Weekend Watch – 12/20/19 & 12/27/19

Welcome to the Weekend Watch. Where we try to point you towards the best ways to spend your viewing time (or, at least, steer you clear of the garbage).


Wide Release

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Loren: Duh. This stuff is my bread and butter. I’m going in cautiously optimistic, but a lot of the crazy negative click bait headlines are making that a little tough.

RDT: Look, I’m seeing this, obviously. As AJ said below, when this drops, some of us will have already seen it. And I have hope, maybe not a new hope, but hope nonetheless. I mean, at worst, we’ll still get something better than the prequels…….right…..?

Rick: I’ve been on media blackout since the first teaser dropped, but based on what I’ve seen I have precious little faith. This feels just as lazy as The Force Awakens. Fan service. Retreading more old ground. It looks like it lacks imagination on every level. I won’t be the least bit surprised if this is just a poor man’s remake of Return of the Jedi. Poorly executed retreads are what JJ Abrams does “best”. At least we have The Mandalorian.

AJ: When this gets published Friday morning, I’ll have seen the movie the night prior, so obviously I am seeing this movie. Was there any doubt? I’m trying-trying-trying to temper my expectations. In the meantime, let’s all watch this delightful Skywalker/Vader “Family Feud” from Jimmy Kimmel Live:


Loren: I saw the stage show during it’s original run back when I was a kid. I’m curious to see the trainwreck that was translated to weird sexy cat people on the big screen.

RDT: Morbid curiosity alone is what will get me to (eventually) see this. Hopefully, satisfaction brings me back.

Rick: I have a wild idea. Hear me out. Instead of using complicated motion capture suits and overspending on CGI that looks laughable, why not put people in, I don’t know, costumes? You know, like the incredibly detailed and lifelike ones they used for the theater production for literally decades. Seemed to work for them. I know. It’s not as fancy and hip as blowing your budget and overworking your staff for the sake of using the latest technology, but just give it some thought. Otherwise, this may make a Bad Musical Night at the Whitsett where we can all get drunk and make fun of it.

AJ: Ugh. No. NO. NOOOOO. I hate the stage musical, I think this looks like a hot mess. NO. When they had to go back, based on the first trailer reactions, and rework some of the effects, that should have been a big indication that this entire film was a misstep. Good luck, Cats, I think you’re pretty doomed. (And what Rick said.)

Spies in Disguise

Loren: I just want what this movie starts out as, but then the pigeon stuff happens it goes totally off the rails for me.

RDT: Though I am a manchild, I’m not the audience for this movie.

Rick: Eeeeh. I’m sure this is fine, but it’s not really lighting my world on fire. Unless it gets rave reviews, I’ll pass.

AJ: I am here for an animated, clever, witty spy film starring the voice talents of Will Smith and Tom Holland. I am not here for an animated spy film where said spy turns into a bird.

Little Women

Loren: I’m with RDT here, like I’m probably not going to go out of my way to see Little Women, but if I do it’s going to be with this cast and this director.

RDT: I feel like if I’m ever going to see an adaptation of Little Women, it’s going to be this adaptation of Little Women.

Rick: I’m fairly fond of the 1933 version with Katherine Hepburn, but I don’t think I’ve seen any of the other adaptations. Regardless, I think Greta Gerwig is talented and this is a great cast. I’ll wind up seeing this in theaters.

AJ: Confession: I am not a huge Little Women fan. But I think Gerwig is proving to be one of our most meaningful filmmakers and this cast is great. I love me some Laura Dern. I look forward to forking over some of my hard-earned cash for this.


Loren: This looks fantastic but I’ve never been in to war movies. I’ll probably pass on this.

RDT: I really could not be less interested.


AJ: I love a gorgeous, breathtaking, war epic and it’s been a while since I’ve seen one (Note: I did not like Dunkirk). Totally in for this.

Just Mercy

Loren: Heck of a cast and subject matter, but it doesn’t feel like it treads any new ground cinematically. Couple that with the fact that this is certainly not my movie wheelhouse and well… I’m probably out.

