Boom, Bust, or Meh: July 2015

Dearest Readers,
Our good friend Michael Kirksey has stepped away from his position here at Geeks Under Grace. He worked to produce engaging and informed monthly predictions on upcoming cinematic releases, and he will be missed.
In his stead, I will be continuing this series with the same quality that Michael strived for. I look forward to helping you guys figure out what to see, and what not to see. I’m thankful for Michael because it is through meeting him at International TableTop Day (huzzah!) that I came to know about Geeks Under Grace. I will still play board games with him weekly, don’t worry. Thank you, Michael, for your work. That being said, let’s kick into gear.
First, a quick intro to those new to the series. “Boom, Bust, or Meh,” is a monthly article that examines five different theatrical releases, and our staff chimes in to predict the performance of the film, both monetarily and critically.
Each film receives one of the following scores: 
Boom: So good you want a miracle to heal your grandma’s diabetic eyesight so she can watch it with you.
Bust: So bad you’d rather pogo stick through a library while wearing chainmail.
Meh: So average you’d wish you spent money on something else like… a pet rabbit or a bag of skittles.
This month, I will be joined by Christian Living Editor Nestor Arce.


The Results

Let’s review last month’s performance.

1. Spy – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 95%
Audience Score: 91% 
Box Office
Domestic: $91,346,058
Worldwide: $197,346,058 (3x budget)
Chris – A surprise smash. Melissa McCarthy melts critics’ faces with vengeance.

2. Love & Mercy – Meh…

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 90%
Audience Score:  91%
Box Office
Domestic: $9,650,698
Chris – Paul Dano and John Cusack perform wonderfully and hit well with critics. Production budget was unavailable at the time of writing, we anticipate a number near its budget, so due to box office, we give a Meh…

3. Jurassic World – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 71%
Audience Score: 83% 
Box Office
Domestic: $520,362,305
Worldwide: $1,265,861,759 (8x budget) 
Chris – #1 opening weekend all-time, #1 second weekend all-time, #1 opening week all-time, #5 all-time worldwide.
Jurassic World creature featured the trash out of the worldwide box office and continues to perform well. Critics weren’t in love, but if you read my review, you’ll learn why it’s great.

4. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Meh… 

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 82%
Audience Score: 90%
Box Office
Domestic: $2,397,245 (-$6 million under budget) 
Chris – Not at all a great box office performance, but unless you headline Shaileene Woodley, your lesser known actors usually won’t carry the torch. Great critical performance across the board, but still lands itself a “meh.” 

5. Inside Out – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes
Critic Score: 98%
Audience Score: 92%
Box Office
Domestic: $ 208,335,932
Worldwide: $289,835,932 (Under-budget)
Chris – My co-worker informed me he was crying in a ball during this one. Bother, I suppose we should go see it if we haven’t already… And I haven’t. Let’s change that. I’m going out on a limb to assume Inside Out will recover at the box office after being given a little more time in theaters.
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name, but I’m sort of a lone wolf for the moment. My current record after one week is (4-1). If Inside Out can’t recover, I’ll adjust.

horizontal-dividerTerminator Genisysterminator-genisys-poster-411x600

Rating: R
Release Date: July 1
Synopsis: John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be. (IMDB)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke
I like Arnold Schwarzenegger, even though I have to use spellcheck every time I attempt to write his last name. Terminator is a semi-strong franchise with a lot of history. I love seeing Arnold coming back into Hollywood because no one cares how old he is. He carries action movies. Though he might be old school, he’s one of the few old 80’s action hero superstars that keeps bringing it.
My biggest fit with this new film is the marketing campaign. I’m not getting on a soap box, but Hollywood has to stop giving away plot points in movies. People like surprise, and I think that might affect audience members that are looking forward to this one. 

