Half Baked

(Photo by Gramercy Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection. Thumbnail image: Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection; Universal/courtesy Everett Collection.)

25 Essential Stoner Movies Ranked

If your movie nights could take a few more hits, check out our guide to the best stoner movies! These are essential movies to the marijuana experience, ranging from counterculture classics (Up in Smoke, Easy Rider), top-shelf mainstream films (Pineapple Express, Friday), and cult comedies (Grandma’s Boy, Super Troopers), all featuring icons like Jeff Spicoli and The Dude. Then we took all the movies and sorted them by Tomatometer, lowest to highest.

If you’re seeking a trip guide, something to pair with whatever state you’re in, check out the 25 Essential Stoner Movies! (And don’t forget the 20 best movies to watch high.)


Grandma's Boy (2006)

Adjusted Score: 17953%
Critics Consensus: A gross-out comedy that's more gross than comedic, Grandma's Boy is lazy and unrewarding.
Synopsis: When he and his roommate can't pay their rent, video game creator Alex (Allen Covert) finds himself homeless and moves... [More]
Directed By: Nicholaus Goossen

Adjusted Score: 18570%
Critics Consensus: The movie isn't funny, the plot is too thin, and the production values feel more like a TV sitcom than a movie.
Synopsis: Last night, two party-hearty Dudes had an unbelievably sweet time. Too bad, they can't remember a thing, including where they... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner


Soul Plane (2004)

Adjusted Score: 20175%
Critics Consensus: A raunchy sendup of Airplane! that never really takes off.
Synopsis: Following a ridiculously awful flight that leads to his pet's death, Nashawn Wade (Kevin Hart) files a lawsuit against the... [More]
Directed By: Jessy Terrero


How High (2001)

Adjusted Score: 27553%
Critics Consensus: How High is a sloppily constructed stoner movie filled with lame, vulgar jokes.
Synopsis: Multi-platinum rap superstars Redman and Method Man star as Jamal and Silas, two regular guys who smoke something magical, ace... [More]
Directed By: Jesse Dylan


Half Baked (1998)

Adjusted Score: 29552%
Critics Consensus: You'd have to be high to dig Half Baked's half baked production and scattershot sense of humor -- although maybe that was the point of this Dave Chapelle-led joint.
Synopsis: When a member of their crew gets arrested for killing a New York City police horse by feeding it junk... [More]
Directed By: Tamra Davis


Super Troopers (2001)

Adjusted Score: 36375%
Critics Consensus: A more-miss -than-hit affair, Super Troopers will most likely appeal to those looking for something silly.
Synopsis: Always looking for action, five over-enthusiastic but under-stimulated Vermont State Troopers raise hell on the highway, keeping motorists anxiously looking... [More]
Directed By: Jay Chandrasekhar


Reefer Madness (1936)

Adjusted Score: 42994%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: High-school principal Dr. Alfred Carroll (Josef Forte) relates to an audience of parents that marijuana can have devastating effects on... [More]
Directed By: Louis J. Gasnier

Adjusted Score: 28106%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Superlative stoners Cheech (Cheech Marin) and Chong (Tommy Chong) realize that one of their pals is developing a strain of... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Chong


Up in Smoke (1978)

Adjusted Score: 48204%
Critics Consensus: Oft-quoted but undeniably flawed, Up In Smoke is a seminal piece of stoner cinema thanks to the likability of its two counterculture icons.
Synopsis: An unemployed pot-smoking slacker and amateur drummer, Anthony Stoner (Tommy Chong) ditches his strict parents and hits the road, eventually... [More]
Directed By: Lou Adler

Adjusted Score: 54164%
Critics Consensus: We're the Millers squanders its potential with an uneven, lazily assembled story..
Synopsis: Small-time pot dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished; trying to help some... [More]

Adjusted Score: 53527%
Critics Consensus: Visually creative, but also aimless, repetitive, and devoid of character development.
Synopsis: Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and his attorney Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) drive a red convertible across the Mojave desert... [More]
Directed By: Terry Gilliam

Adjusted Score: 56907%
Critics Consensus: Tenacious D fan will find this movie hilarious; everybody else will see only a low-brow concept movie and a small assembly of jokes stretched past the 100 minute mark.
Synopsis: Musicians JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass) begin a friendship that could lead to the formation of the greatest... [More]
Directed By: Liam Lynch


Scary Movie (2000)

Adjusted Score: 56184%
Critics Consensus: Critics say Scary Movie overloads on crudity and grossness to get its laughs.
Synopsis: Defying the very notion of good taste, Scary Movie out-parodies the pop culture parodies with a no-holds barred assault on... [More]
Directed By: Keenen Ivory Wayans

Adjusted Score: 57819%
Critics Consensus: Fans can expect a good laugh as the cast from Smith's previous films reunite for Jay and Silent Bob's last bow. The loose plotting and crude language may be too much for others though.
Synopsis: When Jay and Silent Bob learn that a "Bluntman and Chronic" movie is being made featuring their comic book counterparts,... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith


Smiley Face (2007)

Adjusted Score: 67659%
Critics Consensus: Although many of the jokes have been done before, Anna Faris's bright performance and Gregg Araki's sharp direction make Smiley Face more than your average stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Jane (Anna Faris), a struggling but perpetually stoned actress, has a busy day ahead. She has several important tasks on... [More]
Directed By: Gregg Araki

Adjusted Score: 76191%
Critics Consensus: Both funny and scattershot, this loose-knit action/buddy/stoner comedy bridges genres and keeps a steady tempo of low-ball laughs.
Synopsis: Stoner Dale Denton's (Seth Rogen) enjoyment of a rare strain of marijuana may prove fatal when he drops his roach... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green


Ted (2012)

Adjusted Score: 77406%
Critics Consensus: Ted's "romance versus bromance" plot is familiar, but the film's held aloft by the high-concept central premise and a very funny (albeit inconsistent) script.
Synopsis: When John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) was a little boy, he made a wish that Ted (Seth MacFarlane), his beloved teddy... [More]
Directed By: Seth MacFarlane


Inherent Vice (2014)

Adjusted Score: 83383%
Critics Consensus: Inherent Vice may prove frustrating for viewers who demand absolute coherence, but it does justice to its acclaimed source material -- and should satisfy fans of director P.T. Anderson.
Synopsis: In a California beach community, private detective Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) tends to work his cases through a smoky... [More]
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

Adjusted Score: 78160%
Critics Consensus: The likable leads and subversion of racial stereotypes elevate Harold and Kumar above the typical stoner comedy.
Synopsis: Nerdy accountant Harold (John Cho) and his irrepressible friend, Kumar (Kal Penn), get stoned watching television and find themselves utterly... [More]
Directed By: Danny Leiner

Adjusted Score: 82581%
Critics Consensus: While Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn's legendary performance, the film endures because it accurately captured the small details of school, work, and teenage life.
Synopsis: Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is a pretty, but inexperienced, teen interested in dating. Given advice by her uninhibited friend,... [More]
Directed By: Amy Heckerling


Friday (1995)

Adjusted Score: 78097%
Critics Consensus: What Friday might lack in taut construction or directorial flair, it more than makes up with its vibrant (albeit consistently crass) humor and the charming, energetic performances of its leads.
Synopsis: It's Friday and Craig Jones (Ice Cube) has just gotten fired for stealing cardboard boxes. To make matters worse, rent... [More]
Directed By: F. Gary Gray


The Big Lebowski (1998)

Adjusted Score: 89049%
Critics Consensus: Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.
Synopsis: Jeff Bridges plays Jeff Lebowski who insists on being called "the Dude," a laid-back, easygoing burnout who happens to have... [More]
Directed By: Joel Coen


This Is the End (2013)

Adjusted Score: 91203%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
Synopsis: In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg


Easy Rider (1969)

Adjusted Score: 89836%
Critics Consensus: Edgy and seminal, Easy Rider encapsulates the dreams, hopes, and hopelessness of 1960s counterculture.
Synopsis: Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), two Harley-riding hippies, complete a drug deal in Southern California and decide to... [More]
Directed By: Dennis Hopper

Adjusted Score: 96009%
Critics Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.
Synopsis: This coming-of-age film follows the mayhem of group of rowdy teenagers in Austin, Texas, celebrating the last day of high... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

Pineapple Express

(Photo by Columbia Pictures/ courtesy Everett Collection)

All Seth Rogen Movies, Ranked By Tomatometer

One-season wonder Freaks and Geeks had a startling amount of its young alums go on to have successful Hollywood careers, Seth Rogen chief among them. He followed mentor Judd Apatow into the movie game with The 40 Year-Old Virgin, starring in a memorable supporting role. Rogen was then upgraded to lead status for Apatow’s follow-up Knocked Up, and the movie’s critical and box office success showed Virgin was no fluke, heralding a significant sea change in mainstream American comedy. Rogen has remained the face of this bong- and bro-tastic style of comedy, also featuring big rips of heartfelt emotion – like Animal House by way of James L. Brooks – in repeated movie hits like Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is the End, Neighbors, and The Disaster Artist.

He’s been amassing an impressive résumé as producer (not just on his own starring films, but also the likes of Blockers and Good Boys) and director, helming This Is the End, The Interview, and episodes of Future Man and Preacher. His latest comedy was An American Pickle. And now we’re looking at all of Seth Rogen’s movies, ranked by Tomatometer!

Adjusted Score: 14708%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The Compson family struggles to adjust to the changes in society during the early 20th century in the Deep South.... [More]
Directed By: James Franco


Zeroville (2019)

Adjusted Score: 23035%
Critics Consensus: Potentially an ironic favorite for cult film fans, Zeroville is a fundamentally misguided -- and descriptively titled -- passion project for its director and star.
Synopsis: With two tattoos of Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor on his shaved head, Vikar rides a bus into Hollywood and... [More]
Directed By: James Franco


The Guilt Trip (2012)

Adjusted Score: 41025%
Critics Consensus: Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand have enough chemistry to drive a solidly assembled comedy; unfortunately, The Guilt Trip has a lemon of a script and is perilously low on comedic fuel.
Synopsis: Before embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime road trip, Andy Brewster pays a visit to his overbearing mother, Joyce. That proves to... [More]
Directed By: Anne Fletcher


The Green Hornet (2011)

Adjusted Score: 53339%
Critics Consensus: It's sporadically entertaining, but The Green Hornet never approaches the surreal heights suggested by a Michel Gondry/Seth Rogen collaboration.
Synopsis: Britt Reid (Seth Rogen), the heir to the largest newspaper fortune in Los Angeles, is a spoiled playboy who has... [More]
Directed By: Michel Gondry


The Interview (2014)

Adjusted Score: 55946%
Critics Consensus: Unfortunately overshadowed by controversy (and under-screened as a result), The Interview's screenplay offers middling laughs bolstered by its two likable leads.
Synopsis: Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen) are the team behind the popular tabloid-TV show "Skylark... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Adjusted Score: 59740%
Critics Consensus: Though it has a mean streak, and does not cater to all tastes, Observe and Report has gut-busting laughs and a fully committed Seth Rogen in irresistible form.
Synopsis: As head of security at the Forest Ridge Mall, Ronnie Barnhardt (Seth Rogen) takes his job very seriously, enforcing mall... [More]
Directed By: Jody Hill


