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November Forecast

By David Mumpower

10. Femme Fatale

Despite the impassioned pleas of millions, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos remains stubbornly resolute about being an actress. Until the class-action suit is settled, society is completely at the mercy of Hollywood casting directors. Propitiously, we know that these tireless creators of quality film productions would never cast a talentless hack based solely on her good looks and willingness to perform lewd acts on couches, so we're all safe from...oh hell; who am I kidding? She's hot, she's got MTV recognition, she wore sheer clothing for some comic-book geek movie and is now willing to make out with other women to further her film career. The audience is basically the horny male demographic, so I'll see all of you opening night.

9. Friday After Next

While a strong proponent of the last film in the franchise, I just don't feel the same magic for this outing. Friday Means Payday would be a more honest title for this blatant attempt to milk the cash cow once again. There's not much I can say about the movie itself since it looks so generic. Ice Cube's can't-miss project of 2002 was Barbershop and everyone knows it, but Friday After Next is still a savvy marketing move. Made for only slightly more than Next Friday (which had a $10 million budget), this one will have paid off its negative cost within days of release and then find a huge shelf life on video. More importantly, it will again establish Ice Cube as a vastly underrated Hollywood opener.

8. Adam Sandler's 8 Crazy Nights

The basic premise behind this bit was funny for four minutes back in 1993. A 90-minute movie in 2002 therefore causes some concerns. I am a huge fan of Sandler (you're forgiven for the first hour of Punch-Drunk Love, big guy) and will give him the benefit of the doubt here. He's often turned subject matter such as The Wedding Singer into surprisingly tender work, a point I feel is largely ignored when he is dismissed out of hand, as frequently occurs. If 8 Crazy Nights allows his three characters to all be infused with his gentle charm as well as the third act of the aforementioned Paul Thomas Anderson piece did, we might be in for a new holiday standard. Otherwise, we can recycle the Little Nicky jokes from a couple of Novembers back, so it's win/win.

7. The Santa Clause 2: The Mrs Clause

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. The Santa Clause and Friday films are both worthy of sequels, while Iron Giant remains left behind in the studio archives. And now I'm realizing that Left Behind has not one but two sequels. I hate Hollywood. But I digress. Anyway, if you want to read what I think of the project, you can just read our BOP listing for it. If you just want the Cliff notes, ya lazy bastard: True meaning of Christmas = $$$.

6. I Spy

The film has Owen Wilson.

That's good.

The film has Eddie Murphy.

That's bad.

The film is directed by Betty Thomas.

That's good.

The film has six credited scriptwriters.

That's bad.

It will completely suck, but it will make some decent money before making way for the quality December releases.

Can I go now?

5. Treasure Planet

I want to believe that this is the one, the animated science-fiction piece which finds a mass audience and breaks out huge. The Disney name-brand certainly cracks the door for this at least a little bit, but following box office failure after failure in this cinematic niche, even Joan of Arc would find herself doubting a bit. The one thing I can state with complete confidence is that Treasure Planet will have wonderful legs as it continues to run in theaters over the December portion of the holiday season, but I just can't see it opening as well as Disney's other 2002 animated entry, Lilo & Stitch.

4. Solaris

The most surprising aspect of the marketing campaign for this film is the romanticism. On paper, this is a classic science-fiction story which you would half-expect to be directed by Jonathan Frakes, yet here we are being inundated by commercials you would swear have been recycled from Ghost. That may very well be the point, since we're talking about one of the most successful movies of the last two decades, but it's an odd right turn from the original teaser, which emphasized only the space station and indicated more of a direct correlation to the original Tarkovsky piece. I guess it's only fitting that a Steven Soderbergh film would offer surprises even before we get to the theater opening night.

3. Die Another Day

As a huge fan of the James Bond series, it's painful for me to acknowledge that some nasty little rapper is probably going to edge out the franchise saver, Pierce Brosnan. If we do get past that bitterness, though, there's a ton of good news for Die Another Day. The commercials are killer, the retro Bond girl move is savvy and the Ice Palace is the best-looking villainous stronghold since the 1960s. Some will come to see Halle Berry sporting the Ursula Andress sexual predator look and some will come to see the first truly believable Bond Wants Revenge storyline since the days of George Lazenby. Then there are those who will pay $9.50 as a sign of gratitude to MGM/UA for not bringing back the Denise Richards character from The World is Not Enough. The last two films in the series made $125 million each and there's no reason to believe any less of this, the 20th outing in the longest-running franchise of the modern era.

2. 8 Mile

"Purple rain. Puuuuurple rain." Those words defined music in cinema for a generation, thanks to a Minnesota native with a Napoleon Complex and a Stephen King-esque level of productivity. Prince's combination of fun sing-alongs, such as Let's Go Crazy and Baby, I'm a Star, combined with thought-provoking pieces such as the title track and When Doves Cry, created a suburban hysteria some 18 years ago and now, his modern equivalent is poised to do the same.

Eminem is eerily similar to Prince in many ways. His shows are controversial, his persona is just as tortured, his identity has flip-flopped and his relationships with women are, if anything, more contentious. They even share a love of Kim Basinger. The way their lives parallel is nothing short of uncanny already, and now 8 Mile is ready to become the new Purple Rain.

When Curtis Hanson first stepped on board this production, many tongues wagged about the seemingly insane casting choice of a troubled rap star and his equally-long rap sheet. Hell, I was one of them. That was then and this is now, as even Marlee Matlin can hear the 8 Mile buzz. It's going to make north of $125 million and it's going to be a major player during awards season. You want a scary thought? Eminem in the first two rows on Oscar Sunday. If you find no other reason to root for the success of the film, that mental image alone should do it.

1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

If you guys really want to send a message to J.K. "I think I'll fall in love rather than finish a book this year" Rowling, stay at home and wait till video. But I can already tell from the looks on your faces that you're not going to do this because you really don't want to spend the holiday season listening to your children cry. It's your call and all, but I'm telling you it's a mistake. This woman is already too powerful and now she's taken to mocking you with the mere suggestion that she might have a book for you next year. Be strong, people. Stand up to this literary bully once and for all! ATTICA! ATTICA!

  • Read Tim Briody's November forecast
  • Read Walid Habboub's November forecast
  • Read Kim Hollis' November forecast
  • Read Dan Krovich's November forecast
  • Read Stephanie Star Smith's November forecast
  • Read Calvin Trager's November forecast

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    Thursday, November 23, 2017
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