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March 27th, 2001

Two Black-Tie Crowes, Weekend Box Office, New Review Member

Ah, so the Oscar®s were this weekend, and it was a pretty good ceremony. Predictable for the most part, but very good. It ran under three and a half hours (is that some kind of record?), and I thought Steve Martin was a host was a bit deadpan, but quite good (lighten up Russell Crowe!). Still, everyone knew that the roman epic Gladiator would take home top prize, all because of the fact that the Academy loves big, huge epics. I felt it was a very good movie, but there were some more deserving movies to take home the prize *coughtAlmostFamousthoughitdidn'tgetnominatedcough*. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed "Gladiator", but I feel it's more popcorn entertainment, overdone and a bit overrated. Still, it's a good movie. Russell Crowe also won for his performance. Crowe had a powerful performance and really embodied the role of Maximus. I really enjoyed Crowe's intense performance, but I felt it should have gone to Ed Harris or Javier Bardem. Still, Crowe had a very good performance that I enjoyed, but I felt there were some better ones in the mix.

Speaking of Crowe, there's that other Crowe. Cameron Crowe. I was incredibly happy that he won for Almost Famous. "Almost Famous", of course, was one of my top movies of last year, and I felt it was really snubbed at the Oscar®s, especially for Billy Crudup's performance and Best Picture (I bet if it was nominated it would have won!). Still, I'm happy that it did win something, and I have the screenplay actually, and it's fabulous. Crowe is a really strong writer and filmmaker, and "Almost Famous" was such an excellent story. Crowe highly, and I mean HIGHLY deserved it. He's only made a few films, but let me tell you, I personally think he's never made a bad one. "Almost Famous" did lose out in film editing and the Best Supporting Actress category. Many thought Kate Hudson would win and follow in her mom's footsteps, but an upset from Marcia Gay Harden took her down. Probably a disappointing night for her, but you can't help but love an upset like that.

Julia Roberts and Benicio Del Toro were not much of a surprise, but "Traffic" sort of was. It was expected to win in Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay, and Soderbergh got the Best Director trophy, beating the odds of his split vote. I really liked his speech, and for a moment, I thought "Traffic" was going to sweep and take home Best Picture. Alas not, but it did very good.

So did "Crouching Tiger", and while Ang Lee didn't get Best Director as many had thought, he did get a trophy for "Best Foreign Film" for directing it. I think that's the Academy's way of killing two birds with one stone. They get him for directing it and they award it for A Best Picture. "Crouching Tiger" won in some more technical areas, including it's beautiful score, Art Direction and Cinematography.

So in all, a good Oscar show where a year of good movies were considered great ones. Now on to other news...

The weekend box office was healthy, with Heartbreakers leading the way with 12.3 million (a strong year for MGM). Next was the African-American romantic comedy The Brothers with 10.7, a very healthy opening that should build on word of mouth, I was surprised how much it made. In third was last week's number one movie Exit Wounds with 9.2, with a big drop-off but still strong. Enemy At The Gates went down to fourth with 8.4, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was in fifth with 4.7. The Mexican dropped to sixth with 4.3 (losing legs fast), followed by Traffic with 3.9, See Spot Run with 3.34 and Chocolat with 3.3. Finally, Fox bombs again. First "Monkeybone", now the Farrley-produced Say It Ain't So! that was heavily hyped. Sorry for the pun, but our audiences sick of gross-out comedies?

Lastly, and not least, I'd like to welcome a new reviewer you may have noticed. Tony Medina. It seems like performances are his speciality, so look on the site for some of his fantastic reviews, and check out his site bio to learn more about him. Everyone at DVDlaunch welcomes Tony to the team, as he should be a valued member. Again, welcome Tony!

And that's it... good awards, good box office, great new reviewer. And the countdown begins... another year until another Academy Awards® ceremony!

- Zach B.

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