RDT: Much like the awards pundits I follow on Twitter, I could not be more ambivalent about this movie. It just looks so… generic, like I’ve seen it before, a lot.

Rick: To AJs point: This is getting a typical awards qualifying run now and opens wide in January, so I expect it to get a bigger push in the new year. I’ve seen the trailer in theaters a couple of times in recent weeks, and that version highlights this limited release and the wide release date next year. No idea why Foxx and Jordan did a promo appearance back in September, though. Hopefully they’ll do another round next month.

AJ: Maybe it’s the girth of awards-season content and the looming largess of Star Wars, but I feel like we’re not hearing much about this movie. (Why were Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan on Fallon back in September to promote this?!) Good cast, it looks like an important story and I did find some positive reviews so I wish it well. I’ll see it someday.

Limited Release

The Tobacconist

Loren: That’s more nudity than I was expecting on YouTube that’s for sure. As far as the movie goes, I’ve said it a few times here that I’m sort of out on all things WWII.

RDT: It looks pretty, sure. But who are we trying to kid? I’m never going to see it.

Rick: I think I got my fill of Nazis this holiday season after watching A Hidden Life. Unless reviews are stellar I’m out on this one.

AJ: That trailer jumps around a bit tonally, doesn’t it? I’m sort of intrigued and I’m starting to find German a little sexy…. But I’m torn. I don’t know how enthusiastic I am to see this. I liked it at the start when it was about the unusual friendship between a Tobacco shop owner and Sigmnund Freud, but throw in a boner joke and some Nazis — well, I’m taking a step back.

She’s Missing

Loren: Don’t do drugs and join weird human trafficking cults kids.

RDT: How did Hartnett never end up as a cop on NCIS: Des Moines?

Rick: I’m kind of behind Josh Hartnett as some creepy cult-type leader, but the rest of this feels pretty meh.

AJ: Nothing here is original. And there’s nothing I hate more in films than being edgy for the sake of being edgy. Can’t say that’s for me.

Lost Holiday

Loren: Woof. I know studios don’t make original content any more, and that usually studio interference ruins the content that does make it out, but man this could have used some of that interference.

RDT: One can only hope William Jackson Harper did this before The Good Place hit and it’s just been sitting on a shelf for 3 years.

Rick: What fresh hell is this?! I really hope William Jackson Harper was just doing a solid for someone. He deserves better than this.

AJ: Terrible, terrible trailer. What is this movie even about? But I do know it’s an indie!

Invisible Life

Loren: Not for me.

RDT: Guys, I haven’t read a book in over a year. I barely read comics anymore. Hell, Buzzfeed articles are too long for me at times. I don’t know what I’m trying to say here. Maybe I’m just dumb. **shrugs**

Rick: Apparently this was not considered for Best International Film for next year’s Oscars as it did not make the shortlist. That aside, this looks like one of those movies I’ll have to see in theaters. I may forget about it otherwise. These types of movies tend to get lost once they hit home video.

AJ: If I can get myself to sit down and read subtitles for 114 minutes, that actually looks pretty strong.

The Song of Names

Loren: I think I’ll just read the book… summary.

RDT: It’s in English, but it’s still like I don’t care.

Rick: I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about this feels flat to me. I’ll wait for reviews.

AJ: The book this film is based on earned a lot of critical acclaim. I’m not sure, from the trailer, the film will live up to that. I typically find Tim Roth to be pretty brilliant however I am often not a fan of Clive Owen. So I’m skeptical here. I doubt I will rush to see this.



Ronnie Chieng: Asian Comedian Destroys America!

Loren: As with most stand up that I don’t know off the bat, I’ll give this a shot at some point and if it’s good it’ll get added to the rotation.

RDT: Like AJ, I don’t love the style of trailer. But unlike AJ, I have no idea who this dude is. That being said, I may give it a shot… or completely forget it exists.

Rick: Never heard of Ronnie Chieng before watching this trailer. When they bothered to show some of his act it got a few laughs out of me. I have a feeling this will get lost in my queue and I’ll forget about it, though. *shrug*

AJ: I think the way they’ve styled this trailer is kind of dumb but I like Ronny Chieng on “The Daily Show” so I’m sure this will go in the queue.


Loren: That looks like an extremely solid musical. I’ll give it a go.

RDT: I know I’m not usually the music guy, but I do enjoy a good musical (I mean, Grease 2 IS one of my favorite movies… unironically). Count me in!

Rick: Okay, this is a musical I can get behind. Into the queue it goes.

AJ: Hello, I am the target demographic for this content. Yes, please.

The Two Popes

Loren: Nah.

RDT: I don’t care about popes.

Rick: Remember when Anthony Hopkins was going to retire from acting? Thank the maker that didn’t happen. That said, I’m not super into this. I just don’t care about the story enough to invest two hours.

AJ: Yes, I am very much in to see Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins co-star in a film directed by Fernando Meirelles. Can I also add that my favorite review I saw of this on Twitter was: “Popes! They’re just like us!” 😂😂😂

The Witcher

Loren: I haven’t played any of the games but the last one has gotten serious critical acclaim. I’m down for this and even though sword and sorcery isn’t my go to, there is a bit of a hole there after GoT ended.

RDT: Never played the games or read the books. Reportedly, Cavill is a huge fan. So, good for him for getting cast. Unless reviews are stellar though, I have enough other tv to watch.

Rick: The sword and sorcery genre is not one of my favorites, so I tend not to seek it out. But if it’s trashy sword and sorcery like the Deathstalker movies then I’m on board for the junk food-style fun of it all. I’ll give at least the first episode a watch to see if I take to it, but I’m not super convinced I’ll be in for the long haul.

AJ: Henry Cavill, I think you are better than this. I think. This looks like “Game of Thrones” and a Nic Cage movie got together to have a baby. But I guess it’s based on a best-selling international book series so perhaps there’s an audience out there for it. What do I know….

John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch

Loren: The Lady™ and I are big time Mulaney fans (except for Big Mouth, can’t get in to that) so this is right in our wheelhouse. It’s a little weird but I like weird. We’ll definitely throw this on at some point over the holidays.

RDT: I run hot and cold on Mulaney. I’m feeling a little chilly right now.

Rick: You can’t see me, but I’ve been making a skeptical squinty face for like five minutes trying to figure out my feelings on this. I think that means I’m out.

AJ: I don’t think a week goes by where I don’t quote John Mulaney in some capacity. I am a fairly obsessed fan. And I don’t know if this is truly for kids or ironically for kids or for adults who have kids… Whatever it is, I will watch it. Because when I think childrens’ programming, I think David Byrne.

Lost in Space Season 2

Loren: Need to finish Season 1 first but we’ll probably just move right on to Season 2 if we do.

RDT: I enjoyed the first season… when it came out over a year and a half ago. But still, I’ll check back in on the Robinsons, after a quick Wikipedia refresh.

Rick: This is back, huh? I never got around to the first season. I honestly don’t think I’m going to ever go back and catch up.

AJ: The first season got great reviews, if memory serves, and I am a big fan of Katherine Collins (Riot Girls), who writes on this show. Someday I’ll play catchup and get into it.


Well Groomed

Loren: Hahaha I can’t even imagine the live audience for the “Super Bowl of Dog Grooming” that has to sit there and watch for 2 hours.

RDT: Watchmen ended. Last Week Tonight isn’t back until February. So…..I may have already canceled HBO. Pass.

Rick: The term “Sports” is used verrrrrry loosely in reference to this doc, me thinks. Frankly, I’m more excited at the prospect that this could be the subject of a Best in Show sequel.

AJ: I can’t wait to hate-watch this.

So that’s your upcoming weekend in review. Let us know what you saw, liked and/or hated.

As always, you can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hollywoodpicturenews, Instagram at instagram.com/hollywoodpicturenews, or @HWPicNews on Twitter. And send in your questions/comments to questions@hollywoodpicturenews.com.

From Hollywood,
–Loren, RDT, Rick, and AJ

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