2015 Holiday Movie Pool Preview | Star Wars: The Force Awakens | The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 | Spectre

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2015 Holiday Movie Pool Preview

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -  Part 2
Daddy’s Home
The Peanuts Movie
The Good Dinosaur
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
The Big Short
The Night Before
Point Break
Point Break
Love The Coopers
In the Heart of the Sea
Secret in Their Eyes
By the Sea
The Halloweenies have been roasted, Party City has turned back into being a morgue, and we've got another 11 months before we ever have to hear Thriller again, so it's really time for the 19th Annual Holiday Movie Pool!

We've got just one week to get our picks in, so don't delay and tell me which films are going to have a Happy Holiday and which will have a Silent Night.

Will Spectre finally be able to stop James Bond after years of trying? Will Mockingjay - Part 2 be the part people actually like? Can Star Wars awaken the mania that once was strong or is the force not strong in this one?

Make your predictions, cast your votes, and take a dip in the 2015 Holiday Movie Pool! It's the pool where all you have to do is guess the Top Five domestic moneymakers of the season. It's not like we're asking you to do anything hard like sitting through a Russell Crowe karaoke night.

In case if you don't know what's coming out for the holiday season of 2015, here's a quick run-down of this year's crop!


November 6

- Spectre
James Bond is back for the 24th time. That’s even more than the Holiday Movie Pool! The first two Daniel Craig Bonds made around $160 million and then Skyfall blew the roof off by almost doubling that tally. If Spectre doubles down on that we’re talking $600 million here! Somehow, I think that the beyond morose Sam Smith title song is going to bring down some expectations.

- The Peanuts Movie
No one wants Charlie Brown to stay relevant in the 21st Century more than I (maybe it’s because I identify all too well with being a blockhead), but this movie has all the trappings of other ill-fated Charlie Brown feature-length movies from the 20th Century. The simple truths or charms that work in a few comic panels or 22-minute holiday specials feel stretched-out or aren’t conducive to a 90 minute narrative. I want this to work, but it keeps looking like Lucy’s going to pull away that football again.

November 13

- By the Sea
In the spirit of thanksgiving and joy, Angelina Jolie brings you a film with her and her husband Brad Pitt star as a couple drifting apart in the 70’s along the coast of France. Apparently, there’s a lot more we can learn from how couples drifted apart 40 years ago in another country than we could in having this set in present day Des Moines. No one ever breaks up there. If Angie and Brad were really set on working together on screen, I’m pretty sure everyone else would’ve prefered Mr. & Mrs. Smith 2.

- Love The Coopers
It’s amazing how every year there seems to be one or two films all about that huge family holiday get-together with an all-star ensemble cast. They never do really well at the box-office, I never really hear about people going to see them, and yet it’s like fruit cake... At least one person brings it every year. This time we’ve got Diane Keaton, Ed Helms, Anthony Mackie, and Amanda Seyfried, John Goodman and more sharing their differences, recognizing their similarities, and their universal love for collecting a paycheck

November 20

- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
In either a sign of disrespect or a sign of trying to bury their movies so no one ever remembers they were released, there are several other films trying to open the same day as a series with some of the largest openings ever. While Mockingjay Part 1 might have underperformed compared to other Hunger Games films, you’d have to think those that who’ve invested the last three years to these flicks are going to be willing tributes one... more... time... Pouty heroines of the world, unite!

- The Night Before
It must be nice to have carte blanche and be able to make whatever films you want. Seth Rogan learned making movies with Barbra Streisand like The Guilt Trip wasn’t winning him any fans or accolades, so just sticking with the stoner/shock schtick has become his bread and butter. This time he takes Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt along for the ride of one last night on the town before they need to become respectable.

- Secret in Their Eyes
Maybe the secret is that I haven’t seen Julia Roberts in a movie since 2001. How is that even possible? It’s not that I was boycotting Charlie Wilson’s War, Larry Crowne, or Mirror Mirror... I just didn’t care. Will this film about Julia being an FBI agent tracking down her child’s killer change that? Eh, it’s at least more interesting than Eat Pray Love, though I always like how they started with the food. It’s always easier to pray and love after a plate of chili-cheese fries.

November 25

- The Good Dinosaur
How did Pixar find a way to sneak two films into the same year? After owning the animation market in the summer with Inside Out, they’ll try again in the holiday season with The Good Dinosaur. It’s a good thing they didn’t name this film The Good Science as this story about the friendship between a dinosaur and a cave man boy is going to do a lot of damage to the notion that dinosaurs and homo sapiens weren’t running around at the same time… Unless you happened to live in Bedrock with a wife named Wilma.

- Creed
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this Rocky movie spin-off which has Sylvester Stallone training Apollo Creed’s son, played by Michael B. Jordan, to be a fighter is that it is neither written or directed by Stallone. Will some fresh writing and edits reinvigorate this franchise? And are we supposed to accept Stallone’s Rocky as a washed-up old man here and yet acknowledge he’s a grizzled kick-ass in the Expendables series? We haven’t seen this kind of range in Sly since... since... since...

