Boom, Bust, or Meh: May 2017

What up, GUG fans? Welcome to this month’s edition of Boom, Bust, or Meh! For those who are unfamiliar with BBoM, this monthly article focuses on five various films each month and what our predictions as movie lovers are! As with every BBoM article, each film receives one of the following scores:
Boom: A film that starts off the summer strong.
Bust: A film that starts off the summer weak.
Meh: A film that starts off the summer with curiosity and uncertainty.
With that introduction, let’s crank open the month of May vault!

The Results

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

1. Smurfs: The Lost Village – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 38%
Audience Score: 65%
Box Office
Production Budget: $60 million
Worldwide: $155 million
Trey: Third is a charm…sometimes. In this case, it wasn’t.

2. Gifted – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 64%
Audience Score: 87%
Box Office
Production Budget: $7 million
Worldwide: $15 million
Trey: Personally, I think everyone should see this movie.

3. The Fate of the Furious – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 66%
Audience Score: 79%
Box Office Production
Budget: $250 million
Worldwide: $1 billion
Trey: Not a fan of the franchise, but its success doesn’t surprise me.
Our Review!

4. Going in Style – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 44%
Audience Score: 63%
Box Office
Production Budget: $25 million
Worldwide: $61 million
Trey: It was funny, but it wasn’t worth remembering.
Our Review!

5. The Circle – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 17%
Audience Score: 26%
Box Office Production
Budget: $18 million
Domestic: $9 million
Trey: Great concept, boring story.
Our Review! 
Before we begin the predictions for the month of May, I would like to welcome you all to our new GUG Staff Writers and BBoM contributors Ian Hancock, Juliana Purnell, Lucas Sharley, and Sarah Bennett! We greatly welcome them and look forward to collaborating together in the area of film.
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (55-32) and all the newbs will be starting at (0-0).

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Synopsis: Set to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage (IMDb).
Director: James Gunn
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Kurt Russell, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Elizabeth Debicki

The Prediction

Trey Soto (50-32): BOOM! – Of all the Marvel films that I have thoroughly enjoyed (which are few), Guardians of the Galaxy came in at #2 right behind Captain America: Winter Soldier (2014). A sequel to this humorous, action-packed film is definitely necessary for both fans and Marvel Studios, from entertainment to money making. I am very curious and very excited for this next Marvel installment. Cue the soundtrack fro Awesome Mixtape 2!
Ian Hancock (0-0): BOOM! – I’m not sure this called for a sequel, but here we are. Beloved characters? Check. Irreverent sense of humor? Check. Great Visuals? Check. People of all ages were captivated by the tone and style of 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and that alone will fill seats for its next incarnation. One factor working against Vol. 2 is that a big part of what made Guardians so hilariously fun was that it was such an original approach to telling a superhero story. Now that viewers are going in with established expectations, I doubt that this movie will be capable of packing the same punch. Given that, the sequel will likely fall short of the bar set by the original, but that’s hardly a sin.
Juliana Purnell (0-0): BOOM! – The first installment of this off-kilter Marvel story exceeded everyone’s expectations. Guardians of the Galaxy came at a time when the comic book cinematic universe was beginning to feel a little formulaic and stale. As a relative newcomer, director James Gunn provided a film that was not only strong in its stylistic choices, but also opened up audiences to a new franchise that was previously barely known. Marvel Studios’ gamble on this quirky, niche, and offbeat space adventure paid off–literally. Grossing over $333 million, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of Marvel’s most lucrative titles to date.
With such a strong foundation, it’s hard to see how Marvel can go wrong with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. So far it appears that the humor, music, and overall vibe that resonated so well with audiences in the first outing has been recreated in this much-anticipated sequel. Even if critics roast this movie, fans will still flock to the cinemas. How can it be anything other than a boom?
Lucas Sharley (0-0): Meh… – I went wild for the tone and characters of the first movie. The plot was dull and the villain uninteresting, but who cared? Guardians was so overdosed on style it became its own kind of substance. Unfortunately, what we overlooked in the first movie as we rode a wave of electro-pop energy will be harder to ignore in a second installment. A humorless shiny villain, a swarm of little space-pods, themes of found family and belonging–Guardians Vol. 2 seems to have fallen into the Marvel trap of trying to do new character beats against a backdrop of plotting as static and underdeveloped as a crude matte painting.
Perhaps I’m dead wrong. Perhaps both the plot and the inclusion of Yondu-Nebula-Mantis will sharpen and deepen the existing character dynamics at the same time as they create new relationships. Perhaps the appearance of Peter’s father will show us something about who Peter is and how he thinks about family, as well as the tragic comedy beats we saw in the first movie. Perhaps Peter and Gamora’s teased romance will be more than a Friends episode IN SPACE. But at the moment I see Guardians Vol. 2 being an enjoyable but disappointing sequel; more Thor: The Dark World than Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Sarah Bennett (0-0): BOOM! – Marvel hit a vein with the plot and soundtrack in the first film, and I think they are going to ride the wave into Peter Quill’s Awesome Mix 2 tape. It’s fantastic to see all of the familiar characters return, along with Nebula as a good guy (?). Maybe GotG Vol. 2 has even better songs and baby Groot learns one new word.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Rating: PG-13
Release Date: May 12, 2017
Synopsis: Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy–whether he likes it or not (IMDb).
Director: Guy Ritchie
Starring: Charlie Hunnman, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Jude Law, Eric Bana, Aidan Gillen

