For the third week in a row TGITDNMAR Is without its usua…oh wait, no. I’m me. Sorry about that. And for bailing on you these last two weeks. And for Justin. He’s just the worst, right? In all seriousness, a big thanks to him for capably filling in while I was off doing married things.
But now I’m back, brimming with excitement for new releases, but I can’t shake this slight twinge of sadness that’s infected my mind. That’s because the past two weekends have been absolute monsters, and this weekend is going to be whatever the opposite of a monster is. Ok, that was a terrible analogy, but Jurassic World’s opening weekend wasn’t just the highest opening for any movie in history, it was the highest grossing cumulative weekend in history. And last week, when Inside Out added itself to the mix, was the eighth highest grossing weekend in history (here’s the proof!). The point is, people are going to the movies in record numbers. That’s fantastic news! And I didn’t get to talk about it until now (sad face). Or either of those movies (which I’m totally using this parenthetical to do: Jurassic World is silly, campy, and just self-aware enough where you can laugh at it and with it in equal doses. Really fun movie. Inside Out isn’t the best Pixar has to offer, but it’s still really good. It’s insightful, inventive, and emotional, and is just about guaranteed to have a spot on my year-end top 10.). And I’m coming back to a release slate featuring two movies no one really gives a shit about. That’s what I get for getting married, I guess. What an awful decision!
And now that I’ve put myself directly on the path to divorce, let’s get to this week’s movies:
The trailer for Max begins benignly, if manipulatively, enough – it advertises a movie about a troubled, PTSD-inflicted military dog who helps heal the family of his deceased handler after returning from Afghanistan. It feels a lot like Marley & Me, mixed with an episode of Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, crossed with every war movie ever. It doesn’t look particularly good, but there’s some amount of comfort in knowing exactly what this movie is, and that, a year or so from now when it’s on cable television, you’ll know to expect a phone call from your mother telling you how you just have to see this great movie about this war veteran dog.
And then all hell breaks loose. It’s a subtle kind of chaos, though. The mourning family is visited by an old war buddy of their son/brother, who we’re led to believe is up to no good. Then the father (Thomas Haden Church) disappears, or dies, or is kidnapped, or…I don’t know really. I just know some really dark shit is going down, yet this trailer continues with the upbeat, inspirational musical cues, feel-good family healing, and comic relief despite being placed in what is obviously a really dangerous situation. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more striking contrast between what is actually happening onscreen and the vibe a trailer is attempting to portray. And I have no idea how to respond to any of it.
Pete’s chances of seeing this in theaters: 0% – The trailer completely losing its mind aside, I just assume any movie about a dog kills said dog off because it’s the easiest way to make people cry. That’s cheap, manipulative garbage, but it works extremely well. Especially on me. And I don’t want that to happen.
2012’s Ted was a sporadically funny fantasy/coming-of-age story about a man-child (Mark Wahlberg) and his crude teddy bear best friend. The premise was clever enough: the vulgar Ted is the literal manifestation of the movie’s overall metaphor – adult immaturity is as funny as it is pathetic. That said, the “sporadically funny” part is a real bummer considering the movie aims to be “consistently hilarious.” But, the film grossed over half a billion dollars worldwide, so Universal likely stroked writer/director Seth MacFarlane a check with a whole bunch of zeros, and now we have a sequel. A sequel no one seemed to be asking for in the first place, but a sequel nonetheless.
The second installment in this unlikely franchise sees the titular Ted trying to have a baby with his girlfriend by, naturally, using Mark Wahlberg’s sperm. Or Tom Brady’s. It’s pretty unclear who’s sperm he’ll be using, but someone will be inseminating his girlfriend because, being a teddy bear and all, he can’t. He runs into a snag when he’s informed he won’t be able to retain custody of the child unless he can prove he’s human. Again, being a teddy bear and all, that proves difficult. The whole thing looks like a ham-fisted metaphor for the gay marriage debate, except with a crude, clearly not human teddy bear standing in for homosexual human beings. I wouldn’t call it offensive just…kind of dumb. The biggest offense? The painfully unfunny trailer linked above. I don’t think I’d be nitpicking the silliness of the concept if that trailer had me in stitches.
Pete’s chances of seeing this in theaters: 2% – I can’t tell if I’ve outgrown Seth MacFarlane’s humor, or if he’s just gotten bad. Either way, I think I’m out on all of his future projects.