Boom, Bust, or Meh: September 2017

We are really close to fall, GUG fans! Welcome to the BBoM of September, 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 good start to the fall season.
Bust: A bad start that makes it feel like the movies of January again.
Meh: A somewhat good start that you’ll probably remember until Oscar season.
With that introduction, let’s crank open the month of September vault!

The Results

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

1. The Dark Tower – Bust. 

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 16%
Audience Score: 55%
Box Office
Production Budget: $60 million
Worldwide: $88 million
Trey: A lot of confusion among book fans and general audiences.
Our Review!

2. The Hitman’s Bodyguard – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 40%
Audience Score: 74%
Box Office
Production Budget: $30 million
Worldwide: $40 million
Trey: I personally found it funny.
Our Review!

3. The Glass Castle – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 49%
Audience Score: 78%
Box Office
Budget: $12.7 million
Worldwide: $13 million
Trey: While it did cover many Christian aspects, it still was questionable in the portrayal of a horrible father being somewhat of a good father.
Our Review

4. Detroit – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 82%
Audience Score: 80%
Box Office
Budget: $34 million
Domestic: $16 million
Trey: Didn’t expect any less, to be honest.
Our Review!

5. Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature – Bust.

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 11%
Audience Score: 48%
Box Office
Budget: $40 million
Domestic: $25 million
Trey: Please don’t let this be a trilogy.
Our Review!
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My current prediction record is (63-38), Juliana is (15-6), and Lucas Sharley (4-16).

It

Rating: R
Release Date: September 8, 2017
Synopsis: New Line Cinema’s horror thriller IT, directed by Andy Muschiett, is based on the hugely popular Stephen King novel of the same name, which has been terrifying readers for decades. When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Andy Muschiett
Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberner, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard

The Prediction

Trey Soto (61-35): BOOM! – To start this prediction off, let me just say that I am in no way a clown fan. They scare the life out of me (except for the Joker for some reason). Based on early reviews, audience tests, and the trailer itself, I believe that this will be a hit. The fact that even Steven King himself was found scared of his book adaptation says a lot at how far the film has gone. I was not sold on the idea when it was released but when I saw early photos, I not only began to see its possible potential…Also, if you honestly expect me to go, you’ll have to pay for my ticket, popcorn, soda, and another ticket to see a comedy right after.
Lucas Sharley: (4-16): BOOM! – Stranger Things with the gloves off is a great vibe for a story and a gap in our culture. Few pieces of culture have kid protagonists that deal with both their childhood and their heroism. Hopefully, IT will lean into the best Rust Belt gothic of King, rather than assimilate into Hollywood’s current aesthetic as The Dark Tower did.
Juliana Purnell (15-6): BOOM! – I’m really conflicted on this one. As seen with The Dark Tower, Stephen King adaptations are either a hit or miss. Even though aforementioned series of books was really popular, the hype for IT is practically double. It’s the quintessential scary clown movie. Fans of the TV mini series have been crying out for a feature film release for years.
Judging from the trailer and film clips, it seems that we have a decent movie on our hands. But will it boom or will it merely be… meh? It seems like a typical jump-scare type outing, and I’m not sure it will live up to the hype. However the reason why I’m predicting a boom is because: it’ll rake in those dollars at the box office regardless of any criticism, it has a lot of nostalgia riding behind it. This rendition focuses purely on the childhood storyline which many fans have said they prefer over the adult plot, and horror films are one of the few genres that are doing exceptionally well lately.


Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Rating: R
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Synopsis: When their headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that tests their agents’ strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that’s becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Taron Egerton, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong (II), Channing Tatum, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Collin Firth

The Prediction

 Trey (61-35): BOOM! – A very interesting plot twist to have the Americans and British fight side-by-side. With Director Vaughn coming back for the sequel, I can honestly say that I am more thrilled than worried for once. I knew there was a sequel approaching and I wanted more after the first one. The only small concern I have is will it live up to the hype? With how great the first one was to nearly everyone’s surprise, this has a lot to live up to.
Lucas Sharley (4-16): BOOM! – For some reason, audiences liked Kingsman’s unapologetic Jazz Age neo-colonial spy excess, and a more tragic sequel allows more of the same without wearing out the gimmick.
Juliana Purnell (15-6): BOOM! – Kingsman: The Secret Service was a surprisingly fun outing back in 2014. Part of its appeal was how it parodied other movies in its genre, but it was edgy and quirky enough to set itself apart with its original flair. This film, the sequel, appears to follow its predecessor’s loveable tone, with a strong focus on expanding its fictional world. The addition of an American faction that harkens back to westerns seems wildly entertaining and also cements the idea that this sequel will have enough fresh content to not merely be a rehash of the original film while maintaining what was so appealing about it in the first place.

