Box Office Mojo Redesign by IMDb Pro

Box Office Mojo Redesign

It finally happened. Eleven years after Brandon Gray and I sold Box Office Mojo to Amazon/IMDb in 2008, they finally released a complete revamp of the site, updating the design and backend so that it appears to be fully integrated with the IMDb database.

Several features have been moved behind the IMDb Pro paywall, including some genre and franchise movie charts, while some features disappeared altogether including: weekly theater counts, calendar views of box office on movie pages, adjusting any domestic box office chart for ticket price inflation, among others.

The reaction on Twitter and the Hollywood press is resoundingly negative. Many want their old Mojo back. I do hope IMDb takes some of this feedback seriously, not because of the “design” but because of what it says about their editorial focus and understanding of box office.

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Movie: Brad’s Status

Brad's StatusBrad’s Status was a big disappointment. It is a meandering, mostly one-note, one-joke melancholy comedy about a middle-aged man (Ben Stiller) who is dissatisfied with his life. He compares himself to his former college classmates who are seemingly more successful than he is.

The script had a couple of great opportunities to make the theme so much more than it was, and totally struck out. In the end, Brad’s Status, which is meant really as a question posed by Ben Stiller’s character about himself, completely evades the moral question altogether and gives us no answers. My advice: Skip this snore fest.

If the tone and premise of this movie intrigue you, I’d suggest the much more creative Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It touches on some of these themes and has a similar tone, but is thought provoking rather than just plain boring.

Movie: Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers ClubAs a man-fights-the-system film, Dallas Buyers Club works wonderfully. Matthew McConauhey’s Oscar winning performance is worthy, as is supporting actor Jared Leto (who also won an Oscar). There is a lot to cheer for, and McConauhey’s performance as Ron Woodroof portraying an unlikable rodeo-riding, gambling, sex addicted homophobe turned hero, is convincing. We don’t actually start to root and care for him until he is in the fight for his life, obstructed by the FDA and other government agencies who want to prevent him from obtaining and distributing drugs that will help him in his fight against AIDS.

When first diagnosed with HIV and given 30 days to live, Woodroof is in denial and rejects his death sentence. Then, fueled by self-preservation, this loser turned hero does what it takes to live: he does his homework.

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Movie: Draft Day

Draft DayDraft Day, starring Kevin Costner as a draft picker for an NFL football team, is an exciting sports drama that is sure to satisfy football lovers as well as those who know very little about the game (I fall the later category).

What makes the film work is its high stakes and time sensitive negotiations and deal making that transpire throughout the film. Each year in the NFL, teams draft new players and, somehow, some teams get to pick their favorite new players sooner than others (they are mostly players from college football, I gather). I’m sure sports fans know the details. I certainly don’t, but even a neophyte like me could follow along and know what values are at stake. Continue reading