Down in the Dumps: Craptacular Cinema

Call me “Captain Obvious,” but for the uninitiated, the unobservant, and the just plain forgetful folks out there, the beginning of the year is a terrible time for movies (second perhaps only to August), a time Hollywood commonly refers to as a “dumping ground” for–for lack of a better word–shit.

Hard to believe? Well, here’s a rundown of all the films that have had wide releases this year, to date, including the Rotten Tomatoes ratings they’ve received:

If you’re not familiar with Rotten Tomatoes’ rating system, 60% and above is “fresh,” everything else is “rotten.” Sure, there are a few diamonds in the rough. Still, that makes only four releases in the last month and a half deemed worthwhile, one of which is about the Biebs. And you know what, in all honesty, compared with the rest of the crappy pap that’s out right now, I’d gladly see Never Say Never… gladly.

So, in light of the craptastic voyage that was the last six weeks of films released and my subsequent disinterest in seeing (let alone writing about) most of them, I’ve decided to briefly chime in on what I have seen and even more briefly comment on the rest of the tripe that’s kept me away from the local multiplex.

Of the films released so far, there’s only one I was genuinely interested in, beyond being a guilty pleasure, The Company Men. And I did enjoy it, even though the rich protagonists were a bit hard for me to completely empathize with. I’m sorry, but I don’t know what it feels like to have to sell my Porsche to pay the bills or what it’s like to be thrown out of my country club. Fortunately, unlike The Girlfriend Experience, I could still relate to the characters on some levels, they even seemed… human.

Grade: B-

Now, not to belittle romantic comedies in general, but they are pretty much all the same. And No Strings Attached is no exception. I was mildly amused. There are some funny moments. Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher are both charming and funny. Like most romantic comedies, there are some great supporting characters: Greta Gerwig, Kevin Kline, Ludacris, Jake Johnson, Mindy Kaling, and Lake Bell are all quite funny. But, the whole time, all I could think was: I’ve seen this movie before. Nothing special, not terrible, not amazing. Also, it really just made me want to watch Black Swan again.

Grade: B-

Then there is the supreme disappointment that is The Green Hornet. I was neither amused nor impressed. Not funny enough to be a good Seth Rogen movie, too campy to be a good super-hero movie, I really regretted sitting through this film in its entirety, and I saw it for free.

Grade: D

And pretty firmly cementing my new-found belief that there will never be another exorcism movie even close to as good as The Exorcist, The Rite was an abysmal disappointment. Colin O’Donoghue’s alarmingly ineffectual acting is only exacerbated by Anthony Hopkins’ effortless gravitas. Dark, moody, picturesque, The Rite had all the makings of an interesting horror film, unfortunately it all rested on an insipid and uninspired “leading” performance. Pity.

Grade: D

I’m not gonna lie, morbid curiosity almost got me to the theater to see Season of the Witch, even though it looked dreadful, like they put Nic Cage in the middle of a video game from 1998.

And as I mentioned in my review for The Expendables, I (too) am gay-tham for Statham. So, I do really want to see The Mechanic, and I’m sure I’ll get around to it eventually.

I’ve seen The Roommate before, it was called Single White Female.

I refuse to go along with Just Go With It. Though, I find the title ironically fitting for the films released this time of year. It seems to be the studios’ general attitude toward movie-goers. And on the subject of titles, I Am Number Four is a god-awful title, but it fits cause it looks like an equally god-awful movie.

The fact that there’s a third Big Momma movie is a bit soul-crushing, fortunately I don’t have to see it. And I can proudly say that I’ve never seen any of the Big Momma movies. I might see Unknown at some point. But, as much as I enjoy seeing Liam Neeson kick ass, I think I can wait for the DVD.

Is it a vicious cycle? Perhaps. Does theater attendance decline this time of year because nothing good comes out, or does nothing good come out because theater attendance declines? It’s a quandary. I don’t have the answers. All I know is that I can’t wait for Drive Angry 3D to come out next weekend.

What say you? Which of the “dumping ground” movies have you suffered through this year? What are you looking forward to in the near future?

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One response to “Down in the Dumps: Craptacular Cinema

  1. As I wrote already, I suffered Country Strong.

    Now if we’re strictly speaking of Wide Releases, yeah, it sucks out there. There are some interesting indies that I’d like to see, Cold Weather, Carancho, Even The Rain, but I’m too busy catching up on Oscar stuff.

    The next few wide releases that I’m excited about: Source Code, Battle: LA, and Hanna

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