Ladies, read at your own risk…because you might not agree with what’s said here, and you probably do want to see these movies.
Awards season is upon us, which means only two things: First, there’s going to be a lot of good movies in the theaters. Second, the really really bad ones that the studios have no confidence in will be released. The market is going to get FLOODED with crap, like it always does, during what I like to call the “Winter Dump Season”, named as such because it’s where studios like to “dump” pictures that have been “shelved” for various reasons. (The Accidental Husband was supposed to be released several times by now…yet never was.) A lot of the films that get dumped this time of year are, as you might have guessed, chick flicks. Why? It's the season with the closest proximity to Valentine’s Day. You need to be conditioned and shaped up for the big gift giving push. Plus, there’s some movies out there to prime the guys out there for the proposal of marriage.
It is this scourge that has motivated me to create The Men's Pain Index - a comprehensive catalog of the films you don't want to see...but will be dragged to and will pay to see anyway. Our first edition covers that ever painful Winter Dump Season, so heads up...for the next four months, this is what's going to be haunting your every waking nightmare.
Bride Wars (January 6)
Official Synopsis: “Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) are best friends who since childhood have planned every detail of their respective weddings. At the top of their bridal "must have" list: a ceremony at New York's ultimate bridal destination, the Plaza Hotel. Now, at age 26, they're both about to get married; they're about to realize their dreams; and they're about to live happily ever after. Or maybe not...when a clerical error causes a clash in wedding dates - they're now to be married on the same date!
Liv, Emma and their lifelong friendship are put to the ultimate test. Liv, a successful lawyer who is used to getting what she wants, including the perfect job and the perfect man, won't settle for anything less than the perfect wedding she has dreamed of for years. Emma, a schoolteacher who has always been good at taking care of others, but not so much in looking after herself, discovers her inner Bridezilla and comes out swinging when her own dream wedding is imperiled. Now, the two best friends who'd do anything for each other, find themselves in a no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners struggle that threatens to erupt into all-out war.”
Translates into…: Bridezillas: The Motion Picture. C’mon, the synopsis uses the freakin’ term outright. Also, changing the name to “Bridezillas: The Motion Picture” helps not confuse the poor SciFi geeks who think this is going to be a film adaptation of “The Courtship of Princess Leia”. (Lucas isn’t THAT desperate for money yet, relax.)
Predictability Factor: Level Red. You know these two will fight, make up, and become friends at the end, probably marrying at the same time. The only thing we’re left to discover is the pranks and “jokes” they uses to get to the end.
Your Saving Grace: She might see this one with the girls, especially if one of the other girls is getting married. They’ll laugh, they’ll cry, they’ll feel “empowered”, you’ll get to sit home and play Xbox.
Why She’ll Drag You To See It: She wants IT, she wants the one ring to rule you always. Or, she happens to just enjoy films about weddings; which is the woman’s equivalent of men’s enjoyment of war movies.
For Revenge, Drag Her To See…: Defiance (January 16). Daniel Craig cures all, it’s another kick assed looking World War II movie, and she might actually enjoy the fact that it’s “based on a true story”. (For some reason, they believe “true stories” hook women into theaters. Mamma Mia proved that when it had the trailers for The Express and Flash of Genius attached to it.)
He’s Just Not That Into You (February 6)
Official Synopsis: “An all-star cast is featured in the stories of a group of interconnected, Baltimore-based twenty- and thirtysomethings as they navigate their various relationships from the shallow end of the dating pool through the deep, murky waters of married life. Trying to read the signs of the opposite sex, each hopes to be the exception to the "no exceptions" rule.”
Translates into…: Diary of a Mad White Woman. Actually, this was based off a book written by a man, so really who knows what to expect, except for at least one "Bad Dog!" moment for at least one of the guys. (Smart money's on the Mac kid.)
Predictability Factor: Level Orange (it’s never Green). I don’t know what to expect from this, except pain and the possibility of an Oprah Winfrey cameo in the epilogue.
