This is a total make-a-grab weekend. You put a movie here, you’re hoping to catch the viewers who have already seem Amazing Spider-Man 2 and make some cash before Godzilla bows next week. You’re content to finish second to Spidey, but would be ecstatic if you beat it. Essentially, it’s a week of lowered expectations, so that you hopefully end up pleasantly surprised. At least on the business side of things; none of this has anything to do with quality.
I think the time has come to just leave Oz alone. Let’s admit 1939’s The Wizard of Oz has rendered the property untouchable in the minds of the public and let that film stand as the final say on the matter. Yes, we might miss out on some bold new vision that’s actually worth something, but it will at least spare us from things like Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. Or, as I call it, These Performers Have Mortgage Payments Due. Because I look at the cast and you can’t tell me there’s a single one of them who thought, “This is a story that deserves to be told.” They got a nice fat check for a few days in front of a microphone without having to be in costume or on location, and we got what looks like another tedious attempt to capture something magical. Dorothy should have stayed in Kansas.
There was a time when Seth Rogen would have been playing Zac Effron’s role in Neighbors. And it’s a time not all that long ago; it was last year in This Is the End. But here Rogen is the straight-laced husband and father and Effron is the hell raiser. And it might actually be a smart move. Even Rogen himself made fun of his stoner image on his recent Saturday Night Live gig. He can’t play that card forever. So it might be time to start trying something new before people lose interest in that shtick. Whether audiences are ready to pay to see Rogen be the straight guy remains to be seen, as is if this is really a truly straight guy role for him. Some are predicting Neighbors might actually take the weekend from Spider-Man 2, which might be more a factor of general opinion of that film than of Neighbors‘ strength. But if Rogen can debut at #1, that’s a very good sign for this stage of his career.
But really, I’m just marking time until Godzilla comes out. Can it be the 16th already? I’ve seen nothing to give me even the slightest pause about this film. Which I know is a recipe for disappointment, but I’ll take this level of excitement any day over the collective shrug I’ve had over the releases since Winter Soldier. Go go Godzilla.