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 July has to offer after we look at last month’s results!
Before we get to our film predictions, let us take a look at the outcome of our June predictions!
1. Jurassic World Dominion – Meh
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 30%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 77%
IMDB Score: 5.9
Production Budget: $185 million
Worldwide: $760 million
Juliana: Jurassic World Dominion was entertaining enough to not be a total failure, though it still disappointed many fans of this franchise.
2. Lightyear – Meh
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 75%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 85%
IMDB Score: 5.3
Production Budget: $200 million
Worldwide: $161 million
Juliana: Haven’t had the chance to see this one yet, but the Rotten Tomatoes scores are surprisingly positive given the backlash I’ve seen about this film over social media. Yet the IMDB rating and struggling box office returns are what make this one a Meh.
3. Brian and Charles – Meh
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 81%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 74%
IMDB Score: 6.8
Production Budget: Undisclosed
Worldwide: $420 thousand
Juliana: This quirky and charming Sundance film generally pleased critics and the public alike, though it fell under the radar for most.
4. Elvis – BOOM!
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 78%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 94%
IMDB Score: 7.8
Budget: $85 million
Worldwide: $64 million
Juliana: Baz Luhrmann’s eclectic style was a perfect match for The King, even though the box office is proving sluggish.
5. The Black Phone – BOOM!
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 89%
IMDB Score: 7.3
Budget: $16-18 million
Worldwide: $45 million
Juliana: Many are saying The Black Phone isn’t terribly scary, however it’s carried by a nicely woven tale held by great performances, with some saying this will become a cult classic horror film down the line.
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My record is (101-85), Tyler Hummel’s is (82-73), and L.J. Lowery’s score is (5-10).
Release Date: July 1, 2022
Synopsis: The untold story of one twelve-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain. (IMDB)
Directors: Kyle Balda, Brad Ableson, Jonathan del Val
Starring: Steve Carell, Pierre Coffin, Alan Arkin
Juliana Purnell (101-85): Meh – I don’t get it. I don’t think I care enough to understand it. I found Despicable Me to be an above average film, but since I watched it late, it was overhyped for me. For some reason people really gravitated towards the minions when I never really found them to be that funny. Now they have an enormous following. Minions: The Rise of Gru has already released overseas so reviews are in, and there’s a lot of positive trolling happening on IMDB with many giving it 10/10 and comparing it to Oscar winning films, labelling it peak cinema. Obviously they’re being facetious, but I don’t know whether these actions are motivated out of a love for the franchise, or if it stems more from an entertaining pursuit of sarcasm; I’m not part of the fandom—and don’t desire to be—so I’m not in the loop to know the inside joke. Ultimately I don’t think the film will be awful, rather just mildly entertaining.
Tyler Hummel (82-73): Bust – I don’t have anything to add about the incredibly dull and cynical Minions movies at this point. These characters have outlasted the popularity of the franchise that defined them and now they exist as highly merchandisable plushies that can be danced around in thongs for the amusement of babies. I really don’t care about these movies.
L.J. Lowery (5-10): Meh – No doubt this will probably still make some money at the box office, and that’s exactly what Universal is doing by keeping it going—grabbing cash. I recall the first few Despicable Me movies being very enjoyable but then the franchise headed for a steep decline. The money that isn’t made from the movie will be made via toys and other products. However, I’m not sure if children are even interested in the minions these days either. This release is a desperate grasp. Reception thus far is very meh.
Thor: Love and Thunder
Release Date: July 8, 2022
Synopsis: Thor enlists the help of Valkyrie, Korg and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster to fight Gorr the God Butcher, who intends to make the gods extinct. (IMDB)
Director: Taika Waititi
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson
Juliana Purnell (101-85): BOOM! – Thor: Ragnarok was one of my favourite MCU films partly thanks to Taika Waititi’s amusing and refreshing direction. He managed to almost single-handedly change the perception of Thor’s character, turning him into the comedic relief of the group, and I think comedies are always a welcome genre when they hit right. Waititi hasn’t had a misstep yet despite tackling some potentially difficult and controversial narratives, so I have faith that he will deliver once again. I think this will be a fun film. If there’s any criticism, I think it will center more on the overarching direction of the MCU as a whole, as so far the last few films have been rewinding or passing the mantle over from the OG characters, and I get the feeling this will be same, operating as a swan song for Hemsworth’s Thor and throwing further questions as to where this is all headed.
Tyler Hummel (82-73): BOOM! – I trust Taika Waititi. I know he’s grown somewhat controversial of late for his absolute antipathy towards some people in the Star Wars fanbase, as his next project is likely going to be the next standalone Star Wars film. That said, this guy directed Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit, What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. He is a really intelligent director. He is funny, he understands good stories, and he made the best Thor film to date. I’m giving this one a chance!