The Prediction

Trey Soto (50-32): Meh.. – If there is one thing I have noticed about Guy Ritche’s films, it is that his work is split down the middle of being good or bad by critics and audiences. I will admit that King Arthur looks action-packed and visually interesting, however I am just not sold by the story. I feel that it will be all action and no plot. I give a “Meh…” rating because I think it will do well financially among fans but not critically among reviewers. It remains to be seen in due time.
Ian Hancock (0-0): Meh… – I love seeing new twists on legends and fairy tales, so I’m actually looking forward to seeing this. Despite my high hopes, though, the big screen has often been unkind to these sorts of fantasy films. Guy Ritchie has been on a pretty good run lately, but given his style, I worry that the intriguing new take on the story’s fantasy aspects may end up getting lost beneath a heavy-handed focus on violence and action sequences. I’m hedging my bets on this one.
Juliana Parnell (0-0) Bust. – Guy Ritchie has contributed some wonderful stories to the world of cinema: Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels are the most notable. Though King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will be his first foray into the fantasy genre. While his previous credits prove that he is more than capable in creating dynamic characters, the question is more so whether he can manage to flesh out an entire world traditionally shrouded in myth in the space of two hours.
The direction looks fast-paced and flashy, seemingly preferring style over substance, reminiscent of films like I, Frankenstein and Dracula Untold as opposed to Braveheart. The latter is the structure needed to encapsulate the gravitas of such a well-known mythical figure such as King Arthur. I predict this film will fall victim to having a poor first act that will impact the pacing of the entire film, unintentionally creating characters that audiences will have little-to-no investment with, something that unfortunately many fantasy movies feature.
It doesn’t help that it’s also up against two other major franchises this month (Aliens and Guardians of the Galaxy), meaning that it’s entirely possible for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword to be pushed back on people’s lists of what to see. 
Lucas Sharley (0-0): BOOM! – I love Arthurian myth, I love Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies, I love the ridiculous David Bowie-meets-Dragonforce tone of this trailer, and I think audiences will love this movie. Movies don’t have to be sensible to be serious or good. I’m hoping that King Arthur takes nothing about itself seriously except for the tragic ideals that are the core of Camelot.
From the trailers it seems to be set after Jude Law’s Vortigern has taken over the kingdom and killed Arthur’s parents (because no one becomes a hero if they have living parents, these days). My great fear is that this will be an origin story movie–not that stories about the entry into heroism are bad, but they have incredibly established patterns and character beats now. Hopefully King Arthur pushes a little outside of the mold like Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes did.
Sarah Bennett (0-0): Meh… – While I want to have great expectations for this film, the trailer isn’t as gritty as I wanted–too many pretty clips and actors. Guy Richie’s movies can fall hard one way or the other but usually don’t land well for me. One upshot, Jude Law as the villain. But I am hoping I’m wrong and that the sword fighting turns this film into a BOOM in the end.

Alien: Covenant

Rating: R
Release: May 19, 2017
Synopsis: The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Demian Bchir, Danny McBride IV

