Armond White strikes again. Usually I recap the previous week at the end, but I wanted to just mention something about this guy. Last week, I predicted Grown Ups would be a pile of monkey dung. It failed to live up to even basement level expectations (Predicted 19%, Actual 10%). Only ten percent of critics thought this movie was worth shelling out ten bucks to see at the theater. White, the same guy who panned Toy Story 3, thinks this Adam Sandler, fart joking, cash grab, was a quality flick. I guess my question is: when can someone lose their critic credentials? Do such things exist? Can someone get on this? I want this guy out. (Although I guess he did help my prediction be a little more accurate, so maybe I should thank him.)
Anyway, this week teeny-boppers everywhere will begin to lose their minds over another installment of Robert Pattinsonís Deep, Brooding Looks and kids will have a new reason to suck money out of their parentsí wallets in an effort to see Aang and friends defeat the Fire Lord. Letís take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
I donít have a history with the Twilight franchise never having picked up one of the books (although, I did read one Stephanie Meyer book, The Host and thought it was horrible) and having seen only the beginning of the first movie (turned it off after a half hour). So, label me non-plussed about seeing this next installment of the dark, teen angst-filled, vampire drama that sends girls jumping off cliffs for the chance to see Robert Pattinson scowl, Taylor Lautner look confused, and Kristen Stewart choose between them.
Judging from the trailer, here is what happens in Eclipse: Kristen Stewart talks to Pattinson. Then they walk together. Then they lie down and talk some more. Then she talks to Lautner. Then she talks to Pattinson again. Then itís back to Lautner. Then Lautner and Pattinson talk with each other. Then a red haired girl jumps over a lake. Then everyone talks a little bit more. Then Lautner takes his shirt off. Roll credits.
I know some Twilight fans (or all 10 billion of you) will probably take umbrage with my dismissal of this entire series of movies, but hey I gave them a chance (even if it wasn't much of one). They stink. The big question here is whether Eclipse can, ahem, eclipse New Moonís (27%). When the bar is already set so low, itís tough to know where to go. Director David Slade (30 Days of Night) replaces Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) so thatís effectively a push. It's rare that new installments in a lackluster franchise light world on fire compared to their predecessors since theyíre all working with the same material (and actors). The Rotten Watch for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is 23%.
The Last Airbender
M. Night Shymalanís run as a director has been the tale of two careers. Between 1999 and 2002 he whipped out Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs to the tune of an average 76% Tomatoemeter score. He then follows those hits up with The Village, Lady in the Water and The Happening with an average of 28%. That's quite a drop off for a director who less than a decade ago seemed like a total ďcanít missĒ. So where does that leave The Last Airbender? Itís tough to say, since Shyamalan has basically ditched his standard, ďJust wait, the big twist is coming,Ē features to direct a live action adaptation of a popular animated series. Oh M. Knight, we hardly knew ye.
Itís awfully tempting to predict The Last Airbender as a critical bust since this is M. Knightís first real foray into a big budget action movie and the trailer looks pretty cheesy. But there is reason for a little optimism. Nickelodeon Movies (teaming with Paramount) have a decent adaptation track record with The Spiderwick Chronicles (79%), Charlotteís Web (78%) and Lemony Snicketís A Series of Unfortunate Events (71%). But then I see Hotel for Dogs and Imagine That and think, yeah itís not all great.
I want M. Night to make a comeback. The guy was just too good early in his career. But it just doesnít seem like The Last Airbender is the movie that reignites the critical flame for him. Will it make a ton at the box office? Probably, itís a kidís movie after all and the little ones are nothing if not movie money sinks. But from a critical perspective, The Last Airbender will be more of the same for Mr. Shyamalan. The Rotten Watch for The Last Airbender is 43%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week:
I already waxed non-poetic on Grown Ups and Katey Rich thought it was a steaming piece of crap too. Meanwhile Tommy Cruise just barely kept another movie on the positive side with Knight and Day (Predicted 66%, Actual 53%) splitting critics down the middle (and pretty much tanking at the box office). All in all, another good week for the Rotten Watch.
Next week, Steve Carrell goes despicably into the animated world and Robert Rodriguez brings the predator back into our lives. Itís going to be a Rotten Week!