Hall Pass

The Worst Films of 2011

There are two things you don’t want to watch getting made – sausage and the official Film School Rejects’s year-end worst-of list. Hideous, dirty, bloody, illegal stuff; many animals die in the process (disclaimer – no animals were harmed in the making of this list). It’s a fool’s errand, a losing battle, a terrible way to dig up the past pains of the year’s biggest flops – reverse therapy for cinephiles. But damn if the results aren’t hilarious. For this year’s Worst Films of 2011 list, our own Kevin Carr and myself teamed up to pick the most wretched of the wretched, the worst of the worst, the Adam Sandler films we’re all struggling to forget. There were many emails and even more tears. I doubt we’ll ever be able to look each other in the eye again. By the time Sir Carr and I were done volleying bad films back and forth at each other via the electronic mail system like a game of cinematic badminton that absolutely no one was capable of winning (and, really, how does one win badminton?), we were far too exhausted to even attempt to number the following twenty-two films in any kind of order. No matter, they’re all bad. We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to take to the comments to call what you think is the worst (and what we’ve, quite unforgivably, left off).

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Drinking Games

The Farrelly Brothers return to comedy with the film Hall Pass. Some may say they never left the genre, but those people haven’t seen The Heartbreak Kid. If you want to determine whether Hall Pass is a triumphant return or if it strikes out like a 40-year-old fat dude at a bar trying to hit on a sorority chick, check it out with this drinking game. We guarantee that it will help you get in someone’s pants… even if those pants are your own.

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This Week in Blu-ray

It’s always a special week for This Week in Blu-ray when I can say that I’m on time. Last week was a mess, but this week we come roaring back with some great titles. It’s made even more special with the release of one of the best movies I saw in 2010, Legend of the Fist. My Donnie Yen addiction kicks into high gear while my lack of interest in big, studio-funded comedy and alien invasion films becomes readily apparent. Plenty to rent this week, a few precious titles to buy and that Red Riding Hood movie from Catherine Hardwicke right where it belongs: bringing up the rear. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen As you are undoubtedly aware, the movie theater is no place for hooting and hollering. Audiences should be present, but unheard. I know this as well as anyone out there, having sat through hundreds, if not thousands of movie with some of the stuffiest people on the planet (other film critics). But there was something about Legend of the Fist. When it screened for the audiences of Fantastic Fest last year, it jumped into our laps and demanded that we cheer. So there I was, alongside fellow critics Drew McWeeney and Brian Salisbury, reduced to cinema fandom’s equivalent of a “woo girl” by the first 20-minutes of this Donnie Yen action opus. It played like Saving Private Ryan, but with a little Asian dude running around killing Germans in the most creative of […]

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This Week in DVD

This is the second week in a row featuring a metric ton of new releases, and as usual there’s more worth a rental than there are worth buying and avoiding combined. Some of the more recognizable titles this week include the fun Donnie Yen action pic Legend Of the Fist, the alien action movie Battle: Los Angeles, and the Owen Wilson-led gross-out comedy Hall Pass. Two of this week’s better releases though come completely out of left field (for me anyway). One is a cool and casual cop show from A&E and the other is a relationship drama starring the always lovely Rashida Jones. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Monogamy Theo (Chris Messina) and Nat (Rashida Jones) are young, engaged, and in love… but that may not be enough to save their relationship. Theo’s side job sees people hiring him to photograph them out in public without their precise knowledge, but when a woman hires him to watch her in the park things take a dark turn. He becomes obsessed with her sex-filled evenings and begins to question his own allegiance to monogamy. Both leads give strong performances, but Messina is fantastic as he descends into an emotional spiral. Character study, love story, and a dash of romantic thriller with a strong ending. This is not a happy, feel-good movie, but it is a pretty powerful one.

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The Reject Report

Unless that man went from Midnight Meat Train to The Hangover to The A-Team to Limitless. Quite a career Bradley Cooper is making for himself, one that keeps coming with the hits this weekend with the #1 film Limitless. I’m sure there was more at work behind the film’s opening weekend numbers. Robert De Niro might have something to say about anyone claiming Cooper was the sole reason for its success. Neil Burger, too. Regardless of what did it, the film got pushed into the top spot. Limitless didn’t exactly break any kind of bank here. It’s still a long way down on the list of Cooper’s biggest openings, but for a film that only cost a reported $27 million, didn’t have any brand recognition behind it, and wasn’t exactly flashing ad space every five feet, it performed reasonably well.

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The Reject Report

You can blame South by Southwest for that, too. While we’re getting loads of cinematic gold thrust upon our senses and very little sleep, the rest of the movie world is still spinning. It’s time to take a gander at how everything looks to be playing out at the box office this weekend, but in a capsule form. The new films are Paul, Limitless, and The Lincoln Lawyer. None of them look to make much of a statement with how well they’ll play at this weekend’s box office, but none of them look to bomb, either. The big winner is likely to be Battle: Los Angeles once again despite the lack of love it’s getting from critics. Audiences want big action. They want it loud, and Battle: Los Angeles definitely delivers both. Character studies don’t make bank unless the word King or the word Speech is in their title. Just ask Michael Bay through his gold, diamond-encrusted cell phone how well big, dumb action sells to the masses. He’ll have a story or two to tell.

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The Reject Report

Literally. The entire city literally came to life and fought its way to the top of the box office this weekend. Not unlike Fightin’ Around the World with Russell Crowe but with less Australian accent. Yes, while that idea may lead to an amazing film, it probably wouldn’t end up doing as well as Battle: Los Angeles did this weekend. It may not have opened quite as big as some analysts were expecting – some had predictions of the film opening in the low $40-millions – it did do quite well for itself. In domestic sales, it has already reach the halfway mark of its reported $70-million budget. Not much indication how the film, which is very Amurrican, will play overseas, but Sony can stand proud knowing their domestic opening weekend is considered a grand one.

