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 November 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 October predictions!
1. The Exorcist: Believer – Bust
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 22%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 59%
IMDB Score: 4.9
Production Budget: $30 million
Worldwide: $122 million
Many felt this sequel of the classic horror film recycled too many elements, making it an unnecessary stale narrative that insulted its stacked cast.
2. The Burial – BOOM!
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 83%
IMDB Score: 7.1
Production Budget: $32.5 million
Worldwide: Not reported
A crowd-pleasing story with fantastic performances from its leads.
3. Foe – Bust
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 23%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: Not available
IMDB Score: 5.9
Production Budget: Not reported
Worldwide: $113 thousand
Critics found Foe to be a tedious watch with this sci-fi failing in many ways, none of them interesting, leaving its talented cast with nowhere to go.
4. Killers of the Flower Moon – BOOM!
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 93%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 85%
IMDB Score: 8.1
Production Budget: $200 million
Worldwide: $89 million
Despite its notorious runtime, this film impressively managed its pacing and delivered a powerful yet tragic story that forced audiences to ruminate on the injustice.
5. Five Nights at Freddy’s – Meh
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 30%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 88%
IMDB Score: 5.6
Budget: $20 million
Worldwide: $154 million
A decent adaptation of the games, this film satisfied fans, but the plot (and scares) left much to be desired for those that were new to the franchise.
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My record is (143-123).
Release Date: November 10, 2023
Synopsis: Carol Danvers gets her powers entangled with those of Kamala Khan and Monica Rambeau, forcing them to work together to save the universe. (IMDB)
Director: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Brie Larson, Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani
Juliana Purnell (143-123): Bust – To be blunt, the only reason this film is on this list is because it’s part of the MCU. I’d much rather be talking about Steven Soderbergh’s new production, Divinity, Alexander Payne’s stylistic new project, The Holdovers, or Sofia Coppola’s take on the Presley’s in Priscilla, all of which are also releasing this month. But no, we’re stuck talking about a flailing superhero genre movie because even at their worst, they’re still part of the conversation. I’m supposed to be their target audience, and yet I have zero interest in seeing this film. I’m a woman. I’ve been (mostly) following the MCU. This female-led ensemble should excite me, right? Well no, I don’t know or care about most of the cast. Just like many other MCU movie fans, I developed a bond with the original heroes, and now that their arcs have finished, I’m finding it takes a lot of mental energy to keep going and to start from scratch with these new guys. And there’s just so much homework now. I don’t want to watch a television show in order to appreciate this film; even as a movie critic where I don’t mind consuming new content, I’m not keen on needlessly flushing hours of my life away on things that quite frankly don’t interest me. I’ve held on to the MCU (films) until this point, but this will actually be the first one where I don’t see myself scheduling my life around cinema session times in order to see it straight away. I’m fine to just wait and watch it whenever I get around to it, if ever. I don’t think I’m the only one with this sentiment either, and if so, it’ll be the MCU’s biggest box office bomb to date.
Journey to Bethlehem
Release Date: November 10, 2023
Synopsis: This live-action Christmas musical adventure for the entire family, weaves classic Christmas melodies with humor, faith, and new pop songs in a retelling of the greatest story ever told, the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. (IMDB)
Director: Adam Anders
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Milo Manheim, Geno Segers
Juliana Purnell (143-123): Meh – It’s a Biblical story. Turned into a musical. Antonio Banderas plays Herod. You’re either excited by this or you’re not. You don’t get too many musicals in a year, so it’ll be popular by default for fans of the genre, even despite the story’s religious origins. Hey, this approach worked well for the tale of Joseph and his technicolour dream coat! However, musicals are judged by their tunes, and I don’t feel the trailer is showing the film’s best light. The writers on this production have Glee and High School Musical under their belts, so there’s some faith there that Journey to Bethlehem will include a banger or two. I don’t think this will be a great musical, but if it fleshes out an intriguing romance between Mary and Joseph, then it may cause people to sing and dance about the coming of our King.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Release Date: November 17, 2023
Synopsis: Coriolanus Snow mentors and develops feelings for the female District 12 tribute during the 10th Hunger Games. (IMDB)
Director: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Rachel Zegler, Tom Blyth, Viola Davis
Juliana Purnell (143-123): Meh – I have a personal distaste towards this franchise. There was a time when a lot of Japanese films were given American remakes, and people were wondering if Battle Royale would ever get the same treatment due to the level of violence in the story. But The Hunger Games came along, eerily similar in story to Battle Royale, although it possessed a wishy-washy, bizarrely PG-13 inferior narrative. It still subsequently ruined the Japanese film’s chances of ever being remade since everyone would now ignorantly call the earlier movie a rip-off. Grrr!
But the Hunger Games franchise eventually evolved into its own beast, and now a prequel has arrived. Despite the narrative not matching the film’s rating (why PG-13 and not R?), there’s enough popularity and goodwill for this movie to succeed. However, the recent strikes in the industry have handicapped its ability to advertise (only recently has it been given permission to do so), and Rachel Zegler is no longer the household name she was back when this was filmed. With that in mind, I can see it faltering at the box office, and people trolling with negative reviews.
Release Date: November 22, 2023
Synopsis: Wish will follow a young girl named Asha who wishes on a star and gets a more direct answer than she bargained for when a trouble-making star comes down from the sky to join her. (IMDB)
Directors: Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn
Starring: Evan Peters, Chris Pine, Alan Tudyk
Juliana Purnell (143-123): Meh – Wish is the newest animated film which looks to expand the Disney Princess line-up. Once we’re done celebrating the fact it’s not yet another live action remake and instead is an original story (which is what audiences have been desiring for a while), things start to unravel upon closer inspection. The trailer has raised a few concerns. Firstly, people are worried that Asha—the main female protagonist—has the same “adorkable” personality as lot of her modern predecessors, meaning the so-called diversity is literally only skin deep. Secondly, and more worryingly, there’s doubt surrounding the validity of the film’s message.
In the trailer, the King, who looks to be the movie’s villain, states that he purposefully doesn’t grant everyone’s wish, and this is made out to be a shocking revelation. However… is this really a bad thing? Should everyone’s wish come true? Audiences that have watched Bruce Almighty, or more recently Wonder Woman 1984, already know the answer to that question. Wish could be an interesting film if the protagonist realises that her initial stance is unwise and ends up growing into a more well-rounded individual from learning from their mistakes. Yet Disney hasn’t been great with its messaging lately. Both Raya and the Last Dragon and Pixar’s Turning Red had terrible moral lessons. The company is no longer synonymous with representing wholesome truths. It’s entirely possible that Wish could push some toxic messaging that all things are good and that all dreams must be pursued and come true. It’ll have to be judged once it comes out, but I’m betting a “Meh” as I have little faith it’ll make the more interesting narrative choice. Also, the toilet humour on display in the trailer kills off any remaining hope I possess.
Release Date: November 22, 2023
Synopsis: NAPOLEON is a spectacle filled epic that details the checkered rise and fall of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine. (IMDB)
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Vanessa Kirby, Joaquin Phoenix, Ludivine Sagnier
Juliana Purnell (143-123): BOOM! – Epic historical drama? Yes. Of an important figure that’s hardly ever portrayed on film? Yes, how refreshing! Joaquin Phoenix delivering another performance where he pours his heart and soul into the role? YAAASSSSSSS!!!! Director Ridley Scott? Hmm… Some of his films just miss the mark, but I’m still absolutely keen on seeing this production. I don’t know why, but I’m hungry for it, and it feels so long since we’ve had something of this nature come along into cinemas. I’m excited for this, and I feel a lot of other people are as well. BOOM!
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!”