December 8, 2013, - 11:51 pm

Movie Coma Days: Movies the Hollywood Studios Made Me Binge On This Past Week

By Debbie Schlussel

As many readers know, I’m the longtime movie critic for the SiriusXM Patriot Channel’s terrific morning program, “The Mike Church Show,” and you can hear my movie reviews on the show, every Friday morning between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. Eastern (in addition to reading them here). Every year, the Hollywood movie studios put on a full day of movie screenings for members of the Detroit Film Critics Socity (membership has its privileges, like spending endless hours of life you’ll never get back watching junk food for the mind). But there were so many new movies coming out that the studios wanted us to consider for our annual votes of the best movies, best actors/actresses, etc., that we had two days of this stuff. Every city has its film critics group, which gets recognition for its annual choices for the “bests.” And we have ours in Detroit. My “bests” usually get drowned out, since I’m the lone conservative among the bunch of mainstream liberal movie critics.


So, on Tuesday and Thursday, we saw ten movies (in fairness, I saw two of them on screeners the studios sent us and missed one of the other movies–“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”). I call these days, “Movie Coma Days,” because it’s tiring and my mind is put in a coma seeing all this crap. Most of these movies are 2.5-3 hours long–completely absurd. The egomaniacs actually think I need to watch their repetitive BS, when all of these movies could be under 1.5 hours and make the same points (or be just as pointless). I know it sounds like fun (and it’s not like I’m doing backbreaking work just sitting there in a dark room watching), but trust me, seeing every movie that comes out is work, NOT fun. While this is my choice and I’m not whining, I sit through a whole lot of mind-numbing, absolute dreck and miss a lot of hours of beautiful daylight just to see the few–very few!–cinematic gems and warn you off of the rest. Out of ten movies, I liked 1.75 (I really liked one movie, half liked another, and partially liked a third one).

Below are the trailers for what we saw–just a taste of all the crap I sit through so you don’t have to. Can you guess the 1.75 movies I liked? I’ll bet you can. (Out of the ten I saw, I already reviewed this past Friday–“Out of the Furnace” (read my review).)

Here’s what I saw . . .

* “Lone Survivor“:

* “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty“:

* “Her“:

* “American Hustle“:

* “The Wolf of Wall Street“:

* "Saving Mr. Banks":

* “August: Osage County“:

* “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug“:

* “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom“:

* “Out of the Furnace” (read my review):

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21 Responses

The Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep movies and partially liked the Wall St. one- those are my guesses.

And Debbie, no way I envy your job as a critic.

I always wondered, though, if they have refreshments and/or alcoholic ones for you critics and if it’s acceptable to take a restroom break or something during the screenings.

DS_ROCKS! on December 9, 2013 at 1:21 am

Am I missing something Debbie? You say “Can you guess the 1.75 movies I liked? I’ll bet you can. (One of them, I already reviewed this past Friday–“Out of the Furnace” (read my review).)” but when I read that review, you did not like it. I am confused… although it wouldn’t be the first time…

Jim from Texas on December 9, 2013 at 1:32 am

Jim from Texas,

It means that “Out of the Furnace” is not one of the 1.75 movies that Debbie liked.

JeffE on December 9, 2013 at 1:43 am

Out of the nine movies trailers that Debbie has provided and has not yet reviewed–I will first list what I believe Debbie will hate first all of which are based on the trailers:

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

A movie giving the standard bio about Nelson Mandela’s fight against the South African White Apartheid government and will either whitewash or glorify his pro-Arafat and Hamas, anti-Israel and anti-American stances as well as his racism against whites. Debbie has covered Mandela including her two recent posts about him. Here are all of Debbie’s posts that she wrote about him:

Four Marxes and probably plus other bad people that Debbie adds.

“The Wolf of Wall Street”

A movie that is another anti-Capitalist propaganda flick. Four Marxes and Four Obamas.

“August: Osage County“:

A feminist flick. Four Marxes and Four Betty Friedans.

(To be continued)

JeffE on December 9, 2013 at 2:49 am

“Lone Survivor”

Mark Wahlberg is in it and Debbie generally doesn’t like him. Based on a trailer and the Imdb summary plot, it is about how four members of the SEAL Team 10 were set to either capture or kill the notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. The trailer and the movie plot suggests that it correctly depicts the SEAL Team as the good guys and Shahd as the bad guy. However, I’m suspecting just as the “Out of Furnance” trailer is misleading to make that movie appear to be better than it is, so too it is with this one and that the movie actually depicts the SEAL team as either incompetent and/or evil and the Taliban as either misunderstood and/or the good guys. Therefore, Debbie hated it and gave it Four Marxes plus four Bid Ladens.

