September 2009 Forecast

By Shane Jenkins

September 4, 2009

Life's a little more fun with a monkey on your back.

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4) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Me: This is a film from Sony Pictures Animation about a scientist who makes food fall from the sky. It's based on a children's book that I have not read.

Angel: Sony Animation's three previous theatrical releases have been Monster House, Open Season, and Surf's Up. That's a pretty good track record, I'd say.

Devil: Yeah, but they squander a lot of goodwill by releasing inferior direct-to-DVD sequels to their hits. Oh, and for being behind next year's Smurf movie.

Angel: Still, there's been a glut of hard-R movies out lately, and the market is wide open for some fresh family fare. Plus, it's got a great voice cast, including Bill Hader from SNL, Anna Faris, Neil Patrick Harris, and Mr. T.

Devil: Well, having a great voice cast didn't do any favors for Shrek the Third quality-wise. And is it just me, or does the animation on this look a little 1996-ish?

Angel: Oh, shut up. It looks fine. And the pancakes crushing the school will get a huge laugh from the kids. This should be a decent-sized hit, and maybe not too painful for parents to sit though with their children.

5) All About Steve

Me: Sandra Bullock stalks Bradley Cooper across the country in red boots. The Hangover's Ken Jeong is also in this, because he is contractually obligated to be in every movie.

Angel: Tell him about Sandra Bullock.

Devil: I can't. It's confidential.

Angel: All of the sudden you're Mr. Ethics over there. Just tell him.

Me: Yes, just tell me!

Devil: Oh alright. Sandra made a deal with me right after Speed and Demolition Man, where she would give up all her charm and comedic skills in exchange for success in middling sub-Julia Roberts rom-coms. So now she's rich and the go-to girl for badly-written and misconceived projects like Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous and The Proposal. Did you see The Proposal?

Me: No.

Devil: That's because no one did. It made $150 million without a single person actually having seen it.

Me: That seems unlikely.

Devil: I got skillz. Please note the "z". As we speak, All About Steve is 0% fresh at Rotten Tomatoes, and yet, it will make a decent chunk of money without Sandy being the slightest bit funny or charming. You're welcome, world!

Angel: Tell him about Crash.

Devil: Oh, well there were many deals with me made over Crash, which I think we can all agree was the worst Best Picture ever by a long shot. But yeah, the deal got her into that movie too. Paul Haggis has his own wing down there.

6) The Informant!

Me: Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon re-team after the Ocean's series on this film, which is based on the true story of a government whistleblower with severe bipolar disorder.

Angel: This looks to be the thinking adult's movie of choice this fall. It has a good pedigree, and Damon is still riding high on the popularity of the Bourne and Ocean's movies.

Devil: To play my advocate, being the thinking person's movie of choice didn't work out so well for Duplicity or Michael Clayton. This could join those movies in the ranks of very well-regarded box office poison.

Angel: Those movies didn't have an exclamation point after their titles, though.

Devil: So you're saying The Informant! might hope to match the box office magic of 1985's Gotcha!

Me: That's a little obscure, even for Box Office Prophets.

Devil: Fair enough.

Angel: This should be one of the commercial hits that Soderbergh does so he can keep making the tiny movies nobody watches that premiere on On Demand.

Devil: I can't wait for Bubble 2: Burstin' Out!


7) Gamer

Me: Gerard Butler stars in a remake of Jason Statham's remake of Death Race. That last sentence may be factually inaccurate.

Devil: I would call it Smash TV: The Movie.

Me: Again with the obscure.

Angel: This looks dumb.

Devil: I thought you were the positive one.

Angel: Just...dumb. Why does Gerard Butler seem intent on destroying any goodwill he received after 300 by trying to make the worst movies possible?

Devil: What exactly are you saying about The Ugly Truth, Nim's Island, and P.S. I Love You?

Angel: This is the most unfortunate string of choices since Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Chill Factor period.

Me: But how do you think it will do at the box office?

Angel: I would like to think that its intended audience will find something more worthy of their time. Maybe The Hurt Locker is still playing somewhere...

Devil: Ha ha, oh Angel, you slay me with your whole "giving people the benefit of the doubt" shtick.

*Angel makes slicing motion.*

Angel: Ha ha!

Me: Oh, you guys!

8) Fame

Me: That movie with that song gets the reboot treatment. Remember, remember, remember...

Angel: Now this looks like wholesome fun!

Devil: I think people forget that the original movie from 1980 was a dark, somewhat depressing R-rated affair. It looks like they've lost that edge in trying to court today's Jonas Brothers-lovin' teens. The previews make it look not so far removed from a Disney Channel Original Movie.

Angel: Yeah, it looks like they were more inspired by the TV show than Alan Parker's movie. Still, this has the possibility of breaking out with today's kids, who don't find movies with singing and dancing to be inherently silly.

Devil: Oh man. Did you see that preview for the movie coming out that's like a cross between Twilight and You Got Served?

Me: Boogie Town?

Devil: Yeah, that's it. Today's kids are goofy.

9) Surrogates

Me: Bruce Willis has an avatar in a computer-y world. But someone's killing the avatars! And when your avatar dies, you die in the real world!

Devil: This would be a good time for you to trot out the word "Matrix-y" again.

Angel: Matrix-y. Plus it has Bruce Willis in silly wigs.

Devil: Oh, and guess who else is in this?

Angel: Ooh, is it Elijah?

Devil looks at me and smiles an evil grin.

Devil: Better. Farmer Hoggett himself, James Cromwell.


Angel freaks out, destroys everything, and single-handedly ends the world in a fit of terror and rage, as Devil just sits there smiling at me. So, sorry about that. My bad. And sorry the world ended before we could get to Whiteout, the chilly serial-killer movie starring Kate Beckinsale, which was scheduled to come in at Number 10. Have a nice afterlife.

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