A lot going on this week with some moms breaking bad, teenagers hitting a nerve, and an old friend back to fight the government. Get ready for Bad Moms, Jason Bourne and Nerve. It's gonna be a Rotten Week!
Oh Jason, how I've missed you. No one's been on your side more than me. I never miss an opportunity to catch you on cable, and I'll be with you until you turn over every rock from your past. Couldn't be more excited to have you back.
There's a reason the Bourne movies all rate so well with critics (Identity - 83% Supremacy - 81%, Ultimatum - 93%). For starters, Matt Damon is excellent in the titular role as a supersoldier-turned-rogue agent. But it's also because the Bourne movies very much stay in their lane. They rarely delve too deeply into side characters or love stories. There's hints here and there, but we mainly stay the course. Heavy on action, kick-ass fighting scenes, a big budget high speed chase (or two), some shady government intrigue and call it a day. That's the formula, and it works.
I'm not positive how many times we can keep going to the well with the "You think you know everything Jason? You don't know everything Jason" idea. But it looks like they're going to give it a shot with number four. I'm all in. Paul Greengrass has helmed the last two Damon-led Bourne movies while also throwing a Captain Phillips (93%) in there. So we know we're in good hands.
This time Jason's back out of hiding to uncover yet another government cover-up/plot whatever. Who cares really? We can guess the beats and that's fine. The Bourne movies are excellent, and this one looks no different.
A group of moms are tired of their typical (very, very cliche) urban existence and work to overcome the stagnation in their lives by doing crazy shit. I think there's a scenario in which a plot like this could work. I don't see this as the one. I suspect they pull punches in the wrong places and go a little over the top, but not in an ultimately funny way. That's the sense I got from the trailer, which only had Kathryn Hahn giving me the giggles.
Look, I'll compare it to _The Hangover, _which worked because it was an oddball group put in an extraordinary situation of increasing hijinks and ridiculousness. They kept pushing the envelope and the leads were funny as hell. I suspect they go that route again here with the source material and plotting limiting them. It's just a hunch.
John Lucas and Scott Moore collaborated on The Hangover (79%) bringing a total hit out of nowhere. That's all well and good. But they've also given us flicks like The Change-Up (25%) and 21 and Over (26%). If anything, their latest looks much like the latter group.
I'm pretty risk adverse, so the thought of playing some kind of dare game online in which the stakes were continually escalated (i.e. step 1: Kiss a stranger, step 50: kill a homeless guy or whatever) isn't really in my lexicon. But the idea that we aren't too far away from an actual game like the one posited in Nerve is an indictment on our society as a whole. I mean, I wouldn't participate, but you might... and that's scary.
In Nerve, Emma Roberts is a lot like me at first (well from the anti-risk piece at least). Until she gets caught up in an online selfie-game where things ramp up quickly. From there, she and Dave Franco uncover a more sinister plot in the whole game. Who saw that coming?
Ariel Schulman (Catfish - 80%, Paranormal Activity 3 - 68%) directs and all joke(s) aside, this looks like a silly but fun flick. It's completely over the top and moderately (though not insanely) unrealistic. But the premise fits the current teen culture and I can see that crowd really enjoying it. But count me out of these games. I don't like spicy food much less being dared to hang off the side of a building.
Overall, a good week for the Rotten Watch with a couple of hits though I admit it's tough to take full credit (I will anyway) because there were a few head starts. First off, Star Trek Beyond (Predicted: 85% Actual: 87%) came right in as expected. There were reviews already in here, but based on the past performances of this series, I likely would have gone in a similar range even without early info. The Star Trek fellas know how to put together a summer action film that speaks to its core fan base while also bringing along new fans. Critics loved it and we'll likely see many more.
Meanwhile, Ice Age: Collision Course (Predicted: 14% Actual: 12%) continued the movie-over-movie critical swan dive for theIce Age franchise. Though it keeps making tons at the box office which could lead us into a game of Limbo, "Wow low can you go?" scenario. It will be interesting because these films have dropped at around a 25% rate each time out like clockwork. I wish I could bet on this stuff like the stock market.
And finally, Lights Out (Predicted: 92% Actual: 80%) dipped over the course of the week which left me just out of range. I was too bullish on the early reviews, forgetting a flick often sees a dip after the first group of positives come. Not much of course, but I didn't factor in enough of the wider audience.