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 September 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 August predictions!
1. Bullet Train – Meh
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 54%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 76%
IMDB Score: 7.5
Production Budget: $90 million
Worldwide: $175 million
Juliana: Bullet Train offered a fun ride although it went too off the rails for many viewers.
2. Bodies Bodies Bodies – Meh
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 86%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 69%
IMDB Score: 6.7
Production Budget: Undisclosed
Worldwide: $10 million
Juliana: This unlikely whodunnit managed to punch above its weight thanks to its sharp wit and snarky social commentary, although it didn’t appeal to enough people to earn a BOOM ranking.
3. Mack & Rita – Bust
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 27%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 49%
IMDB Score: 4.4
Production Budget: $500 thousand
Worldwide: $2.5 million
Juliana: Diane Keaton could not save this flailing comedy that somehow failed to understand any person of any age.
4. Beast – Meh
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 69%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 75%
IMDB Score: 5.9
Budget: $36 million
Worldwide: $37 million
Juliana: Beast was a wildly fun film that offered the Idris Elba vs. lion fight that no one ever knew they needed. Too bad a few dumb decisions dampened the enjoyment.
5. Three Thousand Years of Longing – Meh
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score: 72%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score: 73%
IMDB Score: 6.9
Budget: $60 million
Worldwide: $4 million
Juliana: It comes so close to achieving greatness, but many agree that it just doesn’t quite hit the mark. A fascinating and tantalizing story that’s just too thematically messy.
Each “Boom, Bust, or Meh” article will include each writer’s current record next to their name. My record is (108-88), Tyler Hummel’s is (89-76), and L.J. Lowery’s score is (12-13).
Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul.
Release Date: September 2, 2022
Synopsis: In the aftermath of a huge scandal, Trinitie Childs, the first lady of a prominent Southern Baptist Mega Church, attempts to help her pastor-husband, Lee-Curtis Childs, rebuild their congregation. (IMDB)
Director: Adamma Ebo
Starring: Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Nicole Beharie
Juliana Purnell (108-88): Bust – I do love comedies that tease the formalities and eccentricities surrounding church culture. However, there was nothing in the trailer that connected with me, felt I understood, or elicited a giggle. Maybe my cultural experience is too different than what is explored here. I get the impression it’s made by non-Christians which naturally provides the narrative with more of an outsider’s perspective. Sometimes that works out really well, but in this case, it may be too alienated and come across as too judgemental to really provide a deep heartfelt look at the problems with exploitative preachers and megachurches, which is what it seems to be aiming towards. Kicking Christians for laughs isn’t really new or unique, so I’m not expecting to see anything ground-breaking here.
L.J. Lowery (12-13): Meh – Honk for Jesus is one I may have to check out at some point. This looks like a fun jab at the woes of organized religion and mega-churches, and I feel that many people will see it and enjoy it just fine. My only hope is that a more significant message about faith is found somewhere in the film. While the lead characters aim to reclaim some notoriety, I hope they find something more meaningful.
Release Date: September 9, 2022
Synopsis: A woman staying at an Airbnb discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems. (IMDB)
Director: Zach Cregger
Starring: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long
Juliana Purnell (108-88): Meh – Hard to judge since the quality of horror movies can be all over the place. I’m quietly confident this will be a decent film. The premise seems to be a difficult one to keep an audience engaged for its entire runtime, which lends itself towards me believing the screenplay is masterful enough to be up for the task. Also, the fact this film is receiving a theatrical release can be another piece of evidence towards Barbarian featuring a decent story. I don’t think the third act will resolve itself enough to provide a cathartic thematic conclusion which is needed to be a BOOM, but I still think it will be darkly entertaining.
L.J. Lowery (12-13): BOOM! – I’m taking a shot in the dark on this one because the trailer for this movie is very good. It reveals very little information while including a list of films the folks behind it have worked on. Though, having those accolades in a trailer could mean nothing when the film comes out. Horror is a genre out of my wheelhouse, so I look forward to seeing what the rest of the team has to say and predict.
