Boom, Bust, or Meh: August 2017

Happy August, GUG fam! It’s the last month of summer which means the last month of summer blockbusters! Welcome to this month’s edition of Boom, Bust, or Meh, where we focus on five films of the month and the predictions we have for them! As with every BBoM article, each film receives one of the following scores:
Boom: A summer hit that could possibly be up for awards.
Bust: A summer bomb that makes Razzie-awarded films tolerable.
Meh: A summer flick that is alright but possibly forgettable yet might get nominated for some reason.
With that introduction, let’s crank open the month of August vault!

The Results

Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our July predictions!

1. Spider-Man: Homecoming – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 92%
Audience Score: 90%
Box Office
Production Budget: $175 million
Worldwide: $635 million
Trey: You know what they say, third reboot’s a charm!
Our Review!

2. War for the Planet of the Apes – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 93%
Audience Score: 86%
Box Office
Production Budget: $150 million
Worldwide: $226 million
Our Review!
Trey: When it comes to authentic storytelling, Planet of the Apes is not monkey around…bad pun, no regrets.

3.  Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 51%
Audience Score: 57%
Box Office
Budget: $177 million
Worldwide: $60 million
Trey: Wasn’t a fan of the character development, which is of most important for audiences.
Our Review

4. Dunkirk – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 93%
Audience Score: 83%
Box Office
Budget: $100 million
Worldwide: $236 million
Trey: Leave it to Nolan to make a priceless British war film. Definitely watch it in 70mm IMAX.
Our Review!

5. The Emoji Movie – Bust. 

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 6%
Audience Score: 45%
Box Office
Budget: $50 million
Domestic: $27 million
Trey: The fact that it made over half of its budget is surprising. There is also a rumor that a fidget spinner movie is in the works. For the love of all that is good, please no!
Our Review!
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (61-35), Juliana is (11-5), Sarah is (8-7), and Josh Odom at (4-6).

The Dark Tower

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: August 4, 2017
Synopsis: Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, the ambitious and expansive story from one of the world’s most celebrated authors, makes its launch to the big screen. The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Nikolaj Arcel
Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Layer, Abbey Lee

The Prediction

Trey Soto (61-35): Meh.. – When I first saw the trailer, I was greatly interested. When I did some digging around about the book itself, I then began to worry. It is unclear as to how much of the seven novel series will be adapted into the film, which sparks a large amount of concern for fans. The last thing books fans want is another movie cramming a book series *cough* John Carter. There is talk of a TV adaption in the works that connects to the film, which is interesting, yet still sounds complicated. If the film fails in the box office and reviews, we may never see this TV series ever take place.
Josh Odom (4-6): Meh… – Stephen King is the most influential pop culture figure of the last fifty years. From actual books to comic books, everything this man touches turns to gold. 2017 is shaping up to be a great year with two Stephen King adaptations coming to the silver screen. The first of which is Nikolaj Arcel’s The Dark Tower. Regarded as one King’s greatest and most far reaching accomplishments, The Dark Tower series adaptation has been in the works for some time. Originally, talks pointed to a mini-series that would span the entire series of novels. Having read the first book and reading the synopsis of the remaining eight, I’m confident this would have been the better decision.
This is a series that spans nine books and is much more involved than just a gunslinger going toe to toe with Matthew McConaughey. Clocking in at 1 hr and 35 minutes, it is being described as something between a sequel and a prequel while combining elements from all of the books. By virtue of being a new Stephen King adaptation, it will attract movie goers aplenty who will either be confused (because they have not read it) or disappointed (because they have). I had high hopes for this movie, but I am fully prepared to be disappointed.
Juliana Purnell (11-5): Bust. – When it comes to film adaptations, Stephen King can be a hit or a miss. In the past, King’s longer works have been turned into TV mini series, so it’s alarming to see a movie based off a seven book franchise have a mere 95 minute runtime. What is going on here? Well, it turns out that The Dark Tower isn’t a straight adaptation; rather it’s a continuation of the books. While exciting for long-time followers, this doesn’t bode well for newcomers, or for those unfamiliar with King’s universe in general given that The Dark Tower is the author’s crossover piece.
The project has roped in some of the best talent Hollywood can find, such as Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, and Ron Howard (originally the director but now the producer, though that’s only a small part of the story considering this film’s experiences in development hell). Their presence gives me some hope, as these aren’t the type of people to dedicate their time towards duds. However, given that The Dark Tower originally had a July release date but was eventually held back until August, it tells me that even the studio isn’t confident about this project, despite banking behind its popularity to launch a TV series. Maybe they were simply spooked by the catastrophe that was The Mummy, but this movie is simply raising too many red flags for me. Sadly, I predict it’ll be a bust.
Sarah Bennett (8-7): Bust. – I believe this will straddle both realms of kids want to see it, but their parents won’t let them and adults want to see it, but won’t go. It won’t be as epic as Star Trek for the massive sci-fi crowd draw. Even with Matthew McConaughey in the lead as the evil overlord extraordinaire, the traction won’t keep up, even with a solid plot.

