Weekend Movies: A Sports Drama, A Biological Thriller and Two You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

If the box office numbers from the last few weeks haven’t tipped you off by now, let me break the news to you that summer is over. Instead of each weekend featuring an anticipated blockbuster or two, we’re now getting the leftovers – the stuff that the studios know is garbage. Every once in a while, we get lucky with a ‘Departed‘ during this dry season. This weekend is especially odd because we’re receiving a semi-‘Departed’ – only it isn’t the one you might think.

The best of the films opening this weekend is being shown on nearly half the screens of the one predicted to be the best. While everyone has their sights set on ‘Contagion’, anyone who sees the underdog ‘Warrior’ will walk away the true winner – and this comes from a guy who loathes sports movies!

Warrior‘ stars Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton as two estranged brothers from a broken family who end up fighting against one another in a major Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition. The two haven’t spoken for years, and confrontation is eminent. Not only will they exchange words, but considering how small the competition is, they’re also sure to exchange blows. One is a blunt tool of strength and force, the other an endurance monster trained in technique – but each fights for righteous and noble reasons.

It’s not often that you get sports-based dramas that feature such strong writing, characters and direction, all while remaining shrouded in a sense of mystery without taking a turn for the formulaic. The problem with the sports genre is that it always falls victim to predictability. Such is not the case with ‘Warrior’. Even if you’ve intentionally avoided MMA fights (like I have), ‘Warrior’ will still win you over.

Contagion‘, on the other hand, is the ‘Valentine’s Day’ of biological dramas. It has far too many big actors playing small, non-fleshed-out roles in a movie so dense and fast with its massive plot that nothing carries any weight. The characters played by Matt Damon and Kate Winslet are the only ones that you ever care for. Everyone else is just cannon fodder, and you couldn’t care less. Subplots and events of insignificance run rampant. Fear is absent and you stare doe-eyed as the uneventful and forgettable story progresses. ‘Contagion’ isn’t terrible; it’s simply a work of mediocre craftsmanship. You may see it and enjoy it this weekend, but you won’t be thinking of it all at come Monday.

Of the two nationwide unheard-ofs opening this weekend, I’ve literally only seen the poster for one and have absolutely no knowledge of the other.

The poster for ‘Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star‘ is hung up in a local cinema. This is another recent film not screened for press, which I’m sure is due to the fact that it stars Nick Swardson, a guy who was funny once a long time ago in ‘Grandma’s Boy’, and even that was a total fluke. I saw ‘Strange Wilderness‘ and will never trust that group of Adam Sandler’s buddies again. Considering that ‘Bucky Larson’ comes from the same team of guys who only have jobs because they’re pals with Sandler, I’m staying as far away from this one as I can. Who wants to see Nick Swardson as a porn star anyway?

What the hell is ‘Creature‘ and how in the world is it receiving a wide opening? I dare one of you Bonus View readers – no, I double-dog dare you – to go see ‘Creature’ this weekend and report back. A horror movie made by a cast and crew of complete no-names, I’m willing to bet that it’s is nothing more than another Syfy channel reject like ‘Skyline‘ that somehow sneaked its way into 1,500 theaters. See what you want, but I’m steering clear of this stinker too.

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