- Victor Frankenstein
Uh, doesn’t this film title have “October Release Date” written all over it? There’s a reason they didn’t open Independence Day over President’s Day weekend. Regardless, we’ve got James McAvoy going Professor X as Victor and Daniel Radcliffe bring his Harry Potter magic to Igor. As long as McAvoy keeps his shirt on a little more than Kenneth Branagh’s 90’s version of Frankenstein, we’ll be getting somewhere.

December 4

- Krampus
There was a really good Finnish movie named Rare Exports that envisioned Santa Claus more as the Germanic incarnation Krampus who was more interested in punishing children who were naughty than giving gifts to the ones that were nice. Whether this film Krampus is good may be up for debate, but if you wanted to see snotty kids get theirs this holiday season, this is probably the movie for you.

December 11

- In the Heart of the Sea
Much like Julia Roberts, 2001 seemed to be the last time I cared about Ron Howard movies. Since A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code is the only one I’ve seen and that was more to see what the mania was about than wondering what a good job he’d do. Here he’s taking the real story of a sinking whaling ship in the 1800’s that later inspired Herman Meville’s Moby Dick novel. Even with hunky Chris Hemsworth in the lead, do I want to see something that sounds like there’s going to be a test on it afterwards?

Decemeber 18

- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This is some documentary movie about what happened in a galaxy far far away after a rebellion succeeded and the struggles the people find themselves in as they face trying to adjust to a free-market, democratic society. That, plus light sabers, blasters, x-wing fighters, and wookies. If J.J. Abrams really wanted to get the fans on his side, he’ll include some scene with Han Solo where he clearly shoots Greedo’s son first.

- Sisters
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey have been hysterical making fun of celebrities at the Golden Globes. Now they get the chance to make fools of themselves as they play two sisters who are throwing one last bash at their childhood home before their parents sell it. While I always want to give these two the benefit of the doubt, this sounds a lot more like something Seth Rogan would come-up with... and probably did.

- Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
If at first you don’t kill a franchise, try, try again! What Chipwrecked couldn’t do in 2011 with a way too kind 12% Rotten Tomatoes rating, The Road Crip has a chance of accomplishing... We could finally get to single digits! As much as I joke, these movies make money hand-over-fist. To say Jason Lee doesn’t come cheap is either an insult to Jason Lee or to cheap. With two weeks off from school, parents are going to drop their kids off somewhere and it might be here.

Decemeber 23

- The Big Short
Usual Will Ferrell director Adam McKay goes the other way this time with a dramady starring Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, and Steve Carell. They play a group of guys who catch on to what’s happening in the banking industry in 2007 and then get rich before the bubble collapses. Ahh, nothing warms people’s hearts over the holidays like the tales of people making millions off the misfortune of others.

Decemeber 25

- Joy
I guess it wouldn’t be Christmas without Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper making a movie with David O. Russell. Are they the new Doris Day and Rock Hudson? Here J-Law plays the inventor of the Miracle Mop that took the Home Shopping Network by storm. Seriously?! Not the Snuggie, the ShamWow, or Pillow Pets? You’re going with the Miracle Mop? This is going to go over as well as the Flowbee.

- Concussion
Will Smith (with two L’s) plays Dr. Bennet Omalu in the real life story of this doctor’s struggle to publicize the real and life-threatening dangers of concussions to a National Football League who wanted to sweep the whole issue under the carpet. While this is still an important topic and one that affects thousands of real high school students and families, couldn’t they have come up with a better movie title? Under the Lights, Behind the Scenes, or even Cranial Impact sound better. There’s a reason why The Blind Side worked and part of it was because they didn’t go with the first name for the movie: The Boy Who Can’t Read Gets A Second Chance While The Family That Saved Him Were Actually The Ones Who Got Saved.

- Daddy’s Home
Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell reunite from The Other Guys for this new turn where Will is the responsible, loving step-dad who’s usurped by the long-lost, deadbeat bio-pop, played by Marky Mark. Well, Wahlberg’s spent so much time acting with teddy bears and Transformers the last couple couple years, he should have no problem keeping up with Ferrell who’s in danger of just becoming a puppet.

- Point Break
And here it is. The final movie of the holiday season is also the final greatest movie in the history of no universe. Look, I remember thinking how ridiculous Point Break was when it came out 20+ years ago. Now Hollywood thinks what’s old is new again, but it never left! The Fast & Furious movies basically stole that template and have made a ga-jillion million dollars on it. Let’s see, what’s even cooler than high-priced race cars? I know... Extreme sports! Yeah, ‘cause every Red Bull drinking American watches the X-Games. If they really wanted today’s kids to care, they’d be bank robbers who competed in e-sports. Now that’d get my son’s attention!

by Matt Neuenburg on 11/01/2015

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip, By the Sea, Concussion, Creed, Daddy’s Home, In the Heart of the Sea, Joy, Krampus, Love The Coopers, Point Break, Point Break, Secret in Their Eyes, Sisters, Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Big Short, The Good Dinosaur, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, The Night Before, The Peanuts Movie
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