If you are like me, you woke Friday morning (and again on Saturday) in a caloric fog, with gravy stains splattered across your cardigan, little clumps of hardened mashed potato stuck to your shoes and cranberry sauce in places I dare not mention. I had a Thanksgiving food-induced blackout, which is all to say: man I love that holiday. But it’s time to get back to business. This week we’re killing them softly and working on our collections.

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.

Killing Them Softly
It’s not hard to spot a gangster movie from a distance when a number of clues present themselves just in the trailer. Dead giveaway number one: Ray Liotta. Dead number two: Tony Soprano. Number three: poker game. Number four: heavy use of town cars and luxury sedans. And so on. And so on. Easy to spot.

And while Killing Them Softly has all the surface level hallmarks of your standard mafia fare, director Andrew Dominik (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford-75%) appears to have created something a bit more layered and timely than the typical “Yo Vinnie, you’s got the money?” kind of stuff so easy to throw on screen at a moment's notice. Adapting George V. Higgins’ book Cogan’s Trade, Dominik’s turned a mafia-robbery-gone-wrong flick into a critique of our modern economic system and a referendum on the state of our once-collapsing financial sector. This all through what happens when a pair of bumbling petty thieves crush the mafia’s infrastructure by just knocking off a fairly high stakes poker game. And the SEC regulator (mafia hitman) sent to clean up the mess? A well-coifed Brad Pitt of course.

I don’t typically concern myself too much with the on screen talent, as it isn’t too great of an indicator of critical success. But a few people can’t be ignored. The recent incarnation of Pitt is one of them. Moneyball (95%), Tree of Life (84%), Inglourious Basterds (88%), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (72%) mean a solid seven year run for the dude. Go all the way back to 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith at 58% (and I love this movie as a guilty pleasure) to find something less than 70% for Mr. Angeline Jolie.

More than enough reviews are in for the flick already that I can’t in good conscience (and I have very little of it) count it on the resume. Critics love it, sitting in the nineties with over sixty reviews in. That’s basically crushing it and adds to the list of quality movies coming out in the last quarter of this year. Got to love on screen gangsters right? The Rotten Watch for Killing Them Softly is 91%
The Collection
Look, I’ve stayed at a Super 8 before, so I think I have a bit of insight (or at least comparative reference) into what it’s like making a reservation at the Collector’s motel. Bloody surprises around every corner, infestations of tarantulas, deathly booby traps, [email protected]#$y turndown service, a dude in a back-tied leather mask taking “reservations”, walls covered in blood (and other “stuff”) and of course a one star continental breakfast. The corollaries are astounding really. I feel like I’ve been to his place before (I’m looking at you Super 8 Niagara Falls).

Not being a big horror movie dude (something I’ve written about more than a few times), I’ve never laid eyes on the first in this series, The Collector (30%) or any other of Marcus Dunstan’s screenwriting work (Saw IV, V, VIand 3D averaging 19% and Piranha 3DD-13%). So I’m probably not the best judge of what constitutes a quality horror flick. And by all accounts, the ones Dunstan’s been associated with have been epic pieces of steaming garbage. But dude might have pulled off a moderate miracle with this latest tale of psychopath turned hotel concierge because early reviews are kind of loving this sequel which is quasi-mind boggling.

This is a clear example of where a few early peeks at the movie will save my prediction. Devoid of info, I’d have most likely gone in the 25% range seeing as how Dunstan’s previous work consistently points to massive critical hate. But even a few positive reviews early mean this most likely won’t end completely in the toilet. Granted, early reviews tend to lean more positive (screeners for those known to trend favorably toward these types of horror films possibly) but this could end well on the right side of fifty percent. I think it dips significantly as more reviews come in, but well outpaces Dunstan’s resume. The Rotten Watch for The Collection is 59%

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

Considering I had head starts on every single movie, this was a fairly disappointing week. Life of Pi (Predicted: 91% Actual: 87%) was a win, but I can’t really take credit because so many reviews were already in. (Still haven’t tried starting the book again, but we’ll get there.)

Meanwhile Red Dawn (Predicted: 25% Actual: 11%) was a bomb in both product and prediction. Considering how much I love the original, seeing this turd get churned out for the remake is something I’m just going to pretend never happened. Same with the prediction. The score kept falling as the week went on, and even with an indication of how much critics hated it, I still missed the mark.

Finally, Rise of the Guardians (Predicted: 61% Actual: 73%) upticked over the week leaving me just out of range. All in all, not a great showing. (Hangs his head).

Next time around we’re playing for keeps. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!
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