We are headed into the greatest holiday ever created by anyone ever. Black Friday. I can’t wait. There’s a 103” Beovision 4 on sale for $3 at Best Buy that’s got my name written all over it. But until then we’ve got Tigers, Wolverines and Guardians.

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.

Life of Pi
Oh Life of Pi, a book I’ve tried and failed to read on three separate occasions. The fault is all mine of course. By all accounts it's excellent, so save your holier than thou comments. I get it. But if anything was going to ignite a last and final spark to get me turning through Yann Martell’s novel, it would be the possibility of losing the ability to look my nose down at folks who’ve seen the movie but not read the book. I hate those people. I’ll never be one. Never. Spite reading is the best kind.

Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain-87%, Taking Woodstock-49%) takes over the movie adaptation with the story of Piscine Monitor Patel (played by rookie Suraj Sharma) and his time spent with Richard Parker, a hungry tiger, aboard a lifeboat after Pi’s family and family zoo residents joined the Titanic at the bottom of the ocean. The images and scenes from the trailer (along with some early reviews) paint a surreal picture of Pi’s time on the boat, including close encounters with a tiger and the dreamscape no doubt encountered while drifting on the ocean for two-thirds of a year. Frankly, it’s a gorgeous trailer and--unlike many I’ve seen--in the film’s use of colors, dimensions and completely devoid of any dialogue. I loved it.

Early reviews have been almost universal with praise and this film will almost assuredly earn significant Oscar discussion. It could be on the short list of favorites. This has been a strong year in large scale films, and this is another to add to the list. Now off to read the book. The Rotten Watch for Life of Pi is 91%
Red Dawn
“Wolverriiiiinnnnnneeeees!!!!!” - me and my buddy Pat about 10,000 times over the last eighteen years of our friendship.

The original Red Dawn is a fan favorite around this Rotten house and still holds up today because, at its core, the film is a fairly simple story about rebellion and camaraderie. And while its set against the backdrop of a Cold War-induced WWII, the movie never really cares about the larger conflict; it doesn’t need to. The Red Dawn world was insular (no cell phones helps there) and instead focused solely on a group of not-so-merry men and women going guerilla all over Colonel Bella’s Red Army. In the early Eighties this kind of thing was farfetched but just believable enough for some traction.

Which is part of the reason this remake looks fairly terrible. Our world, especially America, is anything but insular and we are fully connected. It’s very difficult to imagine, in our current climate, another country (especially North freaking Korea) making landfall in the USA with even a prospect of succeeding in a ground war (not with Chaz Heston and friends supplementing what our own military would bring in terms of firepower). Maybe our collective ignorance and comfort will be our downfall, but the premise here seems flimsy.

But that’s not the only reason this flick probably stinks. It’s been sitting on the back burner forever with a pushed back release, (money), another delay (China can’t be the bad guy!) and that kind of stuff rarely happens to a good movie.

Like the original, Red Dawn employs the use of relatively unknown/ up and coming actors and actresses. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) all the major players have already gone on to bigger and better things. Think about it; when this thing was filming Chris Hemsworth hadn’t been in Thor, Josh Hutcherson’s never even heard of Peeta and Adrianne Palicki was still playing Tyra on Friday Night Lights. This thing’s old. Stunt coordinator-turned-director Dan Bradley helms his first movie and few have gotten off on a worse foot. Early reviews have it stinking. I’m just going to ignore it and stick with the original. The Rotten Watch for Red Dawn is 25%
Rise of the Guardians
Because I have a kid now, I’m forced to constantly evaluate how certain childhood fantasy figures will play a role in her development from gullible toddler to crackpot kid. How her malleable mind will construct a scenario in which a winged sprite is dumping US currency under the kid’s 360 Threadcount Eiderdown in exchange for an incisor or two. Or how a bunny comes around once a year to drop off discolored, vinegar-drenched eggs all over the yard. And don’t even get me started on Kris Kringle, the hallmarks of the true crazies. No, I’ll be playing a bunch of defense on these stories, mainly in the vein of “Are you kidding? You think that [email protected]#$ is real?”

This latest movie ain’t helping. Not when proposing the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Sandman (clear fourth wheel) are not only real, but actually superheroes ridding the world of evildoers. Thanks a ton DreamWorks. Can’t just stick to the talking animals and an ogre or two? But for all of the thematic issues I have with it, there’s no denying the studio’s pumped out another strong flick.

These guys put out the goods, most recently Puss in Boots (83%), Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (78%) and Kung Fu Panda 2 (81%). And though some early reviews aren’t universal in their appeal (think: How to Train Your Dragon-98%) they are coming in line with many other of the studio’s works. First time director Peter Ramsey, making his way from storyboard artist, takes a a new spin on the smarmy holiday theme (Santa’s kind of a bad ass) and puts out a strong visual movie. I think it sticks in the low sixties, a bit below the DreamWorks high water mark, but another positive showing for this group. Now to make sure my kid knows it’s me dishing out the presents. The Rotten Watch for Rise of the Guardians is 61%


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

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 (Predicted: 28% Actual: 51%). Well isn’t this one a kick in the blankety-blanks. I usually don’t have an audible reaction to reading the Tomatometer for any flick, but this one made me curse out a, “Give me a f#$ing break!” It finished as the highest rated installment of the five-part franchise, coming in at a shade past break even. Unheard of. Nonsensical. Frustrating. These are just a few things popping to mind. I don’t particularly care if the movie is good or not (Mack seemed to not despise it). Instead, I’m just flabbergasted it could finish this far above Part 1. Okay enough crying. Next time around we kill them softly and go on collecting. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!

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