The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Rating: R
Release Date: August 18, 2017
Synopsis: The world’s top protection agent (Ryan Reynolds) is called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world’s most notorious hitman (Samuel L. Jackson). The relentless bodyguard and manipulative assassin have been on the opposite end of the bullet for years and are thrown together for a wildly outrageous 24 hours. During their raucous and hilarious adventure from England to the Hague, they encounter high-speed car chases, outlandish boat escapades and a merciless Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman) who is out for blood (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Patrick Hughes
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, Salma Hayek

The Prediction

 Trey (61-35): BOOM! – I’m going to be completely honest and say that I am highly looking forward to this film. Ryan and Samuel portray the type of character that they know best. It is rare for me to really look forward to a comedy but this one caught my attention when the trailer released a couple of months ago. With how crazy this past year has been, I’m ready for a good laugh.
Josh Odom (4-6): Meh… – Ryan Reynolds has come a long way since his Van Wilder days. Samuel L. Jackson has…well…he’s continued to be Samuel L. Jackson. So what does this mean for The Hitman’s Bodyguard? It means it will be an adequately made Comedy/Action movie that will be forgotten as soon the final frame flashes across screen. If you want to watch a funny version of The Bodyguard, just go watch The Bodyguard. Contrary to popular belief, The Bodyguard is a laughably bad movie. This will be 2017’s Keanu: an [enter this] film.
Juliana Purnell (11-5): BOOM! – Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds have certainly partaken in a few bad films throughout their careers, though I don’t believe The Hitman’s Bodyguard will be one of them. Both actors are at the height of their popularity right now, with audiences keen to see more of them, and this odd couple, action-packed comedy, reminiscent of Die Hard with a Vengeance, will hit the spot. This is not an Oscar contender–it’s not trying to be one. Instead it’ll just deliver some good old stupid fun (though not necessarily with the Christian demographic in mind).
It is also helmed by Australian director, Patrick Hughes, whose previous work includes The Expendables 3. Being taught under Stallone’s guidance in the past, expect some great action sequences from this director. So it would be unwise to underestimate this stupid comedy at the box office–it’ll be a fun way to pass the time and people are usually more than willing to part with their money for the pleasure.
Sarah Bennett (8-7): Bust. – Copious innuendos and lewd jokes paired with Samuel L. Jackson swearing and predictable acting will probably only come close to breaking the cost of production. Even with the fancy, Tarantino-like poster, Gary Oldman, and Whitney Houston’s song in the trailer, it’s a one-trick pony that probably won’t pick up much in DVD sales either.

The Glass Castle

Rating: PG-13
Release: August 11, 2017
Synopsis: Chronicling the adventures of an eccentric, resilient, and tight-knit family, The Glass Castle is a remarkable story of unconditional love. Oscar-winner Brie Larson brings Jeannette Walls’s best-selling memoir to life as a young woman who, influenced by the joyfully wild nature of her deeply dysfunctional father, found the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Destin Daniel Cretton
Starring: Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts, Sarah Snook, Max Greenfield

The Predictions

Trey Soto (61-35): BOOM! – I was sold after watching the trailer a few times. There is just something interesting about a film two or more people – especially between wife and parent – are at odds in terms of ideologies, the child raising, and more. Great cast, interesting story, I’m ready to see this.
Josh Odom (4-6): Meh… – I have never heard of nor know nothing about this novel. If I’m being completely honest, I got bored just reading the plot. Based on a memoir written about growing up in a poverty stricken dysfunctional family, it sounds like a real downer. Like Nicholas Sparks or Tyler Perry movies, I expect the audience for this to be very specific; mainly those who have actually read of or heard of the book. Beyond that, it just looks like every other family-based drama released in August. So far August is really blowing it up.
Juliana Purnell (11-5): Meh… –  The Glass Castle is an adaptation of Jeannette Walls’ highly popular memoir. While the writing has been criticized for not featuring much emotionality, as it tends to merely report on the events, book readers have claimed it’s an interesting story nonetheless. Whether it’ll make for a strong narrative on the big screen is another matter entirely. From where I come from, The Glass Castle hasn’t been making waves in the media. Cinephiles on the lookout for next year’s Oscar nominations will have their eyes set on Detroit for this month instead, as it’s tipped to be a major competitor, unlike The Glass Castle which is only considered a distant contender. I believe that this will be an above average film that will draw in the book fans, with decent reviews from critics, but for the most part it’ll fly under the radar. It’ll be a good watch, though I’m not convinced it’ll make a lasting impact.
Sarah Bennett (8-7): Meh… (bordering BOOM!) – This is my personal favorite for this dry month’s offerings. The lead actors are well-known for their diverse roles and the plot doesn’t look recycled. I’m interested to see how it’ll end, if we will be given a Hallmark completion or a messy “this is life” ending.

