Movie Time Capsule- Remember These Movies: June 2012

Movie Time Capsule is finally back after an unintentional hiatus. Apologies for the two-month late post, I started on this newest entry back in May, but that was when I took a break from work and procrastinated. But I just got this finished. So if you’re new, this is the monthly segment I talk about the movies that came out a decade ago and give my thoughts on them, whether they hold up or have been forgotten in the years since.

But looking back in June 2012, not a lot happened. It was the beginning of summer vacation after wrapping up freshmen year. This was also the month my sister and cousin graduated from high school. The only downside was taking part in an online P.E. class that I didn’t enjoy doing. But it was a better alternative than taking a real P.E. class in school. But just like in 2011, June offered something different every weekend, a fair share of standouts and more disappointments than I remembered. The only movies I haven’t seen that also came out were Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, the Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Piranha 3DD. The decision to skip the latter was the most brilliant move since every review I read and watched said it was total garbage and called it the WORST movie they saw ten years ago. 

For June, there are 11 movies I’ll be discussing. Have you seen all of these? Let’s glimpse back ten years ago…

June 1: ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

Cast: Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Sam Spruell, Ian McShane, Bob Hoskins, Ray Winstone, Nick Frost, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Johnny Harris, and Brian Gleeson

Directed By: Rupert Sanders

Synopsis: Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron), who seized control of her kingdom by marrying and killing its rightful ruler, needs the life force of young maidens to maintain her beauty. However, to become truly immortal, Ravenna must consume the heart of her stepdaughter Snow White (Kristen Stewart). Snow escapes, and Ravenna dispatches a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to capture her. But Snow, the Huntsman and a rebel army join forces to destroy Ravenna and restore the balance of life and death.

Domestic Box Office: $155.3 Million/ Worldwide: $396.5 Million

RT Score: 49%

My Thoughts: Snow White and the Huntsman was a fantasy I was anticipating when it was first announced, and it was the first trip to the movies to kick off my summer break. The period of the early 2010s where they were turning fairy tale stories into a darker territory wasn’t that successful, but I’ve always wanted to see a brand new take on the character. 2012 was the year of two different movies centering on Snow White, as they released Mirror Mirror within two months. Just from the trailers alone, we all expected this to be the winner. Unfortunately, Rupert Sanders’s directorial debut of the Brothers Grimm tale was underwhelming. I get the approach to this was to make the story epic enough on the same level as the Lord of the Rings. As an exciting take to make this material appeal to everyone, the momentum gets lost when it takes itself too seriously with the story. But after watching it again, the visual effects look great and James Newton Howard’s score wasn’t too bad.

This was also back when I didn’t like Kristen Stewart (I like her now) and was unsure about her being the lead. She does the best she can but gives the character of Snow White no personality or range to make this performance on par with Twilight. Charlize Theron is a great actress, but her performance as the Evil Queen has always been one of my least favorites of hers. Sure, there’s some backstory giving her some ounce of humanity, but this had her do that over-the-top acting that doesn’t do her any good. Also, in 2012, who thought Kristen Stewart was more beautiful than Theron? I was a teenager, and I didn’t understand that. And while nobody stole the movie, Chris Hemsworth gave the best performance as the huntsman Eric. Weird seeing him wielding a hammer and now an axe. It got tedious after an hour in which I didn’t feel the wonder in the convoluted storytelling. And when it gets to the seven dwarves featuring noticeable English actors (including Bob Hoskins in his last film role), and they couldn’t bring the movie back to life, I already stopped caring. Not even Stewart’s Braveheart-like speech to rally her men appeared laughable. Then once the action kicks in during the climax, it was too little too late to get me invested in what was going on. 

While Snow White and the Huntsman nails the dark tone, along with the visuals and Chris Hemsworth’s performance, this was nothing more than a slow and hollow re-telling devoid of enchantment. Nominated for two Academy Awards: Costume Design and Visual Effects, but Stewart won the Worst Actress Razzie alongside her performance in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 2. As much as I didn’t like this, at least it was more watchable than the unnecessary sequel/ prequel, The Huntsman: Winter’s War.

Grade: C

June 8: ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’

Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric The Entertainer, Andy Richter and Frances McDormand.

Directed By: Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon, and Tom McGrath

Synopsis: Animal pals Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are still trying to make it back to New York’s Central Park Zoo. They are forced to take a detour to Europe to find the penguins and chimps who broke the bank at a Monte Carlo casino. When French animal-control officer Capitaine Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand) picks up their scent, Alex and company are forced to hide out in a traveling circus.