Your Saving Grace: Some of the guys in this movie might actually be allowed to say something witty or insightful. Not to mention you have Ben Affleck as one of the guys who can do both and still remain entertaining.
Why She’ll Drag You To See It: It was one of those beach reads she read a while back when it first came out. The book spoke to her, and hit her right where she lived…so naturally she’s going to bring you along so you can gain insight into her psyche. (Read: she thinks if you see this movie, you’ll understand her and women that much better.)
For Revenge, Drag Her To See…: Push (February 6). A whole bunch of people have fun with psychic powers. She wants to see a movie that’s like a book…so take her to see a movie that’s like a comic book. That, and the director also made Gangster No.1 and Lucky Number Slevin. Plus, your lady can drool over Chris Evans while you geek out. (Hey, it worked with the Fantastic Four movies. Not to mention, it was a free pass to drool over Jessica Alba, while you still could.)
Note: I would have said Fanboys, but The Weinstein Company screwed around with the movie and delayed it out the ass, so rent it instead. They don’t deserve the money.
Confessions of a Shopaholic (February 13)
Official Synopsis: “In the glamorous world of New York City, Rebecca Bloomwood (ISLA FISHER) is a fun-loving girl who is really good at shopping—a little too good, perhaps. She dreams of working for her favorite fashion magazine, but can't quite get her foot in the door—until ironically, she snags a job as an advice columnist for a financial magazine published by the same company. As her dreams are finally coming true, she goes to ever more hilarious and extreme efforts to keep her past from ruining her future.”
Translates into…: A live action version of your little sister playing Barbies. Don’t believe me? Look at the Russian version of the poster included above. It looks like an ad for your very own life size Isla Fisher doll, which would actually bring men to the theater, had it been manufactured and given away with each pair of tickets to see this. Not to mention, just like Barbie, she'll find her Ken after a day's worth of intense bargain hunting.
Predictability Factor: Level Orange. To a certain extent, this is essentially “Sex and the City” without the sex; plus they’ll probably take liberties with the reality of the book. Honestly, the trailer doesn’t even make it seem like she’s as in love with the guy she’s chasing as she is with her American Express Platinum card.
Your Saving Grace: Isla Fisher is hot, John Lithgow is funny, and Jerry Bruckheimer was involved in the production. Wait a second…this is starting to sound like another Coyote Ugly? Hot lead(s), funny father figure/older male actor, Jerry Bruckheimer producing…adjust your expectations accordingly.
Why She’ll Drag You To See It: It’s an excuse for her to shop and shop without remorse, because in the end she’ll sort it all out and live happily ever after!
For Revenge, Drag Her To See…: Friday the 13th (February 13). Show her the true meaning of “50% off” (read: decapitations) and “Everything Must Go” (read: nudity and high body count).
The Accidental Husband (March 27?)
Official Synopsis: “New York firefighter Patrick Sullivan had no idea his seemingly idyllic life was about to go up in smoke – especially as the unwitting, second-hand recipient of advice from famed love expert and radio host Dr. Emma Lloyd. One day he is a happy, go-lucky guy looking forward to a life with his soon-to-be-bride. The next thing you know, his fiancée Sophia (Justina Machado) is seeking couples counseling on the radio from Dr. Lloyd. The no-nonsense, ever practical Dr. Lloyd questions Sophia's concept of romantic love and advises her to break their engagement, which she swiftly does. But when Patrick and his computer-savvy neighbor decide to give Dr. Lloyd a taste of her own medicine and "accidentally" join them in holy matrimony – something that doesn't go over too well with her fiancée (played by Colin Firth) -- it isn't long before they learn that sometimes even an expert in love needs a second opinion...”
Translates into…: Here Comes “The Bride” How Uma Thurman could make “Kill Bill” and “The Producers, yet decide to star in movies like this and “Prime” is beyond me; but it’s her career’s funeral.
