2017 Holiday Movie Pool - Preview | Thor: Ragnarok | Justice League | Murder on the Orient Express

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2017 Holiday Movie Pool - Preview

Thor: Ragnarok
Justice League
Murder on the Orient Express
A Bad Moms Christmas
Daddy’s Home 2
Wonder
The Star
LBJ
All the Money in the World
Coco
Downsizing
Father Figures
Ferdinand
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Just Getting Started
Pitch Perfect 3
Star Wars: Episode VIII -  The Last Jedi
The Greatest Showman
The Oktoberfest tents are closed, the heatwaves are over, and after tonight’s Dodgers game I’m looking for some Egg Nog to spike, so it's time for the 21th Annual Holiday Movie Pool!

We've got just this 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 The Hulk’s appearance finally make the Thor movies worthy of holding that mighty hammer? Can the Justice League truly rise to the box-office level of The Avengers or is living up to fans expectations their kryptonite? And isn’t it just bad marketing to call Star Wars: Episode VIII “The Last Jedi.” What are kids going to want to be when playing Star Wars at home if they can’t be Jedis? C-3P0s?! No one ever wants to be C-3PO.

Make your predictions, cast your votes, and take a dip in the 2017 Holiday Movie Pool! It's the pool where all you have to do is guess the Top Five domestic money makers of the season. It's not like we're asking you to do anything hard like remembering which Kardashians are pregnant and which aren’t.

In case if you don't know what's coming out for the holiday season of 2017, here's a quick run-down of this year's crop!

*****

November 3

- Thor: Ragnarok
Marvel movies have the kick-off staple of the summer season for over ten years… After last year’s Holiday Pool started with Dr. Strange and now this year with Thor 3, is Marvel trying to take over the holiday season as well? The new movie has some old friends (Loki), old timers (Jeff Goldblum), and freshly cut hair. Can this movie do something to boost the general lack of excitement for Thor flicks? Well, they got a Hulk

- A Bad Moms Christmas
Did the creators think Bad Moms 2 sounded bad? Couldn’t they have just spelled it Bad Moms Too? Or were they thinking that by having Christmas in the title gets the film played a million times a year in December on TV alongside Holiday Vacation and Elf? Regardless, making a movie for moms to watch together with other moms during one of the busiest times of year to be a mom... it doesn’t seem like the marketing team had too many moms helping them with their release schedule.

- LBJ
Rob Reiner once directed a really good movie about a fictional president named Andrew Sheppard in The American President. Now he’s making a movie about a real president most people just glossed over. Unless it explores why Lyndon B. Johnson’s wife actually wanted to be called Lady Bird, I’m not expecting a lot of people to line-up.

November 10

- Murder on the Orient Express
The only murder here is whoever killed-it with the casting here. If there was an Oscar for best casting (and why isn’t there?!) this film would win hands down with Johnny Depp, Dame Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leslie Odom Jr., Josh Gad, Willem Dafoe, and Kenneth Branagh. It’s a great thing they have all this star wattage to hide the fact the story’s been around almost 100 years old, but every good mystery deserves a good retelling… even if it has to come with that ridiculous Branagh moustache.

- Daddy’s Home 2
Some people like to blame others for their films failing. The latest Hollywood trend is blaming Rotten Tomatoes. If that’s the case, why did Daddy’s Home make $150 million with 31% score? I know why! It was a family comedy with two likeable actors that came out during a two-week school break and you just can’t see Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the 100th time again.The other options were the already forgotten Point Break remake and Concussion. Good grief! That said, will there be reasons for a Daddy’s Home 2 to work or is not needed when surround by Thor to the left and Justice League to the right?

November 17

- Justice League
Speaking of Rotten Tomatoes… No matter how this latest batch of DC FIlms have been rated, Warner Bros. will simply not stop churning them out because they keep printing green. Last summer’s Wonder Woman was the exception at being well received and being a smash at the same time. Let’s hope they’ve learned some lessons as they have even more heroes flying around the screen now with the Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman joining the fray. Based on the trailers though, it looks like they may have just stuck to the smashing part.

- Wonder
Based on the best-selling kids book, Wonder tells the tale of a fifth grade student born with facial differences going to a mainstream school for the first time. Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson play his parents. It was one of my kids favorite books when he was in grade school. He always told me I should read it. Looks like my “I’ll wait for the movie” excuse has finally expired.

