This Rotten Week: Predicting Lawless and The Possession Reviews
The summer is winding down toward a total stop, what with Labor Day right around the corner and Corona production about to be discontinued until Memorial Day. The summer movie season is also nearing a close, but not before one more cool flick and another horror retread hit the theaters. This week we’ve got Prohibition and Possession.
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.
Was there any darker period in our nation’s history that the Prohibition era? Booze illegal? How did folks even survive? I can’t even roll out of bed in the morning without a little snort of Glenfiddich 1937. And dinner without a glass of my Petrus Pomerol 99? Um, no f@#$ing thank you. So I think we can all agree Prohibition is the one blemish on our country’s otherwise spotless historical record concerning superfluous laws and and nanny state suppression.
And when it came to low-end, moonshine bootlegging in the 1920s, Franklin County, Virginia was your one-stop shop, Costco-style booze distribution center. A Garden of Eden for those looking to burn the crap out of their insides in the name of getting drunk as skunks.
Lawless, directed by John Hillcoat (The Road-75%, The Proposition-87%), tells the story of the Bondurant Brothers (played by Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy) as they navigate their moonshine empire in the hills of Virginia. The movie is based on Matt Bondurant’s book The Wettest County in the World. There’s a great deal to like about this flick going in. Hillcoat’s resume is tight and, judging by the trailer, cinematically it appears a sweeping and intense ride through the period. And while I don’t typically mention actors as a cause for or against a movie’s critical chances, Tom Hardy (Warrior-83%, The Dark Knight Rises-87%) is about as good as it gets in Hollywood right now.* LaBeouf? Well, count me among the people who think his talent outpaces his recent critical resume.
*Read this piece about why we can forgive Hardy for This Means War.
Early reviews have this flick finishing strong with critics. With more than twenty-five reviews already posted on the Tomatometer I can’t count it on the old resume, just wouldn’t be prudent. But I think as the next seventy-five or so reviews come in we’ll see an uptick in the score. Now I’m off for a little tickle of some Cristal Brut 1900. The Rotten Watch for Lawless is
Ahh, the old “Based on a True Story” title. Aren’t these the best? Here, let me real quick outline a movie about myself that’s based on a true story. A writer (played by Brad Pitt) is content penning his world famous and award-winning internet movie column. Until one day his wife (Charlize Theron, obv) finds an amulet in the backyard of their Hollywood estate that turns them both into sex-crazed super heroes. From their, well I think you can just imagine where it goes. See what I mean? “Based on a True Story” flicks are the absolute best. You can do anything with that moniker.
The Possession takes it to even crazier heights than the ones I outlined above. The true parts? There is an old box from Jewish folklore that crazy people say contains a demon (it doesn’t). A kid once bought something at a yard sale. Kids are evil. That’s about it. From there, director Ole Bornedal (Just Another Love Story-72%) kind of um, embellishes the “true” part of the story. Unless that is you think demons crawling out of throats, boxes flying across the room, mass deaths, groups of hysterically grim rabbis warding off evil, bedrooms full of tiny bats, creepy whispering and a lot of supernatural wind-blowing are all true to this tale.
Thankfully, screenplay writers Juliett Snowden and Stiles White know a thing or two about penning crappy movies with Knowing (33%) and Boogeyman (17%) on their resumes. And the only reason I give this a bump out of the horror basement is Sam Raimi’s production tag, though, truth be told, his non-directorial credits aren’t exactly inspiring with Priest (17%) and Messengers (12%) to name a few. This film doesn’t look much better. It’s a tired gag rehashed a couple of times a year. Kid gets possessed, no one knows what to do about it, at the end evil is eradicated but will probably be back for the sequel. It’s all true though. The Rotten Watch for The Possession is
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week:
Well, this is a weird one and I’m tempted to say it was a positive week overall, though there’s room for debate on that sentiment. First of all, a complete win on Hit and Run (Predicted: 40% Actual: 46%). This looked like exactly the kind of movie that critics wouldn’t love, but wouldn’t hate either. A nice addition to the resume.
Next, The Apparition (Predicted: 21% Actual: 0%) was a miss, but my misgivings about it were founded. It’s near impossible to predict a zero, and even below ten percent is a rather rare Razzie feat. I knew it would stink, but just wasn’t aware it would be an all-time s#$@ storm. Can’t count it as within ten percent, but I’m not totally unhappy about my prediction.
Finally, Premium Rush (Predicted: 29% Actual: 74%) just completely pump-faked me. An action movie about bike messengers just seemed like such a lock to suck, but I probably should have factored in JGL crushing it on picking and choosing his spots lately. Never in a million years thought I would miss by this much here.
Next time around we’ll go through some words. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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