The Predictions

Trey Soto (50-32): BOOM! – Just the teaser itself had me scared in my seat. With the improvement in visual effects, one can only know what Ridley Scott has accomplished in his new sequel. While Prometheus (2012) was a bit confusing, I think that this may answer questions that audiences had all while entertaining them…in a real bloody way.
Ian Hancock (0-0): Meh… – Ridley Scott had some success with Prometheus, and the Aliens series itself is a big draw, so I’m confident that Covenant will do just fine at the box office. My biggest fear is that this ends up being largely a rehash of the series’ tropes rather than offering something truly fresh. If Scott can give the movie its own unique identity while building on the ideas from Prometheus, then the film could be great, but that’s not the vibe I’m getting from the trailers. I expect audiences to like this one a lot more than the critics.
Juliana Purnell (0-0): BOOM! – When Ridley Scott first announced that he would be returning to his oft-praised Alien franchise with Prometheus, fans and critics alike went wild. That was before people watched a movie that produced more questions than answers, tumbling down a path that interested nobody. Since then, many have wondered where Alien: Covenant will sit. Is it a sequel to the frequently ridiculed Prometheus, or is it a prequel to the masterful Alien?
While many feared the former, the presence of a xenomorph (and not its prototype) in the trailer has caused many to change their minds. The story seems to revolve around a group of couples, suggesting this film might hold the emotional weight of the original as well. But will Alien: Covenant offer anything new to this long-loved franchise? I predict this will be a box office success, however critics may find it too repetitive. Though fans will be thrilled regardless, and Alien: Covenant will be considered to be a strong addition to this franchise.
Lucas Sharley (0-0) Meh… – Hey look, it’s Prometheus 2.0! Now that Ridley Scott has ironed out the kinks, he’s back with an Alien movie that carries the Alien name and may even make some kind of sense. But the presence of Michael Fassbender’s David links the two movies together pretty closely and that is not a good thing. Audiences are still scarred by the long and perplexing Prometheus, which was an interesting movie but not a good story. Alien: Covenant may be communicating on a more human wavelength. But the trailer and running time make it look long and meditative just like Prometheus, and I can’t see people taking a risk on it.
Sarah Bennett (0-0): BOOM! – I still watch the original, and it still scares me. So when the trailer played and I felt nervous, I have a feeling this is going to be an amazing head nod to the first time we ever saw Lt. Ripley and Newt. Ridley Scott is back in the director’s chair with Michael Fassbender playing the lead. I’ll be the one with my hands over my eyes, watching between my fingers because I just can’t look away.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Rating: PG-13
Release: May 26, 2017
Synopsis: The rip-roaring adventure finds down-on-his-luck Captain Jack feeling the winds of ill-fortune blowing strongly his way when deadly ghost sailors, led by the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle bent on killing every pirate at sea–notably Jack. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it he must forge an uneasy alliance with Carina Smyth, a brilliant and beautiful astronomer, and Henry, a headstrong young sailor in the Royal Navy. At the helm of the Dying Gull, his pitifully small and shabby ship, Captain Jack seeks not only to reverse his recent spate of ill fortune, but to save his very life from the most formidable and malicious foe he has ever faced (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Joachim Roenning, Espen Sandberg, Joachim Rønning
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kaya Scodelario, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites

The Prediction

Trey Soto (50-32): Meh… – Despite the backlash and disappointment the fourth Pirates film received, the previous three did fairly well among audiences both in popularity and in the box office. This new installment I believe will do fairly well also as it revisits its old roots with new villains and returning characters. Am I excited? Not really. Will I watch it? Probably.
Ian Hancock (0-0): BOOM! – How many Pirates of the Caribbean movies will it take before people get sick of them? It seems that Disney is determined to find out. Personally, I was done with this series after At World’s End came out, but it has too much cultural clout for its closing chapter not to be a success. The free-spirited humor and sense of adventure that make these movies so fun is still there, and it looks like this installment might bring back some of the simplicity that gave the original its charm. Prevailing wisdom seems to be that this series lives and dies with Jack Sparrow, but as long as the film can keep from leaning too heavily on Johnny Depp, I think it has a good chance of going down as one of the better movies in the Pirates saga.
Juliana Purnell (0-0): Meh… – Disney is to Pirates of the Caribbean as Paramount Pictures is to the Transformers franchise. That is, despite its decreasing quality, audiences are still keen to give them a whirl, even though deep down inside they know there’s only darkness and despair in this cycle of cinematic abuse. Let’s face it–we all love Johnny Depp’s career-defining character, Jack Sparrow, too much to ignore! Even with its overblown plots and general mumbo-jumbo, the wild sea adventures in a faraway time and place are a guilty pleasure to watch on the big screen. It’ll make a nice penny at the box office, but this isn’t going to be anything other frivolous romp.
Lucas Sharley (0-0): Bust. – “Going through the motions / Walking through the part  / Nothing seems to penetrate my heart.” This movie seems to have gone full Wizard of Oz: no brain, no heart, no courage. All it wants to do is find its way home with pockets full of cash. But I don’t think it will. Franchise power or nostalgia can counteract the obvious make-us-some-money factor of a movie, but Dead Men (what an appropriate name) doesn’t have any external forces on its side.
On Stranger Tides didn’t do very well and nothing seems to have changed. Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann are back but the focus remains on Captain Jack Sparrow, a great supporting character but unable to carry a movie. Characters like Sparrow are Tabasco sauce: great on a meal or even in some cocktails, but on its own just fire. One trailer says “The final adventure begins.” We can only hope it’s telling the truth.
Sarah Bennett (0-0): BOOM! – After finally catching a glimpse of both Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in the latest trailer, I think Pirates is headed on an adventurous Voyage with Jardiem at the helm–even if he’s in bits and pieces. There’s a foreboding sense of watching the undead not only run under the sea, but over the waves too. With Jeff Nathanson in the writer’s chair, after success with Catch Me If You Can and a couple of Indiana Jones‘s, I’m hoping the action will be ramped up.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul

