This is a weekend that movie fans have spent years – if not decades – waiting for. We are now just a few days away from getting our first look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens… and to a much, much lesser extentAlvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip and Sisters.
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
Watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the millionth time below:
I couldn’t have been easy for George Lucas to cede the reins of this franchise over to a new dude, but I suppose if anyone was going to do the heavy lifting on one of the greatest (the greatest?) movie franchise ever then J.J. Abrams should be that dude. After the not-so-well received prequels started hitting the screen a few years back, it looked like the Star Wars franchise was in real trouble from a respect point of view. The merits of Phantom Menace (56%), Attack of the Clones (59%) and Revenge of the Sith (79%) have been debated ad nauseum, and it isn’t worth rehashing the would-a, should-a, could-a piece again. I would just say it’s nice to have a rebirth here in the vision of a new director with a story somewhat tangentially linked to the originals.
From the many trailers and tidbits of news leaked throughout the process, this movie looks equal parts new blood and homage to the past. I am sure Abrams and company felt the need to serve a bunch of different masters here; wanting to breathe new life into the franchise while also making sure fanboys and girls worldwide wouldn’t flip their shit so-and-so wasn’t paid due. All of the old players look to make appearances here, while also following a story of two new Jedis getting their light saber on for the first time. It looks awesome.
Look, if you are reading this site, there’s a good chance I’m not bringing you any Star Wars hot takes you didn’t already know. Let’s just get excited for this, critics be damned (though I think they’ll like it as well).
Rotten Watch Prediction
Watch some siblings blow it up and have a great party in the trailer for Sisters below:
Sisters puts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey together on screen as siblings, something I’m sure they’ve talked about in one way or another since their days on the SNL Weekend Update desk. These two, throughout their careers, have brought the laughs in big ways and it looks very much like they are at it again. Sisters has them as dichotomously opposed siblings in terms of personalities, but very much on the same wavelength in their appreciation of each other. This strikes me as most likely their real life relationship as well. Poehler is the straight arrow, Fey a little freakier as they return home to throw one last final party at their parents’ soon-to-be-sold home. It looks hilarious.
Directed by Jason Moore, who helmed Pitch Perfect (81%), Sisters is already garnering much critical love. It’s sitting at 94% on the Tomatometer with about 20 reviews. Critics love the vulgarity in the delivery as these two could easily have played it close to the middle with laughs, pandering to a middle-aged demo. But no. It looks like they’re going over the top, which I love to see. Penis jokes, booze romps, misguided sexual encounters. It’s all on the table. And that critics eat it up makes me smile even more. Now it’s time to throw that party. Want to come? It’s going to be epic.
Rotten Watch Prediction
Get as excited as me for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip with the trailer below (and understand everything above as sarcasm).
Following up on such cinematic triumphs as Alvin and the Chipmunks (27%), The Squeakquel (21%) and Chipwrecked (12%), The Road Chip adds a new Chipmunk-related play on words to the mix. In this one Alvin and company embark on a trip that will, ah forget it. Who cares. This thing looks ridiculous and is out there to grab a little holiday break money from the parents who want to go see Star Wars and think their kids aren’t mature enough.
Director Walt Becker is still getting gigs in Hollywood after helming Old Dogs (5%), Wild Hogs (14%) and National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (19%). This latest will fit right in line with that critical resume. I never begrudge anyone working. We all do what we need to do to put a little (or in this case, a lot) of scratch in our pockets. But it doesn’t mean the movie was made for adults to be able to stand. The Chipmunks weren’t a fun cartoon when we were kids and they haven’t exactly aged like a fine wine.
This movie is a throwaway, coming out just in time for the holidays and nothing more. Some kids will beg their parents to see it and the latter will agree begrudgingly. Mission accomplished.
Which of my predictions do you think will be closest?
Only one movie came out in wide release last week, and I was pretty close with my score. In the Heart of the Sea (Predicted: 51% Actual: 44%) fell steadily as the week went on. Most critics agreed the cinematography and scale of the flick was fine, with director Ron Howard handling those pieces adeptly. He’s always had an eye for the big film, putting characters in small areas while handling problems with huge implications. The problem with this film seems to be though that you care less and less about said characters as it moved along. The scope of the sea and the whale are on point, but the players forgettable. Mike Reyes was a little different in his review, giving it four stars and appreciating the merits of the story. But he ended up in the minority from this perspective. While he saw it as an important story about survival and history, many critics left the theater disappointed.
Next time around we’ve got a huge pre-Christmas docket with Concussion, Daddy’s Home, Joy and Point Break. It’s gonna be a Rotten Week!