Opening in Las Vegas, May 26, 2017


As James mentioned, it seems like Memorial Day weekend used to be a bigger deal for new movies. This year we get the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean movie, getting awful reviews, and a movie based on a TV show that was never known for being any good. Instead, I’m going to an Indian pow wow.

I think we know now why Johnny Depp continues to make the Pirate films. It’s usually the big star who has bailed after two or three, but there he is, in Pirate of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (38). I saw the first two, and even bythe second film I smelled cash grab. I can’t imagine who actually wants to see this, but apparently it will do enough business to keep Depp afloat during his spend like Nicolas Cage period. If he keeps it up he’ll end up like Nicolas Cage).

The other megaplex opening this weeekend is Baywatch (38), and I also can’t imagine who will go see this. Die hard The Rock fans? Boys who like girls in swimsuits will probably wait to watch this at home, so they can fap to Alexandra Daddario. What enrages me is that money that could have spent on an actually good film was wasted on this nonsense.

On Netflix this weekend is War Machine (51), starring Brad Pitt in a dark comedy about the military. I might check it out, though dark comedy is tough to do right.

Also opening this weekend are The Lovers, featuring Debra Winger, who has been doing talk shows explaining where she’s been all these years, and Chuck, with Liev Schreiber as Chuck Wepner, supposedly the inspiration for Rocky (this was settled out of court, with Stallone throwing some money Wepner’s way).

For those having a holiday-weekend, enjoy!

About Jackrabbit Slim

Location: Vegas, Baby! I’m much older than the other whippersnappers here, a baby boomer. I tend to be more snobbish about film, disdaining a lot of the multiplex fare for “cinema.” My favorite films: Woody Allen’s oeuvre (up until about 1990), The Godfather, The Graduate, A Hard Day’s Night, Pulp Fiction. Politics: Well, George McGovern was my political hero. I’m also a prickly atheist. Occupation: Poised to be an English teacher in Las Vegas. For many years I was an editor at Penthouse Magazine. My role on this blog seems to be writing lots of reviews and being the resident Oscar maven.

9 responses »

  1. Baywatch is from the same person who directed the abysmal ‘Identity Thief’ so anyone who goes to it expecting a good comedy deserves what they get. Credit where credit’s due, the trailers and marketing for it has been impressively done.

    As for the Pirates film, I’ve never watched any of them or had any interest in them, but am fascinated that early indicators suggest it will be a big hit. I thought it had all the ingredients of a flop: dismal reviews, general agreeance that series has been declining for a while now, too long a gap since last film, major decline in rep of central star etc…

  2. Pirates wasn’t that big of a hit here in the US, though – its opening here to less than half of what the third film did 10 years ago. I think all those factors you listed, Marco, definitely took their toll in that respect, at least.

  3. I don’t so much see them blaming critics — they’re just trying to keep their film ‘critic proof’ for the opening weekend, which is where the films make what, 70 percent of their entire business in theaters? Why wouldn’t a company want to push critic screenings back or eliminate them? They have no reason to play nicely with critics. There’s some unwritten, unnecessary, frankly, unspoken graciousness on the studio’s part, no? Doing critic screenings? Do we screen art for critics before they open in museums? Don’t they just go to the shows with the public?
    I don’t see anything wrong with eliminating critic screenings. What would it hurt filmmaking to do that?

  4. The surprise success of the 21 Jump Street movies I’m presuming led studio types to think any 80s/90s TV show like Chips & Baywatch would be easy nostalgia-led box office gold.

    So I guess this ends any chance of Father Dowling Mysteries or The Commish hitting the big screen any time soon.

  5. I wouldn’t read too much into Paramount bashing critics, they have no idea what they’re doing over there and they’re grasping at straws. They’ll almost certainly be acquired by Amazon or Netflix in the next decade.

  6. I think that, in an alternate world where the TV show never existed, a movie with the cast and premise of the 21 JUMP STREET movie would have been equally successful. It seemed as though the movie had very little to do with the show aside from the title, and that the target audience for the film would have been unlikely to have seen much of the show in the first place. I’m 39, and I don’t think many people my age or older were that enthusiastic about the film, but my age cohort would have been the primary audience of the show (though I never saw any of it myself).

    At any rate, a movie about undercover cops posing as high schoolers is exactly the kind of premise one might expect from a Jonah Hill-Channing Tatum comedy anyway. I didn’t care hugely for it, but the movie would have had a reason to exist even aside from the show.

    The BAYWATCH movie, though, seemed to have no appeal whatsoever aside from nostalgia for the show. It barely seems to have a functional premise aside from that. It’s just lifeguards doing some random action stuff, and really, who gives a shit? As with 21 JUMP STREET, the fans of the original have presumably grown up, but in this case there’s no reason for anyone else to care.

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