Slate‘s Kim Masters has asked around and come up with three theories about why Tony Gilroy and George Clooney‘s Michael Clayton underperformed last weekend. That’s easy to answer, but let’s first consider the content of the piece.
Theory #1: Clooney isn’t a star, in part because he hasn’t nurtured the fan base by making movie-star movies. Theory #2: A “former studio chairman” says Michael Clayton didn’t have an idea to sell so nobody except people who like complex, sophisticated adult dramas (i.e., roughly 2% of the population) gave that much of a shit. “When you look at the marketing, you don’t know what it’s about,” the f.s.c. says, which is understandable “because Michael Clayton is a really well-executed movie that’s not about anything.” Theory #3: There are “too damn many grown-up movies.”
My own theory is that most people prefer downmarket movies with color, humor, excitement and personality, and Michael Clayton seemed overly muted and not funny, thrilling or charming enough. In a word, it looked like too much of a high- brow thing. Too smart, too subtle, too low-key, too corporate. There was no one in ithe cast who wore a backwards baseball cap or had a pot belly or drove a muscle car or who listened to Bruce Springsteen.