Opening November 23rd: I Know, I Know, Some Of These Opened On Wednesday

I Have/Had Mycoplasma Pneumoniae
Obviously I don’t need to make any excuses for not doing this on Tuesday as the three big releases this week actually hit theaters Wednesday. It’s my blog, I do it for fun and it was the week of Thanksgiving, boom, plenty of “excuse” right there. Having said that I was sick with that mycoplasma thing (an atypical bacteria something, something, something, that made me a little sick for the last couple of weeks/months and finally turned bad enough that they had to do the whole antibiotics stuff) and was pretty much laid up on the couch re-watching season 1 of 24 on Netflix. Coming upstairs to my office to write about movies just wasn’t in me before today, and to be blunt I don’t have that much energy to do it today (tryptophan + lingering mycoplasma). So thank goodness there aren’t that many movies opening this weekend.
Red Dawn
Interest Level: 6
Is The Original An 80’s Classic: NO!!!
I have long believed we throw the word classic around way too much. We have instant classics, cult classics, classics by decade (70’s classic, 80’s classic and so on) genre classics and every other kind of classic imaginable. If there was ever proof that we use the word “classic” too frequently it is people calling the original Red Dawn an 80’s classic. A movie born entirely out of cold war paranoia and exaggerated jingoistic self-confidence the two best things about re-watching the original Red Dawn is to laugh at the absurdity of the high schoolers defeating a trained army and seeing it’s young cast of would be stars (Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Jennifer Grey and Charlie Sheen). Believe me when I tell you those two things will keep you watching for less than an hour before you get bored and start looking for something else to watch. Will this Red Dawn be better? That depends on whether or not the removal of the “crutch” of our 1984 hatred of Russia is replaced with actual plot and character development. Don’t be too hopeful. My favorite quote so far was from Mary F. Pols Time Magazine review where she said “it’s Friday Night Lights territory, but without the good acting or writing.” I love me some stupid action so I am still in, maybe not all in but in.

Life of Pi
Interest Level: 6
What Are The Odds Of Hating It: 25%
There are only three possible reactions to Life of Pi. First, “I love it, this is the best movie I have seen all year and it speaks to me on an extremely personal level.” Second, “wow, that was amazing to look at, it was a bit long and boring in parts but man oh man was it good looking.” Third, “that was stupid, I hated it.” I’m probably in camp #2.
Rise of the Guardians
Interest Level: 8
Better Than Wreck-It Ralph: No, Not That Good
A superhero movie with Santa Clause, Jack Frost, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy and Sandman playing the Avengers combating the forces of commerce essentially (no, no one seems to get the irony). Love the idea. By all accounts this movie is good, but not a classic (great, now I’m using “classic” too much). Having said that, much like Arthur Christmas from last year, look for this movie to get a big push each holiday season on DVD and to be aired on, at worst, TBS 35 times each December.
Interest Level: 5
Have You Been Shocked By All The Hitchcock Stories: That He Was An Egomaniacal Ass? Nope
This just in, Alfred Hitchcock was a stereotypically self-obsessed director who was hard to work with and to live with and was brilliant. We are supposed to be shocked by this? On the heels of HBO’s The Girl (Tippi Hedren’s accusations of Hitchcock being a horny, abusive, jerk are brought to life) we have Hitchcock, whose sole purpose isn’t to try to convince us the great man is evil so much as that the great man is massively flawed and that his wife never got the credit she deserved for his success. Frankly neither story is that revelatory but this movie has Helen Mirren which will always get me a little bit interested.
Rust and Bone
Interest Level: 6
Should It Be Higher: Probably
This movie is supposed to be really good. I mean REALLY good. Marion Cotillard is already getting best actress buzz and the writer/director, Jacques Audiard (who also did the terrific A Prophet in 2009), is on the short list for potential “dark horse” director and writer nominees. So why am I not more excited? I honestly don’t know. This story of love and loss even has killer whales, that should be enough, but I just can’t get too excited about it. I feel like I have seen this before and I say that knowing it is probably an entirely untrue and unfair thing to say.
The Central Park Five
Interest Level: 8
Do You Remember The Case: No, Which Is A Little Embarrassing
In 1989 five black and latino teenagers were convicted of raping a white woman in central park. After spending years in prison a serial rapist came forward and admitted to doing the crime and the boys, now men, had their convictions overturned. Sounds like something out of a crime novel (more than a few authors have used some of the elements of the story including Robert K. Tanenbaum in Fury, one of his Butch Karp novels). Here Ken Burns takes us through the story set against a 1989 New York City that was crumbling and decaying in a way that almost seemed irretrievable (obviously NYC came out the other end and became stronger than ever, as it has done so often throughout it’s history and continues to do today). Ken Burns is a pure documentarian which is to say that he is unbiased and thorough and that his stuff can feel too exhaustive and a little like homework at moments. Having said that, this is an incredible story, and it is just one story (not a walk through baseball history or the civil war or all of jazz music).
If I could only see one thing this weekend it would probably be The Central Park Five, but since I am married and have an 8 year old son I’m sure it will be Rise of the Guardians … not a bad conciliation prize.
But hey, what do I know? I’m fat.