Adam: Heath, to kick things off I have some questions for you that require your fearless predictions. Keep in mind we’ll go back to these next year and see how your predictions panned out so like, pressure’s on or something. Ok, first question: what will win Best Picture in March?
Saving Mr. Banks? I predict Emma Thompson will win for her performance in Saving Mr. Banks, which means that Captain Phillips will win best picture. The Academy will not be able to resist Tom Hanks in peril.
Adam: What will be the highest grossing movie of 2014?
The Avengers box office. The biggest summer contender is How to Train Your Dragon 2 because of the wide appeal and the anticipation. The final Hobbit film stands a good chance because it's a holiday release and, more importantly, it's the last chance to see Middle-earth (at least for now). And remember how crazy things got when Return of the King came out? That's the movie that solidified Lord of the Rings with audiences and critics, and it was showered with awards. I suspect a similar reaction to the final Hobbit film. That's my prediction for the highest grossing film of 2014. I'm predicting Hobbit mania next Christmas, similar to the last Harry Potter film.
Adam: What will be the best superhero movie of this group: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Amazing Spiderman 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past or Guardians of the Galaxy?
Iron Man 3 numbers.
Adam: Do you think the remake of RoboCop will be any good?
Heath: No. Who is it for? Kids that are too young to be familiar with the original? The same thing happened with Total Recall: the people old enough to recognize the property will have affection and loyalty for the original, and unless you are reinterpreting the material in a dramatic way, like 21 Jump Street, there's no real reason for its existence. Although it has Michael Keaton in it, so it can't be all bad.
OK, now it’s your turn to be on the hot seat. You asked me what will win for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Who do you think will win Best Director?
Heath: Next question: we talk each summer about how comic book and superhero movies have flooded the market to the point that we're burned out and kind of exhausted with them. Do you think this summer will see a decline in ticket sales for those types of movies, or will they continue to rise?
Adam: Good G-d, I hope so. But cattiness aside, I think it depends on release dates almost more than the material. For example, I predict The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will do really well because it's the first out of the gate in May. X-Men: Days of Future Past will do what X-Men movies do – they are pretty consistent in having big opening weekends and then fading out. The one that I think will bomb, I'm sad to say, is Guardians of the Galaxy. I know it's Marvel, but it opens in August and by that time I think burnout will set in. I’m looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy the most of the group, though, because it’s James Gunn, who is an interesting director, and Vin Diesel has a role so it’s likely to be sincere and not a soulless corporate tent pole. At least that’s my hope.
Heath: Do you think America will care about the new Godzilla movie, featuring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, and Bryan Cranston, or is it destined to sink like Battleship?
Pacific Rim. Giant monster movies are nerdy even by nerd standards. I don't think you can get an audience that doesn't already care about Godzilla to start caring because Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen and Bryan Cranston are in the cast. That being said, I do like the first trailer for the movie.
Heath: The last question is about 22 Jump Street and Grand Budapest Hotel, two very different movies, but the same question applies for each. Will they be any good or will the well have run dry?
Adam: I am guessing 22 Jump Street will suck. The trailer is terrible, and the conceit of these guys in high school is a lot funnier than them in college. I'm back and forth on The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I think this will be another The Life Aquatic. My reasoning is Wes Anderson went Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and then The Life Aquatic, so hit/hit/semi-miss. His last two, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom, were both good so it's time for a semi-miss. I hope I'm wrong, but that’s my prediction.
Heath: Enough guessing games. I’m curious, what movies announced for 2014 are you looking forward to the most?
Adam: I’ll separate them into mainstream and indie categories:
• Stretch, which is the new Joe Carnahan movie with Patrick Wilson and Chris Pine. There’s not even a trailer for it yet but on paper it sounds awesome.
• The new Seth Rogen comedies Neighbors and The Interview, because I’ll see anything Seth Rogen is in at this point.
• Gone Girl from David Fincher, who is always at his best when making crime stories.
• The Raid 2, because I am ridiculously excited about the prospect of a 148 minute sequel to The Raid.
• Jupiter Ascending from the Wachowskis, since I want their movies to succeed for the good of cinema.
• Interstellar, which has a great, mysterious teaser trailer and a strong cast.
• The Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself from Steve James (Hoop Dreams), which I’m hoping focuses a little less on his days growing up in Urbana, IL than the memoir on which it is based.
• The next Dennis Villeneuve (Prisoners) movie called Enemy, which has Jake Gyllenhaal playing two different characters and co-stars the adorable Melanie Laurent.
• David Wain’s next movie They Came Together with Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler and Michael Shannon.
• Anna Kendrick in a new Joe Swanberg movie called Happy Christmas.
• The Green Inferno from Eli Roth, who has been MIA for way too long.
• The absolute batshit silly looking Grand Piano with Elijah Wood and John Cusack.
How about you?