The Lion King (2019)

Adjusted Score: 78224%
Critics Consensus: While it can take pride in its visual achievements,The Lion King is a by-the-numbers retelling that lacks the energy and heart that made the original so beloved--though for some fans that may just be enough.
Synopsis: Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny on the plains of Africa. But... [More]
Directed By: Jon Favreau

Adjusted Score: 60128%
Critics Consensus: Brisk, funny, and sweetly raunchy, For a Good Time, Call... adds to the recent string of R-rated female comedies while serving as an overdue coming out party for the charming Ari Graynor.
Synopsis: Reserved Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and bubbly Katie (Ari Graynor) are polar opposites and past enemies. However, when both gals... [More]
Directed By: Jamie Travis

Adjusted Score: 75831%
Critics Consensus: Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising may not be strictly necessary, but it still wrings a surprising amount of humor from a recycled premise with a distaff twist.
Synopsis: Life is good for Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) and pregnant wife Kelly (Rose Byrne) until the unruly sisters of Kappa... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller

Adjusted Score: 73012%
Critics Consensus: Zack and Miri Make a Porno is a modest success for Kevin Smith, due in large part to the charm of Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks.
Synopsis: Lifelong friends and now roommates, Zack (Seth Rogen) and Miri (Elizabeth Banks) are buried under a mountain of debt. When... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Smith

Adjusted Score: 76191%
Critics Consensus: Both funny and scattershot, this loose-knit action/buddy/stoner comedy bridges genres and keeps a steady tempo of low-ball laughs.
Synopsis: Stoner Dale Denton's (Seth Rogen) enjoyment of a rare strain of marijuana may prove fatal when he drops his roach... [More]
Directed By: David Gordon Green


Funny People (2009)

Adjusted Score: 77815%
Critics Consensus: Funny People features the requisite humor, as well as considerable emotional depth, resulting in Judd Apatow's most mature film to date.
Synopsis: Recently learning that he has a fatal disease, comic George Simmons (Adam Sandler) spots a struggling performer named Ira (Seth... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow


The Night Before (2015)

Adjusted Score: 74217%
Critics Consensus: The Night Before provokes enough belly laughs to qualify as a worthwhile addition to the list of Christmas comedies worth revisiting, even if it isn't quite as consistent as the classics.
Synopsis: For the last 10 years, lifelong buddies Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have gathered on... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine


Paul (2011)

Adjusted Score: 77918%
Critics Consensus: It doesn't measure up to Pegg and Frost's best work, but Paul is an amiably entertaining -- albeit uneven -- road trip comedy with an intergalactic twist.
Synopsis: For the past 60 years, a wisecracking alien named Paul (Seth Rogen) has resided at a top-secret military base in... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola

Adjusted Score: 83249%
Critics Consensus: An American Pickle lacks the tart snap viewers might expect given its creative premise, but Seth Rogen's dual performance makes this a low-key comedy to relish.
Synopsis: Preserved in pickle brine for 100 years, an Orthodox Jewish factory worker wakes up in New York City and tracks... [More]
Directed By: Brandon Trost

Adjusted Score: 81922%
Critics Consensus: Though it doesn't approach the depth of the best animated films, Monsters Vs. Aliens has enough humor and special effects to entertain moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: When a meteor full of space gunk transforms Susan Murphy (Reese Witherspoon) into a giant, the government renames her Ginormica... [More]


Neighbors (2014)

Adjusted Score: 81526%
Critics Consensus: With plenty of bawdy humor evenly spread between its well-matched stars, Neighbors earns its R rating -- and filmgoers' laughs.
Synopsis: New parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) move to the suburbs when they welcome an infant daughter into... [More]
Directed By: Nicholas Stoller


Take This Waltz (2011)

Adjusted Score: 83634%
Critics Consensus: Featuring excellent work from an outstanding cast, the bittersweet drama Waltz proves that in the right hands, a familiar tale can still ring true.
Synopsis: A young woman (Michelle Williams) is torn between the husband (Seth Rogen) that she loves and a new man (Luke... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Polley

Adjusted Score: 84142%
Critics Consensus: Horton Hears A Who! is both whimsical and heartwarming, and is the rare Dr. Seuss adaptation that stays true to the spirit of the source material.
Synopsis: Animated elephant Horton (Jim Carrey) finds a speck of dust floating in the Jungle of Nool. Upon investigation of the... [More]

Adjusted Score: 85664%
Critics Consensus: The Spiderwick Chronicles is an entertaining children's adventure, with heart and imagination to spare.
Synopsis: Of the three Grace children, Jared (Freddie Highmore) has always been thought of as the troublemaker. So when strange things... [More]
Directed By: Mark Waters


Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

Adjusted Score: 86841%
Critics Consensus: The storyline arc may seem a tad familiar to fans of the original, but Kung Fu Panda 2 offers enough action, comedy, and visual sparkle to compensate.
Synopsis: Now known as the Dragon Warrior, Po (Jack Black) protects the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung... [More]
Directed By: Jennifer Yuh Nelson


Long Shot (2019)

Adjusted Score: 99821%
Critics Consensus: A sharp and deceptively layered comedy that's further fueled by the odd couple chemistry of its leads, this Long Shot largely hits its marks.
Synopsis: Fred Flarsky is a gifted and free-spirited journalist who has a knack for getting into trouble. Charlotte Field is one... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine


Sausage Party (2016)

Adjusted Score: 95761%
Critics Consensus: Sausage Party is definitely offensive, but backs up its enthusiastic profanity with an impressively high laugh-to-gag ratio -- and a surprisingly thought-provoking storyline.
Synopsis: Life is good for all the food items that occupy the shelves at the local supermarket. Frank (Seth Rogen) the... [More]


This Is the End (2013)

Adjusted Score: 91203%
Critics Consensus: Energetic, self-deprecating performances and enough guffaw-inducing humor make up for the flaws in This Is the End loosely written script.
Synopsis: In Hollywood, actor James Franco is throwing a party with a slew of celebrity pals. Among those in attendance are... [More]
Directed By: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg

Adjusted Score: 92444%
Critics Consensus: Steve Carell's first star turn scores big with a tender treatment of its titular underdog, using raunchy but realistically funny comedy to connect with adult audiences.
Synopsis: Andy Stitzer (Steve Carell) is an amiable single guy who works at a big-box store. Living alone, 40-year-old Andy spends... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow


Steve Jobs (2015)

Adjusted Score: 98210%
Critics Consensus: Like the tech giant co-founded by its subject, Steve Jobs gathers brilliant people to deliver a product whose elegance belies the intricate complexities at its core.
Synopsis: With public anticipation running high, Apple Inc. co-founders Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve "Woz" Wozniak get ready to unveil... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle


Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016)

Adjusted Score: 96905%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda 3 boasts the requisite visual splendor, but like its rotund protagonist, this sequel's narrative is also surprisingly nimble, adding up to animated fun for the whole family.
Synopsis: Living large and loving life, Po (Jack Black) realizes that he has a lot to learn if he's going to... [More]


Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Adjusted Score: 94519%
Critics Consensus: Kung Fu Panda has a familiar message, but the pleasing mix of humor, swift martial arts action, and colorful animation makes for winning Summer entertainment.
Synopsis: Po the panda (Jack Black) works in his family's noodle shop and dreams of becoming a kung-fu master. His dream... [More]


Superbad (2007)

Adjusted Score: 96006%
Critics Consensus: Deftly balancing vulgarity and sincerity while placing its protagonists in excessive situations, Superbad is an authentic take on friendship and the overarching awkwardness of the high school experience.
Synopsis: High-school seniors Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) have high hopes for a graduation party: The co-dependent teens plan... [More]
Directed By: Greg Mottola


Knocked Up (2007)

Adjusted Score: 100064%
Critics Consensus: Knocked Up is a hilarious, poignant and refreshing look at the rigors of courtship and child-rearing, with a sometimes raunchy, yet savvy script that is ably acted and directed.
Synopsis: Rising journalist Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) hits a serious bump in the road after a one-night stand with irresponsible slacker... [More]
Directed By: Judd Apatow

Adjusted Score: 116562%
Critics Consensus: Oh, hai Mark. The Disaster Artist is a surprisingly poignant and charming movie-about-a-movie that explores the creative process with unexpected delicacy.
Synopsis: The incredible true story of aspiring filmmaker and Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau as he and his best friend defiantly pursue... [More]
Directed By: James Franco


50/50 (2011)

Adjusted Score: 100616%
Critics Consensus: A good-hearted film about a difficult topic, 50/50 maneuvers between jokes and drama with surprising finesse.
Synopsis: Adam Lerner (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has always tried to take good care of his health, so it comes as a cruel... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Levine

Thumbnail image: Columbia Pictures, Universal / courtesy Everett Collection 

The latest movies, new Netflix series, and other new releases coming to the streaming giant this month include critically-acclaimed series — including Peaky Blinders, Schitt’s Creek, The Kominsky Method, and Big Mouth, for example — returning this month.

Plus, El Camino: The Breaking Bad Movie arrives. The film is the highly-anticipated followup to the award-winning TV series that has all five seasons Certified Fresh and was recently voted the TV show that defined the 2000s by Rotten Tomatoes readers.

Read on if you’re looking for a worthy binge, starting with a few titles to look out for at the top.


Peaky Blinders: Season 5 (2019) 85%

Description: As the Shelbys grapple with the 1929 stock market crash, Tommy confronts new threats to his power from younger family members and fascist rivals.

Premiere Date: Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

Big Mouth: Season 3 (2019) 97%

Description: In season 3, Big Mouth focuses on what’s like to be going through puberty now. The show continues exploring human sexuality and everything around it, tackling issues such as cell phone addiction, female anger, the vast spectrum of sexuality, Adderall abuse, dick pics, toxic masculinity, and of course “how to have an orgasm.” As the end of seventh grade rapidly approaches, Thandie Newton shakes things up as Missy’s new Hormone Monstress, and Ali Wong joins the cast as a new student who makes everyone at Bridgeton Middle question their sexuality. The season culminates with a superhero showdown that brings long simmering tensions to a head and tests even the strongest friendships.
Premiere Date: Friday, Oct. 4, 2019

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019) 91%

Description: Written and directed by Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, the Netflix Television Event El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie follows fugitive Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) as he runs from his captors, the law and his past.

Premiere Date: Friday, Oct. 11, 2019

Living With Yourself: Season 1 (2019) 80%

Description: Netflix original series Living With Yourself is an inventive existential comedy that asks: do we really want to be better? Miles (Paul Rudd) is a man struggling in life. When he undergoes a novel spa treatment that promises to make him a better person, he finds he’s been replaced by a new and improved version of himself. As he deals with the unintended consequences of his actions, Miles finds he must fight for his wife (Aisling Bea), his career, and his very identity. Told from multiple perspectives, the eight-episode series was created and written by Emmy Award-winner Timothy Greenberg (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (The Battle of the Sexes, Little Miss Sunshine) and stars Paul Rudd and…Paul Rudd.

