07 September 2018

Nunppermint

It's been a minute since we've really sunk our teeth into a weekend preview post, but there are some half-way interesting flicks dropping this week worth talking about. Those would be The Nun (2018) and Peppermint (2018). This is a chance to ramble about the potential critical, cultural, and commercial prospects of these two not-that-great-looking films. Let's dive in!

The Nun comes out of the Conjuring Shared Universe, which by the way, is the right way to do a shared universe. No big announcement or logo or awkward Photoshop unveiling - just a main series of films along with spin-offs that explore little interesting nooks and crannies of the universe. I am no real Conjuring expert. I saw the first one. It was like, okay. To be honest, looking this up now I didn't even know there were two Annabelle films. They seem to be doing alright commercially. Cool, bro.
Hey nun! What out for that nun!

The eponymous Nun is a character from The Conjuring 2 (2016), possessed by a demon named Valak who causes some kind of trouble for that there Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. It's always something. The spin-off centers around this demon nun or whatever and the zany hijinks she gets into. Word is that it's loud, silly, and fun - in a horrific way - but that's a solid through line. Horror movies really just need to be interesting in some way. Even if they insert cheap jump scares instead of real existential dread, as long as something happens and the film knows what it wants to be it can be successful. There have been a lot of really empty horror films lately (well, there are always terrible horror films), but Slender Man (2018) or Winchester (2018) really stand out.

Culturally, it ought to stand out amongst Conjuring fans, which have evolved into this solid little niche. Outside that group, I didn't even know there were two Annabelle movies, so whatever. It all kind of blurs together. I have only a vague understanding of what goes on in these movies. I've seen that Nun doing wacky things and maybe this will stick out because it's a pretty distinctive character. Or just typical Catholic demon possession, which happens all the time.

I get the feeling this R-rated September Horror release is just chasing after IT (2017) numbers last year, which it definitely will not achieve. IT was based off Stephen King fans, IT (1990) fans, Tim Curry fans, horror fans, 80s fans, and Stranger Things fans. There was a lot fueling that success. There's no damn Nun fans of equal standing. It'll likely be okay, but not a game changer.

Then we have Peppermint. This is like Jennifer Garner starring in a Liam Neeson movie. I remember seeing the trailer a while ago and it looked alright if not especially notable. I got thinking this morning, though, about Jennifer Garner's career. See, this is actually the kind of movie she started with and should have starred in in like 2008.

She got her original start being a badass spy on Alias and then transitioned that to playing badass ninja Elektra in both Daredevil (2003) and Elektra (2005). I'm not sure if you've heard this, but neither of those movies are held in high regard. I will now reiterate how much I liked Daredevil. Anyway, Elektra was not that good. Pretty bad, in fact. It seems pretty clear that Garner immediately switched her career trajectory and has barely had a lead role since then, much less an action-themed role.

Sydney don't miss
The closest she's come is The Kingdom (2007), but since then oscillated between romantic comedies like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), supporting wife / mother roles like in Draft Day (2014) and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014), or sappy Christian crap like Miracles from Heaven (2016). There are some Oscar baity picture roles in there from Juno (2007) to Dallas Buyers Club (2013). Actually, Garner is one of the greatest parts in Juno, but the point is she's no where near her start. Until now.

So that puts us at odd odds. Can we buy Garner as a badass? I mean...she totally WAS. But can we remember back to 2005 (maybe 2003) and jump in? I think so - it surely happens with dudes all the time. If John Cusack can be a weird vengeful old dude, Garner should be able to. Evanescence, man. Is that the most 2003 movie scene in history or what. Ultimately Peppermint is likely a forgettable vehicle anyway, but the career flow of Garner really piqued my interest.

I'm betting The Nun takes this weekend, and we'll see if Peppermint can surpass the crazy legs of Crazy Rich Asians (2018). Also, who wants to watch an action movie named Peppermint. It's also actually the latest in a long line of conservative vigilante fantasies in the vein of Punisher, Death Wish (2018), and the Equalizer movies where the government system fails and so we have to turn to private interests to exact justice. None of these are really mainstream popular, but it's an indication of the frustrated and confused moment in time we live in that this shit keeps being made.

What are you seeing this weekend? Creepy nuns? Conservative propaganda? More Asians?

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