Big happenings in the Rotten World this week. In addition to tackling the subtle art of telling you what’s going to be good, and what’s going to suck, the critical prediction machine is taking on a challenger. I’ve had it with these internet nobodies claiming they can do this sh$% better than the Dougster. No chance. At least not when we’ve got robot boxers and presidential candidates roaming around the big screen. Check in at the bottom of this week's post for the gauntlet to be thrown by the first-ever Rotten Week challenger.

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.

Real Steel
We are reaching a sort of critical mass when it comes with movies. That time when the movie world officially runs out of ideas for good flicks. And while the Creative Doomsday Clock hasn’t quite yet ticked down to 00:00, the writing is sort of on the wall when studios create movies that are clearly based on Rock‘em Sock’em Robots, even if they're not admitting it. Hey, that’s fine with me. In fact, let me help out. Here are some other ideas for flicks based on crap I used to play when I was in elementary school:

Hungry Hungry Hippos - Pretty easy really. Wrongly convicted criminal serves his punishment by entering the Hippo Arena. Story writes itself.

Knock Hockey - Down and out ex-ice hockey star is now playing for his pride, family and life in the only forum left for him: the one-on-one wooden hockey league. A tear-jerker for sure.

Mouse Trap - Guy builds big Rube Goldberg machine. Then he sets it in motion. We watch. I’m sensing Oscar buzz here.

Battleship - They’re already doing this one and it’s coming out next year. Maybe we are closer to critical mass than I thought.

In Real Steel, we’re presented a future in which mindless and robotic boxers have been replaced with mindless boxer robots. At first glance, director Shawn Levy’s (Date Night - 66%, Night at the Museum - 44%) premise appears hokey at best, downright stupid at worst. Throw in a hacky title, a plot that has us believe someone like Hugh Jackman could have ever been a heavyweight boxing champion, and robots punch each other at state fairs and underground fighting pits. It appears a recipe for disaster. But early reviews, while not gushing, have trended fairly positive. It appears there’s an above average movie hidden in all the ridiculousness and a nice little father-son bonding type of thing between Jackman’s character and his son (or the robot, I’m not sure). Color me confused. Maybe there’s hope for Foosball: The Movie after all. The Rotten Watch for Real Steel is 55%.


The Ides of March
You know who I love? Politicians. I don’t know what I like more, their neatly manicured appearance, designer suits with subtly patriotic ties, ability to pump out sensible and well thought out rhetoric at an alarming pace and volume, or their obvious and ingrained need to always look out for the people without ever, ever, ever considering themselves or their careers first. Politicians are like superheroes without capes and I applaud all the good they are doing for our country right now. Clap, clap, clap.

All that bulls#$% being said, I can’t wait to see a movie that outs politicians and the peons who work for them as the blood-sucking, egotistical, backhanded, societal vampires they really are. Let’s do this thing Clooney. Don’t hold anything back.

And my political leanings aside, from a movie perspective, it’s hard to argue with who and what’s going up on screen in this thing. Besides a cast that includes Ryan Gosling (really doesn’t make bad movies), Philip Seymour Hoffman (ditto), Paul Giamatti (sort of ditto again), we’ve got George Clooney the actor (too many good movies to name) and Clooney the director (Good Night and Good Luck-94%, Leatherheads-52%). And while the latter of those flicks was a hokey mess, there’s no arguing the guy has talent in front of the lens and behind it. Oh yeah, and he wrote the screenplay for this one too. It’s going to be good.

Early reviews for this political thriller have been generally positive to downright salivating about the story, cast, directing and perfectness of Clooney’s hair. This flick’s got it all. And maybe a politician will get screwed in the end, making it a winner for everyone. The Rotten Watch for Ides of March is 86%.


Recapping last week

So I’m listening to a podcast the other day from the dudes that wrote Freakonomics, and its about the “science” of prediction. And they keep going on and on about how no one in America stands up for their predictions. How we live in a society in which those folks doing the predicting stand to lose nothing with a wrong prediction because, well, whatever, that’s just the way the world works. Well, not me. Not this writer. I’ve always shown you where I’ve gone wrong, taken a pelting of tomatoes, posted my mistakes each week and for the next month am willing to take on a challenger from the realms of the Comments section.

His name is Nate or Nick or Nat, or something like that. He’ll get to introduce himself in a second, but it’s worth it to note, that he already lost this first week. Here’s a quick breakdown:

My Scores

50/50 (Predicted: *94% Actual: 92%)

What’s Your Number (Predicted: 29% Actual: 23%)

Dream House (Predicted: 22% Actual: 5%)

Total score, off by - 23%

Nate's Scores

50/50 (Predicted: 86% Actual: 92%)

What’s Your Number (Predicted: 20% Actual: 23%)

Dream House (Predicted: 35% Actual: 5%)

Total score, off by - 39%


So you can see that messing with greatness is typically a losing venture. Here’s to a fun month-long competition. Without further ado, Nate Dittberner:

How goes it Cinemablend nation?! Let me start off by saying i'm thrilled to have the opportunity to face off against the great Doug Norrie in the Battle of The Tomato Brains! See kids, dreams do come true. Alright, alright, enough kissing ass because it's time to get down to work. I'll be honest, my job here is to dominate, own, and destroy Doug for the next four weeks so he goes home crying to his life size Danny Devito inflatable doll. Don't worry Doug, your secret is safe with me. Close your eyes kids, it's going to be a blood bath! So who am I? Why should I be trusted? My name is Nate Dittberner. For several months I had a Facebook page dedicated to predicting RT scores. My predictions went up against Doug's own, and I quickly realized that in fact my predictions ended up closer to the actual results than his. Here is a fun fact. I've worked at a movie theatre for 4 years so I have a good understanding on what the people like and do not like.

Predictions for next week: Real Steel, 58%, The Ides of March, 84%

Next week we go bird watching, do a little dancing and get attacked by the Thing. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!

*(Correction: the original version of this article incorrectly stated the original prediction for 50/50 as 92%. We apologize for the error.)

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