Premiere Date: Friday, Oct. 18, 2019

Dolemite Is My Name (2019) 97%

Description: Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.

Premiere Date: Friday, Oct. 25, 2019

Available 10/1

Carmen Sandiego: Season 2 (2019)
Nikki Glaser: Bangin' (2019)
93 days
Along Came a Spider (2001) 32%
Bad Boys (1995) 42%
Bad Boys II (2003) 24%
Blow (2001) 55%
Let's Fight Ghost: Season 1 (2016)
Charlie's Angels (2000) 69%
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) 42%
Cheese in the Trap: Season 1
Chicago Typewriter: Season 1 (2017)
Crash (2004) 74%
Exit Wounds (2001) 33%
Good Burger (1997) 34%
Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008) 52%
Honey 2 (2011) 10%
House of the Witch (2017)
Lagos Real Fake Life
Men in Black II (2002) 39%
Moms at War
No Reservations (2007) 42%
Ocean's Thirteen (2007) 69%
Ocean's Twelve (2004) 54%
One Direction: This Is Us (2013) 63%
Payday (2018) – not sure if right ‘Payday’
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie (2000) 76%
Scream 2 (1997) 81%
Senna (2010) 93%
Signal: Season 1
Sin City (2005) 77%
Sinister Circle (Cementerio General 2) (2016)
Supergirl (1984) 9%
Superman Returns (2006) 75%
Surf's Up (2007) 79%
The Bucket List (2007) 41%
The Flintstones (1994) 20%
The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000) 25%
The Island (2005) 40%
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) 67%
The Rugrats Movie (1998) 59%
The Time Traveler's Wife (2009) 38%
Tomorrow With You: Season 1 (2017)
Trainspotting (1996) 91%
Troy (2004) 54%
The Tunnel: Season 1 (2013) 83%
Unaccompanied Minors (2006) 29%
Walking Out (2017) 90%

Available 10/2

Living Undocumented
Read to Mingle (Solteras)
Rotten: Season 2 (2019)

Available 10/3

Seis Manos: Season 1 (2019) 100%

Available 10/4

Big Mouth: Season 3 (2019) 97%
Creeped Out: Season 2 (2019)
In the Tall Grass (2019) 36%
Peaky Blinders: Season 5 (2019) 85%
Raising Dion: Season 1 (2019) 83%
Super Monsters : Season 3
Super Monsters: Vida’s First Halloween

Available 10/5

Legend Quest: Masters of Myth

Available 10/7

Match! Tennis Juniors
The Water Diviner (2014) 62%

Available 10/8

Deon Cole: Cole Hearted (2019)
The Spooky Tale of Captain Underpants Hack-a-ween

Available 10/9

After (2019) 18%
Rhythm + Flow: Season 1 (2019) 95%

Available 10/10

Schitt's Creek: Season 5 (2019) 100%
Ultramarine Magmell

Available 10/11

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019) 91%
The Forest of Love
Fractured (2019) 59%
Haunted : Season 2
Insatiable: Season 2 (2019)
The Influence (La influencia) (2019) 0%
Plan Coeur: Season 2
Wolkenbruchs wunderliche Reise in die Arme einer Schickse (2018) 63%
YooHoo to the Rescue : Season 2

Available 10/12


Available 10/15

Dark Crimes (2016) 0%

Available 10/16

Ghosts of Sugar Land
Sinister 2 (2015) 15%

Available 10/17

The Karate Kid (1984) 89%
The Unlisted

Available 10/18

The Yard (Avlu)
Baby: Season 2 (2019)
Eli (2019) 48%
Interior Design Masters: Season 1 (2019) 40%
() %
The Laundromat (2019) 40%
Living With Yourself: Season 1 (2019) 80%
MeatEater: Season 8 (2019)
Mighty Little Bheem: Diwali
Seventeen (1983)
Spirit Riding Free: Pony Tales : Season 2
Tell Me Who I Am (2019) 97%
Toon: Seasons 1-2
Unnatural Selection
Upstarts (2019)

Available 10/19

Men in Black (1997) 92%

Available 10/21

Echo in the Canyon (2018) 90%
Free Fire (2016) 70%

Available 10/22

Jenny Slate: Stage Fright (2019) 100%

Available 10/23

Dancing with the Birds
Master Z: Ip Man Legacy (2018) 89%

Available 10/24

Daybreak: Season 1 (2019) 70%
Revenge of the Pontianak (2019)

Available 10/25

A Tale of Love and Darkness (2015) 72%
Assimilate (2019) 56%
Drug Squad: Costa del Sol: Season 1 (2019)
() %
Dolemite Is My Name (2019) 97%
Greenhouse Academy : Season 3
The Kominsky Method: Season 2 (2019) 100%
() %
Nailed It! France (C’est du gâteau!)
Nailed It! Spain (Niquelao!)
Prank Encounters: Season 1 (2019) 40%
Rattlesnake (2019) 30%
It Takes a Lunatic (2019)

Available 10/28

A 3 Minute Hug
Little Miss Sumo
Shine On with Reese: Season 1

Available 10/29

Arsenio Hall: Smart & Classy (2019)

Available 10/30

Flavorful Origins : Yunnan Cuisine

Available 10/31

Kengan Ashura : Season 2
() %
Raging Bull (1980) 94%


Leaving 10/1

A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001) 75%
All the President's Men (1976) 94%
Bonnie and Clyde (1967) 88%
Bring It On: In It to Win It (2007)
Cabaret (1972) 93%
Casper (1995) 51%
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) 97%
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) 83%
Cloverfield (2008) 78%
Deliverance (1972) 89%
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002) 44%
Empire Records (1995) 31%
Evolution (2001) 44%
Forks Over Knives (2011) 59%
Frances Ha (2012) 93%
Free State of Jones (2016) 48%
Get Carter (2000) 11%
Gremlins (1984) 85%
Hoosiers (1986) 91%
Impractical Jokers: Season 1 (2011) 100%
In Bruges (2008) 84%
Julie & Julia (2009) 77%
Lakeview Terrace (2008) 44%
Midsomer Murders
Obsessed (2009) 19%
Pineapple Express (2008) 68%
Platoon (1986) 87%
Quiz Show (1994) 96%
She's Out of My League (2010) 58%
The Dukes of Hazzard (2005) 14%
The Nightmare (2015) 67%
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005) 77%
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008) 65%
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) 95%

Leaving 10/5

Despicable Me 3 (2017) 59%

Leaving 10/7

David Blaine: What Is Magic?
Scream 4 (2011) 61%

Leaving 10/9

Little Witch Academia
Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade
Sword Art Online: Season 2 (2014)

Leaving 10/15

The Boarding School

Leaving 10/20

Bridget Jones's Baby (2016) 78%

Leaving 10/25

The Carrie Diaries 83%

Leaving 10/29

The Fall: Season 1 (2013) 95%
The Imitation Game (2014) 89%

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With this weekend’s Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Seth Rogen continues a busy year that started with Kung Fu Panda 3 and will find him returning to theaters in just a few short weeks with the animated Sausage Party. In honor of all that activity — and a filmography that’s grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade — we decided to dedicate this week to taking a fond look back at some of the hardworking Mr. Rogen’s best-loved efforts. It’s time for Total Recall!

Freaks and Geeks 100%

Unlike a lot of actors who end up starring in films or TV shows about high school students, Rogen was still just a teenager when he responded to the casting call for Judd Apatow’s Freaks and Geeks. It turned out to be a fateful decision: landing the role of Ken Miller on the sadly short-lived series led to a productive friendship with Apatow, who offered Rogen a role in his follow-up show, Undeclared, and then absorbed him into his so-called comedic “frat pack” after that series also met an untimely end. For Rogen fans who want an early look at the future star in his formative years, Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared offer a glimpse of what was to come — and for the rest of us, it’s just really entertaining television.

Watch Trailer

The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) 85%

The R-rated comedy went through some lean years in the 1990s and early 2000s, but by the middle of the decade, studios were willing to bet on grown-ups wanting to laugh again, and Judd Apatow — and, in turn, Seth Rogen — gave them plenty to laugh at, starting with 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Rogen plays second fiddle here, appearing as a pot-smoking friend and co-worker to Steve Carell’s titular paragon of chastity, but this is no ordinary supporting role — not only does he get some of the movie’s most memorable lines (including a particularly quote-friendly exchange with Paul Rudd’s character), but he earned a production credit on the film, showing some of the behind-the-scenes acumen that has helped make him more of a budding mogul than your average 26-year-old movie star. Whether or not people went to see it for Rogen, The 40-Year-Old Virgin was a huge hit, making more than $175 million at the box office, and critics enjoyed it too: The Globe and Mail’s Jason Anderson spoke for many of his peers when he wrote, “If only losing it was so good for everybody.”

Watch Trailer

Knocked Up (2007) 89%

Two years after helping Steve Carell break a 40-year streak of sexual inactivity, Seth Rogen played a character on the verge of a different sort of threshold — namely, fatherhood — in Knocked Up. The movie also presented a career Rubicon of sorts for Rogen; after playing a secondary character in Virgin, he moved into the ranks of unconventional comedic leading men with Knocked Up, starring opposite Katherine Heigl as the ambition-deficient half of a couple thrown together by the unplanned results of a one-night stand. It was Rogen’s fourth project with Judd Apatow, and the basic, seemingly effortless likability that the director had seen in his star since their Freaks and Geeks days resonated with audiences — to the tune of nearly $220 million in box office receipts — and helped earn Knocked Up some of the best reviews of the year. Salon’s Stephanie Zacharek was one of the many critics who found it Fresh, praising what she saw as “a picture that refuses to fetishize either the ability to conceive or the significance of our place in the universe once we’ve done so.”

Watch Trailer

Superbad (2007) 88%

It isn’t at all uncommon for high school buddies to daydream about growing up and making it big together — or for aspiring screenwriters to pen their first scripts before they’re old enough to vote. Most of them don’t have the patience to nurture an idea for over a decade, or the luck necessary to take your idea to the box office — but that’s exactly what Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg did with Superbad. Of course, it didn’t hurt having a pair of leads as buzz-friendly as Jonah Hill and Michael Cera, or being able to introduce Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the one and only McLovin — but Superbad‘s real strength lies in the way Rogen and Goldberg’s sweetly funny script blends honest moments with gross-out gags and absurdist humor (including a surreal extended cameo from Rogen and Bill Hader as a pair of spectacularly incompetent police officers). At 87 percent on the Tomatometer, Superbad received no shortage of love from critics like Roger Ebert, who pronounced it “A four-letter raunch-a-rama with a heart.”