L.J. Lowery (5-10): BOOM! – I feel like Marvel movies are an automatic boom most of the time, though Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a bit divisive and Eternals was a huge miss. Being one of the more popular heroes and riding off of the success of Ragnarok, we have high expectations for Love and Thunder. So far the people who have seen the premiere seem to love it, and I can’t wait to hear deeper dives when it releases. Even with possible shortcomings I foresee this movie to be a fun ride for almost everyone.
Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
Release Date: July 15, 2022
Synopsis: Hank, a loveable dog with a head full of dreams about becoming a samurai, sets off in search of his destiny. (IMDB)
Directors: Mark Koetsier, Rob Minkoff, Chris Bailey
Starring: Michael Cera, Ricky Gervais, George Takei
Juliana Purnell (101-85): BOOM! – I’m taking a risk on this one by not predicting a Meh. Out of the three animated films releasing this month (Minions: The Rise of Gru and DC League of Super-Pets being the other two) I get the impression Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank will be the one that is the least mind-numbing for adults. It’s channelling Kung Fu Panda vibes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing—a lot of people have a soft spot for Kung Fu Panda, and if this film offers something similar, then it might glean some of that same love (especially since the television series on Netflix releases the day before). Provided the story is solid and lands its jokes, then I don’t see any reason why this won’t be a nominee for next year’s Best Animation category for the Oscars. This could be a fun film, or it could be derivative. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt.
Tyler Hummel (82-73): Bust – Another meh. I have nothing to offer on this commentary wise.
L.J. Lowery (5-10): Bust – Paws of Fury at least looks somewhat original but still seems to pull too many cues from Kung Fu Panda—even the logo looks similar. Although, I could see that working in its favor. While I personally would rather go support this movie instead of Rise of Gru, I can’t help but feel that this one will go largely unnoticed. To me, Paws of Fury looks much more enjoyable, but we will have to see where it lands in terms of reception. I have hopes it will be fun but I could see it being very uninspired too.
Where the Crawdads Sing
Release Date: July 15, 2022
Synopsis: A woman who raised herself in the marshes of the deep South becomes a suspect in the murder of a man she was once involved with. (IMDB)
Director: Olivia Newman
Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Garret Dillahunt, Harris Dickinson
Juliana Purnell (101-85): Meh – I found this one difficult to judge. Where the Crawdads Sing is a best-selling novel, with many finding the themes of abandonment and the lessons regarding trust within relationships to be heart-wrenchingly well written. Whether those elements readers loved will be translated competently within a film adaptation is questionable. I get the impression this will be an above average dramatic thriller, and while this is generally a strong performing genre, it’s rare for one to stand out from the rest. So I predict this film will be on the cusp of a boom but will fall short, as book readers tend to be challenging to appease anyway.
Tyler Hummel (82-73): Meh – I haven’t read the 2018 book of the same name, but its explosion in popularity probably speaks for itself in terms of its quality. I’m generally kinda lukewarm on book adaptations of this sort. I got burned badly by Hillbilly Elegy and I don’t know what to expect. I’m going to give it the benefit of the doubt that it might be a decent movie.
L.J. Lowery (5-10): Meh – I went back and changed my thoughts about Where the Crawdads Sing. I expect it to do very well in the box office, but critically it can go either way which is why I feel like “meh” is the right prediction. It doesn’t look to be an amazing movie but I don’t think it will be terrible either. I had heard of the novel and knew nothing of the premise until I watched the trailer. I never pegged this as a movie I’d be interested in, so I’ll likely go see it with family members to see how it pans out.
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Synopsis: The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery. (IMDB)
Director: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perea
Juliana Purnell (101-85): BOOM! – Jordan Peele has developed a good reputation for himself as a horror director. Get Out has become a modern cult classic, whilst Us was certainly original albeit a little too weird in its messaging. Nope is his next film, although judging from the second trailer, I cannot help but wonder if this time he will attempt a genre blend with comedy. No matter what he does, I’m predicting at least a fresh idea or perspective from Peele, though hopefully it’s more refined like Get Out as opposed to the interesting yet chaotic mess that was Us.
Tyler Hummel (82-73): BOOM! – Have we all collectively agreed yet that Jordan Peele’s Us was kind of a letdown? It’s really good and has some amazing cinematography, themes, and heavy handed jungian subtext, but it’s also a convoluted story with vague implications. It lacks the lazer sharp clarity that made Get Out into the most discussed film of 2017. Frankly, I don’t know how Nope fits into that spectrum. The trailers are very cryptic about what it is supposed to be about besides letting us know that it’s a UFO horror movie, à la Fire in the Sky. I’m down for that premise! I’m just not sure how this film is planning to pull the rug out from under us yet. I’m interested to find out!
L.J. Lowery (5-10): BOOM! – After seeing the final trailer, I have seen too much and yet I believe there is much more that has yet to be revealed. Jordan Peele has built a name for himself with his previous work, which shouldn’t have people questioning whether they will go see this or not.
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!”