The Prediction:

Chris Hecox (4-1) – Bust
Everyone knows the line, “I’ll be back.” Everyone knows the familiar ear-pounding roar of the Tyrannosaur from Jurassic Park. Where Jurassic World brought back the franchise and smashed into the box office with a bloody rampage, I don’t see the same happening here. Terminator arguably has a more narrow target audience, and even though we all love Arnold, this looks a bit dull. Extra negative points for marketing companies that completely spoiled the film’s plot with early trailers. If you plan on going to see it, do me a solid and don’t watch these moronically cut together teasers. It’s stupid.
Nestor Arce – Bust
Let’s be real here: There hasn’t been a good Terminator movie since 1991, and you know it. Genisys seems like another over-the-top CG snooze-fest and the recent controversies and negative reviews surrounding it have done nothing to dissuade me from this opinion. Yeah, James Cameron was quoted saying that he was a fan of the film, but then again, James Cameron is still too busy counting his Avatar money to actually care. I’ll wait for it to hit cable then I may be able to tolerate it a bit more.



Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 10
Synopsis: In this provocative psychological science-fiction thriller, an extremely wealthy man (Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley) dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness into the body of a healthy young man (Ryan Reynolds). But all is not as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body’s origin and the secret organization that will kill to protect its cause.  (Rotten Tomatoes)
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode, Ben Kingsley
I’m trying to be gracious, but Ryan Reynolds is so uninteresting to me. I’m also not huge on action movies with boring movie trailers that don’t do anything exciting (cue reader eye-roll). That being said, this movie sort of reminds me of Face Off, which isn’t actually a good thing.
Director Tarsem Singh directed Mirror Mirror and Immortals, so we know he has plenty of big budget movie experience. Writers David and Alan Pastor co-wrote this film, Carriers, and The Last Days. It looks to be a creepy pharmaceutical thriller with pill popping and medical references abound the sexuality that the newly born Ryan Reynolds will experience.

The Prediction:

Chris Hecox (4-1) – Bust
Blah, blah, blah. I’m bored. 
The trailer is chock full of spoilers so nothing will be a surprise. Ryan Reynolds is consistently predictable, and Ben Kingsley likely took this role at gunpoint or for a fat paycheck. Expect a painfully low critic rating and an audience that won’t care enough to prove them wrong. 
Nestor Arce – Meh
Ryan Reynolds and Ben Kinsley pull a Freaky Friday in another cliché movie premise pretending to be “original” that begins to preach about sci-fi concepts half-way through. Pass. Although as I re-watched the trailer on YouTube, I read people commenting on the fact that, indeed, the film’s premise is highly similar to an old-school sci-fi film called Seconds from cult director John Frankenheimer and starring Rock Hudson. I think I’ll stay in and check that one out instead.


Mr. HolmesMr-Holmes-Movie-Poster-Teaser

Rating: PG
Release Date: July 17
Synopsis: An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.  (IMDB)
Starring: Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada 
This one seems a little atypical of your usual Sherlock Holmes flair. We have grown to anticipate heightened action sequences and a man so witty that others around him feel insignificant. With a PG-rating, I wonder if the quips and bullets we are used to will be absent.
At any rate, Mr. Holmes not only seems family-friendly, but also has a tighter air of realism. Maybe after this, we will all find ourselves a bit more intelligent after watching. Speaking of, if you haven’t heard of or played Ystari’s reprint of the classic Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, you really must. It’s fantastic.

The Prediction:

Chris Hecox (4-1) – Boom
More the makings of a drama rather than a mystery, Ian McKellen looks to play a wonderful addition to the long list of splendid actors to live the role of Sherlock Holmes. I expect a high critic rating and the audiences that go will love it as well.
Nestor Arce – Meh
Perhaps I’m being too harsh on Mr. Holmes with my “MEH” rating. The trailer packs a certain warmth and charm to the film and Ian McKellan as an aging Sherlock Holmes seems like brilliant casting. I also like that they are making this film out as a sort-of “franchise capper” as the premise involves the legendary character battling the”one last case” scenario and even his own mortality. But it’s summer, I wanna see stuff go “BOOM!” and maniacal villains get owned. This is more something I’d watch on a sleepy Saturday afternoon on my Netflix account. I’ll pass… for now.



