Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures

(Photo by Chiabella James/Paramount Pictures)

All Tom Cruise Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

From his teen idol days in the early ’80s to his status as a marquee-lighting leading man today, Tom Cruise has consistently done it all for decades — he’s completed impossible missions, learned about Wapner time in Rain Man, driven the highway to the danger zone in Top Gun, and done wonders for Bob Seger’s royalty statements in Risky Business, to offer just a few examples. Mr. Cruise is one of the few honest-to-goodness film stars left in the Hollywood firmament, so whether you’re a hardcore fan or just interested in a refresher course on his filmography, we’re here to take a fond look back at a truly impressive career and rank all Tom Cruise movies by Tomatometer.

#41

Cocktail (1988)
7%

#41
Adjusted Score: 8939%
Critics Consensus: There are no surprises in Cocktail, a shallow, dramatically inert romance that squanders Tom Cruise's talents in what amounts to a naive barkeep's banal fantasy.
Synopsis: Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) wants a high-paying marketing job, but needs a business degree first. Working as a bartender to... [More]
Directed By: Roger Donaldson

#40

The Mummy (2017)
16%

#40
Adjusted Score: 38654%
Critics Consensus: Lacking the campy fun of the franchise's most recent entries and failing to deliver many monster-movie thrills, The Mummy suggests a speedy unraveling for the Dark Universe.
Synopsis: Nick Morton is a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest... [More]
Directed By: Alex Kurtzman

#39

Losin' It (1982)
18%

#39
Adjusted Score: 8529%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A teenager (Tom Cruise) and his buddies drive to '60s Tijuana with a woman (Shelley Long) looking for a quick... [More]
Directed By: Curtis Hanson

#38

Lions for Lambs (2007)
27%

#38
Adjusted Score: 34879%
Critics Consensus: Despite its powerhouse cast, Lions for Lambs feels like a disjointed series of lectures, rather than a sharp narrative, and ends up falling flat.
Synopsis: Inspired by their idealistic professor, Dr. Mallery (Robert Redford), to do something meaningful with their lives, Arian (Derek Luke) and... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#37
Adjusted Score: 52028%
Critics Consensus: Monotonously formulaic, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is one action thriller sequel whose title also serves as a warning.
Synopsis: Investigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) springs into action after the arrest of Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders), an Army major accused... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#36

Legend (1985)
40%

#36
Adjusted Score: 42192%
Critics Consensus: Not even Ridley Scott's gorgeously realized set pieces can save Legend from its own tawdry tale -- though it may be serviceable for those simply looking for fantasy eye candy.
Synopsis: Darkness (Tim Curry) seeks to create eternal night by destroying the last of the unicorns. Jack (Tom Cruise) and his... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#35

Days of Thunder (1990)
38%

#35
Adjusted Score: 42653%
Critics Consensus: Days of Thunder has Tom Cruise and plenty of flash going for it, but they aren't enough to compensate for the stock plot, two-dimensional characters, and poorly written dialogue.
Synopsis: In the fast-paced world of NASCAR, a rivalry brews between rookie hotshot Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise) and veteran racer Rowdy... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#34

Vanilla Sky (2001)
42%

#34
Adjusted Score: 48761%
Critics Consensus: An ambitious mix of genres, Vanilla Sky collapses into an incoherent jumble. Cruise's performance lacks depth, and it's hard to feel sympathy for his narcissistic character.
Synopsis: Tom Cruise and Cameron Crowe reunite after "Jerry Maguire" for "Vanilla Sky," the story of a young New York City... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#33

Rock of Ages (2012)
43%

#33
Adjusted Score: 51869%
Critics Consensus: Its exuberant silliness is almost enough to make up for its utter inconsequentiality, but Rock of Ages is ultimately too bland and overlong to justify its trip to the big screen.
Synopsis: The songs of Journey, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and other artists underscore a tale of big dreams in Hollywood. Soon... [More]
Directed By: Adam Shankman

#32

Far and Away (1992)
50%

#32
Adjusted Score: 50614%
Critics Consensus: Handsome and simplistic, Far and Away has the beauty of an American epic without the breadth.
Synopsis: Joseph (Tom Cruise) and his landlord's daughter, Shannon (Nicole Kidman), travel from Ireland to America in hopes of claiming free... [More]
Directed By: Ron Howard

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 63541%
Critics Consensus: All the Right Moves is an uncommonly grim coming-of-age drama that overcomes numerous clichés with its realistic approach to its characters and setting.
Synopsis: Stefan Djordjevic (Tom Cruise), the star player of his high school football team, is desperately hoping that his football talents... [More]
Directed By: Michael Chapman

#30

Knight and Day (2010)
52%

#30
Adjusted Score: 59848%
Critics Consensus: It's pure formula, but thanks to its breezy pace and a pair of charming performances from Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, Knight and Day offers some agreeably middle-of-the-road summer action.
Synopsis: June Havens (Cameron Diaz) chats up her charming seatmate on a flight out of Kansas, but she doesn't realize that... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#29

Oblivion (2013)
53%

#29
Adjusted Score: 63507%
Critics Consensus: Visually striking but thinly scripted, Oblivion benefits greatly from its strong production values and an excellent performance from Tom Cruise.
Synopsis: In the year 2077, Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) works as a security repairman on an Earth left empty and devastated... [More]
Directed By: Joseph Kosinski

#28

Top Gun (1986)
59%

#28
Adjusted Score: 64615%
Critics Consensus: Though it features some of the most memorable and electrifying aereial footage shot with an expert eye for action, Top Gun offers too little for non-adolescent viewers to chew on when its characters aren't in the air.
Synopsis: The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying... [More]
Directed By: Tony Scott

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 62824%
Critics Consensus: Your cranium may crave more substance, but your eyes will feast on the amazing action sequences.
Synopsis: Tom Cruise returns to his role as Ethan Hunt in the second installment of "Mission: Impossible." This time Ethan Hunt... [More]
Directed By: John Woo

#26

Valkyrie (2008)
62%

#26
Adjusted Score: 68922%
Critics Consensus: Given the subject matter, Valkyrie could have been an outstanding historical thriller, but settles for being a mildly entertaining, but disposable yarn.
Synopsis: Col. Claus von Stauffenberg (Tom Cruise) serves Germany with loyalty and pride but fears that Hitler will destroy his country... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#25

The Outsiders (1983)
68%

#25
Adjusted Score: 71975%
Critics Consensus: The cracks continue to show in Coppola's directorial style, but The Outsiders remains a blustery, weird, and fun adaptation of the classic novel.
Synopsis: A teen gang in rural Oklahoma, the Greasers are perpetually at odds with the Socials, a rival group. When Greasers... [More]
Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola

#24
Adjusted Score: 67434%
Critics Consensus: Despite lacking some of the book's subtler shadings, and suffering from some clumsy casting, Interview with a Vampire benefits from Neil Jordan's atmospheric direction and a surfeit of gothic thrills.
Synopsis: Born as an 18th-century lord, Louis is now a bicentennial vampire, telling his story to an eager biographer. Suicidal after... [More]
Directed By: Neil Jordan

#23

Jack Reacher (2012)
63%

#23
Adjusted Score: 70615%
Critics Consensus: Jack Reacher is an above-average crime thriller with a smoothly charismatic performance from Tom Cruise.
Synopsis: One morning in an ordinary town, five people are shot dead in a seemingly random attack. All evidence points to... [More]
Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 69438%
Critics Consensus: Full of special effects, Brian DePalma's update of Mission: Impossible has a lot of sweeping spectacle, but the plot is sometimes convoluted.
Synopsis: When U.S. government operative Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his mentor, Jim Phelps (Jon Voight), go on a covert assignment... [More]
Directed By: Brian De Palma

#21

The Last Samurai (2003)
66%

#21
Adjusted Score: 72757%
Critics Consensus: With high production values and thrilling battle scenes, The Last Samurai is a satisfying epic.
Synopsis: Capt. Nathan Algren (Tom Cruise) is an American military officer hired by the Emperor of Japan to train the country's... [More]
Directed By: Edward Zwick

#20

Taps (1981)
68%

#20
Adjusted Score: 69390%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Bunker Hill Military Academy has been targeted by real estate developers for demolition. The students, outraged at the thought of... [More]
Directed By: Harold Becker

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 79670%
Critics Consensus: Fast-paced, with eye-popping stunts and special effects, the latest Mission: Impossible installment delivers everything an action fan could ask for. A thrilling summer popcorn flick.
Synopsis: Retired from active duty, and training recruits for the Impossible Mission Force, agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) faces the toughest... [More]
Directed By: J.J. Abrams

#18

The Firm (1993)
75%

#18
Adjusted Score: 79525%
Critics Consensus: The Firm is a big studio thriller that amusingly tears apart the last of 1980s boardroom culture and the false securities it represented.
Synopsis: A young lawyer joins a small but prestigious law firm only to find out that most of their clients are... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#17

