Weekly Recap: Pirates, Peaks and Pacino

I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday weekend.  I suspect Johnny Depp and the folks at Disney are smiling.  The fifth movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise topped the box office over the Memorial Day weekend.  It appears Johnny Depp isn’t box office poison after all.  At least not when he’s playing Jack Sparrow.  Pirates is just the latest good news for Disney.  While the weekend’s other big release, Baywatch, is falling short of expectation, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues to perform well and the studio’s live action Beauty and the Beast became one of the few movies to gross over half a billion dollars domestically.  Without adjustments for inflation, it’s the eighth highest grossing movie in US history!

Let’s get out our treasure maps and see if we can dig up this week’s recap of activity here at Le Blog.

While we’re on the subject of Pirates, I ranked the four previous entries in the series from worst to first.  But what really matters is what you readers think.  That’s why the article ends with an opportunity for you to rank the Pirates movies.  If you haven’t already done so, be sure to make your voice heard.  We’ll have reader rankings next week along with another worst to first article.

Jestak was on the birthday beat as always.  This week had a day with two cinematic supervillains, an Avenger, the not-so-secret lover who taught Jean-Claude Van Damme how to do the locomotion, the voice of a cartoon rabbit and one of the most respected actors of stage or screen to ever win a Golden Raspberry Award.

Since Jestak’s write-up of Kylie Minogue’s birthday included the catchy hit “Locomotion” which has been stuck in my head all day, I offer up Minogue’s other big US hit, “Cant’t Get You Out of My Head”.

Speaking of things you can’t get out of your head, this week’s Daffy Does Disney vlogs featured yet another Pillow Talk with Daffy Stardust segment.  Ladies, try to contain your enthusiasm.  There’s enough Stardust to go around.  For the last several weeks, our Orlando correspondent has been documenting his Spring Break spent at Walt Disney World.  This week’s videos cover his last full day at the parks.  That day started out with another early morning at the Magic Kingdom, followed by lunch in Adventureland and a whirlwind tour of all four of Disney’s Orlando theme parks.

Kev the Writer asked why Ted 2 bombed leading readers everywhere to remember, oh yeah, there was a Ted 2.  Then he did something unexpected.  He flipped his own series upside down and asked why Boss Baby was a hit.  I gotta admit, that was pretty genius move.  Turn one series into two.  Well played, Kev.  Well played.

As May comes to a close, we’re getting to the final Movieline articles of the month.  This week, we saw an interview with Morgan Freeman from 1997.  After trying for decades to make a name for himself, Freeman became one of the hardest working supporting actors in Tinseltown.  From the May 2002 issue of the magazine, we had an interview with Al Pacino in which all the questions were asked by students in a journalism class.  The students managed to get Pacino to open up about his feelings on The Godfather Part III.

Regular readers probably noticed I did a bit of redecorating.  The site looks a little like the Red Room from Twin Peaks.  It’s been more than twenty-five years since the show was cancelled and now over a quarter of a century later, the story continues on Showtime.  The first two episodes aired last weekend and they exceeded my expectations.  Parts 3 and 4 are airing right now, but I have already seen them thanks to the magic of streaming.  As a result, tomorrow morning’s write-up will be more detailed than usual.  Sadly, Showtime will air the rest of the episodes live which means I’ll just be winging it from here on out.

Next Week: Mr. Jackpots, a day with three WTHH subjects sharing a birthday, ranking X-Men and bombing Men in Black, and Daffy’s just about done doing Disney (at least Spring Break edition).



Posted on May 28, 2017, in Weekly Recap. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Bravo, another good week for the Leblog; same time next week!
    As the “Baywatch” film goes, I’m not sure if many would’ve predicted succe$$ for that film, I know I didn’t. It just seems to me that the audience for that show probably has left it behind by now, and everyone else likely wasn’t clamoring for a movie theater version of it. Like Roger Ebert used to say though, I’m sure there will be those that like it, as it seems like harmless fun.


    • daffystardust

      I’m guessing that when they made the Baywatch movie they were counting on the audience that made the 21 Jump Street movies a hit to show up. Since I never watched either of those TV shows and mostly don’t care for the talent involved in the movies, neither stood much of a chance of getting my money.

      I am still considering going out and seeing the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie today – not because I think it’s going to be particularly great (I didn’t really like 2 or 3 and skipped 4 altogether) – but because I want to go to the movies and it appears to be the most appealing thing available in theaters that I haven’t yet seen. When I realized this was the situation, my first impulse was to think the movie was really lucky to have landed on a weekend with so little competition. After all, there were no super hero or animated or Star Wars movies coming out this weekend. Then I considered that each of those potential groups is pretty much dominated by Disney, the same company that made this Pirates movie. The other studios really need to step up their games.


      • The problem with the idea of making a “Baywatch” movie and patterning it after the “Jump Street” movie formula (i.e. making it as crude, more adult and full of action scenes as possible) is that “Baywatch” was already pretty campy to begin with. In comparison, the original “21 Jump Street” took itself seriously and they therefore, used it as an opportunity to go meta and make fun of Hollywood being desperate on reboots and lack of originality.

