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Well the summer movie season is officially underway. It kicked off with Tony Stark flying around in his red and yellow suit and continues with a whole host of A-listers galavanting around the Hamptons in the roaring Twenties. oh, and Tyler Perry gets thrown in too.
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.
The Great Gatsby
I, like you, read the Cliffs Notes for The Great Gatsby in high school, so I think we can all consider ourselves experts on this classic work of literature. And though the great American novel can now be boiled down to a Wikipedia entry (adding a whole new dimension to the high schooler’s arsenal of evasive literary tactics) having a film on hand to crosscheck the “visuals” in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic would have been a nice resource in Mrs. Moore’s eleventh grade English class. Ah, to be the youth of today, with every little thing on hand so nothing ever actually gets done.
Though it should be said, those looking to use the film as the basis for their spring oral report might want to ignore the soundtrack (Jay-Z and Jack White didn’t roar through the Twenties) and focus more on the character development of dudes like Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan) and of course the ever-elusive, mysteriously present Jay Gatsby (Leo D). It is their relationships on which the story is built and how their opulence and ego devolves into sh#$ like getting run over by a super sleek twenties roadster (it’s yellow and looks fantastic!).
Baz Luhrman (Moulin Rouge-76%, Australia-55%) knows a thing or two about big, showy, over-the-top productions (much like the parties at Gatsby’s pad) and has given the film the look of the times, if the early twentieth century was kicked up a high definition, flashy notch. Less a period piece and more a chance for everyone to play dress up, something about the trailer for this film just rubs me the wrong way (much like my feelings on 42, which I missed the critical boat on). It could be “No Church in the Wild” blasting over a 1920’s New York landscape, or it could the quasi-musical feel to the flick. But I just don’t think it blows critics away. Of course, it’s too big, too star-powered, too visually significant to finish below fifty percent. But I don’t see it climbing to other-worldly heights. Something in the seventies feels about right. And I look forward to a generation of high schoolers giving reports that lead with, “Oh man, Gatsby is so freaking hot, just looking at, errrr I mean reading about him was so errrr, awesome.” The Rotten Watch for The Great Gatsby is
Anyone who listens to Adam Carolla’s podcast knows he’s posited the question: what spurs more critical distaste? "Tyler Perry Presents..." or "M. Night Shyamalan Presents..." It’s an interesting debate as both filmmakers inspire so very little these days. M. Night’s last five vehicles (directed or produced) average around 28% while Perry’s sit in the neighborhood of 24%. One major difference being Shyamalan has taken breaks to spread out his stink over the better part of the last decade while Perry continues his never-ending onslaught of critical disapproval. Another difference is M. Night has a few early critical wins under his belt while Perry has been fairly consistently terrible. Regardless, when their names pop on the screen, nothing short of a collective groan is expected from those just expecting a hint of relevancy in an upcoming film.
And while Perry didn’t write or direct this film, his name is still on that marquee so we’re (sort of) forced to spend a beat or two talking about the dude. For this film he left the “creative” angle to first-time director Tina Gordon Chism, whose experience includes penning the screenplays for ATL (62%) and Drumline (82%). Those two scores might begin to counterbalance the “Perry Effect” but then we glance at the “comedic” material and it all goes back to square one.
This film looks recycled from a number of other “meeting-the-fiance-for-the-first-time” comedies. Craig Robinson is the well-meaning, [email protected]#$ up just looking for a little love from his girl’s family. David Alan Grier is the tough-as-nails father-in-law who who doesn’t want to give his baby girl away. If it sounds familiar you’re not alone, because it looks like an exact rip-off of Meet the Parents, right down to the family pet playing a prominent role. And while Robinson and Grier are funny dudes, I don’t think they’ll be enough to overcome the entire production’s lack of creativity. It all goes to show that when Perry’s name’s attached, little critical love follows. The Rotten Watch for Peeples is
Which Rotten movie will have the highest final Tomatometer score?
Recapping last week:
What a disaster that Iron Man 3 (Predicted: 91% Actual: 79%) won’t go into the Rotten Win column. With more than fifty reviews in at the time of my write up, and it sitting at 93%, this looked like an easy one. I knocked a few points down and called it a day. But then the rest of the reviews came in, about one hundred seventy-five of them and the flick averaged around a 74% over the course of the week. That caused enough of a dip to knock my prediction out of range. The movie still sits on a more than solid score, but I should have bumped my prediction down to account for the rest of the critical world. All in all, Tony Stark and company finish between the critical darling of the first movie and the second installment. But not adding it to the resume stings a little.
Next time around we trek into the darkness with Kirk, Spock and the rest of that enterprising crew. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!