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
76%

#17
Adjusted Score: 82232%
Critics Consensus: Kubrick's intense study of the human psyche yields an impressive cinematic work.
Synopsis: After Dr. Bill Hartford's (Tom Cruise) wife, Alice (Nicole Kidman), admits to having sexual fantasies about a man she met,... [More]
Directed By: Stanley Kubrick

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 85844%
Critics Consensus: Steven Spielberg's adaptation of War of the Worlds delivers on the thrill and paranoia of H.G. Wells' classic novel while impressively updating the action and effects for modern audiences.
Synopsis: Dockworker Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise) struggles to build a positive relationship with his two children, Rachel (Dakota Fanning) and Robbie... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#15

Tropic Thunder (2008)
82%

#15
Adjusted Score: 91388%
Critics Consensus: With biting satire, plenty of subversive humor, and an unforgettable turn by Robert Downey, Jr., Tropic Thunder is a triumphant late Summer comedy.
Synopsis: Tugg Speedman (Ben Stiller), pampered action superstar, sets out for Southeast Asia to take part in the biggest, most-expensive war... [More]
Directed By: Ben Stiller

#14

Jerry Maguire (1996)
84%

#14
Adjusted Score: 89299%
Critics Consensus: Anchored by dazzling performances from Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Renée Zellweger, as well as Cameron Crowe's tender direction, Jerry Maguire meshes romance and sports with panache.
Synopsis: When slick sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise) has a crisis of conscience, he pens a heartfelt company-wide memo that... [More]
Directed By: Cameron Crowe

#13

Magnolia (1999)
83%

#13
Adjusted Score: 89661%
Critics Consensus: Magnolia is an ambitious, lengthy work that ultimately succeeds due to interesting stories and excellent ensemble performances.
Synopsis: On one random day in the San Fernando Valley, a dying father, a young wife, a male caretaker, a famous... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

#12

A Few Good Men (1992)
83%

#12
Adjusted Score: 88393%
Critics Consensus: An old-fashioned courtroom drama with a contemporary edge, A Few Good Men succeeds on the strength of its stars, with Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and especially Jack Nicholson delivering powerful performances that more than compensate for the predictable plot.
Synopsis: Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Tom Cruise) is a military lawyer defending two U.S. Marines charged with killing a fellow Marine at... [More]
Directed By: Rob Reiner

#11
Adjusted Score: 88655%
Critics Consensus: Led by an unforgettable performance from Tom Cruise, Born on the Fourth of July finds director Oliver Stone tackling thought-provoking subject matter with ambitious élan.
Synopsis: In the mid 1960s, suburban New York teenager Ron Kovic (Tom Cruise) enlists in the Marines, fulfilling what he sees... [More]
Directed By: Oliver Stone

#10

Collateral (2004)
86%

#10
Adjusted Score: 94839%
Critics Consensus: Driven by director Michael Mann's trademark visuals and a lean, villainous performance from Tom Cruise, Collateral is a stylish and compelling noir thriller.
Synopsis: A cab driver realizes his current fare is a hit man that has been having him drive around from mark... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#9

American Made (2017)
86%

#9
Adjusted Score: 105276%
Critics Consensus: American Made's fast-and-loose attitude with its real-life story mirrors the cavalier -- and delightfully watchable -- energy Tom Cruise gives off in the leading role.
Synopsis: Barry Seal, a TWA pilot, is recruited by the CIA to provide reconnaissance on the burgeoning communist threat in Central... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#8
#8
Adjusted Score: 93097%
Critics Consensus: That it's inferior to the original goes without saying, but Paul Newman and Tom Cruise are a joy to watch, and Martin Scorsese's direction is typically superb.
Synopsis: Former pool hustler "Fast Eddie" Felson (Paul Newman) decides he wants to return to the game by taking a pupil.... [More]
Directed By: Martin Scorsese

#7

Rain Man (1988)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 94161%
Critics Consensus: This road-trip movie about an autistic savant and his callow brother is far from seamless, but Barry Levinson's direction is impressive, and strong performances from Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman add to its appeal.
Synopsis: When car dealer Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) learns that his estranged father has died, he returns home to Cincinnati, where... [More]
Directed By: Barry Levinson

#6

Minority Report (2002)
90%

#6
Adjusted Score: 97593%
Critics Consensus: Thought-provoking and visceral, Steven Spielberg successfully combines high concept ideas and high octane action in this fast and febrile sci-fi thriller.
Synopsis: Based on a story by famed science fiction writer Philip K. Dick, "Minority Report" is an action-detective thriller set in... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#5

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
91%

#5
Adjusted Score: 104406%
Critics Consensus: Gripping, well-acted, funny, and clever, Edge of Tomorrow offers entertaining proof that Tom Cruise is still more than capable of shouldering the weight of a blockbuster action thriller.
Synopsis: When Earth falls under attack from invincible aliens, no military unit in the world is able to beat them. Maj.... [More]
Directed By: Doug Liman

#4

Risky Business (1983)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 95187%
Critics Consensus: Featuring one of Tom Cruise's best early performances, Risky Business is a sharp, funny examination of teen angst that doesn't stop short of exploring dark themes.
Synopsis: Ecstatic when his parents leave on vacation for a few days, high school senior Joel Goodsen (Tom Cruise) cuts loose... [More]
Directed By: Paul Brickman

#3
Adjusted Score: 106614%
Critics Consensus: Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation continues the franchise's thrilling resurgence -- and proves that Tom Cruise remains an action star without equal.
Synopsis: With the IMF now disbanded and Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) out in the cold, a new threat -- called the... [More]
Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie

#2
Adjusted Score: 102856%
Critics Consensus: Stylish, fast-paced, and loaded with gripping set pieces, the fourth Mission: Impossible is big-budget popcorn entertainment that really works.
Synopsis: Blamed for a terrorist attack on the Kremlin, Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and the entire IMF agency are disavowed by... [More]
Directed By: Brad Bird

#1
Adjusted Score: 124077%
Critics Consensus: Fast, sleek, and fun, Mission: Impossible - Fallout lives up to the "impossible" part of its name by setting yet another high mark for insane set pieces in a franchise full of them.
Synopsis: Ethan Hunt and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions.... [More]
Directed By: Christopher McQuarrie

The Devil Wears Prada

(Photo by Brigitte Lacombe / TM & Copyright (c) 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail: Universal/courtesy Everett Collection.)

All Meryl Streep Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

Meryl Streep landed her first Oscar nomination for just her second on-screen role: 1978’s The Deer Hunter, opposite John Cazale. A few more performances after that and she’d find herself standing before Hollywood’s elite, accepting the gold trophy for her complex “villain” role in 1980’s Kramer vs. Kramer. Stardom came within that decade, as she made her mark across disparate films and genres, becoming versatility personified in the acting game, as featured in a Best Picture winner (Out of Africa), rom-coms (Heartburn), political social thrillers (Silkwood), dramas (Sophie’s Choice), and period pieces (Ironweed).

This canny ability to wedge and dissolve into roles that sparked her attention has been rewarded with a record 21 Oscar nominations over decades, winning three for Kramer, Sophie’s Choice, and The Iron Lady. Yes, there were noms for so-called Oscar bait like Doubt, The Post, and the actually-Rotten Iron Lady, but Streep pulled nominations out of more unique genres, like musicals (Into the Woods), broad comedies (The Devil Wears Prada, Florence Foster Jenkins), and wherever you want to categorize Adaptation.

Streep’s most recent films have been Greta Gerwig’s Little Women adaptation, and the mostly-ignored The Laundromat. She must’ve enjoyed the Steven Soderbergh experience on Laundromat, because she’s teaming up with him again for comedy Let Them All Talk next. Additionally, she’s got another musical (along with the Mamma Mia! movies, they’ve been a late-career boon) in the works in The Prom, from Ryan Murphy. And now, we’re celebrating with all Meryl Streep movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

#58

Evening (2007)
27%

#58
Adjusted Score: 32191%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully filmed, but decidedly dull, Evening is a collossal waste of a talented cast.
Synopsis: Lying on her deathbed, drifting in and out of consciousness, Ann Grant Lord (Vanessa Redgrave) calls forth memories of her... [More]
Directed By: Lajos Koltai

#57

Lions for Lambs (2007)
27%

#57
Adjusted Score: 34879%
Critics Consensus: Despite its powerhouse cast, Lions for Lambs feels like a disjointed series of lectures, rather than a sharp narrative, and ends up falling flat.
Synopsis: Inspired by their idealistic professor, Dr. Mallery (Robert Redford), to do something meaningful with their lives, Arian (Derek Luke) and... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#56
#56
Adjusted Score: 33008%
Critics Consensus: An enviable collection of sterling actors are all woefully miscast in The House of the Spirits, a plodding saga of magical realism that lacks much magic or realism.
Synopsis: A rancher (Jeremy Irons), his clairvoyant wife (Meryl Streep) and their family face turbulent years in South America.... [More]
Directed By: Bille August

#55

Before and After (1996)
32%

#55
Adjusted Score: 31360%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The lives of Carolyn Ryan (Meryl Streep), a small-town doctor, and her artist husband, Ben (Liam Neeson), are shaken up... [More]
Directed By: Barbet Schroeder

