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Trailers of the Week: Admission, The Heat, and a Post-Twilight Supernatural Teen Franchise Drinking Game

Oz: The Great and Powerful (March 8)

Silver: Just because I want Sam Raimi to helm only superhero movies or low-budget genre flicks with chainsaws, chins, spooks, guns, and gore doesn’t mean he should. The man is a seasoned Hollywood director who has certainly earned the right to direct any film his heart desires. And if I’m a true fan of his, I should stop wondering if/how Bruce Campbell will cameo (if it happens, please let it be as a Munchkin) or how the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 will appear and simply just hope for the best and support one of my favorite directors. But a trailer like this makes this charge of mine easier said than done. The film still looks like an awkward patchwork of CGI castoffs from Alice in Wonderland (recycled-line alert). With a talented cast like this, where’s the emotion? Noisy, grandiose action sequences don’t really feel Oz-ian to me. My hope is that this Transformers-lite feeling is just for the trailers, and the film ends up more like The City of Lost Children.

Browne: There are a number of similarities between James Franco’s Oz character and Simba the lion. Both are unsure if they’re fit to lead, not confident that they have what it takes, and confused about why everyone else believes in them so much. That’s just something I observed and am proud to have noticed (I see you, Disney). With that said, Mila Kunis is no Nala, and Oz: The Great and Powerful is no Lion King. So far, this doesn’t look too great. I hope it figures itself out in the next few trailers. I really do.


Admission (March 8)

Silver: The cinematic entity that is Admission is the equivalent of a warm blanket for rom-com fans, or even more specifically, Nancy Meyers fans. A more-than-capable cast places a somewhat predictable plot on their shoulders and breezily moves it along by playing to their strengths. Really, what else is there to say? This one’s pretty simple. If you like Paul Rudd and Tina Fey, and the words “From the director of About a Boy” mean anything to you, then you’ll probably like this movie. I’m sure I will.

Browne: Paul Rudd and Tina Fey, both playing adults with parental doubts and adults en route to falling in love. This must have been the easiest script to sell since “Will Smith saves world from aliens, his girlfriend is a stripper, Jeff Goldblum is involved, iconic raspy presidential speech: highly probable.” I’ll never stop seeing this film.


Any Day Now (December 14 in limited release)

Silver: This film looks immensely sweet and inspiring, and stars two actors who I’m a big fan of — Alan Cumming and Garret Dillahunt. And even still, I’ll be eagerly waiting its release on VOD, DVD, or Netflix streaming. I just don’t see enough in this trailer to justify the price of a ticket. And believe me when I say that I hate myself a little for thinking this way. But it’s the unfortunate drawback of a struggling theatrical business model in a cinema landscape where an endearing little Any Day Now has to battle for box-office dollars with higher-profile and higher-concept films (Any Day Now has its limited release the same day as The Hobbit). Regardless, this is one I will see … at some point.

Browne: I got choked up, which is not conducive to me seeing this in theaters. Alone, at home, with leftover Thai and a collection of blankets? 100 percent. There are so many angles at which this film is going to get to me. Also, super pumped to see Cumming continuing to be a great actor. Excited for this.


The Heat (April 5)

Silver: Sandra Bullock returns to the screen in her first above-the-title role since winning her Blindside Oscar three years ago. (Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close does not count. Her appearance in that film was an over-baked cameo at best.) And she’s doing it in both smart and familiar fashion. Familiar because before this film became The Heat it clearly feels like it started as a pitch for Miss Congeniality 3. And smart because instead of flying solo, Bullock completes the dynamic flying V that is the reunion of Bridesmaids breakout start Melissa McCarthy and director Paul Feig. Who cares that this film feels like a remake of 1988’s Rebecca De Mornay–Mary Gross epic Feds? This film actually looks funny, and for McCarthy’s sake alone, I’m thrilled it came along. As a new fan of hers I was saddened when I thought her first starring role post-‘Maids was the dreadful-looking Identify Thief. The Heat looks much more like a vehicle that will properly showcase McCarthy. And we already know the film’s director knows how to get the funny out of her. I’m honestly shocked that I’m this excited for a Sandra Bullock film.

Browne: I can’t wait for this to do well, prompting the sequel, The Heat 2: Misses Congenialities. Or something like that. The two franchises have to merge, eventually. It’s the only way.


The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (August 23)

Silver: Do you hear that? That’s the sound of thousands of literary agents and development executives scrambling to try and fill the YA franchise hole being left behind by Twilight. I am so tired of these previews. But I’m smart enough to know that as long as films like The Mortal Instruments can continue to be made for a reasonable budget, and continue to draw a sizable emo-teen audience willing to fork over their weekly allowances (kids still get allowances, right?), then they will always turn a profit and thus will continue to be made.

So instead of depleting my snark bank any further on these trailers, I’m going to do what any self-respecting film fan would do — create a drinking game. But not with alcohol, of course. These are movies we’re talking about, so this game must be played with shots of movie theater popcorn butter. This is a game for all of us to take part in every time a trailer for a film like The Mortal Instruments is released.

You take a shot, each time:

  • An adult character sternly states that something imaginary or mystical is actually true.
  • A performer who was either nominated for or won an Oscar or Emmy appears onscreen.
  • The male lead either stares ominously or has a generally brooding demeanor.
  • The male lead wears a hoodie.
  • The words angel, lycan, werewolf, wizard, witch, or vampire are uttered.
  • A clever name for “ordinary/normal” humans or their supernatural counterparts is coined.
  • The heroine’s unknown and/or hidden mysterious past and/or talent is revealed.
  • The heroine openly questions her parent or best friend about the magic within her.
  • Someone says that the heroine is the only one who can win “the war,” “bring balance,” or “destroy everything.”
  • A title card with the words “Based on the … ” or “From the author of the … ” appears.
  • A dual title separated with a colon appears onscreen.

