Last Friday I was unkind to Marvel's theatrical version of Fantastic Four and I closed my review by predicting confidently that there was no hope of a sequel ever being made, as the movie would likely be a career-ender for director Tim Story.
As of this morning, Fantastic Four has grossed $56 million, exceeding Fox's wildest expectations and all but guaranteeing both a sequel and a never-ending stream of work for Mr. Story. Look who the genius is.
Still, I stand by my review--or at least the non-falsifiable parts of it. Fantastic Four is the worst-made movie I've seen in theaters in at least two years. The film promises nothing and delivers even less. That this dreck is able to open wide is immensely depressing.
1 hour ago
That the film may be terrible (I haven't seen it yet) is par for the course in modern Hollywood. It is why I stopped attending movies years ago.
The majority of movies have always been bad. Movies weren't better, as a whole, anytime in the past. We just don't bother watching, or even remembering, the great bulk of crap. Instead, we already know by reputation or experience what the good old movies are, and when we go to the video store we select from among them.
But when we go to the local multiplex, we are presented with all the unseen crap that not even Turner Classic Movies will show in 20 years' time. The decline of quality in popular culture is a constantly self-reinforcing illusion. We habitually forget all the crap movies of years past while we are constantly exposed to the crap movies of today.
(Although it is fair to conclude that good movies in which stuff doesn't blow up get less support from distributors today than a generation ago, leading bad movies to dominate advertising and thus public awareness more thoroughly than previously.)
Dear Mr. Last
I read your review of F4 and thought of two other implausible movie PhDs. My favorite is Paul Newman in a Hitchcock movie from the 60s. In this film Newman is a physiciist assigned to steal an atomic formula of some sort from an East German scientist. When the German leaves the room, Dr. Paul memorizes the secret formula formula, his lips moving while he reads from the blackboard. I know Hitchcock probably casted and directed the role on purpose in order to make fun of Americans, but I think Paul Newman still deserves to be on your list.
And what about the expert on Soviet weapons who was Tom Cruise's girlfriend in Top Gun (Kelly McGillis?). I think they referred to her as an astrophysicist.
In a separate but related category, Patrick Swayze in "Roadhouse" played a bouncer and karate expert who had studied philosophy at NYU, which was a tough one to try to pass off on the public.
I enjoyed your article, but will go see F4 anyway because I liked the comic book back when.
Sincerely, Will Pickering
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