Bunch of movies on the Rotten slate this week, which means we shouldn’t waste any time getting down to business. This time we’ll take a trip to Elysium, sun some drugs with the Millers, fly a bunch of animated planes and touch base with Percy Jackson again.

There's a note at the bottom of this post about the next couple of Rotten Weeks.

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.

Elysium
As I sit in my office (bedroom) writing this, I do so listening to the electronic dance pop sounds of 103.5 KTU and deafening whirr of a circular saw coming from my middle-aged, chain-smoking neighbor who’s out front of his place fixing his front door at 8:30 AM on a summer Sunday. So yeah, Elysium doesn’t sound so [email protected]#$ing bad right now.

And while I don’t picture myself the Matt Damon-type, retrofitted with an exoskeleton and packing a futuristic boom-boom device, stalking across the street to “silence” Mr. Fix-it and busting ass for Eden posthaste, there is something to be said for creating a little Utopian getaway out in space. If my neighborhood is any indication, Earth is going to hell in a handbasket sooner than later.

Directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9-90%), Elysium posits what would happen if Earth became a planetary-sized ghetto while the rich folks look down on us nobodies from their lofty perch in the sky. Honestly, it appears more than a little bit heavy-handed. Where Blomkamp’s first movie explored the cultural tension and atrocities of apartheid through the lens of aliens in South Africa with a fairly deft and entertaining hand, this film looks to bludgeon the issues of universal health care and immigration reform over the viewers’ heads. (Note: this has nothing to do with my own views on these subjects, I’m a fairly liberal dude. I just don’t like being force fed policy reform through movies.)

Early reviews are a decidedly mixed bag, with some appreciating the look and feel of the flick, while other were put off by the overt messages of liberal reform. I think this probably depends how a critic walked into the theater. What kind of policy baggage they carry with them. Because of this, the reviews will continue to trend toward the middle. And until we all find our way to Shangri-La, I’ll continue sitting here enjoying the suicide-inducing din of suburban sprawl gone awry (maybe that can be Blomkamp’s next film). The Rotten Watch for Elysium is 49%
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
Way back in the heyday of 2010, this column was born out of a need for readers to argue the gravity and weight of Tomatometer scores for upcoming movies. That first column, and attempt at predicting Rotten Tomato scores, included Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Predicted: 69% Actual: 49%). Since then I’ve grown as a person, lover and prognosticator. Now, more than three years later, I have a chance to make amends on that original, slightly misguided prediction.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (I guess he dumped the Olympians) is the sequel and part of the insanely popular series by Rick Riordan who has made enough money writing these books that he could probably build a Mount Olympus of his own. It follows the adventures of a few mediocre young adult actors as they work their way through a bland script heavy on average-looking special effects. Will they find the Golden Fleece in the Bermuda Triangle? Will they stop the giant bull-looking robot thing that comes to their home? Will these actors and actresses be out of Hollywood in the next seven years? I’m answering yes, yes, looking likely to those three questions.

Thor Freudenthal’s other work (Diary of a Wimpy Kid-53%, Hotel for Dogs-46%) hovers right in that mediocre range of “enjoyable to people under thirteen years old, unwatchable to everyone else.” Successful careers have been made on much, much less. This flick looks no different. It’ll appeal to its demographic and no one else. That’ll probably mean a nice box office draw but a lower Tomatometer score. I just can’t imagine a majority of critics walking out of the theater happy with the product. Second time’s a charm on Percy Jackson. I’m nailing this score. The Rotten Watch for Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is 36%
We’re the Millers
How soon until the premise for this movie is completely dated? In a couple of years, when we are all buying our pot from the produce aisle in the local ShopRite, the idea of shuttling a makeshift family across the Mexican border in a RV stacked to the ceiling with bricks of marijuana will seem laughable right? Can’t you just pick this stuff up with way less hassle in Denver right now? I’m no drug buff, but seems like a needless risk to run up against DEA patrols because of pot. But until we can use coupons to buy our stuff, Jason Sudeikis sees it reasonable to pack a stripper (Jennifer Aniston), naive teenage boy (Will Poulter) and a hoodlum (Emma Roberts) into the Winnebago and get a shipment for a narcissistic millionaire (Ed Helms).

The director with the preppiest name of all time, Rawson Marshall Thurber helms this flick after guiding a success in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (70%), a flop with Mysteries of Pittsburgh (12%) and my personal favorite commercial of all time Terry Tate: Office Linebacker. (If you haven’t seen this before, enjoy three plus minutes of commercial perfection.)

The trailer contains its fair share of laughs (mostly from Poulter) and the cast is strong, but I’m not seeing enough here to predict a critical success. I like my comedy trailers to blow me out of the funny water and I’m not sure if this one does the trick. It appears to rely on some hokey plot devices (Aniston has to strip to prove herself, Roberts is over-the-top delinquent, etc) and I can imagine a scenario where this falls very flat. That being said, I’m going to hedge a bit mostly because of the cast. I was wrong with another Sudeikis/ Aniston raunchy comedy Horrible Bosses (Predicted: 44% Actual: 69%) which has me worried about reading too much into the trailer. If you think I’m confused, congrats, you’re right. I don’t think I’d feel great about this prediction no matter what. The Rotten Watch for We’re the Millers is 52%
Planes
Wondering what is happening in skies above the world of Pixar’s Cars? Me neither. But prepare yourself for the answer anyway. Planes deals with Dusty Crophopper and his fear of heights as he prepares to go from lowly farm plane to a celebrated flying racer. All while soaring above Lightning McQueen, Mater and company.

DisneyToon Studios typically releases direct-to-video flicks including Little Rotten Week’s absolute favorite mind-numbing fare, the Tinker Bell movies. (Sidenote: I know more about the Fairies of Pixie Hollow than any grown adult who doesn’t work for Disney should.) This flick was supposed to go that route until Disney saw the final product and thought it could take a run in theaters.

Director Klay Hall has his work hit the big screen for the first time after working on King of the Hill, Father of the Pride and of course the much ballyhooed Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure. I suppose it’s a feather in his cap that the studio saw enough to change its original plan and put it out for the masses. I don’t think it ends up with overwhelmingly positive reviews considering its original roadmap, but I have a feeling critics are pleasantly surprised with the product. The Rotten Watch for Planes is 61%


Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
RESULTS
Recapping last week:

What a week for the Rotten Watch! Two movies with predictions within a combined nine percent. That’s what I’m talking about. First off, 2 Guns (Predicted: 50% Actual: 58%) came just within the success zone. I suspected this would be a popcorn-y action flick carried by the two stars, who have a way of elevating very below average material. Sean says as much in his review. That Washington and Wahlberg are a strong pairing even saying, “...the duo together are the valuable glue that often holds 2 Guns together at its rough seams.” Like I said last week, I can imagine a scenario where this becomes standard Saturday evening basic cable rerun watching for the Dougster.

Meanwhile, Smurfs 2 (Predicted: 13% Actual: 12%) sucked as expected. Not much else to say here about these kinds of pieces of trash. They’re made for kids and the intellectually deficient. (That’s the demo written up in the studio notes.). But a terrible movie made for a great prediction. There’s a chance this one ends up right on the money with a few more reviews.

Next time around, This Rotten Week takes a little vacation. The Rotten family and I are heading out of town for a few weeks and I’ll be taking a two week break from the column. There is an outside chance I will be able to post some predictions (we will have limited access to Internet), but if not assume all of my guesses would have been directly on the money. See you in a few and may all your movie watching be Tomato-worthy!

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