Watch Trailer

Pineapple Express (2008) 68%

After channeling the spirit of the 1980s teen comedy for Superbad, Rogen and his screenwriting partner revisited another of the decade’s favorite genres for Pineapple Express: the action buddy comedy. It was marketed as a stoner comedy, and while it certainly contained a fair amount of weed-themed humor, Express was essentially an homage to such squabbling-friends-in-peril classics as Stir Crazy and Running Scared — although it bears pointing out that none of those movies had the benefit of a brief, spectacularly profane appearance by Ed Begley, Jr. Critics weren’t unanimous in their support of the $101 million hit, which starred Rogen and James Franco as a ganja-loving process server and his dealer on the run from a lunatic crimelord — and the theme song, sadly, did not result in a “Back in Time”-sized hit for Huey Lewis — but most scribes agreed with TIME’s Richard Corliss, who deemed Express “A comedy that brings a nicely deflating note of realism to action-film mayhem, as well as being one of the few drug movies you don’t have to be high to enjoy.”

Watch Trailer

50/50 (2011) 93%

Cancer, generally speaking, isn’t all that funny. So kudos to screenwriter Will Reiser for finding the humor in his own diagnosis — and then using the experience as the grist for 50/50, a dramedy about a pair of best pals (played by Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) whose relationship is irrevocably altered after one of them learns he has cancer. Director Jonathan Levine’s deft handling of the story’s tonal shifts keeps the movie from straining for laughs or straying into mawkish territory, while Rogen offers able support for Gordon-Levitt as the best friend of a guy who’s fighting for his life. “What ensues is Beaches meets Pineapple Express,” wrote Mary Elizabeth Williams for Salon. “Which, I’ve got to tell you, is pretty much what living with cancer is like.”

Watch Trailer

Take This Waltz (2011) 79%

Although he’ll probably always be best known for his comedic roles, Rogen’s a fine dramatic actor when given the opportunity. Case in point: 2012’s Take This Waltz, a quiet look at domestic ennui from director Sarah Polley. Here, Rogen stars as Lou Rubin, a guy whose seemingly idyllic marriage to freelance writer Margot (Michelle Williams) is knocked off its axis after she finds herself drawn to their neighbor (Luke Kirby). “In the end,” wrote Michael O’Sullivan for the Washington Post, “it’s a story of misplaced faith. In what? Not love exactly, but in the rush of infatuation, and the illusion that this feeling can be maintained, indefinitely, without crashing.”

Watch Trailer

This Is the End (2013) 83%

We’ve seen plenty of movies about the end of civilization, but they’ve all focused on the apocalyptic problems of ordinary people while neglecting to imagine what those last few days on earth might be like for celebrities. Enter This Is the End, which imagines what it might be like if disaster struck Los Angeles while James Franco was hosting a house party. Featuring Franco, Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, and Danny McBride — among plenty of others — playing fictionalized (and generally obnoxious) versions of themselves, it combines a fresh take on the apocalyptic comedy with the fun of watching movie stars make fun of themselves. As J.R. Jones argued for the Chicago Reader, “Their big joke is to literalize the Book of Revelations, but snaking around this is a biting contempt for the entertainment business, their own bad movies, and the social privilege these confer.”

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Neighbors (2014) 73%

Neighbors is built from an assortment of parts that will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever seen a snobs-vs.-slobs R-rated comedy — yet the sum total works anyway, thanks to the efforts of director Nicholas Stoller and an overall charming cast. Rogen and Rose Byrne star as Mac and Kelly Radner, homeowners who decide to fight back after their lives are made miserable by the occupants of the frat house next door (led by Zac Efron), setting off a suburbanite battle that manages to gleefully offend while remembering to keep its characters somewhat identifiably human. As Betsy Sharkey put it for the Los Angeles Times, “This raunchy unrooting of a settled suburban idyll exposes the considerable angst of emerging adulthood with a kind of scatological fervor designed to elicit oodles of inappropriate laughs.”

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Steve Jobs (2015) 85%

During the years following Steve Jobs’ death in 2011, the market was flooded with all manner of product devoted to analyzing the life and career of the Apple co-founder — to the point that, when Steve Jobs arrived in 2015, it might have seemed to many filmgoers like just another rehash of an already overfamiliar story. Which is unfortunate, because aside from its bad timing, this Danny Boyle-directed biopic has a lot going for it — including a script by Aaron Sorkin and an ace ensemble cast led by Michael Fassbender and supported by Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, and (as Jobs’ fellow Apple founder Steve Wozniak) Seth Rogen. “The dialogue crackles with wit, anger, and passion,” wrote James Berardinelli for ReelViews. “By matching Sorkin’s words with Boyle’s style and Fassbender’s talent, Steve Jobs has hit the trifecta.”

Watch Trailer

James Franco - Steve Granitz/WireImage.com
Having established his name in the Spider-Man movies, these days James Franco is clearly making some more personal career choices. He was in three films in 2008, notable for their vastly different styles. His extended cameo as Richard Gere‘s son in the weepy Nights in Rodanthe, based on the Nicholas Sparks novel, was followed by two far less forgettable roles; opposite Seth Rogen in Pineapple Express (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) and as Sean Penn‘s boyfriend in Milk (for which he has been nominated with the cast for the SAG ensemble award).

He says he signed on for Pineapple because it was a chance to work with Judd Apatow and company, whom he knew from his days on the TV series Freaks and Geeks. “We did a lot of goofing around in a kind of constructed way,” he says of the film. “It’s a lot of improvisation, just letting the camera roll and doing the scene over and over again and seeing what happens. And I loved that!”

When asked to contrast the experiences on the two sets, he stops and thinks. “Milk had its own kind of looseness,” he says. “Gus Van Sant has his own approach, and there was the freedom to try different kinds of things. And Sean really encouraged that too. So it was somewhat improvisational, but what it did was to make the performances more natural. And it may be funny to say, but it was the same with Pineapple. I think that’s one of the things that Judd Apatow brings to comedies: there are wacky situations but it feels more emotionally grounded.”

Clearly this on-screen naturalism is important to him. He’s been studying film at New York University, and chooses five favourites that are all firmly rooted in authenticity…


Gimme Shelter (1970, 100% Tomatometer)

Gimme Shelter
It’s just amazing. I’ve been watching all of the Maysles Brothers‘ films and I’m really into their approach, which they called “direct cinema”, and the whole school that came out of DA Pennebaker, Robert Drew and so on. I love the whole idea that life can be as dramatic as fiction. It’s very different than reality television, because that’s very manipulated.

The Maysles’ approach is minimal interaction and being as observational as possible. Gimme Shelter has such drama, and it’s so well-done. As are all of their films.

I also love Salesman, which also proves that their philosophy can really work, because it just has these real Bible salesmen. But to me it has as much drama and tension as Arthur Miller or Eugene O’Neill – it’s like the Death of a Salesman and The Iceman Cometh all rolled together – but it’s real! I just can’t get enough of it.

My Own Private Idaho (1992, 85% Tomatometer)

My Own Private Idaho
Even before I started acting, this was a very important film to me. Obviously I was really drawn to the performances and characters, but the whole film just kept bringing it back.

Gus has changed his style somewhat beginning with Gerry and all this Bela Tarr and Chantal Akerman influence, which I love too. But back then it was really about collage.

Idaho actually started as three different projects – three scripts – through Orson WellesChimes at Midnight, which was a distillation of Shakespeare, and this other story about street kids in Portland, and then something else about a kid finding his parents in Italy. And then this whole narcoleptic thing that was influenced by George Eliot. He’s got all that just in the script, and then there’s the way it’s shot – he had two DPs, plus time-lapse for the cloud sequences and 8mm for the dream sequences.

I love all of Gus’ movies. I think Drugstore Cowboy is a hilarious movie. I love how he can take a situation like that and make it funny. I think Matt Dillon gives one of the best comedic performances in that movie. Gus is taking a very personal approach in the film – from the look of Bob Yeoman‘s cinematography to the way Gus captures Portland on screen.

The Bicycle Thief (1948, 95% Tomatometer)

The Bicycle Thief
All of my favourite films are approaching realism in a different way. This is Italian neorealism – obviously there’s a script and a story and everything, but it’s shot in the street and it has the feel of Italy, of being in the streets and, like Idaho, a deceivingly, simply constructed narrative. But there’s so much emotion that’s evoked from these very simple stories.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2008, 97% Tomatometer)

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Again, a very simple approach, but there’s so much power in that film. You’re not quite sure what’s happening from the beginning, but you’re just kind of thrown into it. All you know is that these women have this mysterious meeting, and it takes you from there. The film gives you a great sense of what it was really like to live in Romania in the 1980s.

The Wrestler (2008, 98% Tomatometer)

The Wrestler
I loved this film! I really like the films of the Dardenne Brothers, like The Child and The Son, and I’m sure The Wrestler was influenced by the Dardennes, especially in the beginning when the camera is following the back of Mickey Rourke‘s head through the hallways.

I know Darren Aronofsky a little bit, and I remember meeting with him just when The Fountain was coming out, and he told me to look at the Dardenne Brothers because they were doing some really good stuff, so I know he’s a fan.

Milk opens in UK on Friday and in Australia on 29th January. It’s out now in the US.

Ring in the new year with a stoner comedy from the Apatow gang (Pineapple Express), a critically-acclaimed British horror import (Eden Lake), and the movie that brought together the sultry forces of Sir Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen, at long last (The Wackness). Try your best to avoid a handful of clunkers new to DVD this week (Babylon A.D., Righteous Kill, Bangkok Dangerous) and, if you know what a Cylon is, get jazzed for Season 4.0 of the best sci-fi series on television (Battlestar Galactica)!

1. Pineapple Express — 68%

The Apatow train chugs along with Pineapple Express, a film that couldn’t fall farther from director David Gordon Green’s last film, Snow Angels; nevertheless, with Apatow regulars Seth Rogen and James Franco in tow, Green made another crowd-pleasing comedy for grown-ups that should find a home on the shelves of any self-respecting man-child. Pick up the 2-Disc Unrated version for more racy laughs in the tale of a slovenly process server (Rogen) and his dopey dealer (Franco, who earned a Golden Globes nomination for his role) on the lam from drug lords and crooked lady cops; a wealth of deleted scenes and featurettes, table read footage, and more accompany the film, although the set’s crowning glory is the jam-packed audio commentary featuring a roomful of cast and crew.

Below, watch an exclusive deleted scene from Pineapple Express for additional unseen hijinks starring Asian thugs Bobby Lee and Ken Jeong.

Next: Babylon A.D.

2. Babylon A.D. — 7%

Did Vin Diesel’s over the top sci-fi spectacle tank with the critics? Yes. Will that make you want to see it any less? No! If you enjoy occasionally dabbling in the “so bad it’s good” genre, then Babylon A.D. could very well be the most enjoyable two hours of your week. Diesel stars as Torop, a mercenary charged with escorting a young girl from Mongolia to Harlem amidst a hailstorm of bombastic, violent enemies; director Mathieu Kassovitz (Gothika) was so put off by 20th Century Fox’s manhandling of his film (resulting in a cut full of “pure violence and stupidity”) that he publicly denounced his own film upon release. Maybe one day we’ll get Kassovitz’s true director’s cut, but that day isn’t today; until then, make do with this special edition cut, which includes enough deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes featurettes to help you piece together an idea of what Kassovitz may have been going for in the first place.

