Boom, Bust, or Meh – August 2023

Welcome to Boom, Bust, or Meh, ladies and gentlemen! This is where we focus on five films released during the month and have some fun predicting their success! As with every BBoM article, each film receives one of the following scores from each participating GUG film critic:

Boom: A film you’ll remember for the rest of the year.

Bust: A film you’ll regret watching.

Meh: A film that entertains during the moment, but has no lasting impact.

At the end of each month, each of the films will be arbitrarily judged and the critic’s ongoing tally will be updated (the score is written beside their name: correct predictions – incorrect predictions).

Let’s see what August has to offer after we look at last month’s results!

The Results

Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our July predictions!

1. Insidious: The Red Door – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 38%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 69%

IMDB Score: 6.0

Box Office

Production Budget: $16 million

Worldwide: $174 million

This horror film played things too safe and ended up committing the ultimate crime—not being scary! However, it still raked in the big bucks at the box office.

2. Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 96%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 94%

IMDB Score: 8.0

Box Office

Production Budget: $291 million

Worldwide: $448 million

Remaining true to form, this film delivered a timely concern wrapped up in gripping action scenes.

Our review!

3. Theater Camp – Meh

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 83%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 78%

IMDB Score: 7.4

Box Office

Production Budget: $10 million

Worldwide: $1.5 million

This mockumentary contains a hilarious concept, though some characters are too whacky to be tolerated, even for a camp filled with drama.

4. Oppenheimer – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 94%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 92%

IMDB Score: 8.7

Box Office

Production Budget: $100 million

Worldwide: $405 million

One half of Barbenheimer, this biopic unconventionally explores the life of a man, neither good nor evil, masterfully balancing its themes, even though the movie drags by the end.

Our review!

5. Barbie – BOOM!

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 88%

Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 86%

IMDB Score: 7.5

Box Office

Budget: $145 million

Worldwide: $780 million

Despite being plagued with controversy for multiple reasons, there’s no denying the impact this film has left on the cultural zeitgeist.

Our review!

New Releases

Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My record is (136-115).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Rating: PG

Release Date: August 2, 2023

Synopsis: The film follows the Turtle brothers as they work to earn the love of New York City while facing down an army of mutants. (IMDB)

Director: Jeff Rowe, Kyler Spears

Starring: Jackie Chan, Shamon Brown Jr., Micah Abbey, Nicolas Cantu, Brady Noon, John Cena, Rose Byrne

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (136-115): BOOM! – If there was any franchise that I would describe as my fandom, then it would be the TMNT. I was obsessed with it in my younger years, wrote fanfiction, met Kevin Eastman, the whole lot. Then I fell out of love with it. Every reboot was the same thing over and over again, just slightly different variations. To be honest, since the TMNT started off as a parody that was only intended for a single issue, I’ve felt that Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird have been flying by the seat of their pants ever since their creation gained its insane levels of popularity all those decades ago. There’s no real cohesiveness as to what this IP wants to be. There are ninjas, mutants, aliens, etc—it does commit the scriptwriting sin of “double mumbo-jumbo” a lot.

The fanbase is fractured, mostly because the tone changes wildly from one project to another. Many love the 80’s ‘toon as that’s what they grew up with (even though it’s painful to watch now), though others love the grittiness of the comics, and then there are the Nickelodeon fans that aren’t taken seriously by the others. I’m partial to the 2003 cartoon series myself. There are debates as to what the turtles should be. Many are waiting for a more adult-oriented film entry, more in line with the original comic book or later Image/Mirage issues, where Leonardo can actually use his katanas (you’ll notice that he’ll never actually stab or slice someone due to ratings). But generally speaking, people do enjoy the goofy slant that has persistently been present as well, and the “teenage” aspect of the TMNT is sometimes sadly forgotten. That appears to be a welcomed strength in this new film, and along with an exciting animation style, Mutant Mayhem is primed to hit a lot of the factors that will appeal to the majority of fans, and those that have only heard of the TMNT in passing. I think it will be a lovely course-correction after Michael Bay’s stint as producer, and the much-maligned Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon.

