Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of July 31, 2015 includes Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Vacation, and the limited release of The End of the Tour. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em? Find out below!
Last weekend, thankfully, Ant-Man came out on top for the second weekend in a row, smushing the hopes and dreams of another Adam Sandler bomb to reign supreme. It’s as if the lord has answered the prayers of critics and audiences have finally seen the light. But how will Marvel stack up against the larger than life Tom Cruise? Or will a remake sequel conquer all? Toast. This is the Box Office Battlefield:
Vacation (John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein) Rated R [99 min] – Rusty Griswold takes his own family on a road trip to “Walley World” in order to spice things up with his wife and reconnect with his sons. Starring Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, and Steele Stebbins
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 23% • Audience – 60%
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues wound up being terrible and vastly unimpressive compared to the first – a nine year gap. Dumb and Dumber To was leagues behind its predecessor and very mean spirited – a 20 year gap. Could a sequel to Vacation be any good after 32 years? NOPE. The thing about the new Vacation is that it’s lacking any kind of spirit or functionality. There’s more sense of purpose and direction in the original that this version aborts. Every joke and heartfelt moment feels absolutely forced like Chris Farley in a little coat. The only thing that Vacation has going for it are the cameos. If Chris Hemsworth can outshine the entire lead cast then you have issues. I laughed a handful of times, but Vacation is not a competent film not worth its name. WAIT FOR IT ON NETFLIX!
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (Christopher McQuarrie) Rated PG-13 [131 min] – Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF. Starring Tom Cruise, Rebecca Ferguson, Jeremy Renner, and Simon Pegg
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 93% • Audience – 92%
Full disclosure: I’ve only seen the first Mission: Impossible film and didn’t have time to watch II through Ghost Protocol before I went in to see Rogue Nation. And to be honest, I don’t think it even mattered. I liked Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation. There’s a lot of fun to be had despite not fully understanding the relationships between some of the characters. I’m familiar with Ving Rhames and Tom Cruise’s partnership from the first film, and they’ve gone on to do the sequels together, but being thrown into the fifth movie and not knowing who Simon Pegg or Jeremy Renner’s characters are, it was easy to catch up. Other than that, the action is done really well and the story direction is sharp. There are some twists, but McQuarrie never leads you astray. There’s a playfulness and energy in Rogue Nation that makes a big difference between the Mission: Impossible franchise and a James Bond film. Rogue Nation’s quirky personality has definitely piqued my interest to see the other movies and makes for a solid standalone entry if you’re not caught up and want to check it out. SEE IT!
The End of the Tour (James Ponsoldt) [Limited] Rated R [106 min] – The story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s groundbreaking epic novel, ‘Infinite Jest.’ Starring Jason Segel, Jesse Eisenberg, Anna Chlumsky, and Mamie Gummer
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 89% • Audience – 89%
I’m not going to pretend I’m a literature geek, because I’m not. Far from it. I’ve never heard of David Foster Wallace until I saw The End of the Tour. Without knowing his works or who he was as a person, there’s a lost perspective that fans of his may gain from seeing this incredible film. Although I was unfamiliar with Foster Wallace going in, The End of the Tour plays out as a rich character study that is both fascinating and mesmerizing. Jason Segel’s performance is on point, creating a flawless and beautiful dynamic against Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of David Lipsky. The two bounce dialogue off each other like clockwork, as if they’ve been old friends conversing naturally for decades. Which is why The End of the Tour is so special. The whole film would have fallen apart if not for these two great actors making words from a page sound brilliantly organic while you watch them perform on screen. SEE IT!
Ant-Man has had it’s fun. It was a good run Marvel had introducing a not so popular character into the mainstream. But now a larger franchise has entered the arena. All the previous entries of the Mission: Impossible series have received a fresh rating aside from the second film. Their box office grosses have all been stellar. And although Tom Cruise’s draw hasn’t been phenomenal lately with Edge of Tomorrow or Oblivion, coming in with a known franchise has its advantages. On the other side of the coin is Vacation, a sequel that’s pretending to be a reboot of a popular and beloved National Lampoon’s movie. No one asked for this to be made, and no one is going to see it. The comedy is so putrid that it’s going to propel audiences away. Far, far away. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be: