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The box office has a little for everyone this week. Tom Hanks returns to the directing chair so he can hook up with Julia Roberts, Michael Bay brings us more Autobots and Decepticons, and Selena Gomez gets the tweeners all worked up. Whatever your fancy.
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.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
There are two kinds of dining experiences. The times you head out to La Bernardin, order the langoustine with mescolun salad, have a sommelier recommend the perfect wine pairing and get a check for a few hundred bucks if you decided to go on the price fixe menu. But can you complain? The food's divine and no critic would disagree. Then there's Dave and Busters. You order a burger and fries, get a Budweiser on tap, and drop a couple hundred on video games while trying to decide on ordering an extra side of potato skins. Which kind of dinner night would you say the Michael Bay experience is most analogous to?
See I like a guy who knows who he is. He likes boom booms. He adores crappy dialogue. There's never been a one-liner he doesn't want to throw in on top of another explosion. Dude can even make fun of himself for it, because he's selling you on a surface experience rather than on the award-winning striped bass with watermelon radish carpaccio. And there's something to be said for that. I think.
Would any critic walk into Dave and Busters and write anything positive? Would any critic even go to a Dave and Busters to begin with? (We loved the flavor development on the Cheddar Cheesy Fries! Five stars!!!) Of course not. But it doesn't stop folks from heading out to experience it. Hell, the Transformers series is over the $1.5 billion mark in box office sales and critics have generally crushed them. (Transformers - 57%, Revenge of the Fallen - 20%). Dark of the Moon looks much the same. Wall-to-wall action, very little acting, a suspect script, more crap blowing up, robots everywhere, and a hot chick or two. It's the Michael Bay experience! I'll take an order for two with a large Coke please! The Rotten Watch for Transformers: Dark of the Moon is 36%.
I'm a perpetual optimist. Meaning, literally, my optimism rolls on in infinity. The glass is always half full. The sunrise is forever beautiful. I always get up on the right side of the bed. Kittens are cute. Things will always turn out okay. Life is amazing! And that part of me wants to watch a movie like Larry Crowne and assume, beforehand, the product is transcendent, uplifting, life-changing, hell some kind of combination between Castaway - Pretty Woman in which the protagonists hook us from the jump and make the viewers *gasp* forever emotionally invested in their less-than-spectacular on-screen lives (these two have done it to us before and that was a lot of hyphens).
But here's the thing. (and remember, I'm the optimist in the bunch, kittens and all), what are critical expectations here? Because when a movie poster says Hanks and Roberts (and directed by Hanks, oh my); all of a sudden the level of what's “supposed to happen on screen” jumps to some Academy Award winning level. And man that's a real bitch.
Because behind a trailer filled with “moments” and a catchy soundtrack is a movie critics won't necessarily latch on to. See, there are certain movies, which capture our hearts. And then there are others that want so freaking badly to capture our hearts, but don't. This flick looks like the latter. Hanks (directed That Thing You Do - 92%) looks like he's trying pretty hard to make the perfect romantic comedy-ish flick. I don't think critics will agree. The Rotten Watch for Larry Crowne is 49%.
It was close. Almost made it through the whole trailer for this mess, but when Selena Gomez knocked a polo ball into a table of champagne causing the bubbly to go everywhere, it was check out time. That was the 1:31mark. See if you can do better.
A little case of mistaken identity is never a bad idea for a film I guess, but is there anything for a person over the age of twelve to get excited for here? Nope, and I just spent a solid fifteen seconds thinking about it. Director Tom Bezucha has The Family Stone (52%) on his resume and I'd be lying if it didn't get a tad bit misty in the Norrie household for that flick. But that's all he's done in the last decade.
Gomez's resume isn't bad (Ramona and Beezus - 69%), but that one movie is all we're really working with here. That and the dream of all pre-high school girls (and women in general I suppose) to end up living the life of luxury with sparkly things, closets full of shoes, butlers, handsome men on horses, new dresses and whatever else comes with being a heiress. Monte Carlo still looks dreadful. The Rotten Watch for Monte Carlo is 30%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week: Bad Teacher (Predicted: 44% Actual: 46%) was awfully close to the mark. Damn fine prediction. When the trailer for a comedy doesn't have me laughing at least four times, I know something is amiss.
Cars 2 (Predicted: 75% Actual: 33%) was Pixar's first real stinker. And in a critical sense, it bombed. I want to believe this is just pothole in the road, and that Pixar will rebound nicely. But for a studio that cranks out critical darlings, falling 41% lower than their next lowest film (Cars - 74%) is something to keep an eye on.
Next week bad bosses get their comeuppance and Kevin James trades in his mall security uniform for a zookeeper outfit. It's going to be a Rotten Week!
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