Next: Bangkok Dangerous

3. Bangkok Dangerous — 9%

Should the Pang brothers have remade their 2001 flick, Bangkok Dangerous? According to the Tomatometer, perhaps not; while their 2008 stab at remaking the tale of a deaf mute hit man had 100 percent more Nicolas Cage, it also fell 40 percent below the original Bangkok Dangerous and landed at a lonely nine percent on the Tomatometer. Which begs the eternal question, if it ain’t broke, why remake it? Featurettes and a digital copy can be found on the 2-Disc release, though we prefer pausing the movie on Nic Cage to ponder his pseudo-mullet to watching any supplemental materials.

Next: Righteous Kill

4. Righteous Kill — 21%

When two acting legends like Al Pacino and Robert De Niro come together on screen, the Tomatometer should jump to 200 percent just on principle alone. Unfortunately, the two Godfather stars came together for a momentous stinker in Righteous Kill, a crime thriller from director Jon Avnet (88 Minutes). Couldn’t these two Oscar-winning thespians see what they were in for? Along with a mostly illustrious cast that includes Brian Dennehy, Donnie Wahlberg, John Leguizamo, Carla Gugino and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, PaciNiro try valiantly to elevate the suspense tale of two veteran cops on the trail of a mysterious serial killer, although only Avnet has the gumption to contribute a commentary track for the DVD release.

Next: The Wackness

5. The Wackness – 67%

If you wax nostalgic about either the 1990s or the hip hop tracks of yesterday, take a closer look at The Wackness. (Similarly, if the idea of Sir Ben Kingsley making out with an Olsen twin titillates you, well, you’ve found this week’s number one rental.) Josh Peck stars as a teenage drug dealer who trades marijuana for guidance from his therapist (Kingsley) while pining for his longtime crush (Olivia Thirlby), all set to the early-’90s tunes of Biggie, Tupac, and more. Look also for a commentary track with Peck and writer/director Jonathan Levine, who also made the critically-loved but hard-to-find festival favorite All the Boys Love Mandy Lane.

Next: Disaster Movie

6. Disaster Movie — 2%

I’ll admit it; I watched Disaster Movie. And while I barely escaped the theater with my sanity, I retained just enough to beg, to implore, to command anyone reading this to do one little thing: avoid it at all costs. Much like the pestilence of “Fill in the Blank Movies” we’ve survived in the past few years, Disaster Movie vomits forth an unending and uninspired stream of pop culture and movie references and dares to call the result a “movie.” Poor Matt Lanter (who voiced Anakin in Clone Wars and pulls a move akin to the Iron Lotus in The Cutting Edge 3) puts his best face forward opposite MTV VJ-turned-kinda-actress Vanessa Minnillo, Carmen Electra, and Kim Kardashian, a trio whose very names might cause some of you to ignore my warning and waste two hours of your life. Oh, the humanity.

Next: Eden Lake

7. Eden Lake — 83%

From across the pond in England comes that much sought-after, elusive prize: a well-reviewed horror film! Kelly Reilly (Pride & Prejudice, Mrs. Henderson Presents) and Michael Fassbender (300‘s Stelios) star as a couple on a romantic retreat gone awry (what other kind is there?) who must fight for their lives against a band of violent teenagers. Although The Weinstein Co. only gave this import an extremely limited theatrical release, many critics call it among the best horror films to come out of the UK in years. Cast interviews and a Q&A with writer/director James Watkins highlight the bonus menu.

Next: Ping Pong Playa

8. Ping Pong Playa — 69%

Director Jessica Yu (In the Realms of the Unreal, Protagonist) departs from heady art house territory with this light comedy about Christopher Wang, a Chinese-American NBA enthusiast whose entire family is obsessed with ping pong. When a family crisis forces him to take up the paddle, Wang — or “C-Dub,” as he prefers to be called — must step up to compete for his family’s honor. Yu and writer/star Jimmy Tsai also contribute a commentary track.

Next: Battlestar Galactica 4.0

What a day for Battlestar fans. Season 4.0 hits DVD this week, chock full of behind-the-scenes goodies, commentaries, deleted scenes and featurettes surrounding the first half of the “final” season of the hit sci-fi adventure series. Spread across four discs, Season 4.0 includes all ten regular season episodes as well as the Battlestar Galactica movie, Razor, which is accompanied by its own commentary track, as well as a handful of additional extras. A smattering of podcast commentaries by producer Ronald Moore should prove particularly enlightening for huge BSG fans.

Until next week, happy renting!

We go to the movies for a lot of reasons: to laugh, to cry, to be scared, to escape. However, the best movies can enlighten and challenge us; by the time we leave the theater, if we’re lucky, we may just learn something. With that in mind, we at RT compiled a list of things we took away from 2008’s cinematic slate — and don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz at the end.

More info…

Billionaire playboys have an inherent need to don costumes and fight crime.

Examples: The Dark Knight, Iron Man

According to the two biggest action movies of this summer, the most effective way for the disgustingly ultra-wealthy to exorcise their demons is to slap on an expensive, hi-tech suit of armor and beat up on bad guys. First it was Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), the former boy genius who came to lead (and improve) his father’s industrial tech company in Iron Man. After a brief stint as a terrorist hostage brings about a moment of clarity, Tony shuts down the military arm of his company, builds himself a spiffy robosuit, and declares war on, well, war.

Just a couple months later, another young member of the “trust fund brigade” by the name of Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) returned to the public consciousness to remind us Tony Stark wasn’t alone. Now Bruce, who also inherited his father’s commercial empire, has previously had the nuances of his psyche explained, but his moral code was never challenged more than in The Dark Knight. And yet again, he turns to the R&D department of his father’s company to gear up with goodies and gadgets, including a new suit of armor, to “work through” his issues by knocking out evildoers. The takeaway from all this, naturally, is that rich kids have issues, and vigilante justice is the best therapy.

More info…

If we continue to mistreat the Earth, mankind is doomed to extinction by either rebellious plants, conservationist aliens, or obesity.

Examples: WALL-E, The Happening, The Day the Earth Stood Still

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about the state of our planet and what effect we, as humans, may or may not have had on it. Since this is RT, and we obviously take all our cues in life from the movies, 2008 tells us we’re in for a world of hurt, people. First of all, if there was ever any confusion about whether or not plants are sentient beings, The Happening cleared all of that up. When people in New York and Philadelphia mysteriously begin committing mass suicide, high school science teacher Elliot Moore (Mark Wahlberg) flees the big city with his wife and a couple of friends. Soon enough, they discover that the phenomenon was perpetrated by the surrounding flora in response to eons of human maltreatment. Airborne toxin-induced autogenocide was the obvious solution.

But let’s say we nip that problem in the bud (no pun intended) somehow; unfortunately we’re still not out of the woods (pun intended). As 2008’s The Day the Earth Stood Still showed us, we are being carefully observed by an alien race that won’t hesitate to exterminate us all in order to save Earth. It doesn’t help our case much when their handsome ambassador Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) finally arrives and the first thing we do is put him in the hospital with a gunshot wound. If only one of their killer robots can decimate half our army, it’s probably best to try not to tick them off. And even if we manage to avoid these outcomes, there’s still the issue of trash buildup. If WALL-E is any indication, we may just end up abandoning the planet altogether, dooming ourselves to a life of hi-tech, spacebound supercomfort and effectively rendering our endoskeletons useless. Final conclusions: we must destroy all plant life pronto, detain Keanu Reeves until further notice, and drink more milk.

More info…

Bumbling everymen are regularly swept into action-packed plots they don’t fully comprehend.

Examples: Wanted, The Forbidden Kingdom, Eagle Eye, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Who doesn’t feel like an ineffectual nobody from time to time? Well, for all of you normal people who didn’t raise your hands, I have good news: Hollywood says adventure is right around the corner for you! Take, for example, The Forbidden Kingdom‘s Jason Tripitikas (Michael Angarano), a fairly average Joe with a penchant for classic kung fu flicks who is unexpectedly sucked through time when accosted by a bully. Now in ancient China, Jason becomes entangled in an intricate plot involving immortals, mystical weapons, and lots of kung fu.

Then there’s Wanted‘s Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy), a panic attack-prone paper pusher and born loser who suddenly discovers he might be one of the greatest assassins who ever lived. One day he’s at the pharmacy to pick up his meds, and the next he’s curving bullets and shooting the wings off flies. And of course, there’s Jerry Shaw of Eagle Eye (Shia LaBeouf in a role he seems to play particularly well), a Stanford dropout in dire financial straits who somehow becomes involved in a larger conspiracy to assassinate the president and several of his top aides. Shia was actually on double-duty this year, getting whisked away on yet another wild adventure by his dad, the one and only Indiana Jones, in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So the bottom line here is that we should all strive for mediocrity if we ultimately hope to achieve awesomeness.

More info…

Trouble preys on friends who roam in pairs.

Examples: Pineapple Express, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Role Models

You know that one friend you always confide in, the one you’ve known since junior high, your BFF? After this revelation, you may want to keep your distance. Consider the plights of Zack and Miri (Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks), or Harold and Kumar (John Cho and Kal Penn). The former, a pair of roommates, have fallen on such hard times that their utilities are switched off. They fail to score any points at their high school reunion and are eventually forced to produce an amateur porn video to pay their debts! The latter pair is comprised of two promising young men who are mistaken for terrorists and immediately sent off to Gitmo. That by itself would be tragic enough, but when they escape, their lives on the lam are punctuated by a series of disasters, including another run-in with an overzealous Neil Patrick Harris.

Or consider Danny and Wheeler (Paul Rudd and Seann William Scott) from Role Models, or Dale and Saul (Seth Rogen and James Franco) of Pineapple Express. Danny is dumped by his longtime girlfriend, and he and Wheeler are arrested for destroying part of a school. If that’s not bad enough, they can’t even hold onto their community service positions as Big Brothers. As for Dale and Saul, they weren’t even really pals to begin with, but trouble finds them when Dale accidentally witnesses a murder and freaks out. Pretty soon, he and Saul are on the run from drug lords, corrupt cops, and even a gang of ruthless Asians — not a fun weekend, if you ask us. So the next time you’re having lunch with your homeboy, don’t be surprised if you end up losing your job, your girlfriend, and your freedom.

More info…

If you are in the midst of spiritual malaise, shopping and/or the music of ABBA are the only cures.

Examples: Sex and the City – The Movie, Mamma Mia!

What crimson-blooded American wouldn’t be happily distracted from his/her ongoing existential crises by a little pop and/or retail therapy? And what on Obama’s green earth is as righteously at the intersection of consumer spending and romance than weddings? Think of it! Couched in the Mediterranean coast, Meryl Streep sings to her betrothed daughter of her girlish exploits, all in preparation for a lifelong commitment to one man, forever and ever amen. Meanwhile, Sarah Jessica Parker orchestrates the disaster drama nuptials to end all disaster drama nuptials, all of which can only be assuaged by the glossy shine of couture footwear. Box office numbers for both SATC and Mamma Mia! proved that you don’t have to live in either NYC or Greece to be gladly comforted by musical interludes or rent-priced accessories. You do, it seems, have to be a member of the (ahem) “fairer gender,” as, rumor has it, no self-respecting man would be caught dead shelling out the cost of two beers to see Kim Cattrall bemoan her exceedingly lucrative affair/business partnership or hear an ex-Bond (try his darnedest to) sing. The fact both films were based on pre-existing phenomena certainly helped keep the films’ makers from stewing in their own spiritual doldrums..

