Theory and reality are two very different things. That’s what Tomorrowland taught me over the holiday weekend. Last week, I ranted about how Tomorrowland’s creativity and originality made it one of the summer’s more interesting movies, and something film fans should root for to do well. After all, logic dictates that successful creative and original movies equals more creative and original movies. In theory, it’s a sound argument and one I stick by. It just doesn’t really apply in this case because, well, Tomorrowland stinks. It’s nonsensical, preachy, and just plain boring for long stretches. The best thing I can say about it is that it’ll make a hell of an Honest Trailer whenever those guys get around to it. So yeah, theories are great and all, but reality has a way of crashing even the best thought out idea parties.
Tomorrowland did manage to win the box office by grossing a shade over $33 million, but even that’s an embarrassment for a movie with an estimated $190 million budget (plus marketing costs). Disney’s latest is going to struggle to $100 million domestically, and its potential saving grace is the international box office. Basically, it’s John Carter 2.0 for the studio. Or The Lone Ranger 2.0. Maybe Disney needs to start making some sequels. Actually, who am I kidding? It’s Disney. The money they made from Frozen alone probably pays for all three of these bombs.
This week we get two releases, both wide, neither anything like the other. One is a new entry into a genre full of almost exclusively shit, and the other a small character piece that undoubtedly has a heart. And now, this week’s movies:
Writer/Director Cameron Crowe (Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous) brings his latest to multiplexes this weekend with what promises to be a heartwarming, uplifting exercise in sentimentality. Crowe’s made a career out of making movies that try to walk the line between heartfelt and sappy, with more successes than not. This time he brings with him a loaded cast – Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin – and a story that follows Cooper’s Brian Gilcrest, a defense contractor assigned to oversee a weapons launch in Hawaii (Aloha there, title of the movie!). It’s a tale about love, regret, and grabbing life by the balls. Wonderful! On paper this sounds like a worthwhile movie.
And then you watch the trailer and think, “Oh God, no! Just make it stop!” At least that’s what I thought. But it didn’t stop. It just kept going. Lines like, “because you’re a workaholic who creates work to avoid real work,” or, “I have lone wolfed it all the way, that’s who I am,” or, “you’re cynical – I get it” are so cheesy, so painfully direct that the trailer becomes an unintentional parody of character pieces. And to top it all of, there’s the tagline – Sometimes you have to say goodbye…wait for it…before you can say hello. Get it? Because “aloha” means goodbye AND hello. How fucking clever! So clever it makes you want to punch the smug son of a bitch who came up with it in the face.
Pete’s chances of seeing this in theaters: 50% – It’s a coin toss. I’m 50/50 on it. I’m clever too! Not really though.
“The Earth will literally crack open.” That’s the beginning of Paul Giamatti’s warning to the people of California in the trailer for San Andreas, the new disaster film starring The Rock. Why don’t people seem to be listening to Giamatti? The earth is about the crack open…literally! Get the fuck out of there! It’s one of the many excellent questions the ads for San Andreas have posed, questions that include but are not limited to “are you hurt,” and “when everything falls apart, where will you be?” We need answers to these questions, and The Rock is here to provide them. He’s not hurt, and I hope I’m with him when everything falls apart. Because he’s The Rock and can drive a boat over an enormous wave just before it crests. He’ll save everyone.
Disaster movies can usually go one of two ways: they either take their premise so seriously that they’re unintentionally hilarious, or they poke fun at the ridiculousness of their premise and are intentionally hilarious. Either way, these movies are funny. Well, except 2012, which is over two and a half hours long and wears out the so bad its good vibe it had going long before the end credits roll. Where will San Andreas land on this spectrum? I’ll let you know after I finished laughing my ass off.
Pete’s chances of seeing this in theaters: 80% – This movie has no one to blame but itself if it stinks. That’s right, it’ll be San Andreas’ fault. I’ll be here all week.