peters wooing Swedish supermodel Vendela by sending her a private jet full of flowers. Jon Peters visiting the set of Rain Main and asking Dustin Hoffman whether he played, "the retard or the other guy." Jon Peters breaking the jaw of a marketing executive and then hiding under a desk when the cops came. They don't make them like Jon Peters anymore, nor should they. Hollywood is, was, and will always be, the real Land of Misfit Toys. For a while, Jon Peters was the greatest misfit of all. I'm thankful that a man like him exists, and that I never have to meet him. - Ryan Callahan