2019 Holiday Movie Pool - Preview | 21 Bridges | A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood | Arctic Dogs

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2019 Holiday Movie Pool - Preview

21 Bridges
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Arctic Dogs
Black Christmas
Bombshell
Cats
Charlie’s Angels
Ford v. Ferrari
Frozen II
Harriet
Jumanji: The Next Level
Knives Out
Last Christmas
Little Women
Midway
Motherless Brooklyn
Playing with Fire
Queen & Slim
Spies in Disguise
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Terminator: Dark Fate
The Good Liar
The Oktoberfest steins are back on the shelf, Costco’s got Samuel Adams Winter Packs for sale, and I got stuck on Jury Duty today just so I could finish this update, so it's time for the 23rd Annual Holiday Movie Pool!

We've only got eight days to get our picks in, so don't delay and tell me which films are going to hit the high notes and which cracked under the pressure.

Will Frozen II warm little girls hearts again or leave us a little cold? WIll Star Wars “rise” with Skywalker or has the market been saturated after that Solo speed bump? Will Jumanji 2 take us to The Next Level or were we pretty good with the level we were already on?

Make your predictions, cast your votes, and take a dip in the 2019 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 selling your family on getting an Impossible Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner.

*****

November 1

Terminator: Dark Fate
The 2019 Holiday Movie Pool has been targeted for Termination as Linda Halmiton returns as the OG Sarah Connor! Jamie Lee Curtis kicked butt back into the Halloween franchise, can Linda bring the same? The trailers are really trying hard to build this up as something special and not like those other already forgotten lesser sequels. Will the ticket buyers “be back”?

Motherless Brooklyn
Ed Norton could’ve played his cards differently and been The Hulk in five of the most successful films ever made. Instead, he’s now playing a lonely private detective with Tourette's Syndrome in a period piece crime noir. At least he has Bruce WIllis and Willem Dafoe to keep him company.

Harriet
The long in development biopic on Harriet Tubman finally comes to the screen starring Cynthia Erivo. It doesn’t feature music from Queen or Elton John like other recent movie pool biopics, but if you thought playing Live Aid or Dodger Stadium was amazing, wait till you get a load of Harriet Tubman!

Arctic Dogs
If your not a Disney, Dreamworks, Blue Sky, or Illumination animation movie, you’re Arctic Dogs. This story about a fox trying to stop a warius from melting all the ice in the arctic features the voices of Jeremy Renner, Heidi Klum, James Franco, John Cleese, Omar Sy, Michael Madsen, Laurie Holden, Anjelica Huston, and Alec Baldwin… And if you started to dowse-off after reading John Cleese, you’re not alone.

November 8   

Doctor Sleep
What sounds like should be a prescription for valium is actually the sequel to Stephen King’s The Shining. Little Danny from the hotel is all grown-up and finding out there’s other people with his power and not all of them are as nice as Scatman Crothers. Could this be another It-sized hit or a Pet Semetery shrug?

Last Christmas
It’s a rom-com directed by Paul Fieg and written by Emma Thompson. I’m guessing that last Christmas, someone gave someone else his/her heart. The very next day, that someone gave it away. This year, to save someone from tears, he/she will give it to someone special… special.

Midway
What I thought was about the Midway video game company and their awesome franchises of NBA Jam, Mortal Kombat, and Ms. Pac-Man, is actually about some obscure battle during World War II… or maybe it’s not that obscure. It was the four-day battle in the Pacific that was a turning point in the war. Since it’s from the same director as Independence Day, you know there’s going to be a hell of a “pump them up” speech before the last push!

Playing with Fire
To paraphrase the legendary Sgt. Al Powell from Die Hard, “John Cena has the Universal Action Star Playbook and he’s running it step-by-step.” This time he’s heading into his “kids comedy” phase that The Rock stayed in forever, Vin Diesel dabbled, and Batista’s heading there next. In Playing with Fire, Cena plays a forest firefighter in charge of some kids at his fire station… and hilarity ensues.

November 15   

Charlie’s Angels
It’s been almost 20 years, so it’s totally fine to have a millennial reboot of Charlie’s Angels. Also, I’m pulling for Elizabeth Banks as she’s got her name all over this film as a director, writer, producer, and co-star. However, that first film wouldn’t have gone anywhere without the star power of Drew, Cam, and Lucy. Can this film fly with lower wattage stars and a stale brand? Good luck, Angels!

Ford v. Ferrari
Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in the real life story of an auto designer and racer trying to make a Ford that could compete with a Ferrari in a 24-hour race 1966. I’d have been way more interested if the battle had been moves to the 70s and it settled the eternal ugliest car debate: Gremlin v. Pacer!

The Good Liar
Ian McKellen plays a man trying to con a wealthy widow played by Helen Mirren? Not even Gandalf can pull-off that trick on Dame Helen! He’s so screwed.