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The Reject Report

That’s right. It’s a battle in here sometimes. Two or three or maybe even four films enter. One film leaves. Which film is it going to be this weekend? The science fiction endorsement for the Marines? The Twilight-esque take on a werewolf classic? The Disney computer animated film from the guy who directed 2002’s The Time Machine. Hint: it’s not gonna be that last one. They’re all in here, and they’ve taken their corners. It’s time to see who’s going to knock some aliens out of the sky and who’s going to be wearing a hood of shame.

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The Reject Report

Of course you can’t really fit many dollars in your hand. Even if you’re rocking Benjamins, the most you could fit in one hand would be a couple of hundred thousand. Rango made a whole lot more than that this weekend even if it wasn’t able to manage $40+ million. In fact, Rango gave Johnny Depp his highest weekend outside of the Pirates series and a collaboration with Tim Burton. Considering he makes a new movie with Burton every other month, that may not seem like such an accomplishment. It was also able to break into the 10 highest March openings of all time, sliding in between Robots and Wild Hogs. You know, those marks of groundbreaking cinematic achievement. Even with this nice of an opening weekend and the overall positive buzz it’s been able to generate, Rango will have a hard time matching its $135-million budget in worldwide sales let alone what it brings in domestically.

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The Reject Report

Reject Reports. Adjustment Bureaus. A talking gecko. You’d think we were shilling for an insurance company this week. Not the case, and Johnny Depp as Rango is infinitely more adorable than the Geico lizard. That might have something to do with the latter’s Cockney accent. Also on board this week are Topher Grace making a move to top billing and a Beauty and the Beast for the Twilight crowd. Of course, a blind Neil Patrick Harris might be cuter than anything the other three films have to offer. Let’s see who’s in line to make some cash.

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The Reject Report

The third weekend was a charm for Disney’s Gnomeo and Juliet. While it had a modest drop from the previous weekend, the two new films – yes, including the film I said would be #1, but we’ll get there momentarily – were unable to pull in much audience. Gnomeo and Juliet came out on top in a weekend that wasn’t ground-breaking in terms of box office receipts. The era of computer generated animation is long from over, and that’s not just thanks to PIXAR. With films like Tangled and now Gnomeo and Juliet, Disney is continuing to prove they are THE force to be reckoned with when it comes to this type of film. The immediate future looks inundated with like animated fare. Two computer animated films hit  in both March – Disney’s Mars Needs Moms and Rango – and April – Rio and Hoodwinked Too!. The animated market is flooded, and with Summer right around the corner, its looking to be quite a success for the industry, as well.

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The Week That Was

This week our Saturday tradition known as The Week That Was takes on a new look. And as I’m sure you probably won’t notice (because I’m not entirely convinced that anyone reads this column), I will be the first to point out that the new format was at least in part inspired by a new feature I read over at Cinematical. And because sometimes the best ideas are stolen, I’m not sorry. I just can’t apologize for finding a better way to help you catch up on all of the excellent content you may have missed here on Film School Rejects. I won’t do it. Now lets forget all about this nonsense and focus on what matters: the best articles of the week, as brought to you by the lovely and talented FSR contributors.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr snubs his nose at all the films up for the Oscar in order to enjoy the R-rated smorgasbord that is available in the theaters. He kisses his wife and takes six days off from marriage, just like Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis in Hall Pass. He takes those six days to find a fast car so he can Drive Angry, following Amber Heard and her short shorts in 3D. Apparently no one told him she’s a lesbian now.

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movie, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. This week features Nic Cage driving straight outta Hell, two jackasses trying as hard as they can to cheat on their wives, and a love triangle from Canada.

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The Farrelly Brothers return to R-rated adult comedy in a sometimes naughty but mainly soft-hearted touch about marriage, suburban hell, and fidelity in Hall Pass. Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis exemplify their body of comedic work here as the slacker Rich and hyperactive Fred, two good-natured 40-plus year-old men living the middle class life in New England. They have the cars, the houses, the children, and wives of the American dream but feel the need to break out of this mundane existence. Luckily for them, their wives (played by Jenna Fischer and Christiana Applegate) allow them a week off of marriage in order to see what they do with a week of freedom.

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The Reject Report

Nic Cage SMAAAAASH!!! With his car, of course. I’m sure he’d be more than happy to step into the Incredible Hulk role. Until that glorious day, though, we’ll have to be satisfied with watching him bust out of Hell and taking on William Fichtner as the Devil’s accountant. Plus it’s all in 3-D. Hall Pass isn’t, but who really wants Jason Sudekis in 3-D? Those are the two big movies this weekend, and where they stack up on this week’s box office charts might surprise you.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of January combing through Wikileaks, calling Cleo, and building balsa wood trailers to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in February. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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At the center of the Farrelly Brothers’ newest film, Hall Pass, is a fundamental question about relationships. At least, it’s the kind of fundamental question that might get someone slapped. Is Olive Garden or Applebee’s the best place to meet hot, horny women? Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis seek to answer that question when they’re wives give them a Hall Pass (or a Kitchen Pass if you’re nasty) – total freedom from marriage for a week. From the looks of the trailer, the women (played by Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) are doing it to prove a point about male delusion, and it’ll probably be completely harmless until someone gets hurt. There’s some clever moments amidst the generic (a pot brownie sequence? Really?), but the film at least hints at going off the rails a bit. No word yet on if anyone’s scrotum gets caught in a zipper.

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published: 10.30.2014
B-
published: 10.29.2014
D+
published: 10.27.2014
C-
published: 10.24.2014
C-


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