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Growing up is hard. Especially if you’re a vampire.

Examples: Twilight, Let the Right One In

Most of us suffer through adolescence believing we’re some kind of monster. Funny, then, that movies drizzle nostalgia all over puberty, pumping up the excitement of first love and making light of all the odd growths, identity crises and complexion issues. Twilight protagonist Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) experiences both the alienation and the romance when she falls for the eerily hot outsider Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Cullen’s outsider status, Swan finds, is his manly way of concealing with his brand of monstrosity in high school. Meanwhile, in Let the Right One In, Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) falls slowly for his mysterious neighbor Eli (Lina Leandersson), whose dietary tendencies are, well, as deliberate as Cullen’s outsider status. In line with feeling like a freak, didn’t you also believe your first love could kill you if peeved them? These guys didn’t choose their vampirism. We should pity their burdens! Twilight never faced an awkward phase; its book series hit it big near immediately, while Let the Right One In had a slow and almost quiet emergence with broader audiences. It was surprisingly successful for a foreign release and has already inspired an American remake, promising we’ll relearn this lesson (in English) in 2010.

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Walking on a tightrope spanning the Twin Towers takes a lot of planning.

Example: Man On Wire

The year’s best-reviewed documentary chronicles Philippe Petit’s mad quest to walk on a tightrope that spanned the World Trade Center towers. Since he’s interviewed in the film, you can assume Petit pulled it off — but goodness, a lot of planning, intrigue, tension, and passion went into this fool’s errand. Man On Wire was just one of a remarkable crop of enlightening and entertaining critic-approved docs. From Taxi to the Dark Side, we learned the devastating effects of torture. From Bigger, Stronger, Faster*, we got new perspectives on America’s obsession with physical perfection. From Encounters at the End of the World and My Winnipeg, we learned that cold climates just make Werner Herzog and Guy Maddin weirder — though their hunger for cinematic poetry burns as hot as ever. And from U2 3D and Shine a Light, we learned (once again) that U2 and the Rolling Stones, respectively, rock.

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The truth is still out there.

Example: The X-Files: I Want to Believe

As was the case in recent years, 2008 saw its share of mediocre films based upon well-established properties. Critically-panned remakes (The Women, Prom Night, One Missed Call), tepidly-received adaptations from other media (Speed Racer, The Spirit), and at least one failed reboot (Punisher: War Zone) hit the big screen this year. However, it’s still curious how quickly The X-Files: I Want to Believe faded from the public consciousness. In the 1990s, armies of fanboys and girls followed every twist and fork in the path of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as they investigated conspiracies, cover-ups, and paranormal activity. When the show ended in 2002, countless questions were left unanswered – though few were addressed by I Want to Believe, which was largely dismissed by critics as dour and muddled — and generally ignored by the X-Files cult. Though the possibility of yet another follow-up remains, it looks like the X-Files‘ reign as a pop culture phenomenon is over.

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Sometimes movies about comebacks mirror comebacks in the movies.

Examples: The Wrestler, JCVD

Mickey Rourke’s turn as the broken ring king Randy “The Ram” Robinson in The Wrestler was one of the year’s best performances — not least because it mirrored Rourke’s own troubled path to redemption. In the 1980s, Rourke garnered comparisons to Robert DeNiro, before bad choices, an ill-advised boxing career, and a reputation for difficulty derailed his career. It’s impossible to imagine anyone else playing the Ram in this painful, powerful tale of a fighter seeking redemption in the ring; Rourke, like his character, may have had his share of setbacks, but he’s a consummate professional, even if his haggard body contains a lifetime of regret. And although Jean-Claude Van Damme may have had less of a rep to squander, his return in JCVD — playing a faded action hero who’s heroics don’t necessarily translate off-screen — was the most critically-acclaimed performance of his career. In two crucial scenes, an older, wiser Van Damme directly addresses the camera, detailing his shortcomings and failures — and only a viewer with a heart of stone could fail to be moved.

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You don’t mess with the Zohan. Also, never back down.

Examples: You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Never Back Down

‘Nuff said.

Check out the rest of our Total Recall archives here.

Finally, here’s a little tune to help you ring in the new year — courtesy of the Beach Boys.

Happy New Year!

Written by Ryan Fujitani, Sara Schieron, and Tim Ryan.

This week we have the stoner action-comedy The Pineapple Express, with Seth Rogen, James Franco and new boy on the comedy block Danny McBride, plus My Little Eye writer James Watkins makes his directing debut in British hoodie-horror Eden Lake. Then there’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, a family film focussing on the horrors of the Holocaust, and finally the remake of the 1939 classic The Women, with a stellar all-woman cast (Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes) titled, somewhat unsurprisingly, The Women. But what did the critics have to say?

Pineapple Express hit the UK screens this week with critics loading their reviews with weed references as heavily as a stoner loads their spliff (whoops, there I go too!), but what did they actually think of the movie? With Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg on script duties again following their mega-hit Superbad, which was awarded Certified Fresh and received 87% on the Tomatometer, this time round the critics were divided. While more high-brow publications derided the movie for its weak stoner-based humour, a second half that seemingly belongs to another movie and some strange gross-out bloody moments, at the other end of the scale the more – how should we put it – down to earth critics applauded the movie for its entertaining action, solid performances and classy direction from David Gordon Green. So it might be one for you, it just depends on how you roll when it comes to smoke infused comedies.

Having recently wowed the critics with another outstanding performance in Somers Town, Thomas Turgoose returns to our screen, albeit in a minor role as a terrorising teen thug in the British horror Eden Lake. Making his directing debut, James Watkins – who was also on scriptwriting duties – has impressed the critics with this genuinely chilling thriller overflowing with socio-political overtones, commenting on the current British talking point of gang and youth violence. Most critics found the film grim and disturbing with shocks and scares aplenty, although a few dismissed it as formulaic and unrealistic. Currently standing at a healthy 75% on the Tomatometer, it looks like the British film industry has a new name in the making with Watkins.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is told through the eyes of eight-year-old Bruno, played by Asa Butterfield, who befriends a concentration camp inmate through a barb wire fence in his back garden, this touching and haunting drama has won over UK critics with its heartfelt portrayal of a incredibly tough subject, especially as this movie is aimed at a family audience. Superb performances and a solid production divert the attention away from the glaring impossibilities of the plot, and currently at 82% on the Tomatometer, this is vital viewing.

The Women, based on a George Cukor 1939 classic original and boasting a star-studded all female cast, (Meg Ryan, Annette Bening, Eva Mendes, Debra Messing, Jada Pinkett-Smith), what could possibly go wrong with this remake? Well just about everything if you listen to the UK critics, who say the movie lacks any of the charm, wit or interesting characters prevalent in the original and go on to dismiss the scripting, direction and performances as little more than dull. While many didn’t bat an eyelid at the lack of male performances in the movie, writer and director Diane English’s apparent disdain for her own fairer sex was an issue. Described as making Sex and The City sound like Billy Wilder”(Anthony Quinn, The Independent), The Women is currently languishing at a Rotten 10% on the Tomatometer.

Also out this week on a limited release…

EraserheadDavid Lynch’s surreal Eraserhead uses detailed visuals and a creepy score to create a bizarre and disturbing look into a man’s fear of parenthood.

Jar City – A sublimely directed thriller, Jar City combines murder mystery, family drama and ample slices of Icelandic culture into a fascinating cinematic experience.

Quote of the Week

“This is a Class A comedy about Class B drugs. It has a Rizla-thin plot but Camberwell-carrot sized laughs.” Pineapple Express. The Sneak, Sun Online.

Moviegoers found almost nothing worth paying money for at North American multiplexes as the top ten films at the box office slumped to their lowest gross in five years giving the new fall movie season a disastrous start. Nicolas Cage’s latest thriller Bangkok Dangerous suffered one of the worst action openings ever for the Oscar-winning actor, but thanks to a sluggish marketplace it was good enough to claim first place. Summer holdovers performed relatively well with five pics in the top ten dropping by less than 40%, but most wide releases crawled to averages of less than $2,300 as theaters struggled to find ticket buyers.

Bowing to only $7.8M, according to estimates, Bangkok Dangerous enjoyed a less-than-spectacular number one debut with a lackluster $2,943 average from 2,650 locations. The R-rated hitman pic gave Cage his second worst opening for an action film since becoming a major player in that genre with 1996’s The Rock. Over that twelve-year span, only last year’s Next posted a weaker debut for an action film with just $7.1M and a $2,618 average. Reviews were poor and Lionsgate’s marketing push was moderate at best.

The weekend after Labor Day is typically one of the slowest frames of the year. With students back in school and a new football season starting, studios generally avoid opening any strong films at this time which in turns helps the box office slow down. But this year with a major tropical storm hitting the east coast and election hoopla getting bigger after the political conventions, moviegoing just was not a priority for people. The top ten films grossed a dismal $47.6M making it the worst showing since this very same weekend in 2003 when the top ten stumbled to $46.2M. The Top 20 grossed $59.7M that year and is estimated to reach $61M this weekend. Factor in ticket price increases and less stubs were definitely sold this time around. Final grosses to be reported on Monday will show if this entire frame will come in lower than that sluggish session from five years ago when David Spade’s Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star led the chart with only $6.7M in its debut weekend. Bangkok also delivered the smallest gross for a number one film since Dickie.

Following its three-week rule of the box office, the war comedy Tropic Thunder retreated back to a close second place finish with an estimated $7.5M dipping only 35%. After its fourth weekend, the Paramount release has collected a solid $96.8M and should cross the century mark next weekend. Sony’s comedy The House Bunny climbed up one notch to third with an estimated $5.9M in its third session dipping only 29%. Total stands at $37M.

The Dark Knight dropped only 34% to an estimated $5.7M and raised its amazing North American cume to $512.2M. Overseas, the Warner Bros. sensation raked in an estimated $11.8M boosting the international tally to $437.2M which allowed the worldwide gross to soar to a staggering $949.4M. The Christian Bale-Heath Ledger showdown now sits at number six among all-time global blockbusters sandwiched right between last summer’s megahits Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End ($961M) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ($938M).

Don Cheadle’s political thriller Traitor held up well in its second weekend dropping 41% to an estimated $4.7M to push the 12-day tally to $17.7M. The Overture Films release should finish off in the vicinity of $30M. The Vin Diesel actioner Babylon A.D. fell 58% to an estimated $4M for Fox putting the ten-day total at $17.2M. A $25M final should result.

Another macho action pic Death Race followed with an estimated $3.6M, off 43%, giving Universal $29.8M to date. The spoof comedy Disaster Movie slipped 44% in its sophomore session to an estimated $3.3M. Lionsgate has seen just $10.9M in sales and should conclude its run with a mere $19M or so.

