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The Academy Awards are tonight and we have a jam-packed Rotten Week full of old friends reuniting for new movies, a look back at the spectacle that was the 80's, dudes getting cursed with ugliness, Matt Damon fighting the man, and a lizard playing sheriff in the desert. Remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer.
Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
The Adjustment Bureau
How would you feel if you found out a group of men controlled every little interaction, passing glance, twist of fate and bit of minutia in your life to ensure the future was set in stone? If it were me, I'd be [email protected]#$ing pissed at those guys. Why am I sitting in my living room typing this article when I could be Hugh Hefner or a famous athlete or something just a little bit cool? Thanks a lot guys, and if you're out there its not too late for a do over. I'm still young.
Matt Damon meets these guys in The Adjustment Bureau and by all accounts doesn't seem pleased with the deck they're trying to stack for him. He's going to be President of the United States (I think), but only if he's able to avoid Emily Blunt (no easy task). George Nolfi wrote and directs his first feature after scripting The Bourne Ultimatum (93%).
Critics have all run on a very similar theme in their early reviews: the movie is good, but the concept behind the whole "controlled fate" idea is a bit hefty for a two hour fare. That means most critics will like it with reservation, some won't be able to get past the story being too big, and a few won't understand it at all. So while it looks great on paper, and the trailer looks dynamite, we need to temper expectations a bit. With that in mind, the Rotten Watch for The Adjustment Bureau is 65%.
Take Me Home Tonight
Man the 80's were a fascinating time, weren't they? The decade has provided a seemingly infinite number of jokes about bad fashion, terribly addictive music, and awful hairstyles. It’s an incredibly hilarious amount of source material. I feel like we'll be making fun of the 80s long into the next millennium.
And as much as we love the 80's, critics enjoy movies about the decade that was too. Flicks like The Wedding Singer (67%), Hot Tub Time Machine (64%), Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (69%) and Adventureland (89%) all capture a certain je ne sais qoui of the decade. Here's hoping this newest offering lives up to its predecessors.
With Take Me Home Tonight, Topher Grace and the writers of That 70's Show look to capitalize on another decade of transcendent retro in a movie about college grads searching for meaning in their lives. A film about a great decade with a little "I'm in my twenties and lost" -angst all boiled down into one no-holds-barred night? Umm, yes please.
I rarely root for movies to be great, and try not to put a great deal of stock in trailers, but man do I want this flick to be awesome. Great soundtrack, great references, relatable story and basically a Superbad for the 80's college grade crowd. The Rotten Watch for Take Me Home Tonight is 64%.
I am going to make a bold, personal statement that I would like all friends and family to heed. If I ever willingly sit down to see this movie, you know something has gone epically wrong and please schedule some serious psychotherapy. My god does this thing look stupid. But don't take my word for it. Watch the trailer below and then read the plot synopsis. It includes the following tidbits:
"edgy teen romance"
I think that pretty much sums up the whole production. And of course, I get that this is supposed to appeal (hopefully) to an under-14 demographic, rendering my opinion on the matter relatively moot. But good movies, even teeny-bopper ones, have broader appeal. I don't see that being the case here.
Director Daniel Barnz has one other flick on the old resume in Phoebe in Wonderland (59%) while Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four - 30%) trades in his superpowers for a chance to join the Henna championships. The real wild card here is Vanessa Hudgens whose filmography is actually critically strong with Bandslam (80%) and the High School Musical franchise averaging 62% across the board. Those numbers are enough to keep this latest film closer to positive I’d like. Maybe I do need therapy. The Rotten Watch for Beastly is 43%.
Have you always felt that Pirates of the Caribbean would have worked as an animated features? For all the pomp and circumstance in those films, they have a certain cartoonish quality making them enjoyable even when the script goes off the rails.
If you enjoyed those movies, you'll probably like Rango brought to you by Pirates (average score 59%) director Gore Verbinski with his old running mate Johnny Depp voicing the lead in the story of a domesticated chameleon venturing off into the desert. In the trailer, there are laughs and Rango is likable as a clueless, wide-eyed, Hawaiian shirt-wearing, lizard trying to figure out his life and the world around him. Did I just get all deep about animated movie? You betcha.
Animated films are rarely critical bombs, and if given good stories, can enjoy a fair amount of success. This one will hit the mark. The Rotten Watch for Rango is 72%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week:
Nic Cage didn't fail to disappoint the Rotten Watch with Drive Angry (Predicted: 40% Actual: 45%) falling right about where we thought it would. For the most part, critics understood the whole production was a big farce keeping the score much closer to the middle than the trailer may have suggested.
Meanwhile, Hall Pass (Predicted: 51% Actual: 36%) was another Farrelly Brothers misfire, and its fair to say they are running out of the goodwill built up from their early career releases. Our Rotten Watch prediction fell within the 15% range, but I should have been lower.
Next week Los Angeles is under attack, even aliens need motherly love, and we'll take a sinister trip over the river and through the woods. It's going to be a Rotten Week!