This Rotten Week: Predicting Life As We Know It, Secretariat, and My Soul To Take Reviews

By Doug Norrie 2010-10-03 13:58:31discussion comments
This Rotten Week: Predicting Life As We Know It, Secretariat, and My Soul To Take Reviews image
Oh baby.  The Rotten Watch is in the critical prediction business, and business is good.  We'll sum up last week at the bottom, but let's just say we're firing on all cylinders.  This week Heigl returns for some more crappy rom-com nonsense, Wes Craven gets back to his roots and Disney takes on horse racing. 

Let's take a look at what's coming in This Rotten Week.

Life as We Know It

I don't really know any other way to say it and there's no reason to beat around the bush here: Katherine Heigl makes bad movies.  Like time to fire her agent,  do an indie film, and reinvent herself bad.  Bad, bad.  Her recent resume reads like a car accident emergency room scene from Seattle Grace-Mercy West Hospital. 

That said, Heigl isn't actually terrible actresses and she has some done good work when surrounded by competent writing and supporting cast.  Knocked Up was a quality flick because she wasn't asked to carry all of the load.  She also wasn't relied on for all of the laughs (or really any for that matter) which is great because Heigl isn't particularly funny. But when she stars in rom-coms like 27 Dresses (40%), The Ugly Truth (14%), and Killers (12%) which are devoid of any other talent, the results are underwhelming at best, horrific at worst.

And here comes Life as We Know It, the story of Heigl and Josh Duhamel (his own resume reads very Heigl-like) raising a kid whose parents were killed.  It's a romantic comedy with a morbid premise, weak cast, first time director Greg Berlanti and some newbie writers. So it'll just be Heigl being Heigl.  The Rotten Watch for Life as We Know It is 30%.

Life As We Know It reviews


My Soul to Take

Wes Craven scares the hell out of me.  Not because his movies are terrifying, or because the original A Nightmare on Elm Street almost rendered me catatonic from fear.  Rather, he scares me because I cannot get any kind of handle on whether his newest offering is good Wes Craven or terrible Wes Craven.  There's a stark difference.

* *Quick Rotten sidenote: I don't tend to go back more than fifteen years on the Tomatometer.   I'm a "What have you done for me lately?" kind of guy.

The good Wes Craven directs movies like Red Eye (79%), Music of the Heart (had totally forgotten about this un-Craven-like flick, 68%), and Screams one and two (81% and 80% respectively).  These are the quality Craven pieces that are built on tension, gore and quality stories.  We like this Wes Craven.

But he also can dump out horrors like Cursed (17%) and Scream 3 (38%) making the director tough to figure out.  I think  My Soul to Take is a much anticipated return of the good Wes Craven.  It has a Freddie Krueger-like story with a long dead serial killer back to finish off the kids who were born the night he died.  And from the trailer, it has all the tones of a Craven, s#$t your pants-fest.  The Rotten Watch for My Soul to Take is 69%.

My Soul To Take reviews


Secratariat

If the Tomatometer has taught me anything it's this: critics really enjoy sports biopics.  Whether we're talking The Rookie (82%), Remember the Titans (72%), Invincible (71%) or The Blind Side (66%), it's tough to find true, feel good sports movies that have bombed critically.  They exist, but are few and far between.  And of course when we combine sports biopics with horses, well who could keep their eyes dry when Tobey Maguire rode Seabiscuit (78%)?  These movies are non-controversial, heart-warming and usually fun watches so it's hard for critics to dump all over them.  They'd just look like jerks.

  Secretariat is a movie done in the same vein as its feel-good predecessors.  A family's horse farm is going bankrupt and they need money quick.  They take on an eccentric trainer (John Malkovich) to provide some laughs and expert horse rearing.  The horse goes on to win the Triple Crown, not without some struggles along the way, and rides off into history as the greatest race horse ever.  It's predictable, but who cares?  The theater will be awful dusty I'm sure.

It also helps that screenwriter Mike Rich has some background in this genre.  He penned The Rookie although it should be mentioned he also wrote Radio (36%) - one of the few poor-performing sports biopics.  (This writer enjoyed it though).

It is a safe bet this horse flick will cross the finish line with its biopic brothers and sisters.  The Rotten Watch for Secretariat is 74%.

Secretariat reviews



Poll

Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?

  Results


Recapping last week: When there are three movies on the slate and the predictions are off by a total, read again: total, of 7% then I need to quote O'Shea "Ice Cube" Jackson when proclaiming, "Today was a good day."  (And I also didn't use my AK).Take a look at this list:
The Social Network (Predicted: 93%, Actual: 97%)
Let Me In (Predicted: 87%, Actual: 86%) 
Case 39 (Predicted: 23%, Actual: 21% ) 

That just looks darn pretty.  Two great weeks for the Rotten Watch and we're solidifying our moniker as "Best in the Critical Prediction Business."  (When you're the only person in the business, the name just comes with the territory).

Next week Johnny Knoxville and gang return to glory by popping off the screen and Bruce Willis is "Retired, extremely dangerous."  It's going to be a Rotten Week! 
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