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After a much-needed break last week for Labor Day, This Rotten Week is back to help you think the right way about movies mainly by watching the trailers and kind of just making stuff up as we go along. It’s a good gig. I probably didn’t need the week off to tan in the sun, but whatever. This week we take a little drive, rent a house in the country and figure out how Sarah Jessica Parker does it.
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.
As I ripped up the NJ Turnpike this morning at 97 mph, weaving in and out of traffic, and keeping the fuzz off my tail, my wife, above the din of adrenaline and heavy metal music, yelled, “Slow down! You’re going to get us killed or arrested!” To which I calmly responded, “I can’t babe, I’m channeling my inner-Gosling.” **
** Other times I’ve channeled my inner Gosling include a brief stint on the Mickey Mouse Club, when I started as cornerback for the desegregated T.C. Williams High School, and spent some time restoring a house for/ dating Rachel McAdams. Ryan and I are kindred spirits.
And why is it easy to just fall in love with (or want to be) a guy like Gosling? The answer is simple: dude makes great movies. Outside of a few misses here and there, he’s recently put together a diverse, challenging and critically acclaimed resume of films ranging from comedy (Crazy, Stupid, Love - 76%), intense drama (Blue Valentine - 88%), suspense (Fracture - 70%) and now film noir action with Drive about an LA movie stunt driver/ getaway wheelman on the run from some bad dudes.
And with Drive currently sitting at 95% with gushing film festival praise, this latest is a winner across the board. Gosling hand-picked director Nicolas Winding Rfen (Valhalla Rising - 70%, the Pusher trilogy averaging 90%), and the results have clearly been positive. It’s not easy making an action movie a critical darling and I’d venture a guess that Drive is the only movie in relatively early Oscar talk (albeit on the margins) that involves multiple car chases. No easy feat. Looks like I’ll have to keep channeling my inner Ryan. Guy gets the job done. The Rotten Watch for Drive is 96%.
I Don’t Know How She Does It
I can only assume this title refers to how we’re expected to break away from media “reality” in order to imagine Sarah Jessica Parker as anyone else except a single Manhattan-ite hanging out with her three girlfriends discussing the mystery of life in the City. (And this comes from a guy who only ever watched Sex and the City from the living room periphery). In fact, Parker would probably be best served to just legally change her name to Carrie Bradshaw and be done with it.
In I Don’t Know How She Does It Parker’s persona shifts slightly from “urban socialite” to “urban career woman and mother” in order to explore every cinematic cliche involved with that title. She runs to work, plans parties for her kids, deals with knuckle-headed male coworkers, and even has a brief disturbing moment in the trailer in which she breaks down the fourth wall in order to run through a list of excuses for why she is late to work only to finally decide on “mammogram.” My point being, what the hell is this movie trying to accomplish?
At its core, I suppose director Douglas McGrath (Nicholas Nickleby - 77%) is hoping to explore the dichotomy of “working woman” versus “mom” by giving us equal parts silly, dramatic and touching “moments”. What will probably end up happening is a flick where we are supposed to feel bad for someone like Parker who has a great job AND and great family. Really? This country is going to shit, no one wants to hear the boo-hoos of someone who’s can’t decide which awesome option to spend more time with. I hate it already. Just go back to banging guys in the Big Apple. The Rotten Watch for I Don’t Know How She Does It is 43%.
If we can learn one thing from this movie, it’ll surely be that behind the Bible-thumping, God-fearing, family-centered, neighborly congeniality present in many Deep South small towns exists a band of lunatic psychos ready and willing to attack and sexually assault any Yank stupid enough to come around. That’s why the movie studios are remaking Straw Dogs: a whole new generation of folks need some schooling on the South.
The original, starring Dustin Hoffman, was controversial in its sexual violence and it’ll be interesting to see how closely director Rod Lurie (Resurrecting the Champ - 59%) sticks to the elements that made Sam Peckinpah’s work such a lightning rod of criticism. Because we like to keep this column on the lighter side, I’ll just leave it at that and instead comment on James Marsden’s goofy hair and Alexander Skarsgard’s dreaminess. Love those guys.
Remakes can be tough sells to critics, especially with movies like this that maybe didn’t need to ever be re-explored. (Kind of the same reason we never need to see another version of Deliverance). I think that aspect turns critics off. The Rotten Watch for Straw Dogs is 37%.
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping two weeks ago:
Another strong week for the Rotten Watch with Shark Night 3D (Predicted: 23% Actual: 13%) and The Debt (Predicted: 73% Actual: 76%) both coming in as winners. Apollo 18 (Predicted: 36% Actual: 21%) was another close one sticking to within fifteen percent. Overall, a nice showing.
And just because I took the week off doesn’t mean I didn’t have some thoughts about last week’s flicks. Just to recap those. Contagion (Probably Would Have Predicted: 82% Actual: 82% ), Warrior (Probably Would Have Predicted: 82% Actual: 82%), Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star (Probably Would Have Predicted: 97% Actual: 0%). Well look at that. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to take a week off. Two perfect predictions and my biggest miss ever. Bucky Larson looked amazing! What happened?
We’re going to have some fun next time with dolphins, Lautner, killers and baseball. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!