Two successful summer comedy leftovers rounded out the top ten. Mamma Mia! eased 36% to an estimated $2.7M boosting the stellar domestic cume to $136.3M allowing it to enter the top ten list of summer blockbusters. Universal’s singing sensation smashed through the $400M worldwide mark this weekend thanks to a stellar international frame that saw an estimated $15M. That was enough to push the overseas sum to $280.1M and the global gross to an eye-popping $416M. Mamma is now Universal’s top-grossing film of the year both domestically and worldwide beating out the studio’s many action offerings like The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Wanted, and The Incredible Hulk which all cost more to produce.

Sony’s stoner comedy Pineapple Express took in an estimated $2.4M, down 32%, and has grossed $84.2M thus far.

The top ten films grossed a pathetic estimate of $47.6M over the weekend which was down 23% from last year when 3:10 to Yuma opened in the top spot with $14M; and off 3% from 2006 when The Covenant debuted at number one with $9M in its opening frame.

The summer movie season of 2008 ended last weekend, and boy, was it a good one. Led by box office smashes like Iron Man, Wall-E, and The Dark Knight, Hollywood raked in the dough week after week — and, surprisingly, scored major Freshness on the Tomatometer in the process. Rotten Tomatoes takes a look at the Summer in Review to revisit the critical and commercial hits and misses of the summer.

Inside find out which movies fared the best and the worst with critics, which films made box office magic and which earned less than enchanting returns, and how each of the major studios measured up over the course of the season. Also, see which films Rotten Tomatoes’ own editors picked as their favorites of the summer! Chime in below with your thoughts on Hollywood’s summer of ’08.

The Top 10 Tomatometers of the Summer

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Tomatometer: 73%

Summer comic book movies are usually based on established heroes — as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, and Batman can attest — but Universal wanted something out of the ordinary. Their first step? Hire upstart Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch), who infused the film, about a new inductee into a super-powered ring of assassins, with his signature visual flair. Combined with a script loosely adapted from the comic of the same name, uber geek elements like “bullet bending,” physics-defying set pieces, and Angelina Jolie as a sultry killer, Wanted turned out to be one of the more unabashedly entertaining — and simultaneously critically approved — popcorn flicks of the summer.

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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Tomatometer: 77%

Say what you will about the long-awaited return of Indiana Jones, but even almost two decades after his last crusade, critics decided that the fedora still fit. Director Steven Spielberg and producer George Lucas seemed to revisit a lot of familiar ground in the fourth big-screen franchise outing, but their 1950s Area 51-esque plotline — and the sheer coolness of seeing Harrison Ford reprise his trademark role — provided enough thrills to delight longtime fans. Could Indy’s newly introduced son (Shia La Beouf) don the fedora in further sequels? $780 million in worldwide returns point to “yes.”

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Tomatometer: 80%

Woody Allen’s latest effort opened quietly in limited release before expanding into theaters nationwide, allowing the ebullient enthusiasm of critics to spread. Considering the mixed results of Allen’s work of late (going from the Oscar-nominated Match Point to the uneven Melinda & Melinda, to the disappointing Scoop, to the middling Cassandra’s Dream), critics discovered that watching the Spanish-set Vicky Cristina Barcelona was like unearthing a gem. At 80 percent, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Allen’s best reviewed film since 1997’s Everyone Says I Love You (83 percent).

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Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Tomatometer: 80%

Critics (and parents) often groan inwardly when they sit down to watch a family film, but Kit Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery proved a surprisingly good watch for all ages. Credit for much of the film’s success goes to Little Miss Sunshine Abigail Breslin, but we can also thank director Patricia Rozema (Mansfield Park) and scribe Ann Peacock (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) for infusing the kid mystery with wholesome smarts.

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Tropic Thunder

Tomatometer: 83%

Ben Stiller’s Vietnam-set Hollywood satire brought up the rear of this summer’s line up, opening mid-August as (arguably) the last event movie of the season. And it surely did pay off. Audiences loved Tropic Thunder; critics made it Certified Fresh. Even protests over its controversial “Simple Jack” and blackface plot devices couldn’t get this war comedy down. Tropic Thunder also notably became the best-reviewed summer film to open since The Dark Knight debuted a month prior, and the first film to topple The Bat’s stronghold on the box office.

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Kung Fu Panda

Tomatometer: 88%

Let it not be said that Pixar has a stronghold on doing animation well; DreamWorks SKG proved otherwise with Kung Fu Panda, starring Jack Black as a rotund bear destined for martial arts greatness. Prior to release, DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg hinted at the possibility of five or six Kung Fu Panda films, a la Shrek; one 88 percent Tomatometer and $577 million later, we’d say a Kung Fu Panda franchise looks very likely, indeed.

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Tomatometer: 88%

While previous summers saw sequelized blockbusters rake in the dough but fall far below Fresh on the Tomatometer (see last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End), this summer boasted sequels aplenty that were also critically loved. Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army was one such movie, not only returning its beloved cigar-chomping hero to the screen, but improving on the first film in the process (Hellboy, 80 percent).

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Iron Man

Tomatometer: 93%

While the summer of 2008 will be remembered for the domination of The Dark Knight, let’s not forget another comic book superhero that made his mark on critics and audiences: Iron Man. The Marvel character sprang to life in May, thanks to Robert Downey Jr.’s witty star turn and Jon Favreau’s glossy direction. Just one point and about 40 reviews shy of The Dark Knight, Iron Man could even potentially catch up and surpass Batman on the Tomatometer…

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The Dark Knight

Tomatometer: 94%

When Christopher Nolan rescued the oft-silly Batman franchise from campy irrelevance in 2005, critics took note: Batman Begins introduced a gloomier dark knight and went Certified Fresh at 85 percent on the Tomatometer. This summer’s eagerly anticipated The Dark Knight followed suit, and then some; it scored an impressive 94 percent on the Tomatometer and dominated the summer box office for weeks, breaking records — and expectations — left and right. Not bad for a comic book movie!

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Tomatometer: 97%

In grand Pixar tradition, Wall-E not only charmed the pants off of critics and audiences alike, it blasted its way to the top of the Tomatometer to become the best-reviewed film of the year so far. (Recent Pixar movies Ratatouille and The Incredibles also opened to critical acclaim and went on to become the best-reviewed wide releases of their respective years.) The tale of a lonely little robot is well positioned to win this year’s Golden Tomato Award…and if the Academy follows suit, Pixar might just have a few more of those gold statuettes to put on their mantle.

Next: The 10 Worst Tomatometers of the Summer

The 10 Worst Tomatometers of the Summer

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Meet Dave

Tomatometer: 20%

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Critics and audiences alike have been mourning the apparent passing of classic Eddie Murphy for several years now, citing the likes of The Adventures of Pluto Nash and Norbit as examples of the dismal turns his career has taken. Unfortunately, Meet Dave isn’t the movie that’s going to change that trend. Settling in at 20 percent on the Tomatometer, it sadly doesn’t qualify as the lowest-rated film in Murphy’s career, but most assert that the clever premise (devised by a Mystery Science Theater 3000 alumnus, Bill Corbett) gets bogged down by stale writing and sitcom-level humor. Meet Dave has its handful of moments, but they just weren’t enough to propel the movie out of our worst-reviewed list.

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Clone Wars

Tomatometer: 20%

Intended to be an introduction to the TV series of the same name that will debut later this year, The Clone Wars might just have been the least anticipated “Star Wars film” ever released. After disappointing many a fan with the prequel trilogy, George Lucas came right back with this animated feature and failed to rally anyone but his most faithful of followers. To be fair, the movie does suffer from the fact that it was originally supposed to air as the first three episodes of the TV show, and as far as animation goes, The Clone Wars looks great for television but subpar for the big screen. Many critics seem to agree that it will do much better when it transitions to its half-hour episodes, but for now, the feature film debut sits at 20 percent on the Tomatometer, making it #7 in our list.

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The Happening

Tomatometer: 19%

We were already becoming a little skeptical of M. Night Shyamalan after The Village underperformed and Lady in the Water downright flopped, but even as audiences grew disillusioned about the suspense director, few could have expected the depths to which he would fall with his latest, The Happening. The trailers were intriguing, especially considering this was Shyamalan’s first R-rated feature, but the overall premise of the film was kept secret fairly effectively, and with a couple of hits under Shyamalan’s belt, the hope was that this would be a return to form. Unfortunately, while it offered some of his trademark chills, Happening mostly fell flat, due to a poorly crafted script, some wooden acting, and what some ultimately deemed to be a silly premise. If this downward trend continues, Shyamalan may earn himself the title of “one-trick pony.”

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Tomatometer: 16%

Asian horror remakes are a dime a dozen in Hollywood these days, but that doesn’t stop enterprising directors and studios from consistently making them happen. Mirrors, originally a Korean film, is the latest of the appropriated imports, but with a respectable cast (Kiefer Sutherland, Amy Smart, Paula Patton) and an experienced horror director (Alexandre Aja — High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes) at the helm, it wouldn’t have been unreasonable to expect a halfway decent frightfest. Unfortunately, the movie was dull, with few scares and an overly convoluted plot, thus earning it a 16 percent on the Tomatometer and a #6 spot on our Worst Reviewed list.

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The Love Guru

Tomatometer: 14%

After doing mostly voice work as Shrek and appearing in a few film cameos, Mike Myers came back in The Love Guru with his first starring vehicle since The Cat in the Hat in ’03. Unfortunately, critics weren’t feeling the Love in his latest feature, complaining that the character didn’t work, that the writing was lazy, and that the jokes were juvenile and, even worse, simply not funny. All things considered, The Love Guru still performed better overall than the aforementioned Cat in the Hat, earning a 14 percent Tomatometer score to Cat‘s 12 percent, but it was enough to place it as the fifth worst-reviewed film of the summer.

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Tomatometer: 14%

Last summer’s Superbad was such a breakout hit, MGM decided to remake it for this summer season…only by “remake” we mean cop a poor imitation of that flick and just about every other college-set comedy ever made. Teen idol Drake Bell (of Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh fame), whose attempt at crossing over into “mature” roles began with this year’s inane Superhero Movie, dug himself even deeper into Rotten territory in College, which opened last week, the dumping ground of the summer season. Gross-out humor in the vein of Porky’s failed to impress critics, who found the teen buddy comedy to be overly vulgar, homophobic, and sexist — all of which might have been more acceptable if it were only funny.

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Made of Honor

Tomatometer: 12%

After achieving big-screen success with 2007’s widely acclaimed Enchanted, Patrick Dempsey tried again to bank on his “McDreamy” persona in Made of Honor. Unfortunately, the movie felt just a little too familiar (My Best Friend’s Wedding, anyone?) to most of its viewers, and with nothing particularly unique or interesting to set it apart from its recycled plot, stale humor, and romantic comedy clichés, Made of Honor found its way to our worst-reviewed list for the summer. Scoring a dismal 12 percent on the Tomatometer and prompting such criticisms as “cookie-cutter” and “stew of mediocrity,” the movie is notable for, if nothing else, being the final film appearance of the late Sydney Pollack.