You know what movie I'm looking forward to in spite of myself? 300: Rise of an Empire. I thought the first 300 was pretty entertaining, though it's not something I revisit too often (it makes me feel like I need to work out). Also, some of the things Frank Miller has said in recent years have kind of ruined some of this movie for me. But I get a little psyched every time I see the trailer for this thing. The movie is totally unnecessary, but I do think those big, dumb movies have a place. There's something refreshing about a movie reveling in base sex and violence without any pretense of something akin to art. Also, I will watch Eva Green in ANYTHING, and I like her in the Gerard Butler role as the leader of an army. I'm expecting total ridiculousness, but so many movies turn out to be total ridiculousness anyway. At least this one is honest.
Now it’s word association time! What's the first thing that comes to your mind when I name these ten movies?
1) I, Frankenstein
2) Mr. Peabody & Sherman
3) Need for Speed
4) Veronica Mars
5) Nymphomaniac (Volume I and II)
6) Edge of Tomorrow
7) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
8) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
9) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I
10) Dumb and Dumber To
1) I, Frankenstein: Why? Why? Why?
3) Need for Speed: I'm embarrassed but I want to see this; mainly because there's no Fast & Furious in 2014. I don't get this Aaron Paul thing though. Yeah, Breaking Bad, but I don't know...it's Aaron Paul.
4) Veronica Mars: Never saw the TV show but I'm happy for its fans.
5) Nymphomaniac (Volume I and II): I’ll see it if only to say goodbye to Shia.
6) Edge of Tomorrow: Seems like a waste of Tom Cruise’s time. I’d rather see him in a movie for grown-ups.
7) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: I didn't see the greatness of the first one, but I'm curious enough to see the sequel.
8) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I used to love the Turtles and this can't be any worse than TMNT, right? Then again, Michael Bay and Megan Fox (shudder).
9) The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I: Looking forward to it. The cliffhanger in Catching Fire piqued my interest.
10) Dumb and Dumber To: I am hoping for the best. I love the original, but this took a long time to get together and that worries me. Also, it's a comedy sequel and we all know how those usually turn out.
Here are your 10 for word association.
1. Labor Day
2. The Lego Movie
3. The Monuments Men
4. Muppets Most Wanted
6. Jersey Boys
7. Transformers: Age of Extinction
8. The Expendables 3
10. Into the Woods
1. Labor Day: Winslet and Brolin make every movie that they're in better. This could be great.
2. The Lego Movie: I will take my child to see it as long as I don't have to assemble anything. If not for her, though, I'd probably go my whole life and not see it.
3. The Monuments Men: VERY EXCITED. Like Saving Private Ryan without all the death. And with 100% more art.
5. Maleficent: Yawn. I'm tired of Disney plumbing their animated classics for live-action "epics." HOWEVER: written by Paul Dini, one of my favorite writers of all time.
6. Jersey Boys: Movies based on musicals are ALWAYS good, oh, wait, I'm confused. They're NEVER good. I have no interest in this.
7. Transformers: Age of Extinction: I have residual love for the Transformers leftover from my childhood. There's a part of me who will always think that Optimus Prime is the coolest and that robots that turn into vehicles is the greatest thing ever. But come on, four of these mofos from the same director? I could go my whole life and never see another Michael Bay movie. I sure wish someone else were doing this. I never thought I'd say this, but I want more movies like GI Joe: Retaliation. Give me solid nostalgic action without oodles of misogyny, slow motion, and Zeus's butthole.
8. The Expendables 3: I really can't wait. I loved the first two, in spite of their flaws, because they play like love letters to the late '80s and early '90s, which is when I came of age with movies. It doesn't have to be perfect; I just want to see all my childhood action heroes one more time in the same movie. This could suck more than any movie in 2014 and I'd still probably love it because I'm so on board with what they're trying to do.
9. Annie: I don't think I'm the target audience for this movie. My only thought about this is that I'm glad Annie isn't one of Will Smith's kids. Particularly Jaden. Because that would be weird.
10. Into the Woods: Please, please, please don't let this suck, and please let Johnny Depp give an actual performance instead of putting on makeup, using an English accent, and laughing all the way to the bank. And if that IS what he's doing, then I hope he does it in a different way than what we've seen him do in all those other movies where he puts on makeup, uses and English accent, and laughs all the way to the bank.
By the way, Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a segment from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon. It was called Improbable History and was about a very smart dog who was a professor and his pet boy. He'd take his boy throughout history and they would learn about the past while trying not to change it too much (come to think of it, it's a lot like Doctor Who). It was pretty cool, but this new movie looks like it's trying to ruin the idea.
Adam: Thanks for clarifying. Mr. Peabody & Sherman sounds like Cloudy with a Chance of Jimmy Neutrons. Why can’t they make a movie of Camp Candy? I’d go see that. I’d go even if they just strung together four episodes and projected it into movie theaters.