If there's one thing people could have predicted about this weekend, it would be that Going the Distance was never going to be a good movie. It's a romantic comedy starring Drew Barrymore and the Mac guy. That does not qualify a good cinematic experience. It qualifies a funny trailer, but some trailers just weren't meant to be fleshed out into feature length films. On the other side of the spectrum is the surprising front-runner for this weekend, Robert Rodriguez's Machete, based on the renowned Grindhouse trailer.
I was frankly surprised to hear that this was likely to be a hit with both audiences and critics. Out of this weekend, everybody just assumed that the winner would be The American, starring George Clooney. Here's a film from a new director who has displayed skill in the past, but is currently beginning a sort of slump. Critics have been mixed about this film, hoping for something to actually happen in their movie. As a matter of fact, this was the film I was most looking forward to seeing. Perhaps I should be thanking the local theaters for not screening it in my neighborhood.
On the other hand, critics have been really getting behind Machete, because it offers audiences what they couldn't get from The American. All we want at this point in our lives is a good, insane, exploitation action jamboree, and who better to give us that than Robert Rodriguez? Planet Terror remains, for me, his best work today, because he explored all the things he's been good at in the past. I'll be checking out Machete tomorrow, and seeing if all the buzz has benefited his film, or hurt it.
My Verdict: The women of the world, afraid of Rodriquez's "unique" sense of humor, will find entertainment in watching another sub-par romantic comedy, or gazing at two hours of George Clooney not really doing anything. The men who aren't seduced by Clooney, will be spending their time and money wisely with Machete. Or you can screw off the theater crowd altogether and stay at home watching Camp Rock 2. It's your decision.