Rating: PG
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Synopsis: Based on the record-breaking book series, a family road trip to attend Meemaw’s 90th birthday party goes hilariously off course–thanks to Greg’s newest scheme to (finally!) become famous. (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: David Bowers
Starring: Jason Drucker III, Owen Arztalos, Tom Everett Scott, Alicia Silverstone, Chris Coppola

The Predictions

Trey Soto (55-32): Bust. – Why? Why is this still a thing? I’ve said this before about PG comedies and I will say this again, a family comedy is meant for the family, not just the children. You have to have more than fart jokes overdone gags to keep audiences of all ages engaged. I could barely sit through the trailer when I saw it in theaters. I used to love the books growing up but the movies just killed it for me. Nothing to see here. Keep going.
Ian Hancock (0-0): Bust. – It`s been five years since the last movie in a franchise that, as I recall, was never all that noteworthy to begin with. The demographic that grew up reading these books is a more mature audience now, so the trailer’s somewhat juvenile feel likely won’t appeal to them, and the story premise doesn’t seem all that interesting or original. On top of that, there’s an entirely different cast from the previous movies, which doesn`t usually work out well. Maybe the nostalgia factor is still there for some, but other than that I’m not sure who’s supposed to be excited for this.
Juliana Purnell (0-0): Bust. – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul is the fourth installment of the Wimpy Kid franchise. The original and subsequent sequels were a runaway success, with many young audiences relating to the dilemmas the protagonist faced at school and other typical childhood scenarios. However, while these beloved characters are immortalized on screen, the actors can’t help but grow in real life. For the series to realistically continue, a new cast has been selected for The Long Haul, though fans enamored with the old actors have not taken the news lightly, particularly with Charlie Wright’s casting as Rodrick.
On top of this, the plot feels generic as a road trip movie, with the characters relentlessly facing one crazy scenario after the next–it’s made to entertain but nothing more. It may bring smiles to young kiddies, but it’ll be mind-numbing for adults. Considering that it’s also intimidating to start watching a franchise that’s already four films deep, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul may have signed its own death certificate by being naturally alienating for newcomers and destroying the nostalgia for loyal fans thanks to featuring a new cast.
Lucas Sharley (0-0): Bust. – Comedies usually put some of their best jokes in the trailer. There are no funny jokes in this trailer. It leaves the impression that an alien whose species possesses no humor watched every American family comedy and road trip movie ever made, and replicated their patterns without understanding the intended effect. Film buffs may one day consider this the first movie written and directed by a computer program. But they’ll be wrong. It’s just bad.
The studio may be hoping that families go see this because it’s a family movie. But taking your children (if a parent) or friends (if a child) to a movie with this name is socially difficult. What if they think it’s a commentary on them? It’s easily misinterpreted. That kind of concern might sound neurotic but few things are more neurotic than teenagers or parents spending time with kids in public. Without any artistic or social merit, The Long Haul will probably go down in flames.
Sarah Bennett (0-0): Bust. – This will be pretty predictable, with some potty jokes thrown in for good laughs. The parents will be idiots, which is ironic since Alicia Silverstone made it in Hollywood with Clueless. The end will almost go incredibly wrong but everything will work out for everyone trapped in the car. It’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, circa 2017.
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 May?

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. Ta-Da! I’m a Geek! | Roshambo Saves Lives on May 5, 2017 at 11:38 pm

    […] my first “real” post, a review for Guardians of the Galaxy, but was able to squeak in abbreviated predictions for 5 films coming out this month. Cut me some slack, I was writing on my phone’s notepad from a campsite on the Oregon […]

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