Boom, Bust, or Meh: October 2017

Welcome to the fall season, GUG fans! And welcome to the BBoM of October, 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 film you’ll remember for the rest of the year.

Bust: A film you’ll forget in T-Minus 1 day.

Meh: A film that is on the back of your mind that pops up every now and then throughout the year.

Before we begin, I want to announce that though there is a possibility that I will return as a staff writer in 2018, this is my last cover of Boom, Bust, or Meh and my last month with Geeks Under Grace as a whole. Life has become busier with new paths that God has been taking me on and I am more than glad to follow him. I will be passing “Boom, Bust, or Meh” off to Movie Staff Writer, Julianna Purnell! Please welcome her as she takes on this new position! I have greatly appreciated writing for Geeks Under Grace and going through movies with my staff writers, though I hope to return. Whether or not that happens, I will certainly miss participating (especially since Justice League is right around the corner…darn it!)

With that introduction and farewell, let’s crank open the month of October vault!

The Results

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

1. It – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 85%

Audience Score: 87%

Box Office

Production Budget: $35 million

Worldwide: $555 million

Trey: Don’t expect to walk on the same street where a red balloon floats from the gutter….

Our Review!

2. Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 50%

Audience Score: 73%

Box Office

Production Budget: $104 million

Worldwide: $192 million

Trey: Fun, but the first is still king.

Our Review!

3. Battle of the Sexes – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 85%

Audience Score: 77%

Box Office

Budget: $25 million

Domestic: $4 million

Trey: The box office was somewhat expected but the film itself is definitely a must see.

4. The LEGO Ninjago Movie – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 51%

Audience Score: 61%

Box Office

Budget: $70 million

Domestic: $58 million

Trey: At this point, I really hope Warner Bros. doesn’t run this franchise into the ground for the sake of profit. You were doing so well with the previous Lego films!

Our Review!

5. 9/11 – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes

Critic Score: 11%

Audience Score: 53%

Box Office

Budget: $N/A

Domestic: $170,000

Trey: Nothing but an embarrassment to U.S. history and those who lost their lives. Nothing to see here.

Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (67-39), Juliana is (19-7), Ian Hancock is (3-2) and Sarah Bennett (11-9).

Blade Runner 2049

Rating: R

Release Date: October 6, 2017

Synopsis: Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

Director: Denis Villenueve

Starring: Harrison Ford, Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis

The Predictions

Trey Soto (67-39): BOOM! – I hate to be that guy but I actually never saw the original Blade Runner. Yes, sue me. That being said, I do know about its success and lasting mark of the sci-fi genre. After reading early reviews, I can definitely say that this film will outperform others during the week and possibly even during the month!

Sarah Bennett (11-9): BOOM! – You won’t be able to blame nostalgia on this overdue sequel. The original Blade Runner boasted a plot-driven screenplay, enhanced by exceptional acting. The 1982 film didn’t rely on heavy CGI. Fast forward thirty-five years, where special effects rule the silver screen. But I believe Denis Villeneuve has reached into his wisdom and knowledge to bring a sequel worthy of the classic. Crucial to this machine is Harrison Ford, as Deckard. The question mark left open for so many years, is he a replicant, will be answered. The trailer promises grit and, I, for one, am looking forward to seeing Deckard and Gaff again.

Ian Hancock (3-2): BOOM! – I’ve said before that remakes and reboots tend to be tricky things since they have a tendency to disappoint enfranchized viewers: adding new things to a world can make fans angry while drawing too heavily on its established features will leave them bored. Name recognition has been a popular and effective technique among new movie releases recently, though, so even if audiences aren’t enthralled, I’m confident that this will at least put up a strong early showing at the box office.

Juliana Purnell (19-7): BOOM! – I had to study the first movie when I was in high school. Therefore, just about everybody I know has seen it… and they hate it. So I don’t believe the sequel is going to be drawing in massive crowds from the general public. It’s the cinephiles that are excited for this. While only Stallone is renown for successfully reviving old franchises, Blade Runner 2049 may beat the odds given the talent both in front and behind the camera. If this film is the exception to the rule and goes above and beyond its source material, then critical praise will boost its box office revenue. It’ll boom, though it’ll be a rather sluggish success story.