Battle of the Sexes

Rating: PG-13
Release: September 22, 2017
Synopsis: In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between Women’s World #1 Billie Jean King and ex-men’s champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs was billed as the Battle of the Sexes and became one of the most-watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles.
The fiercely private King was not only championing for equality but also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, as her friendship with Marilyn Barnett developed. And Riggs, one of the first self-made media-age celebrities, wrestled with his gambling demons, at the expense of his family and wife Priscilla. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carrell, Andrea Riseborough, Sarah Silverman, Elisabeth Shue

The Predictions

Trey Soto (61-35): BOOM! – Oscar worthy? Possibly. Interesting cast, a great plot about true events, and a story that is definitely needed now. To be honest, I really cannot see anyone else portraying Bobby Riggs other than Steve Carrell due to his previous films and television and the same can be said for Emma Stone portraying Billie Jean King. While I am not sure how it will do financially, I believe it will do critically well.
Lucas Sharley (4-16): Meh… – The subject is genuinely fascinating, but it won’t light the box office on fire. Hollywood movies about the past are usually about how awesome the present is by contrast. But the present cultural moment is pessimistic. If it does well, Carell and Stone are the reason why.
Juliana Purnell (15-6): BOOM! – Out of this list, Battle of the Sexes is the one most likely to get the critics buzzing. It’s a strong contender for the Best Picture category in next year’s Academy Awards, and while Emma Stone always delivers a strong performance, it’s Steve Carell’s big chance to land a win as Best Supporting Actor. They look like they’re going to be fun to watch together, duking it out on the big screen. The film also ticks the ‘Oscar’ boxes by being based off a true story and tackling a relevant social issue. The story seems relatively light-hearted and will win over regular audiences as well. Whether it’ll have any lasting impact is yet to be determined. But for the most part, Battle of the Sexes will provide an entertaining time, one that many will recommend to their friends.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie

Rating: PG
Release: September 22, 2017
Synopsis: The battle for Ninjago City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, aka the Green Ninja, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wisecracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Charlie Bean
Starring: Jackie Chan, Justin Theroux, Dave Franco, Olivia Munn, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Kumail Nanjiani

The Prediction

Trey Soto (61-35): Meh… – I really enjoyed The LEGO Movie and the LEGO Batman movie, but this I feel is just kind of pushing it. It seems funny but I do not believe it will do as well considering the LEGO Ninjago show itself was not that great, to begin with. It’s almost as if the studio was like, “We got away with the last two, so let’s milk a franchise!” It just seemed too soon since there was a gap between the previous LEGO movies for story building. Not to mention that Batman had a primary role in the LEGO Movie, so it made a good amount of sense to make a spinoff. Could they have done that with another LEGO movie character? Definitely. Did they? Nope.
Lucas Sharley (4-16): BOOM! – After two excellent movies, the LEGO conceit has a lot of goodwill built up. That will probably paper over signs that this entry has less interesting things to say with its loving parody of high school heroism.
Juliana Purnell (15-6): Meh… – I’m torn over this one as well. The Lego film franchise has been wildly successful so far in building up a new fanbase. Even though I hold the unpopular opinion that the jokes in The LEGO Batman Movie were beginning to wear thin towards the end, many have praised its parodic humor, delightful attitude, and its tinge of nostalgia. Now the real test is here. Have producers done enough to lure newcomers to a film based off the company’s major toy franchise?
Personally, I think it’s just a little too geeky for mainstream audiences. Bionicle and Ninjago are products that many would have seen in passing, though only LEGO fanatics will know the full story (unless others stumbled across the fandom through the TV series). I definitely feel that parents will have no qualms in taking their kids to see this film, and they’ll most likely have a fun time. It’s just that I don’t see adults (sans children) going out of their way to see The LEGO Ninjago Movie, unlike the previous two movies. I’m sure it’ll make for a great outing, though it’s too much of a niche market to really consider it a BOOM.

9/11

Rating: R
Release Date: September 8, 2017
Synopsis: A group of five people finds themselves trapped in an elevator in the World Trade Center’s North Tower on 9/11. They work together, never giving up hope, to try to escape before the unthinkable happens (Rotten Tomatoes).
Director: Martin Guigui
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Whoopi Goldberg, Luis Guzman, Gina Gershon, Woody Harris, Jaqueline Bisset, Olga Fonda

The Predictions

Trey Soto (61-35): Bust. – Well, that trailer was a waste of my time. The cinematography, the cast, even the actual elevator settings were terrible. What is up with the casting choices? Charley Sheen? I can hardly take him seriously and putting him in a movie as serious and realistic as this was a terrible idea.
Lucas Sharley (4-16): Bust – No. No. I support the American film industry processing its trauma and not ceasing to re-enact 9/11 in every action movie climax. But this is not the way. Retelling the story of how people died in the towers in mawkish action thriller style is the most despicable recent example of how American mythologizing poisons real American history.
Juliana Purnell (15-6): Bust. – When I first started watching this trailer, I legitimately thought it was some kind of parody for Saturday Night Live. Halfway through, in the absence of a laugh track, and the reveal that it was about the World Trade Centre attack, it finally dawned on me that no, they were serious. I don’t even know where to start…
It hurt watching this. The poor production quality is obvious. The fact that the on-the-nose-dialogue made it into the trailer doesn’t give me any hope for the rest of the script. It’s so overly dramatic that it’s cliché – the casting of comedians instantly gives the impression of a parody, but due to the subject matter, that’s obviously not the director’s intention. I feel like Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg signed up to this project in the misguided hope that the seriousness of the roles will win them an Oscar. If this was a docu-drama, audiences might be more willing to forgive 9/11’s apparent emotionally manipulative camerawork in exchange for some objective focus on the facts surrounding that fateful day. But as it stands, this film gives the impression that it’s trying too hard. It feels inauthentic, and as such, it’ll be ripped to shreds by audiences and critics alike.

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 September?

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.

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