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We’re getting deeper and deeper into the fall season, and while there are a number of big blockbusters still to come out this year, none of them are coming out this week. Instead, we have set of flicks with stories of miners, the holiday season and a football team. Get ready for The 33, Love the Coopers and My All American.
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 This Rotten Week has to offer.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Get a preview of the film below:
Based on the true story of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped for about 60 days underground after a mine collapse, this movie looks like it will surely pull on the heartstrings. From reading through the details of the disaster, the movie appears an accurate account of what happened when the Copiapo mining accident trapped workers without requisite food, water, medical supplies, or any way to escape.
Survival movies like this can go a couple of different ways. If they get overly melodramatic or schmaltzy, they can go off the rails real quick. On the other hand, if they stick to the facts (which make a great story on their own), go through the beats, establish a protagonist (or group of them), a realistic antagonist (in this case the big ass rock blocking escape and the greedy mining company who doesn’t want to pony up to grab these dudes) then you can get a feel good flick. I would have thought this one would score well with critics, but early reviews have been less than stellar. It’s under 50% at the time of this article’s publication, with about 20 reviews saying it lays the drama on too thick. What a bummer.
Director Patricia Riggen has a couple of smaller movies under her belt with Under the Same Moon (73%) and Girl in Progress (30%), so there’s a critical hit and miss there. Unfortunately, it looks like this one will score closer to the latter.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See a family at the holidays in the trailer for Love the Coopers below:
In a movie that’s been made many, many times before, Love the Coopers tells the story of a bumbling family trying to pull their shit together in time to come together as a family for the holidays. It’s been done before with basically the same beats. Family patriarch and/or matriarch want that one special time together with their comedically dysfunctional clan. Hilarity ensues when everything goes wrong over and over until it finally goes right and they learn some kind of "spirit of the holidays" lesson. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation already nailed this format. In my mind, it’s all diminishing returns after that classic.
While the cast for Love The Coopers looks strong, the trailer is a mess. I think I laughed once (not a good sign for a comedy) and most of the jokes look tired and recycled. I hate to say it because I’m a legit fan of just about everyone in this movie, and they’ve all proved funny in other vehicles, but this ain’t the one. Too many cliches wrapped around the things we’ve created about Christmas (rampant consumerism, never-ending Santas, holiday hijinks, etc) and most likely not enough real story.
Directed by Jessie Nelson, who helmed I Am Sam (34%, and having not checked in on that flick in some time was shocked it was that low). I can’t imagine Love the Coopers does much to boost her resume. It looks like a movie made strictly to come out around Christmas and for very little else.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Remember when football had that All-American sense to it? When the homecoming king also stepped on the field every Saturday and football ruled the sports society from a narrative perspective. Those were the days huh? Football is quickly losing it grip on the public conscious with more and more concussions and more and more kids opting to play something else. One has to wonder if we will see many more old-school football films like My All-American come out in the future.
Prepare for a certain sense of nostalgia with the trailer below.
You tell me the writer-director of this film, Angelo Pizzo, also penned Hoosiers (one of my all-time favorites) and Rudy (a feel good one for sure), and truth be told I’m willing to give the film a long, long leash. Those are two fantastic flicks (for what they set out to accomplish), and though they are high on the melodrama scale (Rudy more than Hoosiers) they remain as part of the discussion of great sports movies.
That being said, I don’t think this new flick enters the same pantheon. Based on the true story of Freddy Steinmark, a University of Texas football player whose fight against cancer is both inspirational and devastating, My All-American does appear like it will tug at some heartstrings and even get a few dusty eyes in the theater. What I’m worried about though is the stakes just won’t be there to make it a real good film. I get the sense that the feature goes very apple pie and vanilla ice cream in its portrayal of the time, the story and the characters. While Steinmark’s story is fantastic, I am just a little worried the film doesn’t get all the way there.
I hope I’m wrong because like I said, I love Angelo Pizzo’s other work. But this is his first trip behind the lens as a director, and I just think the movie will work too hard to get the emotional leverage out of the audience without being authentic enough.
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?
One hit and one miss from last time around. Let’s start with the huge miss first. The Peanuts Movie (Predicted: 45% Actual: 82%) represents a massive mistake on my part. I was looking at this film and trailer through the wrong lens for sure. I expected this to be more a cash grab with little in the way of story or buy-in from the general public. Peanuts seemed too antiquated for me, and I thought it would fall into a weird place as being unappealing for kids and adults who grew up with the cartoon. I was dead wrong. This is one of my biggest misses ever, and I was rightfully slammed in the comments section for the tone of my write up.
Meanwhile, Spectre (Predicted: 68% Actual: 62%) was a win, though admittedly I had a head start with the reviews. It had already been screened and enough critics had weighed in to give me a sense of the overall critical tone. This kind of score is fine enough for a big budget action movie and Bond has a built in fan base so there’s little reason for concern. CinemaBlend’s Gregory Wakeman gave it four stars in his review saying it was a little clunky but ultimately "gorgeous".
Next time around we’ve just got another big one with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, The Night Before and The Secret in Their Eyes. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!