It hasn’t been all bad on the big screen of late! After a run through the winter doldrums things have been picking up. There’s been a decent amount of big-budget, high quality flicks coming out over the last few weeks. And while this week isn’t all great, it’s not terrible either. How’s that for a sales pitch? Get ready for Eddie the Eagle, Gods of Egypt and Triple Nine.
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
I can remember growing up and hearing about Eddie the Eagle from my dad who just thought it was the most hilarious thing ever: that an English ski jumper was competing in the Olympics and, by my dad’s account, was pretty terrible at it. For some reason, the memory of this story always stuck with me, and I used to associate Eddie with the lead character from The Greatest American Hero: a guy who could fly but not land. It doesn’t appear that far from the truth.
I know that with any biopic, especially one with a comedic bent, there will be some stretching of the truth to fit the narrative. That seems very much the case in this film, though after reading more of Eddie’s story it really is remarkable how bad he was compared to the rest of the field at the Olympics. The International Olympics Committee even changed the qualifying rules after ‘The Eagle" competed to make sure no one as bad as him ever got on to the big stage again.
This flick looks cute enough - a nice story about a guy who worked hard as hell to live a dream he’d wanted from a young age: competing in the Olympic Games. There seem to be a few laughs along the way, mostly because some of this material simply had to write itself. Critics are trending positive, though not over the moon. Those that disliked Eddie The Eagle even had to give it points for being "likable", something for which I’m sure the filmmakers were shooting.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See what this set of deities bring to the altar in the trailer for Gods of Egypt below:
Gods of Egypt is about a bunch of Egyptian Gods who look a lot like what I picture Roman and Greek gods to look like. So at least that appears consistent. The filmmakers took this angle and came under a bunch of flak for failing to cast anyone other than young-ish white guys and girls in a movie about Gods ruling the Middle East at the time. Seems like an odd decision and not one that will go unnoticed by critics.
The movie looks a lot like what you would expect from this genre of film. A ton of special effects, characters taking themselves very, very seriously, dudes turning into golden animals and visa versa. Just the whole ancient god movie checklist. It looks bright and flashy, but I couldn’t be less interested.
Alex Proyas directs this film, which you’ll notice when the trailer mentions that Gods of Egypt is from the mind behind The Crow (without mentioning that it came out more than twenty years ago). That’s a deep pull to use in order to remember what a filmmaker’s done in the past. Since then he’s put out flicks like I, Robot (57%) and Knowing (33%). Basically, the results are getting worse. And I can’t imagine this latest reaching the critical heights of Proyas’ first film. It just looks too hamfisted and needlessly over the top in terms of effects.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See what I mean by watching the trailer for Triple 9 below:
Directed by John Hillcoat (The Road-75%, Lawless-67%), Triple 9 looks to follow the darker but gripping nature of his previous work. Early reviews for Triple 9 are mixed though trending on the positive side. Critics appear split in their opinions, falling into two camps: Those who totally loved it and others who were just bored. There doesn’t seem to be much in between. Without a head start on the Tomatometer, I think I would have gone lower with the prediction based in some part on how long this movie’s been in production and how long the release has been delayed. It was shot over a year and a half ago and the opening pushed back six months after originally scheduled to come out in September. That’s usually a death knell for a movie because it means either A: the studio was at odds about how good the movies was, B: it tested terribly or C: both. That some positive reviews are floating out there gives me some better vibes, though I think we see the score dip some over the week.
And man do I want Triple 9 to be great. The cast is top-notch, and the two minute plus trailer is about as intense as it gets. The music, background, violence, heist scenes, graphic nature and more just lends itself to a possible great watch. I’m for sure intrigued, but like I said there are just enough question marks to make me skeptical. I think ultimately we see Triple 9 score in the positive range with the feeling it could have been much more.
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?
Not a bad showing last time around, as two out the three movies were within ten percent of my estimate, and the last missed by just a few points. The Race (Predicted: 68% Actual: 61%) finished right in line. I suspected it would come in decent, but not great in the retelling of Jesse Owens’ struggles (both physical and societal) to compete at the Olympics. But it also suffered, in the critics’ eyes, from what I thought: it was just too safe. I get why. This is a story you want to take a family to and really letting loose about the strife and hatred directed towards Owens would have probably turned moviegoers off. But critics thought it played too close to the middle.
Meanwhile, The Witch (Predicted: 85% Actual: 88%) ends up being one of the better-reviewed horror/thriller movies in a long time. A small budget film with only a few characters set as a period piece really delivered the chills. Hell, even the trailer was tough to watch, and had me on the edge of my seat. It played well with crowds and critics alike. I don’t watch scary movies so I won’t be seeing it, but if that’s your bag then you won’t get more critically acclaimed than this.
And finally, Risen (Predicted: 42% Actual: 59%) outperformed my expectation. I’m honestly kind of surprised by this score. The trailer looked like such a slog and I thought the film would have trouble connecting with any kind of audience outside a devout Christian viewer. I was wrong. Even critics who didn’t love it had to admit it played better than other typically Christian flicks. More of a universal watch than I thought and it accounted for the bump in score.
Next time around it’s a big one with London Has Fallen, The Other Side Door, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Zootopia. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!