November 22   

Frozen II
Disney and Pixar have had a pretty good record of success rate with their sequels… Yet this is a musical sequel! Broadway’s never even pulled this off (don’t look too hard or you’ll stumble onto music from Annie 2: Miss Hannigan’s Revenge (I kid you not!), Bring Back Birdie (if you have to ask…) Love Never Dies (Phantom of the Opera sequel), and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Goes Public (the only thing that makes a sequel worse, is a longer title!). So, if you can’t make it there, can you make it anywhere? Well, if not, at least you can still sell a bunch of t-shirts, jammies, and backpacks. Let it go.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
After the hit Won’t You Be My Neighbor documentary last year comes a biopic with Tom Hanks portraying the legendary children’s television star Mister Rogers. While I’m not sure enactments will tell a better story than the actual interview footage did, I bet there’s a lot of people who’d rather go visit The Neighborhood of Make-Believe than check the latest Apple News Notifications.

21 Bridges
Chadwick Boseman puts down the vibranium and puts on the badge as a police detective shutting down all 21 bridges to Manhattan as a way to contain the manhunt for two cop killers. Maybe New York should’ve tried this before sports stars Odel Beckham Jr. and Kristaps Porzi??is left town.

November 27   

Knives Out
Director/Writer Rian Johnson brings his latest concoction to the screen as a modern, black comedy whodunnit with a cast of thousands. Ok, maybe it only feels that way, but when you start going down the list of Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Christopher Plumber, and Lakeith Stanfield, you just stop counting. You’d already hooked this 80s kid raised on nothing but TV mystery shows when you said “whodunnit.” Now take my money!

Queen & Slim
A first date goes horribly wrong as a minor traffic violation pull-over leads to an officer being killed in self-defence. The now forced together couple go on the run and become symbols of the injustice felt around the country. Daniel Kaluuya gets his first starring role since Get Out.

December 13   

Jumanji: The Next Level
For all those people who ever said, “Wouldn’t it be funny to see The Rock and Kevin Hart act like senior citizens,” boy, do we have the movie for you! Hart and Rock are now channeling Danny Glover and Danny DeVito and presumably any other Danny they can find (Danny Zuko?) in the jungle of Jumanji. Can they top their last adventure’s high score of $400 million.

Black Christmas
Blumhouse Productions tries to resurrect the Black Christmas name for the second time in hopes that people will want to see a horror movie during the most wonderful time of the year. Outside of the Scream series, horror films in the holidays have traditionally brought nothing but coal in the stocking.

December 20   

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
A buddy of mine who was one of the haters of The Last Jedi (I was fine with it), tells me how everything about this movie seems to be “pretend the last film never happened.” Let’s throw Skywalker in the title even though Luke’s gone. Look, here’s the Millenium Falcon, don’t you like this? Lando’s back, baby! Oh, and let’s have a jedi with a lightsaber duel a tie-fighter because… that’s how we did it with our toys?! Seems like the same strategy that Taylor Swift tried with her latest album as ever song screamed “It’s not Reputation music!” and that hasn’t exactly worked.

Cats
Speaking of Taylor Swift, and the other assorted cast of awesomeness (like Jennifer Huson, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson and Dame Judie Dench), Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash 80s musical gets the “went big” treatment with this fantastical, live-action adaptation. I’m not sure whether there’s more CGI in here or Star Wars or whether everyone was just high on catnip during this production, yet movie musicals have done well during the holiday season. You just have to ask… are moviegoers more cat people or dog people?

Bombshell
Here we have not just a look behind the politics at Fox News, but especially at the sexual politics. Bombshell centers on the story of several female Fox News employees and how they exposed the sexual harassment treatment of disgraced former CEO Roger Ailes. Now, I hope Margot Robbie, Charlize Theron, and Nicole Kidman don’t actually “expose” John Lithgow. It’s just a movie, people. It’s the real life guy that’s a creep.

December 25   

Little Women
Am I the only one who thought this was a big-screen version of the Lifetime reality show about vertically challenged women? Greta Gerwig follows up her Lady Bird movie about modern-day life in Sacramento (Sac Town!) with this 19th century period piece set in, I don’t know, woods, snow, and New Englandy stuff. I wish all my fellow Sactonians luck in whatever they do, but it would’ve made more sense if she made something called Sutter’s Fort. At least she got a stellar cast of Emma Watson, Timothy Chalamet, and Meryl Streep.

Spies in Disguise
In 2019 Will Smith has looked like a cartoon in Aladdin and played a spy in Gemini Man. Now he gets to be both! The animated comedy features cool agent Smith getting turned into a bird thanks to a Q Branch lackey Tom Holland. After the invisible car in Die Another Day, I hope James Bond producers aren’t getting any inspiration from this idea.


by Matt Neuenburg on 10/24/2019

Movies Mentioned in this Post: 21 Bridges, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Arctic Dogs, Black Christmas, Bombshell, Cats, Charlie’s Angels, Ford v. Ferrari, Frozen II, Harriet, Jumanji: The Next Level, Knives Out, Last Christmas, Little Women, Midway, Motherless Brooklyn, Playing with Fire, Queen & Slim, Spies in Disguise, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Terminator: Dark Fate, The Good Liar
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