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22 « January « 2008 « My God, It's Full of Nerds!

Archive for January 22nd, 2008

James Surowiecki: Full of Crap

On the BMMB message board I thought it would be fun the see if I could harness that whole Wisdom of Crowds thing to predict the box office fate of Cloverfield. Here are the results:

$0 – $5 million, 1 vote, [3.57%]
$6 – $10 million, 1 vote, [3.57%]
$11 – $15 million, 9 votes, [32.14%]
$16 – $20 million, 7 votes, [25.00%]
$21 – $30 million, 5 votes, [17.86%]
$31 – $40 million, 3 votes, [10.71%]
$41 – $50 million, 0 votes, [0.00%]
$51 million +, 1 votes, [3.57%]

So more than 50% of the votes were for between $10 million and $20 million. The real answer was $46 million.

For the record, I voted for $21 – $30 million.

Help Wanted

I need some help. How can I guarantee that no book ever published in the English language from this moment on is allowed to include the words, “the soft swell of her breasts”?


The Bad: Cloverfield is more of a technical exercise than a fully formed movie.

The Good: As technical exercises go, it’s a corker.


By now I think everyone knows the general outline of the movie; it’s the Blair Kaiju Project. The entire movie is seen from the perspective of a single home video camera wielded by some guy named “Hud.” (I wonder if the connection to HUD, or Heads-Up Display, is a happy accident or not.) Hud is tasked with recording the going away party for Rob, who is moving to Japan. Before long, however, news reports show up on the TV about a oil tanker capsizing in harbor, and the ground rumbles. Soon Hud, Rob, Rob’s brother Jason, Jason’s girlfriend Lily, and party goer Marlena are running for their lives above and below the streets of a New York City under attack by giant monster.

One of my favorite things about The Empire Strikes Back is that we first see the AT-ATs through digital binoculars. That one shot really sold me on the reality of walkers, papering over the fact that in nearly every following shot they are, like all stop motion creations, too in-focus to be genuine. Cloverfield is like that one shot taken to the extreme. For the first 80 minutes we never really get a clear view of the monster. It’s either obscured by smoke, seen on TV, behind buildings, seen through windows, and so on. That’s not to say we don’t see it, but the presentation made me far more convinced of the reality of this monster than any other kaiju. Also, the first time we see the little monsters is also on TV, and I found that to be creepy as hell. Once the attack starts, the movie is nothing but scary scenes of what it would like to be in a city being stomped flat, and that was enough for me. Judging from the box office the movie made, I’m not alone.

Over the next few days I’m going to post my speculations on certain aspects of the movie, like what the monsters was (or is…?). Be sure to check back for that.