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MediaCircus' Winners & Sinners: April 2001

Special Feature by Anthony Leong © Copyright 2001

Artwork courtesy of

Rene Zellweger of Bridget Jones's Diary

I think Variety's resident film critic Todd McCarthy sums it up best in the opening paragraph of his recent diatribe against the sorry slate of films unleashed on audiences this year: "Do people who work in the film business actually see what their industry puts out? Does anyone, aside from teenagers and beleaguered critics, know first-hand what an execrable year it's been thus far? Have the studios entirely given up even pretending to try to make pictures of respectable quality for the mass audience?"

While the 2001 moviegoing season isn't in quite as bad shape as it was at this time last year, a few more months of dubious releases in the shadow of April's lackluster selection could easily make this year one of the worst in recent history. Of the fifteen major releases in this past month, only four could be considered worth the now-commonplace double-digit megaplex admission prices, while the remainder were barely even worth a rental at the video store. Of course, audiences were not oblivious to the lack of quality offerings, as witnessed in the bell-shaped box office performance in April. The month started off strong enough, with earnings averaging about 10% over the prior year. However, once last month's "Spy Kids" had run its course in the first half of the month, the box office shrank for the remainder of April, with the ticket sales of the top twelve films hitting its lowest point in over half-a-year-- $55.2 million, or about 20% down from the year before.

Thus, this month's very short list of new releases actually worth seeing include:

You know it's a bad month when you find several worthy contenders for the worth films of the year. And this month's roster of money- and time-wasters leads off with the worst offender of them all:

Tom Green of Freddy Got Fingered

May usually marks the start of the summer movie going season. However, compared to previous years, the pickings are slim, with only five major releases scheduled. However, of these five, four of them look to be something special: Brendan Fraser is back in "The Mummy Returns"; director Baz Luhrmann ("Romeo + Juliet") unveils his visually-stunning "Moulin Rouge"; the voices of Mike Myers ("Austin Powers"), Eddie Murphy ("The Nutty Professor II"), and Cameron Diaz ("Charlie's Angels") are heard in the computer-animated fairy tale parody "Shrek"; and of course, the event movie in which Michael Bay ("Armageddon") is vying for respectability, "Pearl Harbor". Stay tuned until next time...

Images courtesy of respective copyright holders. All rights reserved.

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