November 2nd: Finally! Another Perfect Weekend Of Movies

Well, Maybe Not A Perfect Weekend, But Close Enough

I’ve got a game. It’s called WOM
It has been six months since the last time a weekend had a deep enough and varied enough crop of movies to justify a weekend of movies (or a WOM when I like to use the world’s worst acronym). For those who don’t know what a WOM is, it is when you spend the entire weekend at your local cineplex. One movie Friday night, four movies on Saturday and four movies on Sunday — nine movies in just over 48 hours. I know it sounds crazy, but if you have the right collection of movies it is a lot of fun. The key is that there needs to be some variety and you need to choose the order carefully. With that in mind, this is how I would plan out this Weekend Of Movies:
note: this weekend’s releases are good but some could be switched out for movies that are frankly more likely already at your cineplex. I’ll be sure to let you know when a replacement may be warranted.
Friday Night

Your Friday night feature needs to shake you out of the doldrums of the week and get you pumped up for the rest of your weekend, and if any movie is going to shake you this week it is …
The Man With The Iron Fists

RZA, formerly of the Wu-Tang Clan, does his best to join Quentin Tarantino (who produced this movie), Robert Rodriguez and Eli Roth (also a producer here) as a director who brings a modern flare to the genre pictures of the 70’s. In this case the genre is a martial arts movie. Like many a martial arts flick the plot of this frenetic exercise in indulgence (and I don’t mean that in a bad way) sounds like a classic western. Rival gangs come to town looking for gold and a blacksmith fights to save himself and his village from the destruction these gangs bring with them (Sergio Leone directs and Clint Eastwood plays the blacksmith and you have Once Upon A Time In A Mining Town). Russell Crowe, Lucy Liu join the fun, which is all this movie aspires to be, fun.
Saturday 11 a.m.

Kicking off the day Saturday you want something that is just going to be fun and get you excited about the rest of the day. Something like…
Wreck It Ralph
As was the case when I first heard the basic plot strokes for Megamind and Monsters Versus AliensWreck It Ralph is the kind of idea that slaps you in the face and makes you wonder “why has nobody done this before?” A video game villain who is sick of being the bad guy goes on a journey of self discovery through the world of games — Brilliant! Fortunately this movie lives up to its imaginative idea and provides something that everyone will enjoy. It may not be “Pixar at its best” good, but it is a lot of fun.
Saturday 2 p.m.

You got your “R” rated fun on Friday night and now you have had your family fun, where do you go from here? How about some Amy Heckerling fun? How about…
Vamps
Amy Heckerling reunites with her Clueless star Alicia Silverstone for a vampire/RomCom movie that some are describing as the most disappointing reunion of director and star in movie history. Wait! What? OK, let’s not panic. This exactly why I mentioned the whole replacement movie thing at the start. Instead of Vamps go see Here Comes The Boom, a horribly miss-marketed movie that is not only much better than you think, it is entirely different than you think. Also, because it has really not done well, this is likely the last weekend you can find Kevin James’ MMA flick at a theater.
If your curious, here is the trailer for Vamps:
Saturday 5 p.m.

You don’t want to keep pushing your luck with more “fun” at this point, no is the time for something interesting. Something like…
This Must Be The Place
Sean Penn is almost unrecognizable as a retired Rock Star living in Dublin who returns to New York City to find the man responsible for his father’s humiliation during WWII. Oh yeah, this movie is that weird. It is even a comedy, at least in theory. Look, Sean Penn can make anything interesting and this is no different. Just a side note, if you saw Il Divo this is director Paolo Sorrentino’s  english debut (for some people that will be a big deal).
Saturday 8 p.m.

You need to end the day strong. A day full of comedies needs to be topped off with something that is not a comedy. It needs to be topped off with a nearly guaranteed Oscar nominated performance. It needs to be topped off by Denzel.
Flight
Denzel plays a pilot who is a hero but may be turned into a villain as an investigation into a plane crash unearths his personal demons. Over the years there have been a lot of theories posited about what defines a movie star. I agree with some a disagree with others and in the end I think the truth is we all just know a movie star when we see one. Denzel is a movie star and this is the kind of movie that not too many people not named Denzel could really make work (if that makes sense). Mr. Washington will be nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar and will probably loose them both while Flight will go on to make much more money than you realize (a hallmark of many a Denzel film). 
Sunday 12 p.m.

You’ve had a goodnight sleep and you have seriously considered not doing another day of movies. What will make you forgo a day of NFL football? How about this…
Jack and Diane
Just kidding. Jack and Diane is a hot mess of a film that is destined to play to a late night Cinemax audience even though that was not the directors intent (young lesbians in love being pulled apart by forces they can’t control because they are young and gay). Nope, forget Jack and Diane and start your day with Taken 2. Liam Neeson returns to chasing down Albanian gangsters in a photogenic European city (Istanbul this time instead of Paris). They didn’t remake the wheel, but they didn’t need to and this has the kind of fun an adventure that will get your blood pumping for the rest of the day.
Again, if you are interested (and you really shouldn’t be) here is the trailer for Jack and Diane:
Sunday 3 p.m.

Alright, Taken 2 has us back in the game. Let’s go for an extreme change of pace. Let’s go for…
A Late Quartet
Members of a world-class string quartet try to stay together through death, inflated egos and lust. Yaron Zilberman, whose only other directing credit is Watermarks, a really good documentary from 2004 about an Israeli women’s swim team (I’m not kidding, it really is good) pulled together quite a cast for his feature debut. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, that is a hard trio to beat. The film is getting really solid reviews, particularly of the performances. Of course if you need a little more action to help propel you through the day I suggest replacing this with Seven Psychopaths, a hysterical action comedy the far too few people have seen.
Sunday 6 p.m.

Sunday is an eclectic day (at least for the purposes of our WOM) and since we haven’t had a documentary yet let’s do a good one now. Let’s do…
High Ground
A group of recently returned veterans decide to do an ambitious climb in the Himalayas as a way to deal with the scars of battle. Inspiring, interesting and watchable (not all documentaries are) most feel like you could cut 20 minutes out of this and not loose much (and probably even gain some impact) and yet this is still a universally well received film. To use George Clooney’s line from Ocean’s 11, if that doesn’t sound like your particular brand of vodka for your second to last movie of the weekend I would recommend taking on Cloud Atlas. The 3 hour epic is a commitment to be sure, but the high points are worth it even if you will wish there were more of them.
Sunday 9 p.m.

The last movie. The big finale. What will make this whole silly thing seem worth it? How about…
The Details
Toby Maguire plays a normal, content guy whose dark side (and I mean dark side) comes out as a series of seemingly inconsequential events creates an unexpected chain reaction resulting in domestic tension, infidelity and murder — oh, and its a comedy. No? Not the cherry on top of the sunday (no pun intended) that you were hoping for? You’re right. Forget this movie, it has received decidedly mixed reviews and has been available On Demand for the better part of a month. Nope you need to cap this WOM off with Argo, the best movie of the fall (so far). Here is the best feed back I have heard about Argo, one of my wife’s co-workers said simply “I was nervous the whole movie”. What more do you want from a thriller.
Conclusion
OK, so this weekend’s releases were not strong enough to get us through two days. I can admit that. Still, if you need to catch up on a lot of the flix that are already out there this weekend does provide a really strong base for a really fun Weekend Of Movies.
But hey, what do I know? I’m fat.