Geostorm

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: October 20, 2017

Synopsis: A satellite designer must race to avert a catastrophe when the planet’s climate control satellites begin to malfunction (Rotten Tomatoes).

Director: Dean Devlin

Starring: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris, Abbie Cornish, Kathryn Winnick, Sterling Jernis

The Predictions

 Trey (67-39): Bust. – Let me first state that regardless if they are good, I am a huge sucker for natural disaster films. Twister, The Day After Tomorrow, Earthquake, etc. While I may enjoy it, I cannot say the same for critics and audiences. Natural Disaster films really have not done well and it looks like this one is just for show and less for plot.

Sarah Bennett (11-9): Bust. – This one probably should be shelved for the SyFy channel. Any movie that includes the line “a race against the clock” usually ends up predictable, even through the explosions.

Ian Hancock (3-2): Meh… – In terms of concept, this is the movie that intrigues me the most this month. However, I’ve seen many great concepts destroyed by flimsy execution, and it seems that an easy way for Geostorm to fail is to make its premise – the idea of mankind gaining control over weather – into merely a new excuse for a generic spy flick.

If the film is willing to take a hard look at the unique themes it presents – too much power being concentrated in a narrow set of hands, the delicacy of the balance between humans and nature – then it could be great. If it strays too far from these ideas, or leave them too far in the background, I suspect it will join the ranks of ambitious but ultimately forgettable movies. Given the transition from the initial dark and foreboding previews to trailers filled with lighthearted action scenes and bland attempts at humor, I don’t have high hopes.

Juliana Purnell (19-7): Bust. – This is a film for those who like to watch the world burn. There’s no question about it – these types of disaster movies are made for the big screen. Yet being big, loud, and stupendously silly is Geostorm’s only drawcard. It’ll no doubt make for a great night out for those wanting light entertainment, but it may also lose a chunk of its audience due to hitting too close to home given recent events. Critics will give it a good whipping, while other, more respectable film releases that share a similar vein to Geostorm (The Mountain Between Us, The Snowman, Jungle) may steal some of its demographic. Since the box office hasn’t been kind this year, I’m predicting a bust.

Thank you For Your Service

Rating: R

Release: October 27, 2017

Synopsis: Thank You for Your Service follows a group of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq who struggles to integrate back into family and civilian life, while living with the memory of a war that threatens to destroy them long after they’ve left the battlefield (Rotten Tomatoes).

Director: Jason Hall

Starring: Miles Teller, Hayley Bennett, Joe Cole, Beulah Koale, Scott Haze, Omar J. Dorsey, Brad Beyer, Keisha Castle-Hughes

The Predictions

Trey Soto (67-39): Meh… – I am definitely interested but based on what I have heard from those that have read the book, there is a lot of uncertainty. I hope that it does well and that people can take a better look on Veteran PTSD, but as for the plot, it is something that has already been seen and in some ways, does not look significantly as strong.

Sarah Bennett (11-9): Meh… – While I’d love to have high expectations of military movies, they don’t always hit the high marks, depending on the writer and director’s personal slants. I’m reserving judgment on this one and its rookie director, hoping I’m wrong and this film knocks it out of the park.

Ian Hancock (3-2): Meh… – One thing that this film has in its favor is the possibility that Dunkirk may have stoked audience’s appetite for war-related films, particularly ones that strive to show its grim realism rather than falling back on Hollywood-style romps. Something it has going against it is that it almost certainly won’t match Dunkirk in quality. Though, I think the subject matter has enough cultural relevance to be widely appealing.

Similar stories have been done before, of course, so the key will be whether or not this film is able to establish its own unique perspective on the issues of returning soldiers and PTSD. Stories like this can easily become tedious if nothing new or interesting is brought in, so being able to emphasize a layer of freshness will be an important defense against the critics.

Julianna Purnell (19-7): Meh… – This genre is starting to look a little tired. While American Sniper’s acclaimed director, Jason Hall, is once again calling the shots, Thank You for Your Service needs to cover new ground in order to stand out. It’s tipped to be in Oscar contention, though it’s a distant dark horse. Nonetheless, it’ll be popular with critics, but not wildly so. While it’ll only make a pittance in the countries that are showing it overseas, the US box office will be fair, but nothing astronomical.