Domestic Box Office: $216.3 Million/ Worldwide: $746.9 Million

RT Score: 78%

My Thoughts: Being the third film in the famous DreamWorks Animation franchise, I can’t remember if I was excited about Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. Because I thought the 2005 original was okay, while the 2008 sequel, Escape 2 Africa, wasn’t as good as I thought. With our favorite Central Park zoo animals becoming more funny dealing with the latest shenanigans to drive the plot after leaving Africa, this was my favorite out of the three movies. I’ll be honest; it started with the usual wacky antics, including a fast-paced chase. But, once it led Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman to join this failing circus, that’s when I became more unexpectedly entertained. This is a Madagascar movie by default, but having the four trying to help get this circus back on track made for laughs and a solid sense of heart along the way. Maybe one reason why its good is because Noah Baumbach co-wrote it. How did they get him? The new additions of Bryan Cranston, Jessica Chastain, Martin Short, and Frances McDormand, the latter I couldn’t tell was voicing the villain until the end. The animation is 10x better than its predecessors with some colorful sequences, and the humor will be a hit for kids, especially the penguins and hilarious Circus-afro with Marty I knew would kill me since the first trailer. This also had the best use of Katy Perry’s “Firework” ever. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted was wacky and hilariously entertaining, with a lot of energy put into this animated sequel. Easily the best and funniest in the trilogy, making it very watchable for children to have a great time with. A fourth movie was cancelled, but I’m glad they stopped here.

Grade: B

‘Prometheus’

Cast: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Charlize Theron, and Logan Marshall-Green

Directed By: Ridley Scott

Synopsis: The discovery of a clue to mankind’s origins on Earth leads a team of explorers to the darkest parts of the universe. Two brilliant young scientists lead the expedition. Shaw (Noomi Rapace) hopes that they will meet a race of benevolent, godlike beings who will in some way verify her religious beliefs, while Holloway (Logan Marshall-Green) is out to debunk any spiritual notions. However, neither the scientists nor their shipmates are prepared for the unimaginable terrors that await them.

Domestic Box Office: $126.4 Million/ Worldwide: $403.3 Million

RT Score: 73%

My Thoughts: Director Ridley Scott made his long-awaited return to the Alien franchise with the highly anticipated blockbuster Prometheus. Whether it was a prequel or its own thing in this universe, everybody wanted to have a great movie to fit alongside both the original Alien (which Scott directed) and the classic sequel Aliens. Prometheus was one that audiences and critics loved or hated during its release based on their expectations. My sister saw it at midnight with some friends and hated it, probably because she had never heard of the prior films. For me, after still watching it once back then, I thought it was a letdown. We highly anticipated dealing with the exciting concept that is kept in secret for more enjoyment, but it doesn’t fully have all the answers to give to the audience. Because of that, it doesn’t always work. However, visually speaking, it’s unbelievably stunning with the CGI combined with practical effects that earned that Oscar nom. But ultimately, the storytelling wasn’t up to par to keep that intrigue alive. Sometimes it comes off as confusing or doesn’t allow us to provide specific answers. Performances-wise, Michael Fassbender gives a fantastic performance as the human-like android David, where he’s challenging to see what motivations his mind stores. Noomi Rapace and Idris Elba were the other two standouts from the cast. Rapace’s character, Elizabeth Shaw, is worth caring for the most, and it helps that they weren’t trying to make her another Ripley. Unfortunately, some of the other characterizations were too expendable enough to remember the rest of the crew members on the ship.

This offers a few idiotic moments one wouldn’t expect to have expected for a movie about scientists. Why would anyone be that dumb to touch a parasite highly likely to kill you? Unbelievable. That’s a reason why the screenplay is a mixed bag. One of the terrifying sequences had to do with Elizabeth and an operation that’s a clever homage to the unforgettable chest-bursting scene in Alien. And it wasn’t a film where I needed to see the terrifying Xenomorphs or how I wanted to know more about the Space Jockey. It might’ve been its purpose, but I wasn’t smart enough to get everything. I couldn’t find the time to see it in theaters and my experience might’ve improved. Still, I want to get a second in to see if my thoughts change drastically.

