October is my favorite month of the year. I love Halloween, I love the look and smell of autumn, and I especially love my birthday (three days ago. You can send my presents through FedEx.) I also love the beginning of Advent – not the Advent we associate with Christmas, but the Advent we associate with Oscar Season, where the producers slowly begin to release the movies that will win them the most awards, while occasionally sticking us with teenybopper fare to remind us that they still care about making money in the short-term.
In fact, so many movies are released in Oscar Season Advent that simply one movie trailer post won’t be enough. This is only the beginning of movies I won’t (and might) see in the month of October 2011.
Let’s start with The Ides of March, starring an All-Star Cast of Important Actors – some of whom are even women!
Summary: Ryan Gosling is an idealistic political aide to Actor George Clooney in a film made by Director George Clooney. You can tell he’s idealistic because he says things like, “Nothing bad happens when you’re doing the right thing.” (This movie is also starring Irony.) On the campaign trail, Ryan Gosling runs into Character Actors Paul Giammati and Philip Seymour Hoffman, but they’re both Important Character Actors who happen to be on opposite sides of the political debate – how will he choose which one to believe in?! But woe, Ryan Gosling also learns that Actor George Clooney is – pause for dramatic effect – not the man he thought he was. Political drama ensues. He also meets Marisa Tomei along the way, who you can tell is playing a dramatic role because her hair is messed up and she’s wearing glasses.
Predicted ending: Ryan Gosling is conflicted. Ryan Gosling makes important decisions. Ryan Gosling betrays people in the pursuit of ideals. Ryan Gosling walks down a lot of hallways.
My verdict: I will probably see this movie, because, well, Ryan Gosling, but I also like George Clooney as a director. I’m not as fond of George Clooney as an actor, but from this trailer, he looks like he’s giving a more restrained, less cocky performance than he usually gives. I am amused, though, by the number of trailers I’ve seen already that showcase Ryan Gosling walking down a lot of hallways, looking serious. And the woman tying his tie in the trailer is not only not Kristen Stewart with blonde hair, but she’s also not Theresa Palmer, the actress I thought was Kristen Stewart with blonde hair in Take Me Home Tonight. That’s Evan Rachel Wood. Wow.
Next, we have Dirty Girl, starring Up-and-Coming Youthful Actors and Older Character Actors.
Summary: An actress with the improbable name of Juno Temple plays a dirty girl. She’s a dirty girl because she dresses in revealing clothing. Her Oklahoman accent is so strong and grating that I can’t even tell whether it’s terrible or really, really authentic. Anyway, she sasses her teacher who I recognize as a very funny character from Better Off Ted. Juno Temple makes friends with an Up and Coming Actor who I thought was supposed to be her Unlikely Nice Guy Love Interest until they mention Joan Crawford, and then I realized he is, in fact, going to be her Unlikely Closeted Gay Best Friend. They strike up an Unlikely Friendship when they’re paired together in a “pretend this bag of flour is your baby” health class project. Wackiness ensues and they go on a road trip.
Predicted ending: Juno Temple and her Unlikely Closeted Gay Best Friend find her biological father. Quirky wackiness ensues amidst a backdrop of a Touching Story about Friendship. Parallels are drawn between Juno Temple’s relationship with the flour baby and Juno Temple’s relationship with her parents. Wacky accents ensue.
My verdict: This movie is either going to be obnoxiously quirky and saccharine or genuinely sweet. I don’t see much room for middle ground. It will either be great or terrible. I’m curious enough to find out.
The following week gives us the premiere of The Big Year, starring Widely Popular Comic Actors:
Summary: Jack Black is having an early mid-life crisis. Owen Wilson is having an early mid-life crisis. Steve Martin is having a later in life mid-life crisis. They hate their lives and fight with their fathers and significant others, except for Steve Martin, who seems to have a good relationship with his Therapist Wife (but don’t worry, she probably won’t have many lines). Fortunately, they’re all privileged enough and make enough money to take an entire year off to do the things they’ve always wanted to do!
Predicted ending: They have their Big Year and do everything they’ve always wanted to do! They have wacky adventures! Wives and girlfriends stay home and do nothing except occasionally make jokes about the Differences Between Men And Women.
My verdict: Meh. Unlike Dirty Girl, I don’t think this movie will be either great OR terrible. It will be aggressively okay. I’ve already forgotten about it so I probably won’t see it in the theater.
Fortunately, we can remain confident that another movie – if you can even call it that – premiering on the very same day will be uniformly awful: Footloose!
Summary: Greasy kids grind up on each other and don’t bathe to prove how rebellious they are. Love of dance, repression of dance, blah blah blah, please kill me now.
Predicted ending: Dance is restored to the town and dear lord I don’t care. I’m supposed to root for these snot-nosed little upstart MTV pod people with bad accents and greasy haircuts when the big bad dad is played by the eternally likable and sympathetic Dennis Quaid? I feel like Kenneth from 30 Rock who described the original Footloose as the movie where the “evil kids won in the end.” Kenneth, you were speaking several years early, because that description is apt for this monstrosity of a remake.
My verdict: This remake is a crime against humanity. Not only will I avoid it like the plague, but I will pay you a dollar each not to see it, either. If this bombs miserably, maybe the powers that be will scrap the Dirty Dancing remake (shudder) before it can get off of the ground.