Marshall

Rating: PG-13

Release: October 13, 2017

Synopsis: Marshall is based on an early trial in the career of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. It follows the young lawyer to conservative Connecticut to defend a black chauffeur charged with sexual assault and attempted murder of his white socialite employer. Muzzled by a segregationist court, Marshall partners with a courageous young Jewish lawyer, Samuel Friedman. Together they mount the defense in an environment of racism and Anti-Semitism. The high-profile case and the partnership with Friedman served as a template for Marshall’s creation of the NAACP legal defense fund (Rotten Tomatoes).

Director: Reginald Hudlin

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Dan Stevens IV, Sophia Bush, Sterling K. Brown

The Predictions

Trey Soto (67-39): BOOM! – I read about this particular historical figure and case during high school and I am honestly very interested. The tone and the lighting remind me significantly of the Jackie Robinson movie 42 (2013) considering Chadwick Boseman is starring as the main character. Do I fully believe it will succeed significantly? No, but my hopes are high.

Sarah Bennett (11-9): Bust. – I want the movie to be successful, but believe it’ll be weighted with matters that detract from Thurgood Marshall’s civil rights works that helped shape a nation.

Ian Hancock (3-2): BOOM! – It’s possible I’m biased in this prediction because I want this film to be good. The premise and protagonist reminded me of Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird – possibly a bit too much, but that was a powerful story, so I’m holding my skepticism for now. I think that the character of Sam will be crucial to the film’s success: it needs to keep itself focused on right vs wrong, rather than being purely about racial conflicts, while avoiding oversimplifying the issues it dissects. I like the look of the cast for this one, too, which is always a plus.

Juliana Purnell (19-7): Meh… – I think Marshall will face the same problems as Thank You for Your Service, although it appears to be the more vivacious outing of the two. Critics will like it (but not love it). It’s an Oscar contender, but only if the frontrunners don’t live up to their hype. It’ll garner decent audiences, though not many overseas. Yet this film, while solid, won’t blow anyone away. Meh.

The Mountain Between Us

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: October 6, 2017 

Synopsis: Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow-covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across hundreds of miles of wilderness, pushing one another to endure and discovering strength they never knew possible (Rotten Tomatoes).

Director: Hany Abu-Assad

Starring: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet, Beau Bridges

The Predictions

Trey Soto (67-39): Meh…. – The cast is great but I am just not seeing much happening here. I hope to be surprised and blown away but there have been a number of movies where there has been a lone survivor or a few survivors trying to find help when stranded, and it’s been a 50/50 for most such as The Grey (2011). Please, please surprise me.

Sarah Bennett (11-9): Bust. – At first glance, though more flashy effects and with fewer actors, the trailer resembles the 1993 movie Alive, minus the cannibalism. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that even the dog survives.

Ian Hancock (3-2): Meh… – I’m not exactly a connoisseur of the romance genre, which may skew my opinion, but frankly, I’d be more interested in this movie if it weren’t being billed as a romance. A fundamental aspect of any good story is tension, and slapping the romance label on a tale like this with exactly two main characters seems like a good way to dissolve most of the tension it might have. From the trailer, the acting looks good and the cinematography looks gorgeous, but I don’t have much faith in the plot’s ability to hold interest.

Juliana Purnell (19-7): Meh… – Kate Winslet and Idris Elba (and a dog – don’t forget the dog!) are a safe bet at the box office. Unless the reviews are abysmal, the star power and people’s fascination with survival stories will keep this film nicely afloat at the box office. Yet judging the trailer, there doesn’t seem to be anything special happening with the cinematography; it’ll be an interesting journey, but there’s nothing unique about it. Since it’ll be a film with no real lasting impact, I’m predicting a meh as opposed to a boom.

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 your predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in October?

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 October 5, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Blade Runner is overrated.

    Yeah, I said that with a straight face.

    The Ryan Gosling casting is lol, but that will get women’s butts into seats.

    Overall a “Meh” month. Some of yall going BOOM! on Marshall is gutsy. I know I’m going to see it, but as some have already said, I am expecting Oscar nominations but lukewarm reception from general audiences.

    Edit: It’s interesting that Idris Elba has replaced Will Smith for the go-to in those kinds of movies.

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