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Another dreary Sunday, but honestly, how down can anyone get when Katniss, Gale, that sap Peeta and the rest of the Panem subversives get together for another round on the big screen. Plus, Vince Vaughn is fathering a small community of kids. Those seem like cures for the gloomy Sunday blues.
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 Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Can you imagine a world in which the teenagers in our society are the ones we turn to as signs of hope and symbols of universal change? Teenagers are those who would upend the structure and fabric of statist oppression? Teenagers as the embodiment of selflessness with worldviews well beyond their years? Can you imagine? I can’t because most of the teenagers I know are skinny-jean wearing, Snapchatting, egomaniacs hell bent on clogging up the local Starbucks in the morning as they get their pre-first period Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino and Instagram a pic of it for their friends. They couldn’t pass their first driver’s test, much less get out of the Quarter Quell alive.
And yet Suzanne Collins created a world in which these teenagers are the last vestige of freedom and free thought. They’ve taken the world on their shoulders and seek to create change in any way possible. Yikes. The high schooler across the street from me can’t even change a tire.
The first movie installment, I thought, perfectly captured the tone of Collins’ book, combining the gray and sullen atmosphere of District 12, the pomp and excess of The Capitol and the wild and bloody elements of the arena. It was excellent. This latest picks up where the first left off, both in story line, potential box office success and critical reception. The first Hunger Games (84%) was a hit across the board. making about a gajillion dollars (give or take a bazillion) at the box office and pleasing critics with the adaptation.
Catching Fire’s director Francis Lawrence (Water Elephants-60%, I Am Legend-70%, Constantine-45%) has critics gushing as the flick stands at 97% through about thirty early reviews. The early ones tend to be the most positive, but it stands to reason this score will stick in the 90’s with this kind of head start. I see it dipping a bit as the week goes on, with some critics toeing trending a bit toward the middle, or just offering a few more contrarian views (channeling their inner Katniss maybe). But expect it to outscore its predecessor. And let’s just hope we don’t need teenagers to really save the day. The Rotten Watch for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is
As the father of one child it isn’t too difficult for me to extrapolate the challenges of raising a kid out into raising, say, 532 additional kids. For instance, this morning Little Rotten Week, on our trip to the park asked me to hold thirteen pieces of garbage she found on the ground, ordered me to "sleep" under the jungle gym, instructed me to run around yelling "Show! Show! Show!" while she corrected my running style and said I needed to carry her home at a trot because a "Poop Dog" was chasing us and was planning on [email protected]#$ing on our heads if we slowed down. So yeah, having a few hundred more kids wouldn’t be too tough. It’d be just like the heaven it is now, 500x over.
Unfortunately for Vince Vaughn’s character, he hasn’t been eased into fatherhood like me and instead wakes up one day to find out the sperm he dropped off at the clinic twenty years prior turned itself into more than 500 kids, a bunch of whom now want to find out the identity of their biological father. He sets out to learn about this offspring while deciding whether he’s fit for actual fatherhood. Trust me Vince, its bliss.
Ken Scott, who recreates his film Starbuck (65%) into an American version, has Vaughn a bit out of the actor’s typical sarcastic/ humorlessly terse style, playing a possibly gentler role. Vaughn’s characters, for better or worse, trend toward know-it-all-ness. In his younger years this worked with well in his supporting roles, but rarely translated toward leading man success, at least in terms of critical reception. His role in this flick seems softer, more reticent. While I don’t think this will be a complete critical darling, it is nice to see him playing a slightly different character. Some early reviews are mixed, and I think they stay that way. This won’t be a huge hit, but it might pave the way for a different Vince Vaughn going forward. Good luck with fatherhood big guy. The Rotten Watch for Delivery Man is
Recapping last week:
Slow week last time around and it wasn’t great for the Rotten Watch. Only one movie on the slate and I blew it. The Best Man Holiday (Predicted: 36% Actual: 64%) looked like kind of a mess from the trailer and director Malcolm D. Lee’s recent work didn’t do much to inspire. I was wrong and off by a significant margin. In his review Sean details a well-put-together movie that tackles the growing pains of long time friendship and wraps those conversations we have among our oldest acquaintances into a solid flick about getting older amongst friends. I was off with this prediction and honestly, Sean’s review really makes me want to the see the film.
Next time we do a nativity scene on the homefront. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!