This week's movies have a little something for everyone. One movie stars George Clooney, one is directed by Robert Rodriguez and one has Drew Barrymore in *gasp* a romantic comedy. Whether you are a serious movie watcher, a person who likes having a little fun at the cinema or a complete sappy idiot, you're in luck because you'll find something appealing. Decide which category you fall in and take a look at what this rotten week has to offer.
Lately, when Dr. Doug Ross (AKA George Clooney) takes a serious role in a movie, one thing happens: critics fall in love with what they're seeing. It could be because when Clooney starts getting that furrowed brow, intense gaze going, viewers can't help falling head over heels in love with the heartthrob. (Can you blame them? The guy's easy on the eyes). But the love also stems from Clooney just making good, dramatic movies time in and time out. Where he's had a misstep or two (The Men Who Stare at Goats- 53%, Leatherheads -52%**) it's because he's gone the quirky comedic route and Clooney is a subtle humorist, not an in-your-face laugh out loud type.
**Even these two movies aren't complete misses. They're certified rotten, but still over the 50% mark, so even when Clooney misses he still hits.
But when Clooney gets to work on the intense and dramatic productions, well let's just say the guy is an artist. Consider this relatively recent resume: Up in the Air (90% and nominated for an Academy Award), Michael Clayton (90% and nominated for an Oscar), Good Night and Good Luck (94% and nominated for an Academy Award in writing), Syriana (72% and won an Academy Award). And that doesn't even include him playing everyone's favorite Danny Ocean somewhere in between. What can I say? Clooney knows what he's doing.
And along comes The American which looks to be right in Clooney's intrigue and deceit wheelhouse. In Anton Corbijn's (Control -87%) newest film, Clooney plays an assassin who does all kinds of assassin-y things while trying to figure who is trying to kill him. Who cares what exactly is happening here. Clooney's got the Clooney-face working and the movie will probably be a homerun. The Rotten Watch for The American is 84%.
Going the Distance
Would you like a recipe for breaking up a Hollywood relationship? Here it is. Take a real life couple, say Drew Barrymore and Justin Long for example, and put them in a romantic comedy together where they need to act like they're in a relationship and madly in love.
You spend hours working on “being in love” and letting everyone on set see exactly how your relationship works. Then you presumably need something in the movie to strain the relationship (long distance, whatever) and have to play out that frustration on screen. And let's just say you make it through all the filming and somehow are still head over heels for each other. Then you need to watch it on the big screen, over and over and over again. Don't you think you'd start to notice little things like, “Ooh Drew is kind of a bad actress,” or “Is Justin really in love with me in that scene because it kind of seemed like he was faking it” and on and on and on.
All of this also leaves out what happens when the movie is bad (which it is going to be). Is the poor movie a reflection on the couple's lack of chemistry? Bottom line: doing this movie was a mistake for the couple's relationship and film viewers alike.
It doesn't take a genius to know the whole production sucks. Just watch the trailer. It involves jokes like Barrymore's face covered in wing sauce, ill-fated phone sex, multiple pubes on the dining room table jokes, and a script that looks like it was manufactured at the Rom-Com factory. So who wins with this movie? Nobody. Barrymore and Long will be broken up in a year and the film will fail in the eyes of critics. The Rotten Watch for Going the Distance is 24%.
Normally one would think that any movie that included Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin and Don Johnson could be given a score under ten percent and sent on its way. That is until you realize that Robert Rodriguez is behind the whole thing and the then resumes of the rest of the film's players just go right the hell out the window.
With Machete, Rodriguez compiles a whole host of B-movie actors and actresses in another homage to the B-movie genre. That is, just a bunch of crazy s#$% happening on screen with a tons of whacked out characters, thousands of gun shots, ludicrous weapons, purposefully overdone fight scenes, Danny Trejo looking his typically terrifying self, chicks with eye patches, a priest rocking two shotguns, vehicles with guns mounted everywhere and Robert De Niro making an appearance as a senator. So yeah, this thing looks freaking awesome.
Rodriguez's other forays into this arena have been wildly successful so there's no reason to think Machete will be any different. Planet Terror (74%) and the Mariachi Trilogy (average of 74%) all point to the idea that Rodriguez just gets this genre and is a guy who has a ton of fun making these movies. That's really the key because his newest one looks like a thrill ride (with a Gatling gun attached). The Rotten Watch for Machete is 71%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week, it was another win for the Rotten Watch. Do we need any more proof that this should be your first stop in predicting critical consensus for movies (unless it's about piranhas)? The Last Exorcism (Predicted-68% , Actual-71%) was an almost direct bull's-eye proving again scary movies can also be critical successes.
Conversely, Takers (Predicted -39%, Actual-29%) was slightly worse than I expected, but that didn't mean I was displeased. I wanted this movie to be bad strictly based on Hayden Christensen's hat. But within ten percent is still the goal so Takers was a win even if it lost big time.
Next week is a slow one for movies as the summer season comes to a merciful end. Alice and the Umbrella Corporation are back and I'll do my end of summer Rotten Watch recap where we look back at the season that was. It's going to be a Rotten Week!