- The Star
Sony Animation moves from Halloween and their Hotel Transylvania series to Christmas with their latest movie The Star. It’s about the animals carrying the three wise men who are following the star to Baby Jesus… and then hilarity ensues, I’m guessing. That’s usually how these story pitches go.

November 24

- Coco
The last time Pixar delivered a movie in the holiday pool it was their only official stinker, both critically and box-office-wise, The Good Dinosaur. Here’s hoping they don’t do a repeat performance. As far as repeating, though, the look and feel (and musical leanings) of this Dia de los Muertos film about a boy crossing over to the Land of the Dead feels a lot like 2014’s Book of Life. Will Coco go the way of the better Pixar original films like Up and Inside Out… or go the way of the Dinosaur?

December 8

- Just Getting Started
I knew someone would try to make Grumpy Old Men again. I just never thought it’d be with Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, and Renee Russo. Even odder, it’s directed by Ron Shelton, the legendary sports movie director behind Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump, and Tin Cup. Are geriatric love triangles a sport now? I might want to avoid that box score.

December 15

- Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi
I know we’d gone 11 years between Star Wars films, but after two flicks in 12 months I was feeling some fatigue in the force last December. My wife still thinks Rey from The Force Awakens was the main character in Rogue One. They’re all blurring together at this point. You know what’s really going to make this film stand out? Luke Skywalker finally going into Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.

- Ferdinand
John Cena has basically been playing a cartoon character for 15 years in the WWE. It makes total sense for him to voice one here. He’s the voice of a bull in Spain, separated from his home, and has to find his back. Was the working title of this movie FInding Bull?

December 22

- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
I’m not sure which is more dated: the Jumanji brand from the 90’s or the Guns N’ Roses song from the 80’s? Regardless, they’ve sprinkled-in exactly what they need for an updated family-fun fest with The Rock, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. Given its placement right when school is getting out, this could be the Daddy’s Home of 2017… or a mess like Will Ferrell’s Land of The Lost.

- Pitch Perfect 3
Given the huge success acapella group Pentatonix has had with their roughly 347 Christmas albums, you’d have thought the Pitches would’ve have wanted to tap into that market. Instead there’s nothing jolly or holly about this “alleged” final opus. Just a USO tour in Europe. Not that the troops don’t deserve a good show, but this feels more like a mid-season episode than a big series finale.

- Father Figures
Owen Wilson finds a new bromate with Ed Helms. They play a pair of brothers out to discover who their real father is after their mother had raised them with the lie that he was dead. Of course, she can’t just know who the actual father was, because Mamma Mia is the most influential story of our time, so they have to run down a list of likely suspects. This feels like it wants to be this year’s Why Him? It may leave us feeling Why Us?

- Downsizing
After living big on Mars in The Martian, Matt Damon decides to think a little smaller this time around. To help combat the world over-population problem, Matt’s character and his wife, played by Kristen Wiig, volunteer to be shrunken down to five inches tall and join a community that’s literally been downsized. So many questions… Are Big Gulps served in a thimble? Does a 32” TV screen now look like an IMAX? Does that mean my collectible action figures are now life-size? Hey, I never said they were good questions.

- All the Money in the World
Wait, doesn’t Ridley Scott realize if he releases another movie this year they’ll never be able to keep calling Alien: Covenant his best movie of 2017?! I mean, there’s no way All the Money in the World can be worse. Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Williams, and Kevin Spacey star in this thriller about a billionaire’s grandson being kidnapped and what the mom has to do when the grandfather refuses to pay the ransom. I’m thinking there’s going to be a lot of coal in grandpa’s stocking this year.

December 25

- The Greatest Showman
An original musical about the life of circus founding father P.T. Barnum may not jump off the page, yet casting Hugh Jackman as that singing P.T. Barnum does. Grabbing the songwriting team behind the new broadway smash Dear Evan Hanson doesn’t hurt either. Movie musicals are certainly risky, however, the successes of Les Miserables, Into The Woods, and even last year’s La La Land, show there’s definitely an audience there. Not everyone can make it out to The Great White Way and if musical fans like something, they like to see it again and again.





by Matt Neuenburg on 10/29/2017

Movies Mentioned in this Post: A Bad Moms Christmas, All the Money in the World, Coco, Daddy’s Home 2, Downsizing, Father Figures, Ferdinand, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Just Getting Started, Justice League, LBJ, Murder on the Orient Express, Pitch Perfect 3, Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, The Greatest Showman, The Star, Thor: Ragnarok, Wonder
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