The Rotten Week hot streak (pretty much) continues as, outside of a complete whiff from Wes Craven last week, we nailed scores for two out of the three movies on the slate. This week Bruce Willis comes out of assassin retirement to battle the CIA while Johnny Knoxville and his crew work to defy death, this time in 3D.
Let's check out what This Rotten Week has to for us.
The guys from the Jackass crew are geniuses, plain and simple. Sure, they aren't Mensa caliber in the strictest sense, but they are geniuses nonetheless. Ten years ago they ushered in a world of entertainment often imitated, never duplicated. Johnny Knoxville and company have cheated death ** all in the name of cracking each other up, torturing their friends and pushing some unseen envelope of sadomasochism. And it's awesome.
** Quick aside: Isn't it amazing none of these guys have died or suffered some sort of life-altering injury? I'm sure their stunts are closely monitored now, but those early years couldn't have been too heavy on the safety. And I've seen Bam's crew's early CKY videos. Those things were just kids with cameras throwing themselves out of moving cars.
Now their back with a third movie, this one in 3D. From the trailer it's business as usual for the gang as they bungee jump in a port-o-potty, shoot each other with paintball guns, get hit in the head with giant fish, knock each other out, get blown away by a jet engine and even introduce the "Heli-cockter." So yeah, this one's going to be special.
The previous Jackass movies have performed relatively similarly with Jackass The Movie coming in at 49% and Jackass: Number Two at 63%. That's fairly standard when you consider there's a whole host of critics out there who just won't get what the Jackass crew is trying to accomplish (risking personal safety in the name of entertainment). These movies aren't for everyone. But they are for more people than you'd think. And with the guys coming at us in 3D, it'll make the experience just that much more wince-worthy. The Rotten Watch for Jackass 3D is 59%.
At what point in an actor's career do they make the decision to start playing the old guy? It must start out as something small, playing a father to a little kid or something. And then one day they wake up and they're being cast as an elderly, retired assassin trying to avoid getting whacked by the CIA. It must have been a sobering moment for Bruce Willis to know he was more believable as a senior citizen ex-assassin than a John McClane type.
Red, based on the DC comics limited series, is about the geriatric gang of Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren coming out of killer retirement to figure out who from the government wants them dead. That I'm failing to see an exact market for this movie is besides the point, as the early reviews are general positive. We're not in the business of predicting box office success, just whether the critics will like the flick. It seems they do. (But really, who is going to see this movie? Older people looking for a shoot-em up action? Twenty somethings out to see AARP members wielding rocket launchers? Who?)
The early reviews are made even more surprising in light of director Robert Schwentke's previous works (The Time Traveler's Wife 37%, Flightplan 37%) which have been completely underwhelming. But Red is a step in the action direction for the director, and by early accounts he gets it right. The Rotten Watch for Red is 72%.
Do you have any friends who think they're really deep? The kind of people who purposefully interject things into conversations they believe will make others around them ooh and ahh over their complexity of thought? People like this show up a lot on Facebook chiming in with tidbits like, "Looking out into the rain and thinking…" or "The world's full of noise, I'm just trying to hear above the din." You know, crap like that. Why do I bring this up? Because it appears Hereafter might suffer some, "Hey look how deep we are," problems of its own.
Strictly from a cast and crew standpoint Hereafter looks like a home run. We've got a Clint Eastwood directed (Invictus - 76%, Gran Torino - 80%) and Peter Morgan penned (Frost/ Nixon - 92%, The Queen - 97%) film starring Matt Damon. Get your Academy Award speeches ready right? Hold on. I know trailers aren't the best determinant of movie worth, I get that, but this one is almost unwatchable and has some legitimately terrible lines just floating around. The kind of stuff that wants to be deep like, "What do you think happens when we die?" and "It's not a gift…it's a curse." Uggh.
The whole premise is about death, a quasi-deep person's wet dream, and how Matt Damon's character can communicate with those in the afterlife. His life intersects with others who have their own death issues and the trailer turns into one dragged out conversation on life or death or something, I'm not sure because I almost fell asleep.
Now the movie won't be terrible, but I don't see any way it lives up to what we'd expect out of an Eastwood/ Morgan team up. Their names alone will keep the score respectable, but I'll hold off on my Oscar votes for the time being. The Rotten Watch for Hereafter is 63%
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
I got a little worried after I turned in last week's column and Josh Tyler instantly said I had gone too high on Secretariat. He then proceeded to post a one and half star review. That Secretariat (Predicted 74%, Actual 65%) scored well above the "suck" line had him more than a little confused. I simply explained that I accounted for the sappy, feel good factor. Critics just eat that stuff up (those with hearts at least).
Life as We Know It (Predicted 29%, Actual 30%, Boo yah) was another easy victory as Katherine Heigl continues her streak of bad romantic comedies. She just needs to switch it up. You're better than this Katherine. Do you hear me? You're better than this!!!
Finally, we come to Wes Craven. I said last week My Soul to Take (Predicted 69%, Actual 8%, ugh) had me a little concerned over which version of the director would show up. He left little doubt as awesome Wes exited stage left in favor of terrible Wes. What a shame as this was one of my biggest misses ever, right up there with Piranha 3D.
Next week we begin a craptacular run of movie releases over the rest of the month. The gang from Paranormal Activity gets even more paranormaler in a sequel to the original s#$t your pants original. It's going to be a Rotten Week!