#54

The Giver (2014)
35%

#54
Adjusted Score: 40988%
Critics Consensus: Phillip Noyce directs The Giver with visual grace, but the movie doesn't dig deep enough into the classic source material's thought-provoking ideas.
Synopsis: Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a seemingly idyllic world of conformity and contentment. When he begins to spend time with... [More]
Directed By: Phillip Noyce

#53

She-Devil (1989)
40%

#53
Adjusted Score: 40940%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Housewife and mother Ruth Patchett (Roseanne Barr), an overweight and unkempt woman, can seem to do nothing to make her... [More]
Directed By: Susan Seidelman

#52

Dark Matter (2007)
40%

#52
Adjusted Score: 40820%
Critics Consensus: The creaky plotting, inscrutable characters, and unconvincing ending make it difficult for audiences to connect with Dark Matter.
Synopsis: Liu Xing (Ye Liu), a promising Chinese doctoral candidate accepted into an elite astronomy program in the United States, struggles... [More]
Directed By: Chen Shi-Zeng

#51

The Laundromat (2019)
40%

#51
Adjusted Score: 50219%
Critics Consensus: The Laundromat misuses its incredible cast by taking a disappointingly blunt and unfocused approach to dramatizing the real-life events that inspired it.
Synopsis: When her idyllic vacation takes an unthinkable turn, Ellen Martin begins investigating a fake insurance policy.... [More]
Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

#50

Heartburn (1986)
45%

#50
Adjusted Score: 38204%
Critics Consensus: Despite an astonishing collection of talent across the board, Heartburn's aimless plot inspires mild indigestion instead of romantic ardor.
Synopsis: Rachel Samstat (Meryl Streep), a New York food critic, beds Mark Forman (Jack Nicholson), a Washington, D.C., newspaper columnist. The... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#49

Rendition (2007)
47%

#49
Adjusted Score: 53417%
Critics Consensus: The impressive cast cannot rescue Rendition, which explores complex issues in woefully simplified terms.
Synopsis: Isabella El-Ibrahimi (Reese Witherspoon), the wife of an Egyptian engineer, tries desperately to track down her husband after he disappears... [More]
Directed By: Gavin Hood

#48

Prime (2005)
50%

#48
Adjusted Score: 54272%
Critics Consensus: Though Streep is dependably terrific in her role, the rest of the movie is too sitcom-ish, and the romance itself is dull.
Synopsis: Rafi Gardet (Uma Thurman) is a 37-year-old divorced Catholic businesswoman falling for David (Bryan Greenberg), a 23-year-old Jewish artist. With... [More]
Directed By: Ben Younger

#47
#47
Adjusted Score: 57232%
Critics Consensus: Hawn and Streep are as fabulous as Death Becomes Her's innovative special effects; Zemeckis' satire, on the other hand, is as hollow as the world it mocks.
Synopsis: When a novelist loses her man to a movie star and former friend, she winds up in a psychiatric hospital.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

#46

The Iron Lady (2011)
52%

#46
Adjusted Score: 62062%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's performance as The Iron Lady is reliably perfect, but it's mired in bland, self-important storytelling.
Synopsis: In her twilight years, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) reflects on her life and career as she... [More]
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

#45

Mamma Mia! (2008)
55%

#45
Adjusted Score: 61295%
Critics Consensus: This jukebox musical is full of fluffy fun but rough singing voices and a campy tone might not make you feel like "You Can Dance" the whole 90 minutes.
Synopsis: Donna (Meryl Streep), an independent hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter's wedding with the help of... [More]
Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

#44

Plenty (1985)
56%

#44
Adjusted Score: 38033%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Susan Traherne (Meryl Streep) is trying to put find her purpose in the wake of World War II. After a... [More]
Directed By: Fred Schepisi

#43

The River Wild (1994)
56%

#43
Adjusted Score: 56695%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Fast-paced thriller in which a young family on a white-water rafting adventure in Montana are taken hostage by a pair... [More]
Directed By: Curtis Hanson

#42

Falling in Love (1984)
58%

#42
Adjusted Score: 33323%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Commuting to Manhattan on the same train, two married strangers (Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep) meet by accident and have... [More]
Directed By: Ulu Grosbard

#41

Out of Africa (1985)
62%

#41
Adjusted Score: 69479%
Critics Consensus: Though lensed with stunning cinematography and featuring a pair of winning performances from Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, Out of Africa suffers from excessive length and glacial pacing.
Synopsis: Initially set on being a dairy farmer, the aristocratic Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) travels to Africa to join her husband,... [More]
Directed By: Sydney Pollack

#40

Ironweed (1987)
58%

#40
Adjusted Score: 59305%
Critics Consensus: Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep play masterfully off each, but Ironweed's unrelenting bleakness proves to be more monotonous than compelling.
Synopsis: In Depression-era Albany, N.Y., erstwhile baseball star Francis Phelan (Jack Nicholson) has become an alcoholic vagabond after guilt over accidentally... [More]
Directed By: Hector Babenco

#39

It's Complicated (2009)
58%

#39
Adjusted Score: 65316%
Critics Consensus: Despite fine work by an appealing cast, It's Complicated is predictable romantic comedy fare, going for broad laughs instead of subtlety and nuance.
Synopsis: Jane (Meryl Streep), a successful restaurateur, has been divorced from Jake (Alec Baldwin) for many years, although they remain friends.... [More]
Directed By: Nancy Meyers

#38

The Ant Bully (2006)
62%

#38
Adjusted Score: 65621%
Critics Consensus: Sometimes inventive and witty, this animated adventure into an ant-sized world is a pleasant diversion.
Synopsis: Tired of weathering constant attacks on their colony, ants shrink a destructive boy, named Lucas (Zach Tyler Eisen), to their... [More]
Directed By: John A. Davis

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 50498%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When one of his patients is found murdered, psychiatrist Dr. Sam Rice (Roy Scheider) is visited by the investigating officer... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#36
#36
Adjusted Score: 66628%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's depiction of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things transcends, inspires, and entertains.
Synopsis: After being abandoned by her husband, depressed music teacher Roberta (Meryl Streep) lands a job teaching violin to underprivileged children... [More]
Directed By: Wes Craven

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 64134%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Kate Mundy (Meryl Streep) is the eldest of five sisters living together in a small house in Ireland in 1936.... [More]
Directed By: Pat O'Connor

#34
#34
Adjusted Score: 71965%
Critics Consensus: Meryl Streep's outstanding work helps Ricki and the Flash overcome its inconsistent tone and fairly predictable premise.
Synopsis: It's been a roller-coaster ride for Ricki Rendazzo (Meryl Streep), a one-time wife and mother of three who left her... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#33
#33
Adjusted Score: 74723%
Critics Consensus: The sheer amount of acting going on in August: Osage County threatens to overwhelm, but when the actors involved are as talented as Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, it's difficult to complain.
Synopsis: The death and funeral of their father brings three sisters to the home of their mother, Violet (Meryl Streep), an... [More]
Directed By: John Wells

#32

Into the Woods (2014)
71%

#32
Adjusted Score: 80570%
Critics Consensus: On the whole, this Disney adaptation of the Sondheim classic sits comfortably at the corner of Hollywood and Broadway -- even if it darkens to its detriment in the final act.
Synopsis: As the result of the curse of a once-beautiful witch (Meryl Streep), a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#31
Adjusted Score: 76697%
Critics Consensus: Although it softens the nasty edges of its source material, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is a gothic visual treat, and it features a hilariously manic turn from Jim Carrey as the evil Count Olaf.
Synopsis: After the three young Baudelaire siblings are left orphaned by a fire in their mansion, they are carted off to... [More]
Directed By: Brad Silberling

#30

Suffragette (2015)
73%

#30
Adjusted Score: 80907%
Critics Consensus: Suffragette dramatizes an important -- and still painfully relevant -- fact-based story with more than enough craft and sincerity to overcome its flaws.
Synopsis: In early 20th-century Britain, the growing suffragette movement forever changes the life of working wife and mother Maud Watts (Carey... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Gavron

#29

Silkwood (1983)
76%

#29
Adjusted Score: 77499%
Critics Consensus: Silkwood seethes with real-life rage -- but backs it up with compelling characters and trenchant observations.
Synopsis: This drama is based on the true story of Karen Silkwood (Meryl Streep), who works at a nuclear facility, along... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#28
Adjusted Score: 81841%
Critics Consensus: A curious, not always seamless, amalgamation of Kubrick's chilly bleakness and Spielberg's warm-hearted optimism, A.I. is, in a word, fascinating.
Synopsis: A robotic boy, the first programmed to love, David (Haley Joel Osment) is adopted as a test case by a... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#27
#27
Adjusted Score: 83337%
Critics Consensus: A rare film that surpasses the quality of its source novel, this Devil is a witty expose of New York's fashion scene, with Meryl Streep in top form and Anne Hathaway more than holding her own.
Synopsis: Andy (Anne Hathaway) is a recent college graduate with big dreams. Upon landing a job at prestigious Runway magazine, she... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#26

