Archive for June, 2017

Movies Since Last Post: 

St. Elmo’s Fire
Stop Making Sense
True Stories
The Night Before
Wonder Woman
All Good Things
Nightmare on Elm Street (orig.)
Children of Men
Live Free or Die Hard
Dear Mr. Watterson
Stories We Tell
Outatime: Saving The Delorean Time Machine

That may look like a lot of movies, but a couple of them were shorty documentaries (That last one, about restoring the Delorean, was probably more suited as a DVD Extra, but there was still effort. I still had to pay attention.) I’m really having a hard time finding stuff that fits in with my goal here. A couple of these were things I always wanted to see, but mostly I’m just watching these so that I can say I’ve watched a lot of movies.  I also watched Children of Men because I got it confused with Children of God. At least Stop Making Sense was awesome!

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Same as it ever was

I wanted to talk a little about Wonder Woman in this post, and the world’s reaction to it, but as can be the case with most of pop culture these days, a lot of people have already forgotten about it by now. All I’ll say is that I’m glad people enjoyed it, and it was really entertaining until the last 20 minutes or so, and then I completely lost interest. Why do movies have to be so damn long these days? Especially when the climax was so overblown and ridiculous? Just kill the pasty, old white British dude and be done with it. And before people think that I’m just some DC-hating misogynist, I said the same thing about Guardians Vol 2. You’re making great movies, guys. I just need about twenty minutes less at the end.

What I really want to cover this week is a completely different aspect of movie consumption, which is not seeing the movie at all. Obviously, thousands of movies don’t get seen, for various reasons, but the main reasons I don’t watch a given movie is because it doesn’t appeal to me for one reason or another. Sometimes, though, even if the movie itself should appeal to me, I don’t see it, because it looks like it would be a horrible waste of my time. And so, I give you: Tom Cruise’s The Mummy.

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That’s about as excited as I was about this movie

If you think calling it “Tom Cruise’s The Mummy” is a snide, you’re right. It’s an old joke from my movie theater days when we used to refer to the movie Sister Act as “Harvey Keitel’s Sister Act,” especially amusing since it came out the same year as Reservoir Dogs.  Nobody deserves to have their name above a movie’s title, but if you’re going to do it, do it with some sass. Plus, in this case, it makes perfect sense, because casting Tom Cruise in this movie suddenly turns it from a monster movie into a Tom Cruise movie (a different kind of monster, I suppose.)

In a recent podcast interview I conducted with avid monster movie fan, Sam Furst, I was asked why I didn’t want to see the movie, and I said Tom Cruise was the main reason, which was true. Tom Cruise, Mark Wahlburg, Johnny Depp are names that instantly give me pause when it comes to movies, because the movies instantly become “star vehicles,” and whatever characters these guys are playing automatically take a back seat to the characters these guys play in real life. It’s not necessarily a story that they fit an actor into, but rather a an actor that they fit into the role. In this case in particular, however, Tom Cruise seemed like a really bad choice, and not just because the movie’s gross has been incredibly disappointing. Although, it is falling about as fast as this chick:

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Universal, in their attempt to keep up with Disney and Warner Brothers, was using The Mummy to jumpstart their Dark Universe, which will apparently be comprised of all their old monster characters, like The Mummy, The Wolf-man, Frankenstein, etc. By casting Tom Cruise, you have already taken the focus off of the actual Mummy and put it on the star, and nobody has even seen a minute of the movie. I mean, does anyone go to see a Mission: Impossible movie because they were fans of the TV show? And to make matters worse, they also have Johnny Depp on tap to play The Invisible Man.

All that aside, I maybe would have suffered through Tom Cruise and watched The Mummy if I thought it looked like a good movie. Unfortunately, it did not. In fact, it looked horrible (and I’m not even talking about the trailer that they mistakenly released that had no sound effects. Just Tom Cruise screaming a lot.) The actual trailers looked pretty bad, and then there were even these really annoying vignettes that played in the theaters where Nick Miller and the girl with the knife legs from Kingsmen: Secret Service would not only talk about how great the movie was, but how great Tom was. I was really excited that the movie was finally coming out just so I wouldn’t have to watch those anymore. It’s hard to say for sure, but I’m willing to bet that even with a different actor, I would have been a little nervous after seeing these trailers. But, I admit, I prejudged this movie based on Tom Cruise and some bad trailers.

Now, good movies can have bad trailers, and a bad trailer doesn’t necessarily mean the movie is bad, so sometimes you have to resort to other means to gauge a movie. Fortunately, we live in the Internet Age, and we have Rotten Tomatoes, right? Well, yes, but that may not be the most accurate method. When I pointed out to my podcast guest that The Mummy had a rather poor 17% rating, he said that that was merely the critics score (which has since fallen to 16%), and the audience scored it at 43%, which is still not amazing but much better than those dastardly, snarky, jerkface critics, right?

Not so fast! Because I was slightly suspicious of this score (call me crazy), I did some digging. While there are a lot of positive reviews, as well as a lot of people who said it was crap, there was also a disturbing amount of reviews from people who said, “I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m giving it five starts to counteract all the people who are giving it bad reviews who haven’t seen it yet.” Wha-wha-whhaaa?

Ok, while it is strange that someone would go on Rotten Tomatoes to leave a bad review for a movie they haven’t seen, it may be even stranger to leave a five-star “review” for that same movie because you feel bad for it somehow. When did movies get feelings? There are also a lot of people (Like Daniel T) who seem to want to post good reviews simply because so many other people are posting bad ones (“Don’t care what anyone says, I thought it was really good” Daniel spouts. And good on ya, I say! Take that stand!) And, as I alluded to in my last post, we’re not talking about some small indie flick that could really use the good publicity. We’re talking about a Tom Cruise movie. (Sadly, the audience review section for The Mummy on RT only goes back a couple weeks, so those reviews appear to be gone, even though there were supposedly 71 pages of them, I could only read up to page 51. Just take my word for it.)

The point is, all the good will I was feeling after my Manchester by the Sea review has been undone by people who leave good reviews simply because other people have left bad ones (and the one guy who said that all the critics are just “Trump supporting morons.”.)  It seems that, no matter how many avenues we have to watch and review movies, there’s no real way to tell if a movie is worth watching unless you actually watch it, which kind of defeats the purpose of reviewing it, huh? In the end, I really have no idea what to think of The Mummy. I guess what it all boils down to is that I don’t think I will ever watch it, until I do.

What say you, Brie?

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RUN!

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