Thursday, July 19, 2012

Film Cemetery

Case Study #10

Where we explore the more 
obscure films that bombed

Knight and Day

Err...what do you mean, our movie flopped?

On June 23, 2010 the numbers for a new movie release started to roll in. 

And 20th Century Fox executives knew without a doubt they had waded balls deep into a river of fuck.

The tracking numbers for Knight and Day were very poor, and it looked like they had a 117 million dollar stinker on their hands.

I saw this film in the theater, and nobody should have been surprised.

Fox, in a fit of desperation, began a viral marketing campaign touting this flick as an 'original film for adults'. 

And nothing could be further from the truth. 

There was nothing original in Knight and Day, the 'adult' element basically consisted of having two actors that were beyond their use-by date. 

When I say 20th Century Fox in this post, be aware that covers the many, many small production studios that financed and made this movie. Also, there were a shit-ton of writers, and a whole slew of lead actors that backed out.

Cruise plays some type of secret spy named Matthew Knight, and Cameron Diaz is June antique car restorer. Sigh.

Diaz meets Cruise at the airport. She is flying home after picking parts for an old Pontiac.

Really, script writers? You can't do better than that?

First things first. I myself restore antique vehicles, and have gotten many parts from England and Russia for my Jeep collection. 

Here is what I do NOT do when I need a hard-to-find carburetor - I don't get on a friggin' plane and fly to the part in question....I pick up the friggin' phone and order the part and have it flown to me!

Harsh? Perhaps. Let me ask you something, though. 

Do you believe a man can jump from one speeding car to another in the realm we live in? Not the Matrix, the here and now. 

Do you believe that bad guys - no matter how resourceful - can pinpoint good guys on a deserted island from a cell phone call and blast the good guys with a remote military drone within a few seconds of that phone call?

As a woman, would you run off with a man that just shot your dopey-but-nice unarmed boyfriend?

It gets worse, because the movie opens with what amounts to a terrorist attack aboard a jet airliner in which Cruise kills everyone - except Cameron Diaz - then he then lands the aircraft safely in a cornfield. 

Diaz wakes up after this traumatic event the following morning and promptly goes about her day as if nothing had happened.

Am I going to prattle on and try to explain the plot of Knight and Day to you?

Look it up on Wiki, or just watch it. The plot, by the way, is nearly identical to another movie in Film Cemetery, The Saint...right down to the revolutionary new free energy power source.

This is one of those rare films that is so bad it's good in a 'ha-ha, can you believe that shit?' kind of way.

On the other hand, I am going to give Knight and Day points for keeping it light-hearted. And Cruise, a fine actor with charisma, tries to be funny in this movie. 

Notice I said 'tries'.

And Diaz is likable, as usual. She kind of won me over in Charlie's Angels back in 2001, so I always cut her some slack. 

Besides the utter lack of sexual chemistry between Cruise and Diaz, there is the problem of Cruise himself. 

I mean his personal self. 

A lot of people believe that his weird lifestyle and beliefs filtered to the potential audience for this bomb, and caused them to stay away. 20th Century Fox certainly saw the writing on the wall. 

Cruise typically gets a 20 million dollar paycheck for showing up, and a cut of the front-end box office receipts. 

Fox Studios offered him 11 million and nothing else.

This was a very hard film to like. It has a cookie-cutter plot, unbelievable action, and no fizzle between the two stars. 

And let me make something perfectly clear - Diaz is still very pretty, but she's a star of the 90s. Not 2010. 

As for Cruise, he's damn lucky to have the Mission: Impossible franchise to fall back on.

A few weeks before Knight and Day was released, another spy/love story action comedy came out. Killers, starring Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl. 

The reason I am mentioning this is because Killers is so godawful it makes Knight and Day look truly spectacular by comparison.

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