Well, somebody had to open in the wake of Star Wars, and so four films venture bravely into the breach today. It’s not completely crazy — Christmas is usually a strong movie-going day, and people who already saw or don’t want to see Star Wars have to have something to watch — but the meteoric box office of The Force Awakens makes going up against it a daunting task. There’s a very real possibility that its second weekend could be higher than five of the top ten opening weekends of all time. But studios don’t make money not releasing films, so here we go.
There are those who hold the original Point Break in high esteem, but I’ve never been one of them. I just can’t take Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze seriously, especially with Swayze’s glorious ’90s mane of hair. So the idea of a remake isn’t all that appealing to me, and likely less so for those who did enjoy the original. Add in the fact that there aren’t any names associated with this to get anybody excited, and Christmas being an odd date to drop an action film like this, and I get the feeling this is going to be the cruelest victim of the Star Wars mania.
The pairing of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg was pretty successful in The Other Guys, a pretty funny send-up of buddy cop conventions. But that film had Adam McKay co-writing and directing with Anchorman and Talladega Nights under his belt.. For Daddy’s Home, we get Sean Anders, who brought us … well, That’s My Boy and Horrible Bosses 2. Not exactly the same pedigree. Ferrell still has some clout though, and a comedy is a nice change of pace from space adventures, so this should be all right gross-wise. I’m just not all that convinced it’s going to be all that good.
Concussion has been drawing a lot of buzz due to its dealing with the concussion issue in the NFL (as if the on-the-nose title didn’t tip that off). A lot of people think it might be the wedge that finally drives the issue home and forces the NFL to do something about it. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good movie. It just looks so earnest to me, and there’s some somewhat laughable moments where they try to make the NFL into this shadowy evil organization that would have been the stuff of real-world legal action had they actually happened. Will Smith would have done this a ton of good five or six years ago, but he hasn’t drawn all that much lately (even though I thought his Focus from earlier this year deserved much more of an audience). Still, the NFL connection will no doubt help this, and it’s got the sheen of prestige that’ll be an appealing alternative for those who think spaceships are kids’ stuff.
But the most interesting release this week is David O. Russell’s latest entry in the “Jennifer Lawrence is more than Katniss” series, Joy. The Academy seems to love Lawrence in Russell films, nominating her for the last two (and giving her the award for Silver Linings Playbook). The early trailers for this made it seem like this was a serious drama about a woman involved in nefarious goings on, but it turns out it’s a light-hearted biopic about a woman who invented a mop. Not quite what people were expecting from either Lawrence or Russell, but it still looks interesting enough — and Lawrence has enough star power right now — to be the one new release that stands out this weekend.
But really, I’m more likely to go see Star Wars again this weekend. It could really use the help.