With Prometheus, Ridley Scott puts his effort into bringing us back to the Alien universe even if it may not connect everything to the original. However, its strong visuals and grasp of a philosophical through-line still give it a watchable experience, albeit very flawed and disappointing in some eyes. I’d rather watch this again than Alien: Covenant.

Grade: C+

June 15: ‘That’s My Boy’

Cast: Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Leighton Meester, Vanilla Ice, Tony Orlando, Will Forte, Milo Ventimiglia, Susan Sarandon, and James Caan

Directed By: Sean Anders

Synopsis: While still a teen himself, Donny (Adam Sandler) fathered a son, Todd (Andy Samberg), and raised him as a single parent. On Todd’s 18th birthday, Donny cut the youth loose. After years of estrangement, the older man shows up unexpectedly on the eve of his son’s wedding day, sending the young man’s life into a tailspin. Donny wants desperately to reconnect with Todd, but he must now deal with the repercussions of the bad parenting he exhibited in the past.

Domestic Box Office: $36.9 Million/ Worldwide: $57.7 Million

RT Score: 20%

My Thoughts: After the abomination of Jack & Jill, there was no way of telling what Adam Sandler would be a part of next. That’s My Boy is one of the rarest Happy Madison productions to hold an R-rating, and that enough could’ve made it an apology for ruining the genre of comedy, along being an insult to call it one. The good news is it’s better. The bad news is it really awful. Like Mugatu in Zoolander, I feel like I’ve taken crazy pills when I hate this more than most people. Yes, I really, really hate this. Those saying this isn’t that bad feel like punching in the face. That’s My Boy is comprised of check boxes of what we usually see in any of Sandler’s movies that are more watchable than this. It’s basically Big Daddy without the sentimentality. But for a father-son movie, I didn’t buy the chemistry Sandler and fellow SNL alum Andy Samberg brought that felt like the script was forcing them to reconnect amidst a wedding happening. Sandler’s granting Boston accent didn’t help either, almost as irritating as Little Nicky. And they made Samberg a one-dimensional character that’s always the butt of every joke.

Almost everybody is an idiot just believing in Donny or Todd’s apparent lies. None of the other characters were likable either, and an odd choice to have Vanilla Ice as he doesn’t help. But besides a slight chuckle, the horrendous screenplay by Happy Ending‘s creator, David Caspe, failed to deliver anything funny when it’s very annoying. They dared attempt to bring back the Budweiser “Wassup” phrase that clearly wasn’t dated. This even has female characters, either unlikable or there to strip down. I don’t know why they thought glorifying statutory rape and incest would be gut-busting hilarious when it’s uncomfortable and gross, even though it’s loosely based on the Mary Kay Letourneau case. I saw this on Father’s Day with my mom and when I watched it again months later, I couldn’t believe the decline of once a comedic talent. Some might enjoy That’s My Boy as a guilty pleasure, but it’s one of the most excruciating and unfunny comedies through every scene. No competition; it’s the worst film of 2012, at least that I’ve seen. 

Unsurprisingly, this was a box office bomb, failing to make back its $70 million budget, and they nominated it for eight Razzies; winning Worst Actor for Sandler (the second year in a row) and Worst Screenplay. And why did they have to play “Dance the Night Away?”

Grade: F

‘Rock of Ages’

Cast: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Åkerman, Mary J. Blige, Bryan Cranston, and Tom Cruise

Directed By: Adam Shankman

Synopsis: The songs of Journey, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and other artists underscore a tale of big dreams in Hollywood. Soon after hopping off a bus from the Midwest, aspiring singer Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) immediately finds herself in trouble. Coming to her rescue is Drew (Diego Boneta), a bar-back at the legendary club the Bourbon Room. With stars in their eyes, the young lovers chase their dreams, but a misunderstanding involving rock god Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) threatens to tear them apart.

Domestic Box Office: $38.5 Million/ Worldwide: $59.4 Million

RT Score: 43%

My Thoughts: Attempting to bring the Broadway musical Rock of Ages to the big screen sounded ideal. The genre wasn’t as popular as it is today. Still, as a massive fan of rock n roll music primarily from the ’80s, Hairspray director Adam Shankman collaborating again with New Line Cinema had the makings for an awesome time. Atlas, the movie wasn’t good. It serves more like a disappointment. Such a shame because I really wanted to enjoy the concept and cast involved, and when you have a story that forms with these songs in 1987, it didn’t come together the way it should’ve, probably a reason this needed to stay in its own medium. The energy had a difficult time balancing the time capsule of its time and an unforced plot to keep up its bloated runtime. I never cared for the romance between Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta that was way predictable where it was heading. On the other hand, the acting is serviceable mostly when you have stars like Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Åkerman, Mary J. Blige, and Paul Giamatti.