That’s a lot of butter.

Browne: Creating these franchises is the present-day equivalent of the boy band factories of old. It’s like the gospel of Lou Pearlman has found its way into the hands of studio executives primed to start a series of films that gets kids from prepubescence to college orientation. Just look at this tweet:


It’s beginning again.

Hold on to your hats, tweens. Sorry, parents of tweens.


The Host (March 29)

Silver: The Host is based on a book of the same name by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer. So sci-fi aside, I’m decreeing that this trailer be eligible for our buttery game. And by my count, we’re all doing five shots.

We saw:

  • The male lead stare ominously.
  • The male lead in a hoodie.
  • Oscar/Emmy nominees and winners.
  • A reveal of the heroine’s unknown and/or hidden mysterious past/talent.
  • A title card for Stephenie Meyer.

But The Host poses some interesting wrinkles to our little game. So I’m going to add the following rules.

Drink a cup of (much needed) water:

  • If the film is written or directed by someone with past geek cred (The Host’s writer/director, Andrew Niccol, wrote and directed Gattaca and wrote The Truman Show)
  • If the lead in the film is a legit actor (Hanna and Atonement’s Saoirse Ronan)

So five shots and two cups of water. That’s two-plus minutes that won’t hurt too bad.

Browne: Substitute “popcorn butter” with “spiked Mountain Dew” and I’m so in.

The Host almost feels like Stephenie Meyer’s apology for the entire Twilight saga. I’m not saying she’s in my good graces, but at least this film looks watchable. And, always in the quest for trailer songs to match the action appropriately, Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive” is the perfect torch song for the angst-ridden-teen-humans-making-out-with-non-humans-we’re-all-going-to-die? vibe of the last 30 seconds of the clip. So yeah. For now, I’m in. FOR NOW. But seriously, enough with the YA movies. Please?


Beautiful Creatures (February 13)

Silver:Thwap” (@ :51). That’s the sound of my hand smacking my forehead. Another YA adaptation? Really? OK …

  • The heroine openly questions her parent or best friend about the magic within her.
  • The male lead either stares ominously or has a generally brooding demeanor.
  • A clever name for “ordinary/normal” humans or their supernatural counterparts is coined.
  • A performer who was either nominated or won an Oscar or Emmy appears onscreen.
  • Someone says that the heroine is the only one who can win “the war,” “bring balance,” or “destroy everything.”
  • The words angel, lycan, werewolf, wizard, witch, or vampire are uttered.

Six shots. And a half a glass of water because writer/director Richard LaGravenese still has some geek cred for writing The Fisher King and The Ref. Now it’s time to go fill that Crestor prescription.

Browne: What is going on? When did all movies become centered on teenagers who are powerful and/or evil and/or not human? Is this some kind of junior high empowerment initiative? This is horrible. We’re not supposed to be convincing teens that they can be all-powerful. We’re supposed to be preaching to them that if they don’t get perfect scores on their SATs, then they’ll be sent away.

With all of that said, good use of a Florence + The Machine song. Albeit for only two seconds, it distracted me from all of the rude thoughts I had about this film. Well done, per usual, Ms. Welch.


21 and Over (March 1)

Silver: With so many recycled plot points and gags, I don’t know how 21 and Over doesn’t have the words “National Lampoon presents” above the title. The fact that this film is from Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writers of The Hangover, means nothing to me. The Hangover succeeded because of four and a half things — Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, and Dr. Ken Jeong’s penis. Not because of a script by Mamet or Kushner. If these guys were so talented, why didn’t Phillips not invite them back as writers for The Hangover’s sequels? Maybe because Moore and Lucas are also the writers of films like the entirely forgettable Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, Four Christmases, and Rebound. I’m sure 21 and Over will have a few funny moments, but instead of getting a wide theatrical release, this film feels more like it belongs on a Walmart shelf with American Pie Presents The Naked Mile.

Browne: Silver, you just served Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. I love that about you. My two cents: I will irrationally go out of my way to make sure this film doesn’t make it to theaters. So far, I’m 0-for-1 on these crusades (Pitch Perfect), but I think I can go 1-for-2. It’s not just because this movie looks awful. Culprit:


Also, there’s no way this script took longer than 45 minutes to write. Also, I can’t think of a less original plot to a movie. If I had to guess, I’d assume they went into the first day of filming with the below text and just winged the rest:

From: Lucas and Moore
To: The Cast of 21 and Over
Subject: So here’s what we got …

Two white-kid wannabe bro nerds surprise-visit floppy-haired Asian friend with strict dad at college the night before his 21st birthday and the night before his (obvi) exam [Asians, right???]. Two white kids have no career aspirations and don’t care in the slightest about Asian friend’s future because (you guessed it) they aren’t really his friend. They take him out, get him drunk because he “deserves” it, but mainly because they want to laugh at him, and their plan works until they pretty much kill him. But, to be expected, it works out in the end and their Asian friend (who they call by his full name for the whole movie, a joke that we PROMISE is going to slay) doesn’t die and he stands up to strict Asian dad and tells him that he doesn’t want to be a lawyer but actually wants to be a rapper and dad reluctantly accepts him and says “You’ll always be my son” and they hug and the stupid white-boy friends stand in the background while all of this is happening and high-five and then they leave and 25 years later they’re both Senators.


— L & M

I hate everything about this movie. Good thing someone’s already started a “Don’t See 21 and OverTumblr.

… “Someone.”