Predictability Factor: Level Red. Cut and paste fractions of “Bride Wars”, “The Ugly Truth”, and “27 Dresses”; lather, rinse, vomit, repeat for an hour and a half.
Your Saving Grace: The Comedian himself. You’ll have probably seen Watchmen by now, so you could just fall back to the good memories you’ve stored for a rainy day. Also, maybe after he’s played the whiney male lead for the umpteenth time, your girlfriend will stop talking about her huge crush on Colin Firth, or “Mr. Darcy” as she keeps referring to him as.
Why She’ll Drag You To See It: Brand recognition, on top of that wedding movie bit I mentioned earlier. She knows that Denny from “Grey’s Anatomy” (Jeffery Dean Morgan) is in it, and so is Bridget Jones’s (another beach read that “spoke to her”) boyfriend (Colin Firth). These are two guys who have played the non threatening heartthrobs before, and let’s face it…it’s bill paying season.
For Revenge, Drag Her To See…: Watchmen (March 6). You’ll be able to look at Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and for once not have to think about him being Katherine Heigl’s dead boyfriend on Grey’s Anatomy or The Accidental Husband ever again. Plus, you can imagine The Comedian pwning everyone with a flamethrower should this movie get that boring. (Imagining the Darkseekers from I Am Legend and Clover from Cloverfield helped me get some sort of laughs from seeing 27 Dresses, aka Heiglfield last year. Speaking of which…)
The Ugly Truth (April 3)
Official Synopsis: “The battle of the sexes heats up in Columbia Pictures' comedy "The Ugly Truth." Abby Richter (Katherine Heigl) is a romantically challenged morning show producer whose search for Mr. Perfect has left her hopelessly single. She's in for a rude awakening when her bosses team her with Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a hardcore TV personality who promises to spill the ugly truth on what makes men and women tick.”
Translates into…: 28 Dresses Later. Katherine Heigl is bitter and nagging about men, while trying to chase them down and make one her own once more.
Predictability Factor: Level Black. This looks like another paint by numbers “try to make Katherine Heigl look cute” movie. You know she’ll discover that the “man’s man” is the one that she really loves, and you know the surgeon is going to turn into an asshole in the end. Face it, this thing kinda writes itself, and has for the past couple decades. When you’re faced with a Katherine Heigl movie that isn’t Bride of Chucky, you can kinda see where it’s going from frame one.
Your Saving Grace: Gerard Butler, King Leonidas himself. His character looks hysterical as the “typical guy”, so his performance might be the one you can enjoy. This is all dependant on your Heigl Tolerance Threshold (HTT). Sorry ladies, romantic comedies only work as well as their leads do, and she’s too good at playing the shrew/nag. Bonus points if you imagine Butler in Leonidas regalia shouting, “THIS IS BORING!” and kicking Ms. Heigl down the well.
Why She’ll Drag You To See It: Just looking at the poster, she’ll use it as grounds to prove that “Men think with their other head”, and she’ll probably look at you a couple times and say, “You know…you do that sometimes”, before punching you in the shoulder. You big Y-chromosomal meany!
For Revenge, Drag Her To See…: Crank: High Voltage (April 17), because it’s pure male adrenaline that you’ll need after Return to Heiglfield, and it might be your last chance to see Jason Statham before he too succumbs to the “easy rom-com payday”.
Alternate suggestion: Drag Me To Hell (May 29), because if she drags you to see all of these movies you can tell her that they finally made a movie that describes just how you feel when she asks you to see a chick flick. (MAKE SURE TO SMILE AND LAUGH AFTER YOU SAY THIS, SO SHE DOESN'T GET MAD AT YOU WHEN SHE REALIZES IT'S NOT A JOKE!)
Final Note: This guide is meant for men, in order to help them cope with the movies mentioned in the above text. Do not show this to your girlfriend, otherwise she'll probably kick your ass and/or make you sleep on the couch with no chance of getting near her sexually for about at least a month and a half. If you do show her this guide, it is at your own risk and I hope you have access to the Internet for that month and a half.
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