I keep waiting for the week when I can get truly excited about what’s coming out. We are getting closer to that feeling, be we aren’t quite there yet. This week we’ve got John Wick, messing with ouija boards and a blind kid playing football. It’s all over the place.
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.
Rotten Watch Prediction
See what a guy does for his pet in the trailer for John Wick,
Keanu Reeves always seems to pop up in the places you’d least expect him. Or maybe it’s that I keep expecting him to not be cast at all. That’s not fair to the guy I realize, but he’s a tough guy to gauge on the talent pantheon and honing in on his particular set of on-screen skills is elusive. For me he’s forever Neo, and I suspect a generation of people like me agree. That’s not to say he doesn’t have chops (he does, though not in the traditional sense), but removing his career-defining role from the front of your brain is tough. And getting a feel for what he can do beyond The Matrix seems even tougher. He isn’t dynamic. He’s somewhat monosyllabic. And he always kind of looks the same. Yet he’s entertaining, and this film looks like the perfect Keanu vehicle. I don’t get it, but I suppose I don’t have to.
Critics are loving on John Wick early and often. Through fourteen reviews it’s sitting at a cool 100%. Even with a moderate drop over the weekthis thing is going certified fresh almost without a doubt. It’s a far cry from the piece of garbage 47 Ronin.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Now peep the trailer for 23 Blast,
Honestly, I expected this movie to look like a cheesy, schmaltzy mess of a film that took an inspirational story and beat the crap out of it by bludgeoning us over the head with the melodrama and trying like hell to lift us up with faux-inspiration. And sure, this movie is what it is, but it doesn’t look terrible.
The film tells the story of Travis Freeman, a football-loving kid who went blind at a young age and came back to compete at center for his high school football team. If I didn’t read the background on the story there’s no way I’d have thought it could be true. Then again, the idea seems too farfetched for even Hollywood to turn into a flick, so it has to be true. See what I mean? There’s no middle ground.
Directed by "that guy" actor Dylan Baker, 23 Blast is almost too feel good a story to totally bomb with critics. I get the sense that even if they disliked the film, there’d be some leeway simply because no one wants to blast the flick about the blind kid playing football. And I wouldn’t blame them. I think the Tomatometer score ends up a little higher than it should be. And that’s okay. I mean it’s a blind kid who plays competitive football. Who’d pan that?
Rotten Watch Prediction
See how not to grieve in the trailer for Ouija,
These movies come out fifteen times a year, packaged pretty much the same, but with a slightly different demonic device bringing out the evil. Sometimes it’s a doll. Or the house is just haunted. Or an evil book shouldn’t have been opened. Or some group of dimwitted young people venturing off the grid into a place no reasonable person would ever explore. Whatever the machinations, the haunting movies are a dime a dozen at this point. The only things that change are the faces (even them not so much) and the mode of evil discovery. Everything else is the same.
In its defense, Ouija, directed by relative newcomer Stiles White, looks fine enough. I guess I got creeped out a couple of times in the trailer. I guess it’ll scare some people and have a few moments getting folks squirming in their chairs. But it doesn’t look new at all. I doubt it breaks any real ground. If anything, my bet is that it recycles a few dozen clichés you already know, kills off a few characters, gets gross from time-to-time, and finishes up with things 95% resolved (leaving 5% open for the sequel).
It looks creepy enough, and had some bigger names attached to it early, making me think it’ll finish out of the basement. But not by much. Like I said, these flicks are a dime a dozen.
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?
Mid-week, this was shaping up to be one of my better showings. But then the week kept going and my predictions kept getting further and further and further from the mark. And then we hit Sunday and I’m pulling an 0-3. Brutal.
For starters, Fury (Predicted: 52% Actual: 80%) kept creeping up as the week went on. This doesn’t typically happen as the early reviews on a flick tend to be the most positive and as more eyes get on a movie, the score will drop some. Not with Fury. The later reviews helped the score, and it climbed into "downright good" territory.
Next, The Book of Life (Predicted: 63% Actual: 79%) outperformed my expectations. I thought the movie looked way too weird to be universally praised by critics, but I stand corrected on that front. Reviews were bullish on the film, loving the animation and especially liking the layered story. This, to me, did not come across in the trailer. But I suppose it needed the long form to win over critics. And it did.
And finally, The Best of Me (Predicted: 23% Actual: 6%) was awful, and it set a new low for a Nicholas Sparks-adapted film. Sparks’ films tend to end up in the same 20-30% range just about every time out. Not this time. Sean O’Connell called it the worst movie of the year and he wasn’t alone in that conceit. A 6% is about as bad as it gets. I was right on the tone, wrong on the score.
Next time around go to sleep with a nightcrawler. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!