Hope Springs (2012)
75%

#26
Adjusted Score: 82191%
Critics Consensus: Led by a pair of mesmerizing performances from Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, Hope Springs offers filmgoers some grown-up laughs -- and a thoughtful look at mature relationships.
Synopsis: Long-married couple Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) love each other, but after so many years together, Kay... [More]
Directed By: David Frankel

#25

Sophie's Choice (1982)
78%

#25
Adjusted Score: 81160%
Critics Consensus: Sophie's Choice may be more sobering than stirring, but Meryl Streep's Oscar-winning performance holds this postwar period drama together.
Synopsis: Stingo (Peter MacNicol), a young writer, moves to Brooklyn in 1947 to begin work on his first novel. As he... [More]
Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

#24

Julie & Julia (2009)
77%

#24
Adjusted Score: 86331%
Critics Consensus: Boosted by Meryl Streep's charismatic performance as Julia Child, Julie and Julia is a light, but fairly entertaining culinary comedy.
Synopsis: Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare... [More]
Directed By: Nora Ephron

#23
Adjusted Score: 83677%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this story-within-a-story, Anna (Meryl Streep) is an actress starring opposite Mike (Jeremy Irons) in a period piece about the... [More]
Directed By: Karel Reisz

#22
Adjusted Score: 94861%
Critics Consensus: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again doubles down on just about everything fans loved about the original -- and my my, how can fans resist it?
Synopsis: In 1979 young Donna, Tanya and Rosie graduate from Oxford University -- leaving Donna free to embark on a series... [More]
Directed By: Ol Parker

#21
#21
Adjusted Score: 102222%
Critics Consensus: Mary Poppins Returns relies on the magic of its classic forebear to cast a familiar -- but still solidly effective -- family-friendly spell.
Synopsis: Now an adult with three children, bank teller Michael Banks learns that his house will be repossessed in five days... [More]
Directed By: Rob Marshall

#20

The Hours (2002)
79%

#20
Adjusted Score: 85388%
Critics Consensus: The movie may be a downer, but it packs an emotional wallop. Some fine acting on display here.
Synopsis: "The Hours" is the story of three women searching for more potent, meaningful lives. Each is alive at a different... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Daldry

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 86723%
Critics Consensus: While not the classic its predecessor is, this update is well-acted and conjures a chilling resonance.
Synopsis: Years after his squad was ambushed during the Gulf War, Major Ben Marco (Denzel Washington) finds himself having terrible nightmares.... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Demme

#18

Doubt (2008)
79%

#18
Adjusted Score: 87864%
Critics Consensus: Doubt succeeds on the strength of its top-notch cast, who successfully guide the film through the occasional narrative lull.
Synopsis: In 1964 the winds of change are sweeping through Sister Aloysius' (Meryl Streep) St. Nicholas school. Father Flynn (Philip Seymour... [More]
Directed By: John Patrick Shanley

#17

The Homesman (2014)
80%

#17
Adjusted Score: 85984%
Critics Consensus: A squarely traditional yet somewhat progressive Western, The Homesman adds another absorbing entry to Tommy Lee Jones' directorial résumé.
Synopsis: A frontier farm woman (Hilary Swank) saves the life of a claim-jumper (Tommy Lee Jones) and persuades him to help... [More]
Directed By: Tommy Lee Jones

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 89527%
Critics Consensus: The final film by the great Robert Altman, A Prairie Home Companion, the big screen adaptation of Garrison Keillor's radio broadcast showcases plenty of the director's strengths: it's got a gigantic cast and plenty of quirky acting and dialogue.
Synopsis: A private investigator (Kevin Kline) keeps tabs on the proceedings as guests, cast and crew (Meryl Streep, Lindsay Lohan, Woody... [More]
Directed By: Robert Altman

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 85784%
Critics Consensus: Uniting a pair of powerhouse talents with a smart, sharply written script, Postcards from the Edge makes compelling drama out of reality-inspired trauma.
Synopsis: Hollywood actress Suzanne Vale is on a slippery slope as a recovering addict. On exit from rehab, it is recommended... [More]
Directed By: Mike Nichols

#14

Marvin's Room (1996)
84%

#14
Adjusted Score: 86580%
Critics Consensus: Marvin's Room rises above the pack of dysfunctional family dramas thanks to an impeccable cast that includes Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Synopsis: Bessie (Diane Keaton) and Lee (Meryl Streep) are sisters who have remained apart for nearly 20 years due to radically... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Zaks

#13
Adjusted Score: 80619%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A liberal United States senator, Joe Tynan (Alan Alda) is in over his head with both his work and his... [More]
Directed By: Jerry Schatzberg

#12
#12
Adjusted Score: 101495%
Critics Consensus: Florence Foster Jenkins makes poignant, crowd-pleasing dramedy out of its stranger-than-fiction tale -- and does its subject justice with a reliably terrific turn from star Meryl Streep.
Synopsis: In the 1940s, New York socialite Florence Foster Jenkins (Meryl Streep) dreams of becoming a great opera singer. Unfortunately, her... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Frears

#11
#11
Adjusted Score: 90395%
Critics Consensus: The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers.
Synopsis: On the same day Manhattan advertising executive Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) lands the biggest account of his career, he learns... [More]
Directed By: Robert Benton

#10

The Post (2017)
88%

#10
Adjusted Score: 113278%
Critics Consensus: The Post's period setting belies its bitingly timely themes, brought compellingly to life by director Steven Spielberg and an outstanding ensemble cast.
Synopsis: Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper -- The Washington Post. With help from editor... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#9

One True Thing (1998)
89%

#9
Adjusted Score: 90945%
Critics Consensus: Solid performances lift this drama to a higher level.
Synopsis: Kate (Meryl Streep), the undervalued matriarch of the Gulden family, is diagnosed with cancer. Daughter and journalist Ellen (Renée Zellweger)... [More]
Directed By: Carl Franklin

#8
Adjusted Score: 92583%
Critics Consensus: Sentimental, slow, schmaltzy, and very satisfying, The Bridges of Madison County finds Clint Eastwood adapting a bestseller with heft, wit, and grace.
Synopsis: A moving love story about a photographer on assignment to shoot the historic bridges of Madison County. He meets a... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#7

Adaptation (2002)
91%

#7
Adjusted Score: 96994%
Critics Consensus: Dizzyingly original, the loopy, multi-layered Adaptation is both funny and thought-provoking.
Synopsis: Nicolas Cage is Charlie Kaufman, a confused L.A. screenwriter overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, sexual frustration, self-loathing, and by the... [More]
Directed By: Spike Jonze

#6
#6
Adjusted Score: 102151%
Critics Consensus: Fantastic Mr. Fox is a delightfully funny feast for the eyes with multi-generational appeal -- and it shows Wes Anderson has a knack for animation.
Synopsis: After 12 years of bucolic bliss, Mr. Fox (George Clooney) breaks a promise to his wife (Meryl Streep) and raids... [More]
Directed By: Wes Anderson

#5

The Deer Hunter (1978)
91%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99252%
Critics Consensus: Its greatness is blunted by its length and one-sided point of view, but the film's weaknesses are overpowered by Michael Cimino's sympathetic direction and a series of heartbreaking performances from Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, and Christopher Walken.
Synopsis: In 1968, Michael (Robert De Niro), Nick (Christopher Walken) and Steven (John Savage), lifelong friends from a working-class Pennsylvania steel... [More]
Directed By: Michael Cimino

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 93506%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: While on vacation in the Australian outback, Seventh Day Adventist priest Michael Chamberlain (Sam Neill) and his wife, Lindy (Meryl... [More]
Directed By: Fred Schepisi

#3

Manhattan (1979)
94%

#3
Adjusted Score: 100024%
Critics Consensus: One of Woody Allen's early classics, Manhattan combines modern, bittersweet humor and timeless romanticism with unerring grace.
Synopsis: Director Woody Allen's love letter to New York City stars Allen as frustrated television writer Isaac Davis, a twice-divorced malcontent... [More]
Directed By: Woody Allen

#2

Little Women (2019)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 120904%
Critics Consensus: With a stellar cast and a smart, sensitive retelling of its classic source material, Greta Gerwig's Little Women proves some stories truly are timeless.
Synopsis: In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer,... [More]
Directed By: Greta Gerwig

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 99224%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Daniel Miller (Albert Brooks) isn't having a good week. For starters, he died after he got hit by a bus.... [More]
Directed By: Albert Brooks

P. T. Anderson’s Oscar-winning oil opus There Will Be Blood hits shelves this week, so if you missed Daniel Day-Lewis’ astounding turn as the prospector with a heart as black as crude in theaters, now’s the time to play catch up. Also new to DVD are the musical spoof Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Leonardo di Caprio’s environmental doc The 11th Hour, the parking lot thriller P2, and more.