But let’s not fool ourselves; Tom Cruise was the best aspect to come out of this, hands down. He stole the movie as the rock star Stacee Jaxxx. His character is like if Lestat de Lioncourt from Interview with a Vampire was taking on the persona of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. And though his singing takes time to adjust despite his commitment, I kind of enjoyed this persona when he’s singing Bon Jovi or Def Leppard. He actually had the movie’s only funny line where he talks about burning the place to the ground, and he literally meant it. Speaking of the songs and musical numbers, they weren’t amazing since they didn’t resort to making us feel what the characters are feeling. I like Journey or Foreigner as much as the next guy, but having their songs in here doesn’t mean it’s cool to them for the story. In the end, Rock of Ages didn’t have the best writing or outstanding performances (minus Cruise) that are expected for a musical involving rock music, but it might be an excusable watch if you don’t mind putting another dime in this jukebox.

Grade: C

June 22: ‘Brave’

Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, and Craig Ferguson

Directed By: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman

Synopsis: Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the impetuous but courageous daughter of Scottish King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson), is a skilled archer who wants to carve out her own path in life. Her defiance of an age-old tradition angers the Highland lords and leads to chaos in the kingdom. Merida seeks help from an eccentric witch (Julie Walters), who grants her an ill-fated wish. Now, Merida must discover the true meaning of courage and undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.

Domestic Box Office: $237.2 Million/ Worldwide: $538.9 Million

RT Score: 79%

My Thoughts: After Cars 2 wasn’t the critical hit Pixar was expecting, Brave had some big shoes to fill by becoming a great and original story to follow. However, the buildup of anticipation didn’t let me get excited, unlike their previous efforts. I did like how the trailers kept this mysterious undertone that hinted it’ll differ significantly from what we usually see from them. With Pixar’s first female lead character and the potential to be one of their most potent films yet, Brave… is just okay. This has been nobody’s favorite, even ten years ago. The first half was on track to being a great movie, with Merida wanting to prove she’s a fearsome princess who can care for herself. Something that makes her the typical Disney princess we always see. The animation is well-done like any other Pixar and has a perfect location in Scotland as the background. And the voice talents of Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, and especially Billy Connolly as Merida’s king father did great. But something happened that changed the story’s course, and it was completely unexpected. Spoiler Alert: The mother gets turned into a bear. I thought it was funny at first but soon realized afterward it came out of nowhere and ruined the rest of the movie where it was just made for kids without a sense of feeling concerning the mother and daughter that’s ultimately detracts from what was happening earlier in changing one’s fate.

Kids will have fun with this. However, for adults, Brave is just remembered as the most forgotten movie they’ve done. Not terrible, but one of their more disappointing outings. To this day, it’s still in the bottom three from the studio. And I still can’t wrap my head around how it won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature over Wreck-It Ralph (the best-animated Disney movie of 2012) or any of the other nominees. This was the first and only time I disagreed with a Pixar film winning an Oscar since it’s not a movie everybody universally loved. I can’t get on anyone’s level thinking it’s underrated.

Grade: C+

‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’

Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, and Marton Csokas

Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov

Synopsis: While still a boy, Abraham Lincoln loses his mother to a vampire’s bite. He vows revenge, but fails in the attempt, narrowly escaping with his life. He is rescued by Henry (Dominic Cooper), a charismatic vampire hunter who instructs Abe in the fine art of dispatching bloodsuckers. Abe (Benjamin Walker) continues his fight against the undead well into adulthood and his presidency, making a last stand against the ultimate vampire foe (Rufus Sewell) on the eve of the Civil War’s defining battle.

