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The trailer for the thriller The Box, starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden came out last night. The premise of The Box is this: a Southern couple with financial problems is approached by a stranger (Frank Langella) bearing a box with a Staples easy button in it. He tells them that if they push the button, someone in the world that they don’t know will die, but they’ll get a million dollars. Even though that premise is completely ridiculous, I’m still interested in how they could possibly make a believable movie out of it. Also, check out their “Southern accents”:


I seriously thought for a second that Cameron Diaz and the kid who plays the son were doing that thing where you put on an exaggerated Southern accent as a joke! But anyway, so remember The Book Of Questions? It’s this silly little book from the ’80s and ’90s that you were supposed to break out at parties to learn about people and talk about deep ethical and moral issues, but it’s totally hilarious today because a lot of the “dilemmas” have very obvious answers. (“Would you ever consider dating a person of another race?”) The Box is based on an idea that’s also found in TBOQ, and that seems like it can’t possibly work in a movie. I’m sure they’ll give Frank Langella’s character some kind of motivation, but it won’t be believable. But who knows — The Game had a totally ludicrous premise, too, and that shit was awesome.

Comments (62)
  1. The twist is: When they press the button, Cameron Diaz’s accent coach dies, because she never really knew him. Oh delicious IRONY!

  2. It’s like the premise of the movie is really just that one scene in the kitchen and then the rest of the movie was added to make it a movie.

    • greg  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 +7

      And for some reason, two thirds of the non-kitchen scenes take place in the Boston Public Library. I suppose it’s free to the public, but come on: Your characters would have to travel all the way from the “South” to save someone they don’t know from a death they themselves caused. They’ve got libraries Arkangeorgiabama, stupid.

  3. i have the solution.
    throw the box away and don’t push the fuckin’ button.

  4. TC  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 +3

    I’m pretty sure this is based on a Twilight Zone episode: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Button,_Button_(The_Twilight_Zone)

    Also, Arcade Fire scored the movie, which could be interesting.

    • I don’t understand the twist in that episode. “A horrified, knowing expression crosses Norma’s face…” because someone she doesn’t know will get the box next? Please someone explain it to me; I must be stupid if I can’t get a Twlight Zone twist.

      • I think it’s suggesting that pushing the button will kill the previous owner of the box?

        • clarification  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 +2

          The movie’s based on a short story by Richard Matheson, which Matheson then adapted for that episode of The Twilight Zone.

      • Laura  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 +2

        If the button will kill someone “whom you don’t know”, & then is passed on to someone who “be assured, is someone you don’t know”……. karma’s a bitch.

      • Laura  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 -1

        If the button will kill someone “whom you don’t know”, & then is passed on to someone who “be assured, is someone whom you don’t know”……. karma’s a bitch.

    • It’s actually another adaptation of that source material, a Richard Matheson short story. I read the script, and it really took me by surprise. It’s a bit of a cross between between Hitchcockian domestic suspense and Lynchian surrealist nightmare, with a bit of sci-fi thrown in (because you know, Richard Kelly). It’ll be interesting to see if he can pull it off.
      But yeah, I’ll be seeing it as soon as possible if only for the Arcade Fire score. That gives me nerd goosebumps like you wouldn’t believe. Nerdbumps.

  5. The soundtrack is done by members of the Arcade Fire. Those French-Canadians were Diaz’s dialect coaches.

  6. im sorry to be cynical all, but getting a million dollars > someone i dont know dying…. its a no brainer

  7. “Somebody pushing your buttons?” Perfect. Screenwriting Oscar.

  8. This trailer has completely erased the image of Cameron Diaz’s slow motion entry into my life from the mask. I don’t like her anymore.

  9. boo  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 +4

    This looks awful in the best way possible. Hello, from the director of Donnie Darko.

  10. “it’s totally hilarious today because a lot of the “dilemmas” have very obvious answers. (“Would you ever consider dating a person of another race?”)”

    I agree: obviously, I would never date an Ewok.

  11. Why does everyone look like they’re in the past except for James Marsden? Is that the twist? He’s from the future!

  12. fred  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 +55

    the twist is that when she presses it, abigail breslin gets cancer.

  13. Wasn’t I in this one act play?

  14. “a Southern couple with financial problems is approached by a stranger (Frank Langella) bearing a box with a Staples easy button in it”
    So it’s like Indecent Proposal, but with office supplies?

  15. I had the Kid’s Book of Questions. One of the questions was, “Do you ever pick your nose and eat it?”

  16. Oh, I think I get it. It’s better than Matheson’s ending where her husband dies because she “never REALLY knew him.”

  17. jc  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 +4

    does this take place in the 70s or is cameron diaz have farrah hair for no particular reason?