        To put it in another way, “21 Jump Street” as a movie (when compared to “Baywatch” and even the “CHIPs” movie) worked because it took something that shouldn’t have worked and did it an entirely different way. On the same token however, the “21 Jump Street” film itself was still respectful in tone for fans of the show, had plenty of heart, weird realistic social commentary, great parody of the high school and action movie genre, and most importantly, it’s hilarious on it’s own.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I never made the connection between the “21 Jump Street” & “Baywatch”, but now I see what you mean. I like what Terrence said though about how the Baywatch show was already pretty campy to begin with, so all all that could be done was amp things up a little. The 21 Jump Street show, on the other hand, actually had a pretty serious tone (I viewed the first film, but not anxious to view the sequel).
        I really only liked the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, the others I tried to watch just didn’t hold my attention. Part of the problem really is that I’m just not that into Pirates, or exploits in the sea


      • Baywatch (2017) is so boring

        Post by SuperSweetClassic on 33 minutes ago
        Yeah I wasn’t expecting the movie to be good or anything. But I was kind of expecting an over the top unapologetic stupid trashy comedy that tries way to hard to be 21 Jump Street but without the cleverness, charm, or the heart to successfully pull it off but instead over indulges on the meta humor and raunchiness. I was expecting Dwayne Johnson to go all The Rock on Zac Efron like if he was Jonathan Coachman.

        But Dear God this movie has a identity crisis of what it wants to be and it’s just so boring. Everything feels so sterilized and soulless and the film doesn’t know what it want’s to be. This is a major disappointment. At least with Dirty Grandpa aka Zac Efron’s comedic masterpiece you knew exactly what you were going to get with it so you weren’t disappointed by it whether you loved it or hated it. That movie had a clear direction. This doesn’t.

        God this film is so boring.


    • jeffthewildman

      Baywatch was one of those shows that went form being immensely popular to totally irrelevant the minute it was cancelled. This was mainly because of the fact that it was never particularly good to begin with. I always saw it as an 80s show that just happened to be on the air a decade behind. It was never particularly good and that’s why once its run ended no one cared anymore. While the likes of 21 Jump Street and Miami Vice still had fans.


      • I agree with that, as I don’t believe many viewers dwelled too much on “Baywatch” after the original broadcast left the air. I’ve maybe viewed less than a handful of episodes, probably never in their entirety. “Miami Vice”, on the hand, I’m a total devotee, it’s my Vice.


      • Here’s why Baywatch belly-flopped at the box office

        It got awful reviews

        Baywatch immediately began to sink when reviews were released, with critics panning the movie for basically being a money grab (something which clearly didn’t work out too well), and questioning the reasoning for it even existing in the first place. 

        Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter knocked the movie for what he called unnecessary vulgarity, saying that the movie’s desire to push the envelope rarely works for anything other than shock value. Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty said even Johnson’s charisma couldn’t save the film, which he called “a lazy barrage of sad-trombone product-placement gags and red-band boobs-and-boners jokes.” Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers said the only good thing about the movie was Johnson’s performance, describing the script as full of “sitcom leftovers” that leaves no cliche unturned.

        It’s no secret that awful reviews can drown a film pretty quickly, but for Baywatch, there were a few mitigating factors that took an already bad situation and made it even worse.

        Reviews are a big deal for R-rated comedies

        R-rated comedies have faced increasing trouble at the box office recently, with film after film falling far short of expectations. This can be attributed to a number of different things, but it’s hard to argue it isn’t partially tied to reviews. While studios found early success with films like The Hangover franchise, recent comedies like Vacation, The Brothers Grimsby, and Hot Tub Time Machine 2 all took a nosedive at the box office, especially in the domestic market. Those comedies were also failures with critics, earning 26 percent, 36 percent, and 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes respectively. 

        Recent R-rated comedies that have done well with audiences have had those positive critical reviews, with the box office success of movies like Spy, Trainwreck, and Deadpool proving that there is definitely still a market for adult humor—if it’s done well. However, viewers don’t seem to be willing to take the risk on comedies that critics pan, especially when they could just be walking into two hours of bathroom humor and vomit gags. 

        Raunchy adaptations of old TV shows are hard to pull off

        Hollywood is officially Reboot Land nowadays, but the movies are starting to see a lot of diminishing returns. Raunchy adaptations of old TV shows aren’t easy. As box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian told The Hollywood Reporter, those types of movies are far more likely to fail than succeed. “Messing with the formula and trying to update these beloved TV shows for today’s marketplace is like trying to update a classic recipe by adding a modern twist, and in most cases it just doesn’t work,” he said. 

        Baywatch falls into a similar boat as Dax Shepard’s CHiPs, a hard-R update on the 1970s TV series of the same name. The movie premiered in March to a 16 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and a $25.5 million worldwide total, just enough to match its $25 million production budget. Another similar failure was 2010’s MacGruber, based on the Saturday Night Live parody sketch of the ’80s TV show MacGyver; that film amassed just $9.3 million and a 46 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

        However, not all adaptations of old TV shows into R-rated movies have been failures. The 21 Jump Street franchise stands out as an impressive success story, with the first film earning an 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and $201.5 million worldwide and the second earning an 84 percent Rotten Tomatoes critics rating and $331.3 million worldwide. Still, as many Baywatch reviews have pointed out, those films are exceptions to the rule, as most movies in this vein quickly go in the opposite direction. 

