This Rotten Week: Predicting Looper, Won't Back Down And Hotel Transylvania Reviews

Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Looper
(Image credit: TriStar Pictures)

I could see my breath this morning on my walk to get a coffee, which only means one thing. The autumn movie season must be up in full swing. (What did you think it meant?) This week we've got JGL getting loopy, parents combatting evil teachers and Dracula doing the family thing.

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.


If I ever got a chance to meet my future self, I’d ask him one question and one question only, “Did Skynet ever get online?” Honestly, that’s all I, and really anyone, should want to know. Otherwise I’m more than content with the whole, “The future is a mystery,” thought process. Life just seems to work out better that way.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a different sort of strategy when confronted with his future self in the form of Bruce Willis: kill the guy. Hey, it’s his job as a Looper after all, kill all targets sent from the future no questions asked. The star of Premium Rush (75%) and 50/50 (93%) has an enviable commitment to his task. Now there’s a guy I want working for me.

And the whole, make JGL look like Bruce Willis, uncanny valley, thing aside, Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom-66%, Brick-79%) has a total winner on his hands here. Only one negative review with more than thirty critics weighing in, and they’re throwing around comparisons to Twelve Monkeys and the aforementioned Terminator in the old “Best Time Travel Movies” list. Could we have expected anything less? I mean, in addition to some film success, this guy directed what might be the best bottle episode ever when he helmed Breaking Bad’s “Fly”. In my book, he can do anything.

It’s always exciting when science fiction movies take an old theme (time travel) and get people excited about it again. Rian Johnson, JGL, Bruce Willis and company seem to have done just that. The Rotten Watch for Looper is 91%

Oh boy. Here we go. A movie with a mission. Don’t know if you’ve heard lately, as really no one’s been talking about it, but it seems many people fervently believe the public school system is a crumbling cesspool of laziness and inaction and there’s only one victim: the children. Won’t someone think of the children?!

I’m not here to debate public policy or even really weigh in on the broiling education debate happening in our country right now. As an enlightened human being, I think I’m above that, choosing to spend my time thinking about the inevitable Terminator takeover and whatnot. But I do have an important question I need answered about this flick: why does Maggie Gyllenhaal’s hair keep changing? First it’s short, then long, then short, then long, well you get the point.

This movie is playing for probably one type of person. If you think teachers and the public education system are bad, then you’ll like it. If you think that’s not the real culprit, you won’t see it. If you’re in between, I guess it could sway you. Won’t Back Down concerns the struggle by hot (ish) single mom Gyllenhaal and wise teacher Viola Davis to take control of their kids’ failing inner city school. It might get heavy-handed at times, but honestly, that’s probably the point.

Daniel Barnz directs and dude knows a thing or two about making people monsters, having helmed the comically bad Beastly (20%). Here he takes the fight to the schools with the backing of Walden Media who backed the critically acclaimed Waiting for Superman (89%). I think the documentary format works better for movies like this and critics split it down the middle. The Rotten Watch for Won’t Back Down is 53%

Here’s a fact: monsters are real. I’m positive. How do I know? Just yesterday I took my daughter to the local carnival to ride metal contraptions that go around in circles ad nauseum and munch on a little cotton candy. Take a stroll through one of these productions, take a gander at the folks operating the tilt-a-whirl and Ferris wheel and then try to tell me ghoulish creatures don’t walk among us. Brrrr, I get the chills just thinking about it.

Unfortunately, these carnies would probably get denied from a place like Hotel Transylvania. The residents at Dracula’s digs are a little too highbrow.

Genndy Tartakovsky, the creator of critically acclaimed Cartoon Network programs like Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Laboratory as well as the miniseries Star Wars: Clone Wars, heads up this film of Dracula (Adam Sandler) trying to raise his daughter Mavis (Selena Gomez) away from the eyes of unforgiving and lynch mob-creating human beings. This film represents Tartakovsky’s first foray into a big studio production.

Reviews are mixed. with some liking the father-daughter relationship between Count Drac and Mavy after generally setting their expectations low in preparation for a kiddie Halloween movie. Others critics though felt it fell well short of the animated mark, missing opportunities and not catering to anyone beyond the ten and under crowd. I think it continues to track around the fifty percent mark with critics. And remember, monsters are real. The Rotten Watch for Hotel Transylvania is 56%

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Recapping last week:

Finally, a positive week. Finally. To start, Dredd (Predicted: 81% Actual: 77%), as I thought, dropped a little over the week. And though I had a bit of a head start, it fell enough to make this score a winner for The Rotten Watch.

Meanwhile, Trouble with the Curve (Predicted: 52% Actual: 53%) was nearly a direct hit, and if I had posted yesterday it would have been right on the money. But it ticked up a point over night and I missed by one percent. Still pumped.

End of Watch (Predicted: 90% Actual: 85%) had a little head start but we’ll still count it, as I had the score dipping a little from last week.

And finally, the one miss of the week, House at the End of the Street (Predicted: 41% Actual: 14%). I knew when I looked on Thursday and no reviews were posted on RT that I was screwed. When those reviews come in way late in the game the movie typically blows. And right on cue we get one below fifteen percent. The rest of the week was so positive I can’t harp too much on this, but it was a decent miss.

Next time around Liam Neeson uses his particular set of skills and dogs come back to life. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!

Doug Norrie

Doug began writing for CinemaBlend back when Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles actually existed. Since then he's been writing This Rotten Week, predicting RottenTomatoes scores for movies you don't even remember for the better part of a decade. He can be found re-watching The Office for the infinity time.