The Woman King
Release Date: September 16, 2022
Synopsis: A historical epic inspired by the true events that happened in The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. (IMDB)
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Viola Davis, John Boyega
Juliana Purnell (108-88): Bust – Lemme guess. Someone wanted to make a film that told a Black-centric narrative and one that also empowered women. Nothing wrong with that. Except out of all the eligible stories that could have been adapted from the continent of Africa, they chose to focus on the Kingdom of Dahomey… You know, a nation that was notorious for financially benefitting from the Atlantic slave trade and ended up collapsing due to European pressure to cease their involvement with the barbaric and inhumane practice.
There was no mention or any semblance of awareness of this in the trailer, which is odd considering it opens with a statement that it’s based off a true story. Will it be like Jojo Rabbit where it operates as a political commentary with a strong sense of irony? Will it go more the route of 300 where it focusses more on spectacle as opposed to historical accuracy, with an artistic style that naturally places it more within the realm of an altered reality? Or have they really taken the route of ignoring historical events because it didn’t fit the Americanized narrative they wished to tell, much like the sanitization of P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman only worse because this time they’re intentionally flipping the sides and motivations of the central conflict? I really, really hope it’s not the latter as that crosses the boundary into unethical filmmaking. This could be Woke filmmaking at its finest—a glimmer of a good intention executed in the most manufactured, manipulative, and grossly stupefying way possible. If it is, The Woman King will be relentlessly mocked by the international community and may even anger the demographic they were aiming to please back home. It looks really cool, and its action may cause some to forgive its trespasses, but this film will not age well.
L.J. Lowery (12-13): Bust – I watched the trailer and then did research. At first, I was intrigued, then I did the reading. While this movie looks like it could have been a hit, the history behind the “true story” seems to be much heavier than what the film wants to show. You’ll get a group of people that might be completely unaware of that, who might also enjoy it. However, it looks like this is a giant swing and a miss for Hollywood.
See How They Run
Release Date: September 16, 2022
Synopsis: In the West End of 1950s London, plans for a movie version of a smash-hit play come to an abrupt halt after a pivotal member of the crew is murdered. (IMDB)
Director: Tom George
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Harris Dickinson
Juliana Purnell (108-88): BOOM! – I’m a total sucker for this subgenre. The Real Inspector Hound is one of my favourite plays, which in turn is a spoof of The Mousetrap which is itself a great text. See How They Run feels like the movie equivalent, where it seems to be lampooning the more serious (but not by much) Murder on the Orient Express style films which have come back into popularity in recent years. I’m all for it. Tom George doesn’t have much experience with directing feature films, so it will be interesting to see if he can pull it off, but at the moment he’s channelling Wes Anderson vibes. I’m keen to see this succeed.
L.J. Lowery (12-13): Meh – I’m pulling for this movie to be better than I expect. The comedy and cast are a recipe for a great time and nothing more. The murder mystery genre has been making a comeback, and most have had some kind of cheeky self-awareness. These films also have an uphill battle as they will likely be compared to Knives Out.
Don’t Worry Darling
Release Date: September 23, 2022
Synopsis: A 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets. (IMDB)
Director: Olivia Wilde
Starring: Olivia Wilde, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine, Harry Styles
Juliana Purnell (108-88): Meh – There’s a lot of buzz behind this movie, but not all of it is good. It just doesn’t sound like it was the happiest or collaborative of productions. Still, Florence Pugh tends to pick great projects. Ultimately I’m going with a “Meh” as this Stepford Wives style plot feels overdone at this stage. Do we really need to explore these men vs. women themes again? I don’t think Don’t Worry Darling will be covering any new ground here.
L.J. Lowery (12-13): BOOM! – I feel this movie will be the most remembered out of the month. This, too, is a trailer that leaves questions while setting the tone. I expect many people will see this movie and come out of it very satisfied. Our list for September is quite the variety, but I feel like this one will be the winner out of them all.
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!”