This is going to be a shorter than usual edition of this post because 1) I just got back from spending about seven hours in theme park land with my sister and her family and I’m absolutely wiped and 2) this week’s slate of releases really doesn’t contain much to merit my continued consciousness for much longer.
We’ve got Kevin Costner and Disney attempting to make us feel good with the underdog running story McFarland, USA, Lionsgate trying to convince us that Mae Whitman is ugly and fat in The DUFF, and Paramount hoping enough people remember the first film to go see Hot Tub Time Machine 2. That last one is particularly baffling, as the original only grossed $50 million on a $36 million budget. But apparently it did well enough on home video to convince Paramount that, rather than keeping it in the format in which it found success, it should release a sequel in the format in which it didn’t.
And really, all three films will pretty much be sacrificial lambs to the second weekend of Fifty Shades of Grey. Hell, they’ll probably have trouble getting past Kingsman: The Secret Service, for that matter. That is, if people can dig out from under all that snow and actually get to the theater. In fact, they might better off staying home and checking out the two Best Picture nominees that hit streaming services this week, The Theory of Everything and Birdman. In my mind, Theory wins the battle of British bio pics by a light year against The Imitation Game. And while Birdman sometimes falls a little too in love with itself, I feel pretty comfortable placing it second among the nominees (behind only The Grand Budapest Hotel) on the strength of its consistent vision and the performances, particularly Ed Norton, who has the misfortune of coming along the same year J.K. Simmons did Whiplash.
So apologies to the new films this week. But look on the bright side: if I had more energy, you’d each be getting your own separate paragraph of scorn and/or disregard rather than the one you share. Consider this a kindness.