I’d like to thank Tropical Storm Erika for making the decision to stay home and not go see anything this weekend that much easier. Not that I really needed a monsoon to make me feel that way. This is yet another uninspiring slate of films hitting screens today. So much so that the third weekend of Straight Outta Compton is likely to take the top spot. But it’s to be expected. Summer is waning, kids are going back to school, and everyone is gearing up for Labor Day. You’re not going to drop a potential blockbuster into this window; just something you want to make some quick cash on thanks to no real competition.
And a good way to make some quick cash is for your film to only cost $3 million like War Room did. It’s a Christian drama, which is a small but relatively lucrative market to be in; you can usually count on church groups showing up en masse, and it doesn’t take many of them to cover such a small budget. But you’re also narrowing your audience way, way down, because most of these are so heavy on the message that they’re just not going to appeal to the mainstream. The message here is somewhat problematic though, boiling down to, “When things get tough, find a room to hide in and ask God for help.” Which doesn’t seem like good advice or a good premise for a movie.
Then there’s We Are Your Friends, which is set in the high-stakes world of … electronic dance music. Ooookay. Yeah, I’m going to be a little “get off of my lawn” here, but that’s just not going to put my butt in a seat. Even less promising? The director’s main claim to fame is as one of the co-hosts of MTV’s Catfish. Steeerike two. And that’s really as far as I need to count. The youthful cast might bring in an equally youthful audience for a bit, but it doesn’t feel like this one is going anywhere. Which makes me feel bad, seeing as how the film just wants to be our friend and all.
Now No Escape almost — almost — has me wanting to see it just for the prospect of watching Owen Wilson desperately chuck his children across rooftops. The trailers sell it as this big, dramatic moment, but it just looks so ridiculous. I imagine him missing with the first kid and trying to talk the second one into letting him give it one more try. “No, really honey, you’re much smaller than she was, I know I can do it!” Which makes me an awful, awful person, but hey, I call ’em like I see ’em. Owen Wilson seems to be having trouble finding success when he’s not a car, in a museum or surrounded by Fockers, and I don’t think this one is going to break the trend.
So yeah, hunkering down looks a lot more exciting than trekking out to the theater this weekend. As long as the internet and power hold out, I’ve got much better options. And if I have to, I’m pretty sure I can make the jump over to the patio next door.