  18. I like how they set the color correction to the “reality show nightmare sequence” preset

  19. Butterfly Effect meets There’s Something About Mary. The only way to save this movie is for Ashton Kutcher to hang himself in the womb.

  20. Danny  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrKnhOJ-R80
    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this before.

  21. BobVance  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 +3

    I always figured it was only a matter of time before Cameron Diaz wound up in a movie called “The Box.” I just thought the plot would be different.

  22. Fun fact: not everyone born and raised in the south has a thick accent. I’d say most people have either a light accent or none at all, and exactly 0% has a community theater Blanche DuBois accent.

    • Kelly modeled the couple after his parents, and his mother is from Texas. In the version of the script I read, it states that Diaz’s character is from Texas. Diaz spent quite a while with Kelly’s mother to try and nail her accent. It might be a bit distracting, but we’ll see.

    • You’re so right kiss the pan. I grew up in B’ham, AL and when I moved to NYC people knew I was a southerner but would remark on how little accent I have. Yankees think we’re all Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel sometimes. A lot of it has to do with how close you live to a city. I grew up in the burbs so my accent isn’t as a strong. My cousins grew up in a town of 800 people in Arkansas. They’ve got a stronger accent and it doesn’t sound like 1863 plantation owner either.

  23. I want to kick Cameron Diaz in her massive mouth.

  24. waterbenders at 1:50?

  25. The twist is, it’s really a comedy.

  26. The creepy deep voice from Langella + the use of what seems to be the EXACT same music at the end of the trailer…Wait, is this Saw 8? Sneaky, Warner Brothers, changing the title because you know how much I hate those movies. You almost got me.

  27. It’s the pastiche of random non-box-related images that makes this trailer a compelling piece of art. Late 70s prom dress! Santa Claus! James Marsden’s werewolf hair! Escalator of death!! What, no clown, old-fashioned victrola, or foreboding empty canoe?

    Also: “You’re sure I probably won’t know him?” “Definitely probably not!” If you don’t take this offer, Cameron Diaz, Frank Langella will lose all respect for you and punch you.

  28. I remember my cousin doing a skit thing with a similar premise in her final high school drama performance. It was cool because there were three girls and stuff and… I can’t really describe it, it was all complicated and shit, but my point was: interesting.

  29. Eulalie  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 0

    Wait, so Richard Kelly turned a Twilight Zone episode to an against-the-clock thriller?

    I should be impressed, but I’m just guessing the whole thing will end up a mystery and go through every painful possibility of who his wife doesn’t know before ending with some “shocking twist”.

  30. Seems like the Saw theme is definitely going the way of Requiem for a Dream. Countless movies will paste it onto their trailers to horrible effect.

  31. That Santa Claus scene totally sealed it for me – I will be seeing this movie.

    On Halloween. Dressed as Santa Claus. Fuck off, dignity!

    Also, “The Box”? Best worst title ever.

  32. Oh shit… by watching this trailer we collectively killed Michael Jackson.

  33. Haley  |   Posted on Jun 25th, 2009 +6

    First thing I thought of when I read the first paragraph of this post was The Book of Questions. God I feel old now. One time we had the brilliant idea to whip that out at a slumber party I had when I was 14. Needless to say, two people weren’t talking to each other for the rest of the night, and 3 ended up in tears.

    The Book of Questions more like The Book of :(

  34. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Eats Shoots and Leaves  |   Posted on Jun 26th, 2009 +5

      You know, it’s comments like this gem here that make me think of my high school boyfriend. They’re the comments to which you say, “awww…if only you applied yourself!”
      As I was typing this, I was going to comment on the horrid grammar and spelling. This is when I realized I knew how to correctly spell Howie Mandel’s name. This is when I realized why I’m pasty, fat, and alone every weekday night.

  35. woah! this is way more surreal/thriller-esque than I thought, based on the comments. yeah, it looks ridiculous, but I’d totally get high and watch this with excitement.

    but: from the trailer it’s kind of hard to feel bad for them. what, the doctor and his cameron diaz wife are gonna have to sell their million dollar 2 storey house and move into an apartment for a while to make end’s meet? wah wah. tragedy.

  36. That might work. I got high and saw “Planet of the Apes” and thought it was the greatest movie ever. Then I saw it sober and I shot myself in the leg, Plaxico style.

  37. Marx  |   Posted on Jul 6th, 2009 0

    Hahaha oh dear god ! I really hope this flick is better than that trailer. Richard Kelly disappointed the shit out of me with Southland Tales but I gave him a break. This has potential but who ever edited this trailer should kill themselves.

  38. Why did I get downvoted for this? Can’t we ask for simple clarifications from time to time?

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