        Baywatch isn’t as big a name as the studio thinks it is

        Paramount had a few big names attached to Baywatch, and having Efron and Johnson on board to promote definitely helped get audiences out to the theaters. However, the other big name they were counting on did much less–the name of the property itself. While the Baywatch TV series was a minor hit during its run throughout the 1990s and has lived on through minor cult status since then, it isn’t currently available on any major streaming service, so it’s unlikely that young people would have discovered it like they have discovered some older series. Baywatch might have much less name recognition with the audience Paramount was aiming for than it realized.

        Baywatch also shot itself in the foot by disenfranchising fans of the original TV show: this is not a movie those people would likely want to see. The Baywatch movie is a hard R, full of inappropriate jokes and cursing; the Baywatch TV series, meanwhile, reveled in the jiggle factor but didn’t take things past the point of what was allowed on basic cable. Paramount first transformed the material to the point where fans of the original series wouldn’t recognize it, then expected young audiences to pick up on a familiar brand and head out to theaters. There’s plenty of franchise and reboot fatigue going around right now, and this just didn’t pay off. 

        The movie didn’t know what it wanted to be

        One reason the 21 Jump Street franchise succeeded where other films haven’t was because the movie knew exactly what it was about: the relationship between Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum). Baywatch, meanwhile, can’t seem to decide what it wants to be. The movie plays up the action and plays up the comedy but can’t seem to merge the two. It doesn’t quite hit the same self-awareness 21 Jump Street has, but it also doesn’t take itself seriously enough to deliver real, well-thought-out jokes.

        The movie also bounces back and forth between relationships. Sometimes it highlights the romance between Efron’s Brody and Alexandra Daddario’s Summer; other times it seems like it wants to focus on the family dynamic of the whole team. While the moments showing the relationship between Brody and Johnson’s Mitch definitely get the closest to seeming like a good movie, writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift never let the moment linger long enough to really sell it; director Seth Gordon, meanwhile, seems more preoccupied with explosions and objectification than with really letting the characters shine.

        While no one was expecting Baywatch to have an Oscar-worthy plot, the film’s thinness ultimately made it forgettable for viewers who did head out to theaters, and, with the already bad reviews, the movie didn’t have a chance to get the word-of-mouth necessary to carry it through choppy box office waters.  


      • The standard formula (in no particular order) for a “Baywatch” episode seemed go like this:
        – The nonchalance by which they all endure the most heinous crimes (it’s like they are not really affected by it…except when the script says they should be affected by it, and then they overdo it )

        The long slow motion montages…
        The lack of chronology or continuity in the plot (sometimes it seems as if they just skip essential parts of the action, probably because they take away too much time from the slow motion scenes)
        The cheesy dialogue…
        The cheap moral lessons…


      • “Baywatch” to put things bluntly, was the ’90s version (or the most predominate version) of the “jiggle show” format that was popular in the ’70s (i.e. “Charlie’s Angels”, “Wonder Woman” w/ Lynda Carter, “Three’s Company”, “The Dukes of Hazzard” with Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke).

        Basically, these were shows that were long on beautiful actresses who didn’t wear bras but generally seen as a little short on plot. And in the case of “Baywatch” , the main drawing card was a bunch of hot babes running around in tight fitting, low cut red bathing suits. But arguably with the rise of easily accessible pornography on the internet and more liberal views towards sexual matters, shows like “Baywatch” that once expected to coast solely on the beauty of their casts increasingly found themselves disappointed. Not only that, but soon more ‘respectable’ programs began showing more sexually provocative content up to and including (on the premium cable networks like HBO and Showtime) full-on nudity. This just made what went on “Baywatch” in comparison feel fairly quaint and even a tad bit embarrassing.



        Baywatch is not something that would be successful in this day and age. The main point of the TV series was hot people frolicking on the beach, with cheesy stories thrown in somewhere. As I said in another thread, the show was able to flourish because it existed in an era where there was no YouTube nor high-speed internet that let you see hot people 24/7.

        I don’t think people who watched the series would care about this movie—the franchise has become so outdated, and it’s also been out of circulation for over a decade. Baywatch is definitely 90s kitsch.


  2. jeffthewildman

    I do wonder if maybe the lesson of Pirates 5 might be that as far as Johnny Depp is concerned, if it isn’t Jack Sparrow the public isn’t buying.


  3. Craig Hansen

    With Guardians of the Galaxy in its 4th weekend and Baywatch its only real competition, there was no surprise at all that Pirates 5 would take the top spot. It’s interesting how this series keeps sliding lower and lower box-office wise domestically – the last film earned only $250M and even if this new one triples its opening weekend it still won’t come close to the $200M barrier – this series still does very well overseas.

    I’m not sure exactly what that says or means, but it is very interesting.


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