Opening Weekend: The Judge and the No Good, Very Bad Day

October 10, 2014

For the weekend of October 10th, American theaters get two films focused on families. Of course, this is pretty common these days. Major movie theaters want the most tickets sold, and that comes from big families. Based on the marketing, these particular films seem to be trying their hardest to pull the strings of familiarity, or at least pure sentimentality or silly hijinks, that will bring the mini-vans to the cineplex.

Likely to draw in the most plentiful box office return is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, based on the 1972 children’s book of the same name. Much like past attempts to bring picture books to the feature realm, like Mike Myer’s Cat in the Hat or the two Jim Carrey vehicles How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Mr. Popper’s Penguins, this film has taken a ton of liberties to stretch the simple original story to a feature film. Alexander stars Steve Carrell and Jennifer Garner as the parents of a family going through the titular especially bad day. Rather than following the simple hard luck antics of Alexander’s day, this new film appears to detail the different strands of each family member, which naturally includes several things being set on fire, a car accident, Carrell getting punched by a kangaroo and just a lot of stuff breaking. The trailer boasts the book’s essential moral-of-the-story line about bad days reminding us the importance of the good. We hope this film doesn’t just leave us with a bad one.

On a more dramatic (maybe even melodramatic note), the long-hyped and recently defeated Robery Downey Jr. film The Judge hits theaters today. As a cocky defense attorney returning home after his mother’s death, Hank Palmer (Downey) is forced to go head-to-head with his judge father (Robert Duvall) in a battle of emotions that will surely bring some tears, maybe a few laughs. The Judge was pre-determined as a launching point for awards season, yet was nearly panned at its TIFF premiere. We’ll see if the critics were too harsh, or if maybe they were just being stubborn all along and really always loved The Judge, just did not know how to show affection, you know, since the accident…

Also this weekend: The (untold) story of Dracula is rehashed on screen and festival highlights Whiplash and St. Vincent see limited release.

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