Movies & TV / Columns

411 Fact or Fiction Movies/TV 12.21.12: Week 362

December 21, 2012 | Posted by Ben Piper

Hello! Welcome to what may or may not be the last Fact or Fiction of 2012. No, I’m not at all referring to the looming Mayan apocalypse, but rather the fact that with Xmas next week, I might have a hard time finding anyone to take part. But we’ll deal with that when the time comes, and you’ll know why if there is no column next week.

This week, however, we’ve got Joseph Lee and Mike Gorman hobnobbing with the best of them. Let’s not waste any more time and see what it is they each have to say…

1. This Is 40 will be one of the funniest movies of the year.

Joseph Lee: Fiction. I’m just not feeling this movie from the trailers. I should, because I like almost everyone involved, but nothing in the trailers have grabbed me. I’m sure it will be funny, there’s a very rare occasion when Paul Rudd isn’t entertaining. But funniest of the year? It has some strong competition in Ted and Cabin in the Woods to take that title.

Mike Gorman: Fiction. I definitely agree with my esteemed colleague on this decision. The build up and promotion for this film has been lackluster at best in my opinion. The trailer makes it seem cliched and kind of played out. I tend to think that Paul Rudd shines when he is alongside another strong comedic personality but I just don’t think it will be the best this time. It may have some laughs but I will be surprised if it ends up as one of the funniest of the year.

Score: 1 for 1

2. Vin Diesel starring as a big screen Kojak is an idea you can get behind.

Joseph Lee: Fiction. I’m a little too young to remember the original Kojak and I never watched the short-lived revival. That said, the only thing I’ve enjoyed Vin Diesel in was The Iron Giant. I’m not a fan of his so I can’t get behind anything that keeps giving him acting roles. Some people were meant for acting, and some people were meant to be anonymous. Vin Diesel’s monotone voice was meant to be anonymous.

Mike Gorman: Fact. I actually think that is this instance, knowing what I do about the Kojak character, that Vin Diesel’s robotic acting style could end up being a blessing for this role. There will definitely be a kitschy air to the film in general and I think that Diesel can definitely fit into that atmosphere. I also think that it has been long enough since the original Kojak for audiences to catch on to a new take with a new bald guy in the lead.

Score: 1 for 2

3. The starring tandem of Seth Rogan and Barbara Streisand won’t be enough to lift The Guilt Trip beyond mediocrity.

Joseph Lee: Fact. Not a real fan of Barbra Streisand, but that’s because I’m not her demographic. Seth Rogen, meanwhile, has shown in the past couple of years he can be funny in roles that are more suited to his abilities. Will this be one of those? I’m not sure. But I have no interest in seeing Rogen taking his mother on a road trip. It doesn’t sound bad, but it doesn’t sound like it will be anything memorable.

Mike Gorman: Fiction. We disagree again my good Mr. Lee. I was actually discussing this film last night with my father. We shared our reticence at admitting that we both think this one looks like it could be really funny. I think no one can play an over bearing mother with a comedic edge better than Streisand right now as evidenced in her appearances in the Meet the Fockers films. Combine that with Rogen’s ability to play dumbfounded straight man to hilarious effect and I think this film has some legs. It has been a while since we have seen a Mother-Son combo like this be the focus of the film and I am looking forward to it!

Score: 1 for 3


4. Jack Reacher will be an outstanding & fun action movie.

Mike Gorman: Fact. For me I think that the key word in this instance, is fun. All I have seen so far about Jack Reacher tends to make me think it will turn out to be an action romp that takes itself way too seriously in all the right ways. The trailer gives this one the feel of an old school action flick that isn’t relying too heavily on computer generated explosions to carry it’s plot forward. I think Cruise’s patented intensity will translate well in this one.

Joseph Lee: Fiction. Nothing I’ve seen for this movie makes me think I’ll enjoy it. I like Tom Cruise, but I’ve never read the novel and there’s nothing that makes this seem like anything more than a generic anti-hero movie we’ve seen a million times. I’m mostly waiting on word-of-mouth for this one, and even then I’m not checking it out in the theater.

Score: 1 for 4

5. Ricky Gervais is a poor choice to star in the planned Muppets sequel.

Mike Gorman: Fiction. Ricky Gervais is pretty much a comedy god in my eyes and I do feel like regardless of the project he will bring something unique and funny to it. Even in his worst roles, he has moments where he shines. Now we are placing him into a movie that is riding the success wave of its recents preceder’s release; and that movie happens to be The Muppets. I think Gervais sensibility and dead pan humor will blend well with the antics of the Muppet gang. I can’t wait to see him discuss the implications of a frog and pig mating with Piggy and Kermit!

Joseph Lee: Fiction. I don’t see why Ricky Gervais would be a bad choice. He’s funny enough and I’ve liked him in his other two movies. If Jason Segel isn’t coming back, then why not Ricky Gervais? The Muppets tend to mix well with anyone, so he’s as good an option as anyone.

Score: 2 for 5

6. Zero Dark Thirty will be one of the best movies of the year.

Mike Gorman: Fiction. I am supremely torn on this one, to be honest. I think that all of the advance information we’re seeing lends me to believe that a lot of care has been put into the crafting of this film and I think Kathryn Bigelow will definitely bring an interesting voice to the story but in the end I am not sure how I feel about the movie being made in general. Something feels a bit exhibitionist about it to me, detailing such an important event so soon before we have time to gain perspective on the greater ramifications both good and bad of the entire situation. I tend to like my historical dramas to be a bit more historical before their release. But I know that may just be me on this one and I expect to have many folks disagree with my perspective.

Joseph Lee: Fiction. I’m a big fan of Kathryn Bigelow and I really enjoyed The Hurt Locker. But this movie seems very derivative of that and in a short amount of time. The problem with the material is that we know how the hunt for Osama Bin Laden ended. Doesn’t that sort of remove all of the drama from this true life tale? The entire premise of the movie is centered around if they can find and kill the terrorist. Granted, it’s more about the details that went into Bin Laden’s capture, but otherwise this seems like a better directed Act of Valor. I’m not too excited for it but I’m more than willing to give it a chance.

Final Score: 3 for 6

Joseph and Mike split the difference. Thanks to them both for playing. If we wind up not having a column next week, I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season!



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