I think I’m going to throw it out there and hope I don’t jinx anything: Spring is here. F@#$ing finally. Mother Nature’s been jacking me around for a few weeks now, but I think we’ve cleared winter’s last hurdle. What better way to revel in the sunshine than by sitting in a theater checking out this week’s flicks. We’ve got Jackie Robinson and another Scary Movie.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
I love baseball. I know a lot of people say this and sort of mean it, or think it sounds quasi-patriotic, or become infatuated with the idea of Americana behind the game so they claim it as truth. But this writer isn’t like those folks. I love baseball so much that my productivity hits a noticeable to severe decline between the months of April and October. I love the stats, the slow pace, the chess match quality of at bats, my Red Sox and all seven of my fantasy baseball teams. I tell you this not to brag, but rather to hedge, because as much as I love baseball, this new movie about a transcendent time period in the game (and in our country) seems completely underwhelming.
The story of Jackie Robinson’s entrance into the major leagues as the first African-American player is a cultural touchpoint, woven into the very fiber of our ugly history with segregation. And yet the trailers for this movie have left me completely emotionless. I’m not sure if it’s how the filmmakers have transposed the 1940’s onto the big screen. Maybe its the disconnect of Jay-Z playing over the top of old time-y footage. Or it could be a feeling that the movie won’t be willing or able to drill all the way down to the disgusting racial overtones rampant with Robinson’s entrance on to the national stage (not to say they won’t try, I just don’t think they’ll be able to). This last piece is what’s really needed to tell the full story of Robinson’s arrival into basbeall, and yet I get the feeling the movie makers will sidestep it ever-so-slightly in an effort to make it a “family” movie. Hence the PG-13 rating.
Director Brian Hegleland won an Oscar for L.A. Confidential’s screenplay. He also adapted Mystic River. Which is all well and good. Though I’d contend he did way with some of that artistic goodwill by giving us The Order (9%). The rest of his career (mostly writing) has been a mixed bag with many of his efforts hovering near the fifty percent mark. I think his latest follows that trend. There are critics who will see the movie as an uplifting hero’s tale while others will leave disappointed the movie put a semi-gloss over the “real” story. The Rotten Watch for 42 is