Detroit

Rating: R
Release: August 4, 2017
Synopsis: From the Academy Award winning director of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Detroit tells the gripping story of one of the darkest moments during the civil unrest that rocked Detroit in the summer of ’67 (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: John Boyega, Anthony Mackie, Will Poulter, Algee Smith, Jacob Latimore, John Krasinski

The Prediction

Trey Soto (61-35): BOOM! – The interesting part about this story is that I know little to nothing about the riots in Detroit. Based on the history I researched, the cast, and especially the director, I can honestly say that this is film will not only be successful but might even have a chance at the Oscars. With what has happened in this country over the pass few years with the BLM protest, this film came at a perfect time.
Josh Odom (4-6): BOOM! – I don’t even know if this movie will be a financial success, but I know it will be a critical one. Coming from Kathryn Bigelow (director of my all-time favorite movie Point Break), this will be a hard hitting and emotional journey through the 1967 Detroit riot. With Bigelow’s penchant for going big, I expect this movie to not shy away from the facts of what happened on the night of July 25th, 1967 or its subsequent events. While it may not initially make a lot of money, word of mouth will keep this movie afloat all the way from here until the Oscars.
Juliana Purnell (11-5): BOOM! – Detroit is written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and centers around the infamous events at the Algiers Motel in 1967. Considering this duo also worked together on Academy Award winning films such as The Hurt Locker and Dark Zero Thirty, it’s easy to see why critics are eager to see Detroit and are already predicting it’ll be a strong contender for an Oscar.
The story may not resonate with international audiences, while early reviews describe the film as being a rather bleak experience. Considering the average person prefers to watch stories that are more uplifting, I suspect there might be a bit of a disconnect between critics and audiences, which has already happened a little bit with Dunkirk. None of that will really matter, as Detroit will be regarded as a hit–it’s reputation is already too strong to really put a dent in it.
Sarah Bennett (8-7): Meh… – While I’m looking forward to John Boyega’s role, I feel a distinct polarization coming from this movie—people will either love it or hate it, which means it’ll affect sales. Even though it is set in 1967, this movie will also prove a tinderbox for recent racial news stories. I hope Mark Boal’s writing and Kathryn Bigelow’s directing will rise above the prejudices to present a story worth seeing.

Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature

Rating: PG
Release Date: August 11, 2017
Synopsis: Surly Squirrel and the gang are back. We are once again in Oakton where the evil mayor has decided to bulldoze Liberty Park and build a dangerous amusement park in its place. Surly and his ragtag group of animal friends band together to save their home, defeat the mayor, and take back the park (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Cal Brunker
Starring: Wil Arnett, Katherine Heigil, Maya Rudolph, Jackie Chan, Sebastian Maniscalco, Jeff Dunham

The Predictions

Trey Soto (61-35): Bust. – The studio really was nuts for planning a sequel to this box office flop. I just can’t. I can’t understand why studios put these movies into action and fund them. Just no. That’s all I can say, moving on.
Josh Odom (4-6): Bust. – Nutty by Nature. Haha. Get it? That’s a play on the popular 90s rap group Naughty by Nature! I’m so glad they threw that joke in there so that all the parents who have to drag their kids to this movie can feel they have some sort of attachment to it. In all seriousness though, whatever hope I had for this movie was lost after the colon in the title. A confident children’s movie doesn’t need to use half of its title trying to appeal to an older audience. A confident children’s movie just does it. Considering the first The Nut Job was a critical failure, I expect the exact same for its unnecessary sequel. September can’t get here soon enough.
Juliana Purnell (11-5): Bust. – Well isn’t this a sequel that no one asked for! Looking through IMDB’s release date information, it seems this film won’t be available in my country until August next year. What a pity! But in all seriousness, it’s a little harsh to hate on this movie because, simply put, it’s not intended for adults. I’m sure Nut Job 2 will be great for its target audience, which is shaping up to be pre-schoolers given it’s release outside of the holiday period (though really the trailer hints for a crowd just slightly older).
Unfortunately that demographic isn’t renowned for their taste in cinema, and parents are the still the gatekeepers when it comes to ticket sales. I can’t foresee adults willingly taking their kids to see this film unless their offspring are super fans, or they’re just desperate to entertain them for over an hour. With endless entertainment options available at home these days, along with the fact that there are simply better films in the genre out there, I predict a bust.
Sarah Bennett (8-7): Bust. – I’d never even heard about it until BBOM was assigned, so that was the first strike. Even with some big names behind the tiny mice (Will Arnet, Maya Rudolph, Katherine Heigl), these rodents are doomed. Their only hope rests in the fact that some parents need to drop off their kids to watch something.

Thanks for reading this month’s edition! Let us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us next month for another edition of “Boom, Bust, or Meh!”

Are you looking forward to any of these films? What are you predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in August?

Trey Soto

Trey Soto holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Biola University, emphasis in Interpersonal/Rhetorical Theory. He has been a Film Critic/Analysis for over a year at Geeks Under Grace and other websites such as Temple of Geek. In his spare time, he enjoys comic book literature, screenwriting, production assistant freelancing, photography, cosplay, and hosting his own film podcast T.V. Trey on Podbean and iTunes.

1 Comment

  1. Zero Tolerance on August 5, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    LoL, how does a move that was a box office flop get a sequel. Who is bankrolling these nonsensical children’s movies? Sheesh!

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