There Will Be Blood


Tomatometer:
92%

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the most consistent young auteurs around (his films in order: Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love) so it was no surprise when his latest, There Will Be Blood, proved predictably exceptional. The epic character study of oilman Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis in an Oscar-winning role) striking it rich in turn-of-the-century California captivated the hearts of critics with Robert Elswit’s handsome Oscar-winning photography; Plainview’s greed-fueled descent into bitter loneliness — and his rivalry with evangelist Eli Sunday (Paul Dano) — mesmerized their minds. All of which makes There Will Be Blood, released this week in both single- and double-disc versions, a must-own for any true cinephile. We recommend the 2-disc release, of course, which includes deleted scenes and a government-produced vintage silent film about the oil industry scored anew by Radiohead guitarist (and TWBB composer) Jonny Greenwood.


Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story


Tomatometer: 74%

While Walk Hard suffered the ignominious label of “box office bomb” following a dismal and surprising theatrical run last December, the Judd Apatow-produced musical comedy deserved a better fate, according to critics. Perhaps the time for glory is now. Co-writer and director Jake Kasdan, whose sharp industry satire The TV Set also opened quietly earlier in 2007, skewers the musical biopic genre (Walk the Line, Ray) with the rollercoaster rock ‘n roll life of Dewey Cox (John C. Reilly, who does his own rocking and rolling), a doughy musical prodigy with a tragic past who goes from rockabilly to psychedelia to Dylanism and everything in between as fame, fortune, groupies, and drugs facilitate his rise and fall. The best part of this DVD release — besides the inclusion of American Cox: The Unbearably Long, Self-Indulgent Director’s Cut — is the better-than-average bonus menu stuffed full of backstage and specially-produced extras.




Lions for Lambs


Tomatometer: 27%

Hollywood’s attempts to address the Iraq war have thus far fallen flat with ticket buyers, a trend that Lions for Lambs didn’t help reverse. Robert Redford directs and co-stars in this talky anti-war drama, penned by Matthew Michael Carnahan (brother to Joe and writer of The Kingdom) and also starring Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise. In three intertwined stories, a professor, his student, two soldiers, a journalist, and a politician hash out ideas about war, democracy, the media, and terrorism; the question is, do you care? While it’s a noble attempt at provoking discourse, critics say Lambs is not the stuff of great cinema. A director commentary on the DVD might be the film’s most useful feature.


P2



Tomatometer: 35%

Unless cleavage and gore rank higher than plot and realism on your movie checklist, P2 is likely to disappoint. In any case, it can’t be a good thing to be unfavorably compared to Saw and Hostel (“[P2] at least does its predecessors the service of making them look masterful by comparison,” wrote the Toronto Star‘s Geoff Pevere). The yuletide tale of a career woman (Alias‘ Rachel Nichols, whose eleventh hour addition to that cast couldn’t save the series) trapped by an obsessive parking garage attendant (Wes Bentley, who really deserves better roles than this) on Christmas Eve garnered the scorn of most critics, though powerhouses like Roger Ebert gave it their thumbs up. Watch P2 to scope out first time director Franck Khalfoun, who appeared in producers Alexandre Aja and Gregory Levasseur’s High Tension, and will next co-script a remake of the 1984 slasher Silent Night, Deadly Night.


Reservation Road



Tomatometer: 36%

Two families are ripped asunder when one fatal hit-and-run drives two fathers toward a final conflict in Terry George’s adaptation of the novel of the same name. George (In the Name of the Father) previously directed the South African drama Hotel Rwanda to multiple Academy Awards nominations; his follow-up here, starring Rwanda actor Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo (and Jennifer Connelly and Mira Sorvino as their respective wives) might have been going for awards season gold but fell far short of the mark. Critics called this dramatic thriller insufferably dark and dull, and worse — predictable.


The 11th Hour



Tomatometer: 66%

Leonardo di Caprio hosts a gaggle of experts in this alarming documentary about the Earth’s depleting resources. Unfortunately for producer di Caprio, who doubtless took on the project to lend his celebrity power to the cause, the film is a bit of a bore. That said, wearied scribes appreciated the thought behind the effort, if not so much the final product; for actionable reasons to go green, you might be better off watching a PowerPoint presentation by Al Gore. Over an hour of additional featurettes on how to do your part to help Mother Earth accompany the disc.


Manda Bala (Send a Bullet)



Tomatometer: 80%

New York filmmaker Jason Kohn crafts a lurid, sobering peek into wealth and corruption in Brazil in this festival favorite, which nabbed the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance last year. Stylized camera work exposes the country’s surreal reality by focusing on, among other subjects, a politician-owned frog farm that serves as a money-laundering front; a plastic surgeon who specializes in reconstructing the cut-off ears of kidnap victims; and a businessman who opts to bullet-proof his car. A filmmaker commentary accompanies the release; find out why Kohn calls Brazil’s cycle of street violence and political corruption akin to “a non-fiction RoboCop.”

‘Til next week, Qvod cibvs est aliis, aliis est wenenum.

The best remedy for critical drubbings and box-office indifference — at least for Robert Redford, whose Lions for Lambs endured both in the final weeks of 2007 — just might be A Walk in the Woods.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Redford’s on-again, off-again adaptation of the 1998 Bill Bryson travelogue is on again, this time with Barry Levinson attached to direct. Redford will produce and star as Bryson. At one point, it seemed as though Paul Newman was likely to co-star, but this is apparently no longer the case.

The bestselling book chronicles — in typically droll fashion — Bryson’s attempts to hike the Appalachian Trail with a friend. (We don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but the trail is 2,100 miles long, and neither Bryson nor his hiking companion were young men at the time of their trip.)

Settling on a script now becomes the issue for Redford, who is no stranger to the pitfalls of literary adaptations; he spent years in an ultimately ill-fated attempt to bring Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to the screen. The writers’ strike is slowing things down, of course, and according to the Reporter, Redford could first end up filming “an untitled Jackie Robinson project” that would find him starring as Brooklyn Dodgers manager Branch Rickey.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Add The Weinstein Company to the list of studios that have signed interim agreements with the Writers Guild of America.

Harvey Weinstein confirmed the deal in an interview this morning, saying “It’s important for the business to get the ball rolling and get back to work.” According to the Los Angeles Times, The Weinstein Company’s deal “mirrors the pacts that the union recently signed with United Artists…and David Letterman‘s production company, Worldwide Pants Inc.”

Between inking various interim deals, shrinking the Golden Globes down to press-conference size, and wreaking havoc with Oscar plans, the WGA seems to be having a pretty good week for itself — but, as the Times notes, “Without one of the big players making such a deal, these interim agreements are unlikely to have much influence in ending the strike, according to industry executives.”

Of course, that’s according to industry executives — they’d probably say the strikers were going to burst into flames from picket friction if they thought anyone would believe them — but it’s a point well-taken. United Artists and The Weinstein Company, though both certain to benefit from their WGA deals, are also two of the more hit-starved studios in Hollywood, and unless they can do better with the scripts currently deluging their offices than they did with recent releases such as Lions for Lambs and The Nanny Diaries, those smug “industry executives” could wind up being right on the money. Literally.

Source: Los Angeles Times

His big-screen alter egos have saved the world on numerous occasions, and now it seems as though Tom Cruise — and his partner Paula Wagner — may have helped bring an end to the writers’ strike.

No one is setting down their picket signs just yet, but Variety reports that Cruise and Wagner, who run United Artists, have followed in the footsteps of David Letterman‘s Worldwide Pants production company, brokering an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America. The terms of the deal, though not immediately available, will follow the precedent set by the Worldwide Pants agreement. From the article:

For UA toppers Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner, it’s a major declaration of independence from MGM and underlines that the duo — who have a 35% stake in UA — have the final say in operations. The deal affords the revived studio an opportunity to move forward on projects after initially stumbling out of the gate with “Lions for Lambs.”

Though MGM had no comment about the deal, sources said over the weekend that MGM topper Harry Sloan has opposed the UA interim deal and added that it was highly unlikely that MGM would break ranks from the congloms and sign its agreement before the strike ends.

The deal comes too late to save Oliver Stone‘s Pinkville, which ceased production after the strike started and has already lost star Bruce Willis to another project, and it won’t bring an end to the strike all by itself; United Artists, under the terms of its current financing arrangement, is only set to release “15-18 films over the next five years.” It does open the door, however, for the WGA to continue its “divide and conquer” strategy, proving the Guild’s terms are reasonable enough to function at the indie level — and making UA highly attractive to investors who may not want to wait for the strike to end before making their next film.

According to Variety, Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company “are viewed as the most likely to sign interim deals with the guild”; the Weinsteins have been vetting a WGA proposal for the last couple of weeks, and Lionsgate has a deal on the table as well. From the article:

Such a deal would not be surprising for the Weinsteins, who have been strong supporters of screenwriters. The brothers formed the indie operation two years ago after a dozen years of working for Disney.

For Lionsgate, a pact with the WGA could be more complicated than for UA or TWC since the company also has TV operations. Lionsgate’s been in an expansion mode, taking stakes in Mandate Pictures, Break.com and Roadside Attractions and setting a $400 million, 23-picture theatrical slate financing agreement.

