Even the dozens of people who watch NBC’s "30 Rock," to quote its executive producer and star Tina Fey, couldn’t help the Peacock network's most profitable son conquer the weekend box office.
Jerry Seinfeld plugged his "Bee Movie" relentlessly on TV, radio and print, even guest-starring on "Rock" and starring in several "making of" ads that ran during Must See TV, but no matter. Denzel Washington’s "American Gangster" swatted the kid flick out of the sky.
To paraphrase "Bee Movie," "American Gangster" was like Italian Vogue for bees (in "Bee Movie," the magazine has so many ads it is the bee’s worst nightmare to be hit by one).
"Gangster" grossed $46.3 million, just over $7 million more than "Bee’s" $39 million, but did it in 1,000 fewer theaters.
In my "Keeping It Reel" review, I predict Ruby Dee will win an Oscar for best supporting actress. Even with very few scenes playing Washington’s mother, she commands the screen (hey, if Judi Dench can win with just one scene, why not Dee)?
I can’t say enough good things about "Gangster," but I was disappointed in "Bee Movie." I don't know if the movie was that bad, or if it simply was over-exposed. Perhaps Seinfeld's love affair with himself turned off moviegoers (he did scold Larry King a bit when King asked if he'd been cancelled by NBC).
"There's a big difference between being number one and being cancelled," Seinfeld said. Just before going to commercial, Seinfeld asked that his resume be brought in for Larry. Ouch.
That said, I was so looking forward to bringing my 3 1/2-year-old to "Bee Movie," because I thought she’d love it. Even she, however, found it a little boring, making "Ratatouille" coming out on DVD this month all the better.
This time of the year is hard on kids at the movie theater. Movie studios save their big kids' releases for summer or Christmas.
I love movies, despite my hatred for people who munch popcorn and squeak their straws by shoving them in and out of their cup lids — so any chance I get to go, I go.
If I could bring my daughter to a movie once a month, I would. But there are never enough good movies out there for kids. It’s a good thing kids love repetition. We took in the Pixar movie about a rat chef in Paris about five times, and we’ll watch it again on DVD. It’s that good.
I’m sorry to report that "Bee Movie" wasn’t very good the first time, and it won’t do much in the repeat viewing department.
Beat Your Wife … but Lightly
Did you see the report about the Saudi "Dr. Phil," a Muslim cleric named Mohammad Al-Arifi, who appeared on a television show to explain to Muslims how to beat their wives?
The good "Doctor" recommends light beating, making sure not to hit her on the hands or face, but do it somewhere that won’t cause any permanent damage.
After all, "it is forbidden to hit even animals on the face."
Well, there you go. Al-Arifi demonstrates light hitting by using a toothpick, which he just happened to have in his pocket. I know what you’re thinking: "How can you beat up anything with a toothpick, never mind your nagging, misbehaving wife?!"
Well, this was more like a twig than one of those little pointy splinters we use to pull steak and lettuce from our teeth.
I don’t know what kind of food they’re eating in Saudi Arabia that requires such a huge toothpick, but they sure do come in handy for beating your wife; lightly, of course.
But don’t be too alarmed about this endorsement of spousal abuse. Al-Arifi did caution men not to beat women while they were angry, emphasizing, "Brother, it is a human being you are beating. It is forbidden." But he then goes on to explain that one shouldn’t beat a woman like one would "beat an animal or a child."
Children apparently don’t count as human beings in this cleric’s world.
And Michael Fay thought he had it bad in Singapore back in 1994 for being caned after bending car antennas. Lucky for him he wasn’t in Saudi Arabia.