Spring is coming. We are exiting the deep freeze of a long winter and finally experiencing this thing called the "outdoors." Kind of overrated if you ask me. Which is fine because a long, slow winter of movies is finally coming to an end, as well. We aren’t totally there yet, but things are starting to look up this week with young adult novels and Muppets.

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 what This Rotten Week has to offer.

Divergent movie poster
Rotten Watch Prediction
In the world of Divergent society is broken into factions based on personality traits. As far as I can tell there are the bleeding hearts, the wusses, the tattletales, the meatheads and the know-it-alls. Author Veronica Roth uses different terms for these things like selfless, peaceful, honest, brave and knowledgeable but we all know the truth. Society as we know it is essentially broken into the labels I listed above anyway. Giving them new, more positive spins, in a dystopian world is really just relabeling our current system into more clear cut sections. The real trick is to decide where you and those close to you would fall. Me? That’s easy. I’d be in the very rare, seldom-mentioned elite faction: The awesomes.

Want to see this world? Check out the trailer for Divergent:



The Divergent books are insanely popular and at the forefront of the current YA top sellers lists. Why? Because they’re well-written books filled with the kind of "I don’t belong anywhere except with the other outsider just like me" kind of angst young adults yearn for. It’s like some weird, out-casty negative energy that keeps them going. Don’t you miss being a kid?

Directed by Neil Burger (Limitless-70% The Lucky Ones-36% The Illusionist-74%), Divergent tells the tale of Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) who learns that in a society with clear lines of personality demarcation she’s, wait for it, different than the others. The flick looks okay, created to satiate the rabidity of the book’s fanbase, but almost definitely just "meh" along the critical lines. It appears vanilla and even stiff. And I’m a fan of Shailene Woodley. But I have a hard time believing this will blow it out of the box Hunger Games-style. It just doesn’t look as polished. Maybe they needed to add another group for guys like me. Funktastic. Now that would be something I could get behind.
Rotten Watch Prediction
It isn’t often that pieces of your childhood carry through your teen years and into adulthood. Showing up at stops along the way to remind you what it was like seeing characters through a younger version of yourself. But that’s the great thing about the Muppets. They are characters whose world changes and grows (as our world grows and changes) while they remain relatively the same. This is kind of a media phenomenon of sorts. Because of their puppet nature, they need not alter their personalities even a little. They can simply be reactive. The Muppets are the same as they’ve always been, it’s the world around them that’s moved forward. I kind of love it. There’s probably a deeper metaphor there.

Here's the official trailer for Muppet’s Most Wanted in case you haven't seen it yet...



And now they’re back, again for the second time in the last few years, reintroducing themselves for a new generation of kids and bringing a group of adults back to their childhood. James Bobin, who helmed the The Muppets (96%) a few years ago directs this latest caper. Bobin has also helped script some of the funnier shows to come around in recent years, Da Ali G Show and Flight of the Conchords. His latest looks like it has its moments (I got a few chuckles out of the trailer) and is jam-packed with star power. There are just a ton of big names in this production including Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ray Liotta, Ty Burrell and a ton more. Everyone wanted in on the Muppet action I guess.

But critics haven’t been over the moon about the movie. Through nine reviews it’s only sporting a 67% on the Tomatometer. It’s still early in the game, but often you’re hoping the early reviewers are the most positive. The negative reviewers show a disjointed movie that lacked some of the creativity and complained that something was just missing from the production. This wasn’t the majority mind you, but it stands to reason that it will trend more toward the middle as the week goes on. Either way, I’ll take it. The Muppets, for me, are a slice of childhood. One of the few things that don’t change.
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Which movie will get a higher Tomato score?
RESULTS


last rotten week A nice week for the Rotten Watch as I was able to identify two movies that almost definitely weren’t going to sit well with critics. First off, Need for Speed (Predicted: 19% Actual: 24%) was right in range. Saw this one coming as even the trailer had difficulty distinguishing the actors from the cars as to who was really leading the movie. Kristy Puchko’s review was a bit of an outlier as she gave it three stars though she did call it an "uneven ride". Guess she didn’t get the memo to pan the crap out of it so my score would be in range. Nevertheless, the other critics helped out. Meanwhile, Tyler Perry’s Single Moms Club (Predicted: 28% Actual: 22%) was just another addition to Perry’s canon of subpar flicks. CinemaBlend didn’t review the film, I guess seeing the writing on the wall. Many of the reviews touched on things I mentioned in my writeup. Mainly: for a movie about the empowerment of single moms, there seemed to be a ton of focus on finding a man (and not really spending any time with your kids). Tyler Perry movies are always the easiest to predict. This guy just can’t make anything good.
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