Source: Variety

Three new releases failed to steal attention away from last weekend’s top two
films which continued to rule the North American box office swapping chart
positions in the process. Jerry Seinfeld’s animated hit
Bee
Movie
enjoyed the better hold and jumped into first place while the
Denzel
Washington
Russell
Crowe
crime drama
American Gangster

suffered a moderate decline and claimed the runnerup position. Ticket buyers
have spent nearly $153M on the duo over the past ten days. Among newcomers, the
Christmas comedy
Fred Claus

starring Vince
Vaughn
generated respectable results while
Tom Cruise
suffered his worst opening in twenty-one years with the political drama
Lions for Lambs

which finshed a weak fourth for the frame. The overall marketplace struggled
once again as for the first time in five years, a November top ten failed to
break the $100M mark.

Paramount and DreamWorks missed out on a top spot debut last weekend with their
new toon Bee
Movie
,
but this time they managed to grab the number one slot. The
PG-rated film slipped 32% and collected an estimated $26M boosting the ten-day
tally to a robust $72.2M. Though a good hold, especially with the opening of
rival family flick Fred Claus, the decline was somewhat larger than the
drops of other recent animated kidpics that bowed on the first weekend of
November. Last year,
Flushed Away
dipped by only 12%, 2005’s
Chicken Little

slid just 21%, and 2004’s
The Incredibles

dropped 29%. The Veterans Day holiday was observed on a Friday last year giving
a large number of school children a day off which helped deliver the sensational
hold of Flushed. This year, the holiday will be observed on Monday when
Bee is still expected to score solid results. Look for the insect pic to reach
the neighborhood of $120M domestically with international prospects also looking
rosy.


Dropping an understandable 44% to second place was former champ
American Gangster

with an estimated $24.3M in its sophomore frame. After only ten days, Universal
has shot up a remarkable $80.7M and has already surpassed the total grosses of
most of Washington’s previous films. Gangster currently ranks as the
fifth biggest
Denzel
pic ever behind
Remember the
Titans
($115.6M),
The Pelican Brief

($100.8M), Crimson
Tide
($91.4M), and
Inside Man

($88.5M). The
Ridley Scott-directed
drama also stands as the fourth highest grossing film in Russell
Crowe
‘s career after
Gladiator

($187.7M), A
Beautiful Mind
($170.7M), and

Master and Commander
($93.9M). At its current pace, American Gangster
should find its way to $130-140M from North America making it the studio’s third
biggest hit of 2007 after
The Bourne Ultimatum

and Knocked Up.
End-of-year awards attention could send it higher though.


Opening in third place was the Christmas comedy
Fred Claus

which took in an estimated $19.2M from an ultrawide release in 3,603 locations.
Averaging a mediocre $5,336 per site, the PG-rated flick about Santa’s older
brother stars
Vince Vaughn
and
Paul Giamatti
and played to a family audience. The Warner Bros. release is one of only two
films this year to launch in more than 3,500 theaters and fail to gross at least
$30M on opening weekend. The other was the animated penguin pic
Surf’s Up
which
debuted to $17.6M in June. Instead, Fred performed in line with last
November’s yuletide laugher The
Santa Clause 3

which bowed to $19.5M on its way to a $84.5M final.



Tom Cruise
suffered one of the worst opening weekends of his career with the poor turnout
for his political drama
Lions for Lambs

which stumbled into fourth place with an estimated $6.7M. The R-rated pic
also stars
Robert Redford
and
Meryl Streep.
Lions averaged a feeble $3,029 from 2,215 theaters and was panned by most
critics. Despite the starpower, bad reviews and the subject matter which dealt
with war in the Middle East helped to repel paying customers.


Excluding 1999’s
Magnolia
in which Cruise had a supporting role, Lions attracted
the smallest debut for the actor since Ridley Scott’s
Legend
which
opened with just $4.3M in 1986. It also ended the star’s streak of thirteen consecutive number one openings over fifteen years and is guaranteed to stop his industry-leading streak of seven straight years of having $100M+ grossers. The Redford project marked the first film for United Artists which is now run by Cruise and producing partner Paula Wagner. Parent company MGM took distribution duties in North America with Fox handling the release in the rest of the world where the film also launched this weekend to mixed results.


In its third weekend, the Steve Carell dramedy
Dan in Real Life

dipped only 25% to an estimated $5.9M and lifted its total to a respectable
$30.7M for Buena Vista. The horror sequel
Saw IV
tumbled 52%
to an estimated $5M putting its sum at $58.1M for Lionsgate. Family hit
The Game Plan

took in an estimated $2.4M, off 39%, and reached $85.4M making it the
top-grossing film since the summer movie season ended.


The woman-in-peril thriller
P2
debuted poorly in
eighth with an estimated $2.2M from 2,131 locations for a pitiful $1,032
average. The R-rated film about a workaholic stalked by a killer in a parking
garage on Christmas Eve is the first release from Summit Entertainment which was
testing its distribution operation ahead of its real slate of films which will
hit theaters in 2008.


Vampires and martians rounded out the top ten. The horror flick

30 Days of Night

grossed an estimated $2.1M, down 44%, and placed ninth. Cume is $37.4M for Sony.
New Line’s
John Cusack
drama Martian
Child
fell a troubling 48% in its second weekend to an estimated
$1.8M. The New Line release has collected only $6M in ten days and should end up
with a weak $9-10M.


Three modestly-budgeted films were bumped out of the top ten this weekend.
George Clooney‘s
legal thriller
Michael Clayton
dipped 40% to an estimated $1.7M bringing its cume
to a decent $35.6M. The $22M film should find its way to about $40M for Warner
Bros., but has the chance to go higher if it scores some major award
nominations.


Miramax generated a sizzling debut for
No Country for
Old Men
, the newest film from the Coen Brothers. The R-rated entry
grossed an estimated $1.2M while playing in only 28 theaters for a sensational
average of $42,929 per site. Co-produced by Paramount Vantage, it will expand to
more markets on Friday.



Tyler Perry’s latest hit
Why
Did I Get Married?
grossed an estimated $1.6M, off 38%, and boosted
its total to an impressive $53.3M. The profitable $15M Lionsgate title looks to
end with roughly $57M. It’s been a tougher road for Miramax’s crime drama Gone
Baby Gone
which took in an estimated $1.5M, down 33%, giving
Ben Affleck‘s
directorial debut only $17.1M to date. Produced for $19M, the
Casey AffleckMorgan
Freeman
drama should end its run with about $22M.


The top ten films grossed an estimated $95.6M which was down 10% from last
year when Borat
remained in first place with $28.3M; and down 11% from 2005 when Chicken
Little
stayed in the top spot with $31.7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandaya,
www.boxofficeguru.com

Robert Redford

With documentaries on the war in Iraq satisfying a need for “on the spot” journalism, Hollywood’s recent stabs at war movies have been long on crowd pleasing and short on message. Actor/director Robert Redford‘s war drama Lions for Lambs puts its money where its mouth is. Maybe that’s why people are having such a hard time with it.

Robert Redford‘s war drama Lions for Lambs makes no attempts to disguise itself. It’s not, for example, a family drama about a fallen soldier, or a sexy spy thriller that takes place in Iraq, or even an action film about oil and terrorism. In fact, the most polarizing thing about Lions for Lambs is its unwillingness to be anything but a film about America at war. Be it loved or hated, Lions represents an old brand of lefty awareness-raising that makes its agenda plain and its (self) criticisms perfectly clear. Ironically it’s just this simplicity of purpose that inspires division. Maybe this brand of “straight talk,” isn’t one audiences are used to, but Redford has a conviction and a plan to bring the film to young audiences. “Fundamentally and in the end,” Redford says, “this film is about the future.”

The story of Lions revolves around the fate of new recruits Ernesto Rodriguez (Michael Peña) and Arian Finch (Derek Luke). While these two soldiers are deployed to a new strategic “point” (far smaller than a base), their former professor Malley (Redford) tells their story to his present student Todd (Andrew Garfield) to caution against apathy. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Jasper Irving (Tom Cruise) exposes his confidential strategy to veteran Journalist Janine Roth (Meryl Streep), even as Irving’s strategy is underway.

Redford lends a loving patriotism to this “head, hands, heart” story. “It’s legitimate,” he insists, “every point of view addressed in this film.” On the theoretical side, Streep and Cruise battle over the loss of political and journalistic integrity. In the spirit of loving concern, professor and student pit new cynicism against weatherworn idealism. And as expected, the angle of action is painfully burdened with consequences that this national body can neither afford nor avoid. And this national body is the one Redford cares about. “I’m worried about my country, obviously.”

“I’ve never in my lifetime, and I’ve lived through some pretty great events — WWII, McCarthyism, assassination of a president and a vice president, Iran [Contra] and other upheavals — I’ve never seen my country in as bad a shape as it is now,” Redford said. “How it’s seen on the world stage. How we’re perceived. What one single administration can do to trash so many categories. It breaks my heart.”


