This Rotten Week: Predicting Labor Day and That Awkward Moment Reviews

By Doug Norrie 2014-01-26 18:20:05discussion comments
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This Rotten Week: Predicting Labor Day and That Awkward Moment Reviews image
We’re stuck in a deep freeze on the East Coast, which is fine with me. The outdoors are completely overrated. Especially when we’ve got some movies to talk about. This week it’s awkward moments and falling in love with escaped convicts.

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.

Labor Day
If a strange, jowly, weirdly handsome, mountain-y, growling man came up to me in the pharmacy, covered in blood, saying he needed "help", a 10 year old Doug wouldn’t have thought twice. I would have first asked for the secret word I established with my parents (Scooby-Doo) and when he couldn’t produce said word, I would have politely informed him that I could not help him. He was a stranger, and strangers mean danger. Plain and simple. What would have happened? Not sure, but what wouldn’t have happened is me taking him home, him turning out to be an escaped criminal, and then said man falling in love with my recluse mother. That scenario does not play out.

So goes Labor Day, Jason Reitman’s new film about the tragedies of falling in love with an on-the-run convict who turns out to be a decent guy. On the surface, Reitman’s new film looks the part, in line with his critically acclaimed resume that includes Young Adult (80%), Up in the Air (90%) and Juno (94%). But critics haven’t fallen in love with it the way Kate Winslett goes for Josh Brolin. No, they’ve been lukewarm in their responses (62% through almost 40 reviews). The main criticisms seem to focus on the implausible nature of the plot, not so much the individual performances. Reitman’s films often have a theme of taboo love, with characters falling for just the wrong person. This seems like that theme taken out to its nth degree. It’s one thing to fall for a married business woman, or an older man, but an escaped convict? Critics seem to think it rings false.

Most likely reviews will continue to trend down the middle like this, with some critics enjoying the emotion and gravitas in Brolin/Winslett/Griffith’s odd relationship. Others will dismiss the plot sight unseen and have trouble getting over that hump. Hey, I’m probably in the latter group. Dude comes up to me in the pharmacy and asks for help? He gets a kick in the shin and I give a toot on my danger whistle. The Rotten Watch for Labor Day is 57%


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