Rating: PG-13
Release Date: July 24
Synopsis: When aliens misinterpret video feeds of classic arcade games as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth in the form of the video games. (IMDB)
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan
Now, I very much enjoyed Adam Sandler at one point. Not reluctantly, I will admit that those were my years when potty jokes were hysterical. That being said, among certain friend groups, those jokes are irresistible… But not on-screen.
Adam Sandler has a wealthy history of grown-up adolescent comedies, with a couple star performances, like in Reign Over Me, or my Sandler favorite Punch Drunk Love. I love video games, and classic gaming at that, but after watching Anthony Davis toss a basketball like a baseball at a centipede during NBA playoff commercials, I think I’m missing the point.

The Prediction:

Chris Hecox (4-1) – Bust
Adam Sandler, realizing he can’t cash in on Grown Ups 3 quite yet, has decided to garner attention from the nerd bomber crowd. This will probably be the most underwhelming thing you won’t see this summer. Set your expectations low, and then drop them another 10% because there is nothing to see here. If you really want old-school video game charm modernized, go watch Wreck It Ralph again. 
Nestor Arce – Meh
Oh, here we go – Hollywood went and done did that Pac-Man movie it’s been itching to release for many years now. They even decided to cast Billy Madison, Tyrion Lannister, and Paul Blart in lead roles.  In all reality, Adam Sandler as lead does little to get me very excited for this movie as his track record is usually more miss than hit. There is a ray of hope as Chris Columbus is directing, so it could be quite a surprising bit of fun, but I’m keeping expectations to the ground for the time being.


Rating: R
Release Date: July 24
Synopsis: A boxer fights his way to the top, only to find his life falling apart around him.(IMDB)
Starring: Rachel McAdams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker
I’m a sucker for good sports dramas like Warrior. I’m also a big fan of actors who evidently care about what they do. Jake is very good at this. This doesn’t necessarily have the same vibe as Warrior but I think Southpaw looks to have some good emotional kick to it. Hate the trailer though. 
Director Antoine Fuqua is responsible for Training Day and Tears of the Sun, so I feel we are in good hands. I’m iffy on music choice, but perhaps I’m horribly out of line. Also, a good sports drama is accurate, so let’s hope for accuracy on that front.

The Prediction:

Chris Hecox (4-1) – Meh
Jake transforms himself. If you watched Nightcrawler last year and then flipped over to Southpaw, you will see what I mean. This guy is astounding at what he does. That being said, I just don’t see this performing incredibly. It seems a bit too niche to hit a wider audience.
Nestor Arce – Boom
If Rocky and Death Wish had a baby, it’d probably be called Southpaw. I’ve always been a sucker for redemption stories, and it seems this film is aiming to be this year’s crowd-pleaser. I think the concept of a revenge tale told through the style of a boxing flick is pretty original and refreshing. I find it a bit awkward that they’re releasing this in the middle of the summer along the likes of Mission Impossible and Ant-Man (you’d think this is more Oscar season material), but with Jake Gyllenhaal as lead (who has been riding a movie tsunami the past few years) this could be the thing to elevate Southpaw to become this year’s sleeper hit. I’m certainly looking forward to it!


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”!



The Bottom Line



Chris Hecox

Chris enjoys the simple things in life, like teaching his wife the newest review game, looking up Ketogenic recipes, and playing 10 hour long indie games on Steam. If he's not thinking about the oil drum components from Manhattan Project: Energy Empire, playing Player Unknown: Battlegrounds with his college buddies, or dwelling on the release of Daredevil Season Three, he's probably shooting or editing video, because that's what he does for a living.


  1. MB on July 4, 2015 at 5:18 am

    I’ve always enjoyed reading this monthly article so I’m glad it will be continuing 🙂 thanks Chris!

    • Chris Hecox on July 4, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      Mike did great work with it originally, and it is a fair amount of work to put it together, but I’d very much like to see it continue. Thanks!

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