Robert Redford in Lions for Lambs

“[The enemy] is not the point of the film — we’ve seen the enemy in documentaries and TV shows and many films dealing with Iraq and Afghanistan,” Redford explained. This explains why we never see the enemy; their representation “was meant to be like a concept — the enemy is the enemy is the enemy, like a rose is a rose is a rose.” Far more concerned with turning an understanding camera towards the turmoil at home, Redford chose to deal with the enemies “more impressionistically” because he “wanted to stay focused on the guys and their effort to do the right thing: see them [the soldiers] struggle against impossible odds, to stay alive and to be soldiers, not knowing what was happening. Focusing on the enemy would have been another distraction.”

Though Lions for Lambs revolves around the story of the two recruits, the larger part of screen time is dedicated to the debates of the three main stars: Redford, Cruise and Streep. In its overview of cultural debates, the film is strikingly comprehensive, but to get there, it has to do a good bit of talking. But even in its moments of self-conflict Lions is not off limits to self-criticism. Redford said when he first read the script, “I thought, ‘This could be tough.’ Talking heads in a room is not where audiences are these days. And then that challenged me. Can you make people care? That became a challenge I decided to go for.”

So how then, can a diligently sincere film that proffers engagement manage the fact that it’s swimming in speech? “You’re dealing with the very issue the film’s talking about, and you’ve got it on yourself,” he said with a recognizable gentility, proving the highest honor at Redford’s table is reserved for personal conviction.

Originally a stage play, Matthew Michael Carnahan’s (The Kingdom) script “had been around for a while, I think about a year and a half, and nobody was willing to make it.” The script is accessible but dense and makes a clear effort to both legitimize and display the sorts of arguments normally reduced to categories like “red state versus blue state.” [Read how Carnahan became politically engaged by penning Lions for Lambs here.]

Through Lions, Redford found a connection back to the politically inspired films he’s participated in throughout his career. “I’ve always tried to make diverse films but there’s usually a fundamental theme underneath all of it. I’m always interested in the political scene and have been since 1970 when I made The Candidate, All the President’s Men,Quiz Show. They’re various films that are about the power of media and so on, but times have changed so drastically since I started [making films]. It’s like there’s always a new film to be made about the new condition. [Lions for Lambs] was different because this is about what is fundamentally unchanged.”

What that fundamentally unchanged thing is, is a way of thinking. “What are the conditions that lead us into this situation we found ourselves in during McCarthy, Watergate, Iran-Contra? What’s underneath it that creates this? Not this but what’s underneath. It’s a mindset: It’s a sentiment that belongs to a certain kind of character and a way of thinking. And they don’t go away. You would have thought after Watergate that those people who did all the dirty tricks for Nixon and lied and cheated and his effort to withhold, hide and conceal the truth, and the press going out after him — you would have thought that once that high point was reached that would never happen again. It is [happening now], only worse.”


Robert Redford directs Meryl Streep and Tom Cruise in Lions for Lambs

Though Redford speaks openly against these breaches of public trust (Iran-Contra, Watergate, McCarthyism), he doesn’t speak through his film. True to that model of lefty awareness raising, Lions doesn’t lead you to any conclusions at all. “We didn’t tie it up with a ribbon. Could have been very easy to do that. You could have had a scene at the end where the student comes into the classroom and the teacher looks up and he comes in the door and you know he’s come back. We don’t know what he [Todd] is going to do but we do know one thing: he’s thinking. So therefore you’re asking the audience to think about how they feel. When Tom Cruise’s character finishes with Meryl Streep’s character he sweeps her right out the door. He’s gonna go on doing what he’s gonna do the way he’s gonna do it.”

In retrospect, the film can be read as a battle between people who act on their conscience and those who carry their consciences in tow. And, it’s worth noting, the battle is meant to play onscreen as well as in the minds of each audience member. “We can ask ourselves about 9/11 all we want: How did we get there? Did we have warnings before? But the fact is, we’re here now. We’ve got to think about how to move forward. So he [Senator Irving] has got a point and she [journalist Roth] has got a point. Then you put it to the audience and you let the audience figure out what their position is.”

Among the film’s multitude of opinions there is one thing Lions doesn’t provide. “We don’t provide the answer,” Redford said. “It’s simply meant for you to think about it, and so why not put that in front of students and see what they have to say?”

Redford’s goal with the film involves a myriad of outreach screenings to college campuses. This, Redford says, was his idea. “I said, I’d rather go to the areas and meet with groups and take time. And I would be particularly interested, because of the film and what the film is about, to involve young people, to go to schools and colleges and find out what they think.”

“There’s a general idea that young people over the last 10 or 15 years have grown more apathetic, more cynical — which I think is true — but probably for some good reason. But now it’s dangerous because if that’s the way it’s going to be for young people they’ll move farther and farther away from involvement in a system that’s getting worse and worse and worse.” This makes the possibility of engagement (to say nothing of theater attendance) among college age audiences seem all the more indigestible. But Redford explains that, love it or leave it, the question Todd asks Professor Malley (“Why would I want to get involved in a system that’s this diseased or corrupted?”) should be followed by the retort “Precisely because it is.” Because as Redford states, “You’re the one that’s going to have the future, not me.”

This week at the movies, we’ve got Santa’s not-so-little helper (Fred
Claus
, starring
Vince Vaughn and
Paul Giamatti), geopolitics (Lions for
Lambs
, starring
Robert Redford,
Tom Cruise, and
Meryl Streep), and one scary
parking garage (P2, starring
Rachel Nichols
and Wes Bentley). What do the critics have to
say?

Fred
Claus
hit theaters two weeks before Thanksgiving, hoping to spread
some early Yuletide cheer. Unfortunately, the critics have made a list, checked
it twice, and determined this one’s a lump of coal.
Vince Vaughn stars as
Santa’s no-good brother, a repo man who’s lived in the shadow of St. Nick (Paul Giamatti); after a run-in with the law, Santa agrees to help his bro on the
condition that he do some hard labor at the North Pole to help with the
seasonal demand for toys. It’s a pretty funny premise, and the cast includes
such able thespians as
Miranda Richardson,
Kevin Spacey,
Chris "Ludacris"
Bridges
, and Rachel Weisz. But the pundits say Fred never settles on a
workable tone, awkwardly vacillating between wacky slapstick and sappy
sentiment. At 32 percent on the Tomatometer, ’tis not the season for Fred
Claus
.
 



Vaughn trains for the upcoming Breaking Away prequel.
 

Lions for
Lambs
is an ambitious attempt to look at the complexities of
our current political landscape from a number of different angles. It stars
Robert Redford (who also directed),
Tom Cruise, and
Meryl Streep. But despite
such impressive pedigree, pundits say the film falls flat. Lions looks at
the war on terror from the perspectives of two young enlistees, a college
professor, a senator and TV reporter. Critics say Redford’s heart is in the
right place in wanting greater engagement in politics from the general public;
it’s just that Lions is weighted down with too much talk, and ends up
coming across as a civics lesson rather than a compelling drama. At 30 percent,
on the Tomatometer, Lions for Lambs is the worst-reviewed film of
Redford’s directorial career. (Check out our interview with Lambs
screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan
here.)



"You’re a jerk!"

Fred Claus isn’t the only Christmas-themed movie in theaters this week.
P2
is the story of a woman who’s late to Christmas Eve dinner because she’s tied up
— literally. In order to see what Santa has delivered for her this year, she
must escape the clutches of an evil security guard. Some critics say P2 is
much better than it sounds, a game of cinematic cat and mouse with a dark sense
of humor. However, others say it’s still essentially a genre exercise, and pretty gory to
boot. P2 currently stands at 46 percent on the Tomatometer.



The latest Olympic event: Formal Wear Garage Relay.

Also opening this week in limited release: the documentary
Steal a Pencil for
Me
, about a strange love affair during the Holocaust, is at 100 percent on
the Tomatometer;
No Country for
Old Men
, a dark, tense crime film from
the Coen Brothers, is at 89 percent (check out our review from Cannes
here, and
our feature on the Coens’ filmography
here);
Holly,
a drama about child
prostitution in Vietnam, is at 86 percent;
Note By Note
, a documentary
detailing the manufacture of a Steinway piano, is at 80 percent;
War/Dance
,
a doc about a music festival in the midst of war-torn Uganda, is at 67 percent;
and Nightmare Man, a horror flick about a woman being attacked by an evil
spirit, is at 50 percent.



I say, war can dance, war can dance.

Recent Vince Vaughn Movies:
————————————
82% — Into the Wild (2007)
33% — The Break-Up (2006)
69% — Thumbsucker (2005)
74% — Wedding Crashers (2005)
29% — Be Cool (2005)

Robert Redford-Directed Movies:
—————————————–
41% — The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
71% — The Horse Whisperer (1998)
96% — Quiz Show (1994)
78% — A River Runs Through It (1992)
58% — The Milagro Beanfield War (1988)
89% — Ordinary People (1980)

Vince Vaughn and Tom Cruise go head to head at the North American box office this weekend with their latest releases. The dodgeball champ goes for holiday laughs with Fred Claus while the top gun offers up a serious political tale in Lions For Lambs. For those looking for a scare, the horror flick P2 also attacks the multiplexes. Add in last weekend’s holdover titles and the marketplace should deliver three $20M+ grossers for the first time since mid-July.