Meg 2: The Trench

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: August 4, 2023

Synopsis: A research team encounters multiple threats while exploring the depths of the ocean, including a malevolent mining operation. (IMDB)

Director: Ben Weatley

Starring: Jason Stathom, Jing Wu, Cliff Curtis

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (136-115): Bust – You know what you’re getting with this film. It’s aiming to deliver outlandish fun, with stupidly big prehistoric sharks causing carnage, requiring equally stupid stunts (do they literally jump the shark in the trailer?) to combat the problem. If you’re in the mood for it, these types of movies are great! I really enjoyed The Meg, although looking back on its stats, I would’ve had to categorize it as a bust. I don’t think this sequel will be better. They’ve upped the ante by making the sharks even bigger (lol) and no doubt adding other creatures as well, but it is possible to overplay it and for things to be too ridiculous. I think this will be the case with Meg 2: The Trench.

Gran Turismo

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: August 11, 2023

Synopsis: Based on the unbelievable, inspiring true story of a team of underdogs – a struggling, working-class gamer, a failed former race car driver, and an idealistic motorsport exec – who risk it all to take on the most elite sport in the world. (IMDB)

Directors: Neill Blomkamp

Starring: David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Archie Madekwe

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (136-115): Meh– I loved playing the game, Gran Turismo. It has always held a lot of respect—it’s considered one of the most accurate car racing games on the market, where you can enjoy driving simulations along rendered real-life racing tracks. So, it is intriguing to see a Gran Turismo film, as it’s essentially a blend of two markets: gaming and sports fans. Director Neill Blomkamp has had a few hits and misses with his films, but nothing too terrible, whilst this movie has attracted some reasonably high-profile actors. I don’t foresee this film bombing, however, this genre has recently featured several box office hits, such as Ford v Ferrari, which will inevitably draw comparisons. So, I’m predicting a good film, just not a great film that can compete against others of its ilk.

Blue Beetle

Rating: PG-13

Release Date: August 18, 2023

Synopsis: An alien relic chooses Jaime Reyes to be its symbiotic host, bestowing the teenager with a suit of armor that’s capable of extraordinary and unpredictable powers, forever changing his destiny as he becomes the superhero Blue Beetle. (IMDB)

Director: Angel Manuel Soto

Starring: Susan Sarandon, Harvey Guillén, Xolo Maridueña

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (136-115): Bust – Blue Beetle was originally planned to release on HBO Max, and you can tell. This films just looks bad, or rather, B-grade. The superhero genre really has been milked out at this point. There’s nothing that excites me in the trailer. It’s just the same story that has been told multiple times before, but with a different name. It would need to be truly exceptional to stand out from the crowd, but I doubt it will impress.

The Hill

Rating: PG

Release Date: August 25, 2023

Synopsis: The remarkable true-life story of Ricky Hill’s improbable journey to play Major League Baseball. (IMDB)

Director: Jeff Celentano

Starring: Angelo Pizzo, Scott Marshall Smith, Aric Hornig

The Predictions

Juliana Purnell (136-115): Meh – The Hill presents a familiar tale of a person overcoming extreme adversity to accomplish their (sporting) dreams. It has been done before, plenty of times, but this type of story always manages to pull on the heart strings. I don’t think it will be the greatest example of this subgenre, and parts might be too twee for some critics to rank highly, but I’m predicting it will still be a charming and heart-warming film with some Christian elements.

Thanks for reading this month’s edition! Let us know your predictions in the comment section. Join us next month for another edition of “Boom, Bust, or Meh!”

Are you looking forward to any of these films? What are your predictions? What film are you looking forward to most in August?

Juliana Purnell

After obtaining a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts, Juliana Purnell has enjoyed a successful acting career, working within theme parks, businesses, and on film sets. She has also taken on crew roles, both in film and theatrical productions. When Juliana isn't working, she enjoys watching movies of all genres at the cinema, writing, and playing with Samson, her pomeranian.

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