Skaters! Pants! The Great Depression! This week at the movies has it all. Will “Cinderella Man” win the battle for critical accolades? Will “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” be a good fit with the critics? Will “Lords of Dogtown” make a perfect critical landing? Will the metaphors ever cease?
Ever wonder why they keep making movies about gritty, scrappy prizefighters overcoming adversity inside and outside the squared circle? Because they always work. Everybody loves that stuff. From “Million Dollar Baby” to “Rocky,” from “When We Were Kings” to “Raging Bull,” boxing movies tap into our primal feelings in ways that no other sports movies can. So it’s no surprise that Ron Howard’s latest, “Cinderella Man,” the story of Depression-era comeback kid James Braddock, is a big winner, with the ringside judges (I mean, the Tomatometer critics) scoring it an 84 percent. That’s better than their previous Academy Award-winning collaboration "A Beautiful Mind," which scored 78 percent. And Russell Crowe is riding an unbeaten streak to rival Joe Louis.’
Another macho, take-no-prisoners, slam-bang summer movie is “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”…. Oops. Sorry. This coming-of-age chicklet-flick about four teenage girls and a pair of magical jeans is making grown movie critics cry. And there’s a good reason for that: the film is about real issues that teenagers face, and real rites of passage, in a non-raunchy, non-simplistic way. At 84 percent on the Tomatometer, these “Pants” are looking good.
Have you ever watched a group of skaters at the park? They can usually pull off one of those cool moves at some point, but it’s hard for them to do it twice. Well, "Lords of Dogtown," a fictional retelling of the highly acclaimed documentary "Dogtown and Z Boys," is exactly like that: it takes the same storyline and winds up smack on the pavement. At 36 percent on the Tomatometer, this is one major bummer, dude.
Average Tomatometer: 69%
Last Five Films with Tomatometer:
85% – Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
78% – A Beautiful Mind
78% – Gladiator
40% – Proof of Life
37% – Mystery, Alaska