Taming down their comedy for a family audience, the Wedding Crashers team of Vince Vaughn and director David Dobkin offer up Christmas cheer with the holiday comedy Fred Claus. The PG-rated pic features the comic actor playing the brother of Santa (Paul Giamatti). Rachel Weisz and Kathy Bates both scored a ‘with’ credit while Kevin Spacey‘s agents landed the coveted ‘and’ credit for their client. Family audiences will make up the bulk of the business but Warner Bros. is hoping to draw teens and young adults with Vaughn’s humor.

Reviews have been sour, but these types of holiday films are sold more on the comedy and the marketing. The studio is giving Claus a big jolly push and there are no major live-action options for parents to take their kids to. Bee Movie‘s second weekend will provide most of the competition, but usually two high-profile star-driven family pics can co-exist at this time of year. Debuting ultrawide in more than 3,400 theaters, Fred Claus may laugh up about $28M this weekend.


Vince Vaughn and some friends in Fred Claus

Studio boss Tom Cruise co-stars with Oscar winners Robert Redford and Meryl Streep in the new politically-themed drama Lions For Lambs from United Artists and MGM. Directed by Redford, the R-rated film examines the U.S. government’s involvement in the Middle East through three different stories. Cruise plays a hotshot senator who is interviewed by a veteran journalist, played by Streep. Redford stars as a wise college professor discussing the life with a star student. And in smaller roles, Derek Luke and Michael Peña are cast as university students determined to join the army to make this a better world.

In a smart move, Lions has downplayed its political storyline involving the Middle East as most others that have gone down that path have crashed and burned at the box office this fall. Audiences have told Hollywood on numerous occasions that they are not interested in paying top dollar for that kind of entertainment. Instead, the film is being positioned as a dramatic thriller with great acting performances almost the same way Cruise’s A Few Good Men was marketed 15 years ago. Lions will skew older than most other releases in the marketplace and will face intense competition for adults from American Gangster. Plus bad reviews will have a big impact too since the target audience plays close attention to the opinions of critics. This could very well be Tom Cruise’s lowest-grossing film in ages. Landing in 2,200 locations, Lions For Lambs might debut with around $10M.


Lions For Lambs

The horror genre discovers a new location to find fear in – the parking garage! The new suspense thriller P2 from Summit Entertainment tells of a trapped woman on Christmas Eve who faces a security guard that stalks her. The R-rated pic will appeal to the few who did not get their fill of fright flicks during October. With no starpower and only a moderate push on the marketing side, don’t expect big numbers here. Most genre fans will wait for the DVD. P2 opens in about 2,000 theaters and could debut with around $3M over the weekend.


P2

After a powerhouse debut, American Gangster should witness a sizable drop in its second frame. Good word-of-mouth and Oscar buzz will prevent the decline from being too high though. A 45% fall would give the Ridley Scott pic roughly $24M for the weekend and a rock solid ten-day cume of $80M. Kidpics usually hold up well in early November so a slim decline for Bee Movie could result. Monday’s observance of Veterans Day will see many schools close and help give Sunday a boost too. Look for Paramount to see a 30% drop to about $27M for the Jerry Seinfeld toon which would raise the total to a healthy $75M after ten days.

LAST YEAR: Moviegoers kept annoying friends with their best Kazakh impressions as Borat tripled its theatercount and remained at number one for the second week with $28.3M for Fox. Disney’s The Santa Clause 3 and Paramount’s Flushed Away enjoyed sensational holds and stayed put in their spots as well with $16.9M and $16.6M, respectively. Will Ferrell‘s Stranger Than Fiction bowed in fourth with $13.4M on its way to $40.1M for Sony. Lionsgate rounded out the top five with Saw III with $7M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

Eric Charbonneau/WireImage.com

While many recent films concerning Iraq have taken a political stance, writer Matthew Michael Carnahan sought to do something different. The result, this week’s Lions for Lambs, attempts to engage the audience in as non-partisan a debate as you’ll find in Hollywood. Whereas Carnahan agrees he doesn’t like the idea of war, he tries to make the case for how we can pull out, and why it is important for the American public to be less apathetic towards the war and to do something.

Carnahan is the brother of Narc director Joe Carnahan, to whom he attributes much of his success. Yet it is hard to say Hollywood has treated him like the nepotistic brother; his first film, The Kingdom (which also involved the war on terror) was an $80 million affair directed by Peter Berg, and another political potboiler script, State of Play, is currently filming under director Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland). Remarkably, Carnahan began writing Lions for Lambs as a stage play before the script fell into the hands of actor-director Robert Redford; the rest, as they say, is history. Soon the busy scribe will pen a big-screen version of The Zebra Murders, about the racially-motivated serial killings in 1970s San Francisco, and collaborate with his brother on an adaptation of James Ellroy’s White Jazz.

RT caught up with Carnahan at a roundtable in Los Angeles, touching base on the war on terror, the apathetic nature of youth, and what it means to write a call to action.

How did Robert Redford get attached to direct?

Matthew Michael Carnahan: It was really a Hail Mary. I had heard it was going to Redford and thought it would be wonderful if he even flipped past the title page. And then it came down that he had actually read the whole thing and responded to it. And then I got a message from him and saved it for as long as I could: “Matt, Bob Redford. Let’s talk about this.”

With The Kingdom and now Lions for Lambs, do you have any more projects involving political drama or the war on terror?

MMC: Nothing right now. Because I really do feel like I’m tapped out. I’ve said pretty much everything I can say. And I don’t even know if at the end of the day it’s going to make much of a difference, but just from the sheer fact that I was able to write it down and get it out there, I’ll take it. But I am writing a story called the Zebra Murders, a true story in San Francisco about a mass murder that nobody really remembers. It was lost in the Watergate, Vietnam, Zodiac kind of time. And the one I’m supposed to write after that is Guest of the Ayatollah, which is the Bowden book on the Iran hostage crisis. Which is really one of my earliest memories.


And if/when the WGA strike goes?

MMC: Who knows when I’ll get to it?

Where did the idea come for Lions for Lambs? From your own indifference or a consciousness of the indifference of others?

MMC: Both! My indifference is the thing that pushed the button. I’m the first to rant and rave about fighting a war on two fronts. I mean that’s the last thing you want to do. And here we are fighting on two fronts in a war where the only thing that separates those two fronts is a country (Iran) that might despise us more than the two countries we’re fighting in. And yet with all of that I never did anything about it.

I’m a graduate of USC and searching the channels for the SC game, and I past a news report about a Humvee that had flipped into a river. And four or five American soldiers had drowned. I thought, what an awful way to die, when you’re at war and you die in what is essentially a traffic accident. And I couldn’t get past it fast enough, because God forbid it ruin my experience of watching the game. And it hit me that I’m just as much a part of the problem as everyone I like to point the finger at.

Would you say this movie is a call to action?

MMC: I can’t really come up with a better way to put it. A call to action in so far as I wrote this down to see if it would resonate with anybody else.


But then don’t you face the same thing that that news report did, with people passing over it?

MMC: Hopefully [when] you get three of the biggest movie stars alive involved, maybe that will trump at least some of that intransigence to go to yet another movie about the middle east and the war on terror.

So then if it’s a call to action, what’s the “action”?

MMC: To make this war, and the loss of American lives… and the fact that four thousand of my countrymen…the fact that they are dying and it’s not a part of our daily lives. That it’s not a daily cognition on my part that as we are having this discussion there are people a lot younger than us fighting and dying and going through some of the most terrifying moments imaginable. Basically I just wanted us in our daily lives to become cognizant of that.

What were some of the biggest difficulties you came across in writing?

MMC: The biggest challenge was having originally written it as a stage play. And the more I started to write the military scenes, particularly the helicopter scenes, I realized there’s not a stage in existence that could do that justice. I kept visualizing the scene in Rushmore. (Laughs) And I think when you watch it, it still feels like a stage play. And whether or not that’s good or bad I don’t know. I just didn’t know how to get into those subjects without talking.


Was the Todd character [played by Andrew Garfield] anything like you at that age?

MMC: It was completely autobiographical. That Todd character is me in college. I had the idea early on… that I could do less and still get by. I wish I had a teacher that put his foot in my back side. Maybe I would have listened.

Who would you most like to see this movie? Who was it made for?

MMC: Students. And the test screenings we did all over the country at universities went extremely well. And now it’s just a matter of, can we get them in there to see it?

What do you think the response of the administration will be?

MMC: Frankly, I don’t really care. I don’t want to piss people off, just to piss them off. I wanted to talk about these questions in the most balanced way I possibly can.

Lions for Lambs hits theaters Friday.

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