Domestic Box Office: $37.5 Million/ Worldwide: $116.4 Million

RT Score: 34%

My Thoughts: Did anybody expect much with a title like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? Based on the 2010 novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also wrote the screenplay, this takes an interesting yet ridiculous idea that one of the most influential presidents kills vampires. It’s just that the huge problem with a movie like this, it took itself way too seriously. A presidential movie and a monster flick all in one in which Lincoln slays vampires is one I wouldn’t have minded being a bit comical. But, clearly not having any fun with this dark tone-down adaptation that not even Benjamin Walker couldn’t carry despite his acceptable performance as the young president. Not just that, the overuse of slow motion during the action scenes and visual effects that aren’t that good, it turns into a mess after a while when he’s not killing vampires. Director Timur Bekmambetov has only made one movie I liked, which was 2008’s Wanted, and watching this proves even with a silly premise, it still ends up biting the dust. Not that I thought this would be cinematic bliss by any means, but they didn’t seem to try. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is silly enough for anybody who wants to see a fictional story about a killer president, but the serious tone alone wouldn’t have saved this from being a mediocre and boring action/horror movie. Did I love the end credits? I did because they played one of Linkin Park’s most underrated songs, “Powerless,” off their album Living Things.

Grade: D+

June 29: ‘Ted’

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Joel McHale, and Giovanni Ribisi

Directed By: Seth MacFarlane

Synopsis: When John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) was a little boy, he made a wish that Ted (Seth MacFarlane), his beloved teddy bear, would come alive. Thirty years later, foul-mouthed Ted is still John’s constant companion, much to the chagrin of Lori (Mila Kunis), John’s girlfriend. Though Lori’s displeasure is exacerbated by the pair’s constant consumption of beer and weed, she’s not the one who’s most disappointed with John; it may take the intervention of John’s boyhood toy to help him grow up at last.

Domestic Box Office: $218.8 Million/ Worldwide: $549.3 Million

RT Score: 68%

My Thoughts: We had always known Seth MacFarlane for his animated sitcoms, from Family Guy (before it turned bad) to American Dad!. But it’s a surprise to see him make his live-action feature debut about a talking teddy bear in Universal Picture’s Ted. The premise sounded too good to be promising, but was it going to sustain enough energy to make it funny? Absolutely, because this summer comedy gets the job done in a crude and heartwarming way. Haven’t we all wished for our stuffed animals to come to life? Well, now we have if our friend smoked pot and haven’t grown up yet. What makes the movie great is the believable friendship in Mark Wahlberg’s John and Ted because it never felt flat in knowing they want what’s best for each other, having independence and understanding their choices to succeed in life without holding one back. Wahlberg shows he can be hilarious after The Other Guys as the man-child John and the character of Ted makes him both lovable and raunchy that doesn’t come across as annoying. Mila Kunis as Wahlberg’s girlfriend Lori was cool too, despite having her boyfriend choose between her and a bear. 

And the CGI work was impressive to where I love its realism and they likened his look to a bear almost worn out for decades. Of course, the comedy depends on how you’ve reacted to the style of humor MacFarlane occasionally brings with some offensive jokes, but it got to me with some outrageous gags that had the audience laughing too. Probably the only thing I could’ve done without is Giovanni Ribisi’s character, who wants Ted because they needed to have some action near the end. But, one of the biggest takeaways is giving people the blessing of Flash Gordon and the obsession our two characters have years later. Still haven’t watched it, and feel like I’m not missing out. Ted could’ve easily failed with its buddy comedy concept, but MacFarlane’s debut makes for a hilarious and enjoyable time despite being fairly predictable. Right up there with 21 Jump Street as one of the better comedies of 2012. A hit at the box office, it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song (“Everybody Needs a Friend”) and an upcoming prequel series on Peacock.

Grade: B+

‘Magic Mike’

Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, and Matthew McConaughey

Directed By: Steven Soderbergh

Synopsis: By day, Mike (Channing Tatum) makes ends meet any way he can — handyman jobs, detailing cars or designing furniture. But nighttime is when Mike really gets to display his many talents: He’s the hot headliner in an all-male revue. Mike sees potential in a 19-year-old he dubs the Kid (Alex Pettyfer), takes the teen under his wing and instructs him in the tricks of the trade. However, Mike learns there’s a downside to the stripper lifestyle when it threatens his romance with the Kid’s sister.

