It’s a shockingly awesome week for movie-going. Maybe it’s a back-to-school gift to the kiddies? Or an end-of-summer peacemaker? Maybe I’m just in a really good mood and these are actually craptastic movies. Whatever is going on, I’m into it. This week’s movies also cover a huge spectrum of the human experience so no matter what mood you’re in, you’ll probably be psyched. This week, go see “Going the Distance,” “The American,” “Machete,” “The Winning Season,” “Suck,” “Last Train Home,” or “Prince of Broadway.” If you hate them, I’ll totally give you a refund. But not really.
The Movie: “Going the Distance”
The Trailer: Erin (Drew Barrymore) is an intern at The New York Sentinel and meets a newly single womanizer named Garrett (Justin Long), who works at a record label. They fall for each other over their summer-long fling and when Erin goes home to San Francisco to go to grad school at Stanford, they decide to do the long-distance thing. Naturally, they are frustrated, horny and jealous, even though they both fly back-and-forth to see each other. It doesn’t help that Garrett’s friends Box (Jason Sudeikis) and Dan (Charlie Day) tease him mercilessly and Erin’s sister Corrine (Christina Applegate) is super overprotective.
The Hitch: I totally love Drew Barrymore and pretty much everything she does and this seems like a really honest portrayal of her, being in love with a guy she’s usually in love with, and I want to watch the crap out of it. Even if I weren’t an emotional wreck who loves romantic comedies, it’s also an actual comedy—I mean Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day?! Geeking out.
The Movie: “The American”
The Trailer: Jack (George Clooney) is a weary assassin who starts the movie by offing two men hired to kill him and the woman he was in the middle of hooking up with. He hides out in an Italian village, waiting for his next assignment with a gorgeous prostitute (Violante Placido).
The Hitch: While Clooney is fantastic at playing the charming gentleman, it’s kind of upsetting to see him heartless and sad. I don’t care if he’s a killer—to make him pack up that charisma is a travesty. S’all I’m saying.
The Movie: “Machete”
The Trailer: Based on the “fake” trailer in Robert Rodriguez‘s “Grindhouse,” Machete (Danny Trejo) is back as the renegade killer who is hired by Benz (Jeff Fahey) to assassinate a corrupt Senator McLaughlin (Robert De Niro). With the help of his friends Luz (Michelle Rodriguez), Padre (Cheech Marin) and April (Lindsay Lohan!), he goes to shake down McLaughlin while ICE agent Sartana (Jessica Alba) hunts him down.
The Hitch: When I realized what this was, I was immediately gung-ho about it. The best part of “Grindhouse” for me was the fake trailers and as ridiculous and self-mocking this exploitation flick looks, you’ve got to admire the hustle. And the crazy insane cast. I’m not mad at this existing.
The Movie: “The Winning Season”
The Trailer: Loser deadbeat dad Bill (Sam Rockwell) is hired by his buddy Terry (Rob Corddry) to take over a girl’s varsity high school basketball team. He immediately realizes the team (which includes Emma Roberts) is ridiculously bad, but he helps them and, in turn, they help him repair his relationship with his daughter.
The Hitch: I love Sam Rockwell. I love Rob Corddry. And I’ve already laughed more than twice. This is more than I can say for most trailers. And it’s nice for female athletes to get the attention they deserve. I guess.
The Movie: “Suck”
The Trailer: A struggling band called The Winners is totally desperate to make it and when the band members are told they’re getting too old to do it, bass player Jennifer takes the matter into her own hands. When she comes back as a sexy vampire, the band realizes this might be just the schtick they need.
The Hitch: I was going to say that the vampire frenzy was lacking a rock ‘n roll spoof, but then I remembered that scene in “Jennifer’s Body” where Adam Brody plays the pretentious vampire rocker. On the bright side, um, Iggy Pop!
The Movie: “Last Train Home”
The Trailer: Every New Year, 130 million Chinese factory workers leave the city to return home to their families. Chinese-Canadian filmmaker Lixin Fan followed one Chinese couple as they made the journey back to their daughter Qin, who’s now a bitter and rebellious teenager, angry at her parents’ abandonment.
The Hitch: Apparently, this teenage bitterness over parental abandonment is a common thing in China, where the parents often leave their kids with their grandparents or relatives to work grueling hours in factories. This is incredibly depressing. And since Lixin spent years working on this beautiful documentary, it deserves lots of attention.
The Movie: “Prince of Broadway”
The Trailer: Lucky is a charismatic hustler who sells bootleg bags in the wholesale fashion district of New York. He’s an illegal immigrant from Ghana and wants to make it big. Then a woman tosses a baby into his arms, tells him that he’s the father, and bails. Lucky’s existence is thrown into turmoil but he manages to include the little one in his American dream.
The Hitch: It’s really refreshing to see a movie that starts with a fatherless kid who’s abandoned by his mother and ends in a makeshift family. It usually doesn’t turn out so well. And there’s something really endearing about Lucky, despite his cat-calling and sleazy job. It’s probably that whole stepping up and being a dad thing.