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The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Tomatometer: 11%

Seven years after its first sequel was released, the Mummy franchise returned this year with its third installment. While neither of the first two movies could be considered critical darlings themselves, Dragon Emperor brought the series to a new low, earning a paltry 11 percent on the Tomatometer, compared to 54 percent and 47 percent for its predecessors. Many cited the formulaic, poorly written script and the heavy use of CGI as reasons why Dragon Emperor ultimately fell flat. It’s difficult to go wrong when you’ve got Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, dragons, and abominable snowmen, but Tomb of the Dragon Emperor somehow managed to secure one of the lowest Tomatometers of any movie this summer.

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Babylon A.D.

Tomatometer: 4%

You know you’re in for a bumpy ride when a director publicly denounces his own film, as Babylon A.D. helmer Mathieu Kassovitz did a week before its release. Once the world took a gander at the sci-fi actioner, it seemed to agree wholeheartedly. With unintentionally cheesy dialogue, poorly staged set pieces, and a silly, muddled plot, the Vin Diesel vehicle played exactly as many people expected — which might be good enough for Diesel fans, but certainly not for critics. Just how bad is Babylon A.D.? Were it not for two lone positive reviews — U.K. critics James Christopher of The Times and Xan Brooks of The Guardian — the flick would be looking at double zeroes on the Tomatometer.

more info…

Disaster Movie

Tomatometer: 0%

Speaking of zero percent Tomatometers…we’ve got Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, quite possibly the most reviled cinematic duo since Hitler and Riefenstahl. (Though Triumph of the Will would probably be Certified Fresh given enough reviews.) Friedberg’s and Seltzer’s long-standing assault on spoof comedy (and cinema, in general) appears to be hitting its stride with Disaster Movie, a film so hastily thrown together that it spoofs trailers, which currently holds a zero percent Tomatometer. This year has been rife with the goose eggs (Witless Protection, Deal, Strange Wilderness, One Missed Call), but this Tomatometer is especially important for Friedberg and Seltzer: after getting single-digit percentages on their previous movies, they’ve finally hit the coveted rock-bottom. Enjoy, guys, you’ve earned it.

Next: The Best and Worst Box Office Earners of the Summer

The Best and Worst Box Office Earners of the Summer

While capturing both critical and commercial success seems to be as difficult an achievement as capturing lightning in a bottle (moreso for a summer blockbuster), the summer of 2008 saw an unusually high number of well-reviewed hit movies. Christopher Nolan’s grown-up superhero movie The Dark Knight struck that rare confluence of art and commerce, driving Bat-fans the world over into a ticket-buying Bat-frenzy, but it also earned raves and Oscar-buzz, and could end up one of the best-reviewed films of the year. Furthermore, The Dark Knight was in good company with its fellow top money-makers, as only two Top Ten films — the femme-driven event flick, Sex and the City: The Movie and Will Smith’s Hancock — earned a rotten Tomatometer rating.

Top 10 Box Office Earners (Gross)

1. The Dark Knight $493,671,047
2. Iron Man $317,570,520

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the

Crystal Skull

4. Hancock $226,547,044
5. Wall-E $216,798,080
6. Kung Fu Panda $212,958,340
7. Sex and the City $152,440,062

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

9. The Incredible Hulk $134,426,930
10. Wanted $133,822,865

Bottom 10 Box Office Earners (Gross)

*Films released prior to the week of August 29, 2008

1. The Rocker $4,664,559
2. Fly Me to the Moon $4,733,063
3. The Longshots $5,149,624
4. Vicky Cristina Barcelona $9,783,911
5. Meet Dave $11,662,184
6. Swing Vote $15,555,204
7. Death Race $16,849,530
8. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl $17,408,308
9. The House Bunny $19,551,243
10. The X-Files: I Want to Believe $20,750,074

Next: Which Studio Came Out on Top?

Which Studio Came Out on Top?

1. Paramount
Average Tomatometer: 71%
Box office: $966 million

Summer’s winner! Paramount is the only major studio to achieve more than one
$200 million hit leading to the highest box office total, and it did so with
the highest Tomatometer average (four of its five movies hit Certified Fresh
status). The critics’ influence may be diminished during opening weekend, but
here we see good
reviews are indicating what summer movies will have positive
word-of-mouth and staying power.




Iron Man



Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull



Kung Fu Panda



Tropic Thunder



The Love Guru



2. Disney
Average Tomatometer: 67%
Box office: $376 million

Disney has the least amount of movies, with two of them vastly underperforming
(Swing Vote was a blip and Prince Caspian‘s gross is only half of The Lion,
The Witch, and the Wardrobe
‘s). The silver lining: Wall-E is this year’s
best-reviewed movie and has a strong chance of remaining so if Pixar’s past
performance record is any indication.







The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian



Swing Vote



3. Warner Bros.
Average Tomatometer: 56%
Box office: $1.02 billion

The fact that Warner Bros. put out the summer’s most notorious bomb (Speed
is easily offset by the enormous success of The Dark Knight. It’s
become second-highest grossing movie off all time (and Certified Fresh to
boot!), pushing WB over the $1 billion mark for the summer.




The Dark Knight



Sex and the City



Get Smart



Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D (New Line)



Speed Racer



The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants 2



Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (Picturehouse)



Star Wars: The Clone Wars



4. Universal
Average Tomatometer: 53%
Box office: $655 million

Wanted gave Universal a surprise critical and commercial hit and Mamma Mia!
has quietly become the highest grossing musical ever. Surprisingly, it was the
superheroes that let the studio down, with both The Incredible Hulk and
Hellboy falling shy of recovering their reported costs.







The Incredible Hulk



Mamma Mia!



The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor



Hellboy II: The Golden Army



The Strangers



Death Race



Hamlet 2



5. Sony
Average Tomatometer: 40%
Box office: $581 million

Sony was in classic Hollywood mode this summer, relying on the stars like Will
Smith, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell to draw crowds in. Behind the scenes, Judd Apatow proved
reliable once more, producing the studio’s sole fresh movie.







You Don’t Mess With the Zohan



Step Brothers



Pineapple Express



Made of Honor



The House Bunny



6. Fox
Average Tomatometer: 26%
Box office: $250 million

It was a brutal summer for Fox, which lacked a single fresh movie or $100
million success. If Paramount is keeping its audience around with fresh movies,
Fox proves the vice versa: resoundingly rotten ones can repel audiences.




What Happens in Vegas



The Happening



Space Chimps






The X-Files: I Want to Believe



Babylon A.D.



Meet Dave



The Rocker



Next: RT’s Editors Pick Their Favorite Films of the Summer

RT Editors’ Favorite Films of the Summer

Here in the RT office we all had our favorite films this summer. And we didn’t always agree with the Tomatometer. But hey, that’s what favorite means — rhyme or reason aside, these movies spoke to us. Below, our editors share their picks!

Join in below and let us know what you think were the best and worst films of the summer season.

The Dark Knight, picked by Editor in Chief Matt Atchity

My pick for best movie of the summer? I’m going to have to go with The Dark Knight. It’s not perfect; Bale’s Bat-voice is a bit much after a while, and it runs perilously close to overstaying its welcome, but those (very minor) complaints aside, it’s a fantastic film. As with Batman Begins, this film is as much a psychological crime drama as it is a comic book movie, and continues to take a sort of realistic look at the idea of a costumed vigilante. And if Batman Begins showed us a plausible scenario that could result in the creation of the Batman, then The Dark Knight shows us how the world would respond; the citizens of Gotham both embrace and condemn him. But if the Batman represents the extreme avatar of order amidst chaos, then it’s inevitable that someone will rise to Batman’s challenge. Which brings me of course to the Joker. Heath Ledger‘s Joker is simply the best comic book villain ever to menace the screen. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that Ledger’s Joker is going to stick with us as an iconic villain, along the lines of Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, and Norman Bates. It’s truly a tragedy that Ledger isn’t with us anymore, if for no other reason than that he’ll never experience the acclaim he so richly deserves.

Iron Man, picked by RT Australia Editor Joanna Cohen

I first loved Robert Downey Jr. in Less than Zero as a spoiled new romantic with deep, glassy eyes and a pastel blazer. Since 1987 I have remained devoted through every dive of his cardiac-like celebrity Tomatometer graph. Iron Man is Robert Downey Jr. and vice versa. The flawed genius, the troubled vulnerability…I adored every misogynistic, world-dominating, politically incorrect moment. He shone. And someone should give Gwyneth an award for best acting of a pencil skirt.

Gonzo, picked by Editor Sara Schieron

Telling you it inspired my summer reading list will make Alex Gibney‘s Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson sound a lot less hot than it is. A doc about Hunter S. Thompson, the miserable genius, self-titled “Dr.” and inventor of Gonzo Journalism, Gonzo paints a crystal portrait of an era and a man that in some light looks golden and in others looks leaden. Thompson and his stories teeter between snark and melancholy, fascinating always, by page or by screen.

Mongol, picked by
Community Manager Ryan Fujitani

This summer brought us several wildly entertaining blockbusters, but the one movie that got me hitting up Wikipedia and updating my “countries to visit” list was Mongol, a moderately successful indie biopic chronicling the life and times of Genghis Khan. It may have had something to do with my fascination for ancient cultures and fallen empires, but Mongol grabbed me from the start and wrapped me up in its epic story until the credits rolled. While the movie isn’t without its problems (questionable editing choices, a somewhat abrupt ending), the cinematography was appropriately gorgeous, the action was visceral and cathartic, and Mr. Khan himself was fascinating to watch. Oh, and it inspired me to grow a beard and move every three months.

Pineapple Express, picked by Editor Alex Vo

The Dark Knight‘s better-crafted, and WALL-E got me a little teary, but I haven’t had as much plain ol’ movie fun all year than watching Pineapple Express the first two times. (Yeah, here’s that rare movie that’s beckoned me back to the theater multiple times.) The movie’s alternately breezy and intense, while director David Gordon Green‘s loving care towards fringe characters makes Pineapple Express feel earthy and organic, a rarity for so-called stoner flicks.

Wall-E, picked by Senior Editor Tim Ryan

Is WALL-E more poignant than City Lights? Is it a more potent allegory than Metropolis? Is it as powerful a reflection on what it is to be a cognizant being than 2001? Time will tell if Pixar’s latest marvel is mentioned alongside those classics in the cinematic canon, but let the debate begin here. Achingly romantic, darkly funny, and blessed with some of the most remarkable visuals ever committed to celluloid, WALL-E is one for the ages — and great summer fun to boot.

Speed Racer, picked by Senior Editor Jen Yamato

This particular pick is bound to stir some controversy (bring it on, haters!), but so be it: Speed Racer was my favorite summer flick of 2008. Inventive, innovative, intriguing, spectacular — the Wachowski brothers’ live-action, anime-based adventure is everything I hoped it would be, and more. It’s a “kid flick” I’d have enjoyed as much as a tyke as I do today, a film that transcends the medium as we’ve known it, bursting through traditional boundaries of moviemaking to create an entirely absorbing, eye-popping, immersive alternate reality. It is the movie equivalent of mixing Coca Cola and Pop Rocks. Or like BeDazzling your cerebral cortex. Which would be awesome, were it only possible…

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