Domestic Box Office: $113.7 Million/ Worldwide: $167.7 Million

RT Score: 78%

My Thoughts: For a movie about male strippers, the only other movie probably similar is The Full Monty. it would’ve been easy to look at the trailer for Magic Mike as something I will hate, mainly because it gears toward women, and the idea of sitting in a seat for two hours would be unbearable. In all honestly, this might be the surprise nobody was expecting, including myself, when I caught it months later at age 16. The idea is based on Channing Tatum’s short career as an exotic male dancer in Florida before he turned to acting, and Steven Soderbergh directed this maturely, making male strippers actual characters outside of their adult profession But because of this movie, Tatum has honestly revamped himself into becoming a respectable actor with this and 21 Jump Street with a role that makes us believe him more than just a stripper. Matthew McConaughey also gives an excellent performance as the owner Dallas. He gives off a memorable presence during his resurgence years that he’d been getting Best Supporting Actor nominations left to right, winning an Independent Spirit Award. And there are some other attractive supporting roles from Alex Pettyfer (in the only role I’ve liked him in), Matt Bomer, and Joe Manganiello aided by their presence performing on-stage. I can describe this as the male version of Showgirls, but it has better writing and is watchable. Magic Mike is a dramedy that’s smart and entertaining for what it’s going for, thanks to Soderbergh’s direction and Tatum’s charm to his character. I actually believe men responded to this better than women. Some might consider the sequel, Magic Mike XXL, superior, but I beg to differ. 

Grade: B+

‘Madea’s Witness Protection’

Cast: Tyler Perry, Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, Doris Roberts, Romeo Miller, Tom Arnold, John Amos, and Marla Gibbs

Directed By: Tyler Perry

Synopsis: For years, mild-mannered Wall Street banker George Needleman (Eugene Levy) has meandered through life oblivious to his family’s dysfunction and his company’s malfeasance, but he’s forced to wake up when he learns that he’s been framed in a mob-backed Ponzi scheme. Placed under federal protection, George and his family are shipped down South to Madea’s (Tyler Perry) house, where the no-nonsense matriarch whips them all into shape using her special brand of tough love.

Domestic Box Office: $65.6 Million/ Worldwide: $66.8 Million

RT Score: 19%

My Thoughts: Since I watched Madea’s Witness Protection, that was when I stayed away from any movie with Tyler Perry’s name attached as director. Thankfully, I haven’t regretted it since. This was one of a few Madea movies not based on one of his plays where it’s all comedy without the typical melodrama attached where she has to watch over this white family that’s never interesting to care about. It must be hard for Perry not to know why he keeps doing his famous Madea character trying to a joke that will never be funny, to begin with. Dressing up in drag is really tiring out the character’s welcome in theaters for anybody’s sake, but there’s a particular audience who will shell out money to see them all. Perry wasn’t good, but this had the nerve to waste talents like Eugene Levy, Denise Richards, and the late Doris Roberts (who I don’t even remember being in this) doing it for a paycheck. Also, nobody will believe Levy is married to Denise Richards in this universe. The only laughs I thought were funny were whenever Madea’s telling someone to “Shut the hell up.” If the overall movie wasn’t all that good, it gets annoying in the last 30 minutes, where it just turns into a different, obnoxious comedy during a trip to New York. Though Madea’s Witness Protection isn’t the worst Tyler Perry movie, just from what he constantly releases, it is obnoxious to figure out who keeps asking for more of these poorly written and acted movies.

Grade: D+

‘People Like Us’

Cast: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, and Michelle Pfeiffer

Directed By: Alex Kurtzman

Synopsis: On the day his latest deal collapses, fast-talking-salesman Sam (Chris Pine) receives the news that his father has died. Reluctantly, Sam returns home to settle the estate of his father. In the course of carrying out the man’s last wishes, Sam is surprised to learn of the existence of a 30-year-old sister, named Frankie (Elizabeth Banks). As the sister and brother get to know each other, Sam must re-examine both his perceptions about his family and the life choices that he has made.

Domestic Box Office: $12.4 Million/ Worldwide: $12.5 Million

RT Score: 53%

My Thoughts: Before Alex Kurtzman made the unredeemable remake of The Mummy, he made his directorial debut with the underseen People Like Us. Expectations were low because not a lot of buzz had been circling it, but it was also being released in the heat of summer when DreamWorks/ Touchstone brought in little marketing. It wasn’t all that bad for this kind of movie to be out. Both Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks gave good performances, bring different roles that might have never been seen before. It has a good script with realistic conversations with people that would occur in real life, coming from the writing duo Kurtzman and Robert Orsi. Even though it would’ve been effortless for Pine to tell Banks that he’s her brother and everything would be okay. It shades of Elizabethtown and About a Boy creating a good mix of heart and passion beyond that. But it has a sweet ending to pull it together. People Like Us shares an essential factor of families coming together for in delph emotions that come together nicely in the end.

Grade: B-

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