Weekend Forecast for December 8-10, 2017
By Reagen Sulewski
December 7, 2017
December eases into this whole “holiday extravaganza” thing, with one totally new film that feels like it could have been better placed in that post-Thanksgiving weekend dead zone, along with a strange Oscar contender that is almost the definition of “inside baseball.”
Ron Shelton has quite the resume of testosterone-fueled classics he's helmed and/or written, including Bull Durham, Tin Cup and White Men Can't Jump. He's got a gift for capturing a natural way that men actually talk and relate to each other, particularly when competing for women. It's been a full 14 years since we've had a film from him in theaters, a gap that is broken with the arrival of Just Getting Started.
In full “write what you know” mode, the 72-year-old Shelton sets the movie in a retirement community managed by Morgan Freeman, the big man on campus (but who has a big secret). This is shaken up by the arrival of new residents Tommy Lee Jones, an ex-military man, and their romantic interest Rene Russo (...THIS IS NOT OK).
In between sniping at and pranking each other, Jones decides to help Freeman survive what turns out to be a mob hit places on him after his cover in witness protection is blown, as well as secure the future of their new residence.
Also starring Joe Pantoliano and Glenne Headly (in her last role), the film seems to be a series of “zippy” one-liners and horny old man jokes, or basically The Golden Girls with explosions (and I mean, who hasn't wanted that?). This falls into a category of Grey Panther films that have cropped up of late, as some of the bigger names in cinema have struggled for relevance, to which I would put films like Last Vegas, Going In Style, Grudge Match, Stand Up Guys... look, none of these stand up to 1986's Tough Guys (with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster).
This film in particular looks to be a rather limp example of the genre and has both been held back from critics and given little ad support. Appealing basically only to the 50 and over set, this is looking rather forgotten and should slide in with about $6 million this weekend.
Expanding to a national release, The Disaster Artist is the story of ... well, it's hard to explain. But there's this guy, Tommy Wiseau, who was bouncing around Hollywood in the early 2000s and claims to be a film director. He's got a... let's say vision, but it's not a particularly coherent or competent one, although he's weirdly confident about his abilities. No one's quite sure where he comes from, where his money is coming from or even how old he is, but hey, he's going to make a movie, right?
James Franco stars as Wiseau, the writer and director of The Room, hailed as a new modern classic of ineptitude in cinema, but self-promoted like hell by Wiseau since its filming in 2003. It's become the new must-see midnight film, with people marveling at its general oddness and lack of anything resembling normal human behavior or motivation. Naturally, it's become kind of a cause celebre among new Hollywood.