Subscribe To This Rotten Week: Predicting Maleficent And A Million Ways To Die In The West Reviews Updates
I’m running a little behind after my annual trek to the holy and sacred ground known as the Monmouth Race Track for our yearly Memorial Day extravaganza of beer and yelling at little men atop horses. But there are also the important things in life. We have some flicks to discuss don’t we? It's not all about hops and gambling. This week we’ve got Angelina and dying in the West.

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.

Maleficent
Rotten Watch Prediction
It’s hard to say no to your bosses. Offering a contrarian opinion to those above you can have some seriously bad pitfalls. Namely, you can get fired. So I understand the concept behind agreeing to take part in something that logic and reason suggest would be a failure - or at the very least, just too weird. This brings me to Maleficent. This is the kind of project that makes me wonder about the sort of "yes circles" that form in Hollywood, with people just nodding their head and agreeing with every two-bit idea for a movie that comes across a desk. How else to explain what is happening here? I’ll get more into it in a second, but for now check out the Maleficent trailer:



There are so many conceptual issues within this movie that I’m struggling to even summarize my feelings in one coherent write up on a flick I’ll never see. First, let’s take a look at the story. In what surely is a tale no one was asking for, we get the backstory on the witch from Sleeping Beauty. Presumably borrowing from the Wicked template (telling stories from the antagonist’s point of view), we get a look into the world of Maleficent - a name I had never even heard of before taking Little Rotten Week to see Frozen at the movie theater last year. Who wanted to know this story? Unclear.

The second issue would be target audience. Who do you feel is going to see this movie? I’m asking this as a serious question. Please leave a comment below if you have an idea who this appeals to. Kids? No chance. It’ll scare the crap out of them. No? Take a look at why Angelina Jolie’s daughter was cast in a roll. Cliff’s Notes are these: Jolie’s costume was sending kids to early psychiatrist office trips. I suppose a black witch’s outfit with impala horns will do that to the tykes. Parents aren’t going to be bending over backwards to take their kids to this. Teenagers? Nope. Adults? Which ones exactly? I know I’m asking a lot of questions, but it is to only illustrate my confusion.

Director Robert Stromberg takes his first turn in the director’s chair after winning the Academy Award for visual effects on Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. And I will admit this flick does look visually appealing. That may end up saving the day. And Jolie is a quality actress. Those won’t be the issues. The big problem is the dead zone this movie falls into with audiences. That may or may not translate to critics, who tend to watch films in a vacuum and offer opinions based on the film’s merit rather than broad appeal (or at least that’s the idea). So yeah, I’m confused about the score too. This might be the worst I’ve ever felt about a prediction. I really have no idea. Anywhere from amazing to terrible wouldn’t shock me. What I do know is that audiences will be as confused as I am now.

A Million Ways To Die In The West
Rotten Watch Prediction
I want to get something out of the way first before I delve into A Million Ways to Die in the West. I think Seth MacFarlane is fantastic. I think Family Guy represents some of the most creative, out of the box writing I’ve seen, and this is independent of the animated genre. Being different and unapologetic counts for something, and I love the Griffin family for it. Additionally, I thought Ted, for the most part, was a good film with moments of true hilarity. Not a perfect flick, but basically a live-action extension of what makes Family Guy so great. At times it got lost a little too much in itself, or at least in its quest for being "that" kind of movie. But again, it’s something you can watch a few times through and still laugh. So I want to kiss a little MacFarlane ass first. Feel like that’s important in understanding where I’m going from here.

Before I get to the rest of it, check out the trailer for A Million Ways to Die in the West:



This thing might be a mistake: once again a result of too many yes men and too big of a name getting creative and having complete license on a movie. Normally, creative freedom is ideal in a situation, allowing for a mind to carry out a vision of a movie. But there are times when it goes wrong. I think this is one of those situations. This movie looks bad. Real bad. I hope I’m wrong. But I don’t think I am.

First off, MacFarlane as the lead actor seems weird. He looks out of place, shoehorned into the role because it’s a logical leap to have him star in his own features. Secondly, the jokes (some of which will hit for sure) look to be an onslaught, with nothing ever hitting the cutting room floor. The company line seems to be, "Leave everything in, throw enough jokes against the wall and something will stick." And that’s just the impression I get watching the trailer. After the success of Ted, it is real tough to bet against McFarlane. This one will crush the box office on name alone. But I’m worried about critical reception. I think there it falls flat. Still love you, Seth!
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Which movie will get a higher Tomato score?
RESULTS


last rotten week Really good week for the Rotten Watch. I had a head start on X-Men: Days of Future Past (Predicted: 85% Actual: 91%), but hey, I don’t control the critics’ viewing schedule of this flick. I take what I’m given. And it really looks like this thing blew it out of the box. If you haven’t seen it yet, or really even if you have, it’s worth reading Sean’s review. He gave the movie four and a half stars, but reading it you’d think he missed half a star low. He loved it, calling it the best of the series. As an X-Men-o-phile, this flick has me excited for the future of the franchise and for once again raising the comic book movie bar.

Meanwhile, Blended (Predicted: 15% Actual: 16%) was predictably crappy. On Saturday this was looking like a direct hit. But then some critics, like Sean in his review, come in and say it isn’t horrible and I miss by a lousy percentage point. Alas, this is a real nice Rotten win. Sandler movies are predictable at this point. He’d need to do something completely out of character to finish even above the 50% mark.

Next time around we go to the edge of tomorrow and find some fault in our stars. It’s going to be a Rotten Week!

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