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug“

Debbie hated it–it has a woman fighting and probably won. Probably includes gross scenes (not in trailer but a guess).

“American Hustle“

From the Imdb summary:

“American Hustle tells the story of brilliant con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale), who along with his equally cunning and seductive British partner Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) is forced to work for a wild FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper). DiMaso pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia that’s as dangerous as it is enchanting.”

Predicting that Debbie gave it at least Two Marxes.

“Saving Mr. Banks”

However, the plot of the movie is about how P.L. Travers during her meeting with Walt Disney discusses her difficult childhood while preparing for the adaptation of her novel “Mary Poppins”. Based on the trailer it looks wholesome and might be the one movie that Debbie likes. However, I’m not 100% sure about this because Disney was anti-Semitic and a Hitler fan.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”

A movie of fantasy and adventure. Probably a movie that Debbie partially likes. I say partially because there are Afghans in the movie and might be portrayed in an unjustifiably favorable light.


Probably a movie that Debbie likes at least partially.

JeffE on December 9, 2013 at 3:32 am

    Re: My prediction of the movie

    I missed the part of Debbie’s post where she said that she hadn’t seen the movie yet. However I still stand by my prediction but I amend it as follows:

    “’The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’

    Debbie will hate it–it has a woman fighting and she probably won. Probably includes gross scenes (not in trailer but a guess).”

    JeffE on December 9, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Regardless of the accuracy (or lack thereof) of my predictions, thank you for seeing and reviewing the movies and telling us which movies are good and which are bad and enduring the bad ones so that we don’t have to.

JeffE on December 9, 2013 at 3:37 am

Just think how much worse it will be when they make the inevitable movie about Mandela. If Gandhi was bad…

Little Al on December 9, 2013 at 8:39 am

Uh oh, I didn’t notice that one of the movies was already about him. Couldn’t even stomach watching the preview.

Little Al on December 9, 2013 at 10:53 am

I’ll weigh in on the flicks that Debbie had to endure. (My condolences, eh?)

But I believe that the studios deliberately plan to extend the running time of these flicks partly due to the fact that they will all wind up on DVD/BR/Netflix – thus, they could reap more in the long run.

For better or for worse, you gotta love Kapitalizm, Hollyweird-style.

The Reverend Jacques on December 9, 2013 at 11:12 am

Ok, I can’t predict the Marx’s & bin Ladens but I *THINK* I may be able to figure out the flicks she liked. The Mandela one is a definite NO from the get-go. Like a free space in BINGO! 😀

“Out Of The Furnace” we know already about and she hasn’t seen “The Hobbit” yet. So we are down to 7 probabilities out of 10. I am assuming the Walhberg film is about Marcus Luttrell so where I would normally agree with JeffE., I think the content will supercede her dislike (which I share…) of Marky Mark. That will be the film she really likes.

Ok, my bias will get in the way here but I am gonna rule out the Tom Hanks film as a 50% (or even 25%). I may be letting my bias get in the way as I will as well with the Leonardo DiCaprio film. I’d prolly do better if I didn’t but I can’t help it. I dislike both of those bores and convinced I’m one of the few who has never drunk the kool-aid on such ennui-inducing hacks. (If “Seek” is a fan he’ll chuck a wobbly over what I said but bring it on…)

I like the story of Walter Mitty and Ben Stiller is hit-or-miss. This could be one of the stinkers but it’s such a good story it just may be the 50%-er.

I’m gonna say the Meryl Streep film is the 25%-er only because people love her and she rises above most crap. Or so I am told. I’ve never seen her movies to see if the hype is justified. I tend to believe Jessica Lange is the REAL Meryl Streep (her politics aside). She is a revelation in the craft.

That leaves “American Hustle” which does have Christian Bale (so if it’s not a hated one, it will at least be the 25%-er if my pick above is wrong). Again, my bias will intrude and I will say the Joaquin Phoenix film will be a disliked one. He’s even too weird and creepy for me.

So in the spirit of fun, those are my pics. Of course, sometimes a film one would think they would hate is actually a great film (it even happens to me, and I am a tough customer) but I don’t think you’ll get that from this lot.

Skunky on December 9, 2013 at 11:37 am

Let’s See:

Lone Survivor: I suspect she liked because it is based on Marcus Luttrell’s book and shows a bunch of Taliban being sent to Allah.

Secret Life of Walter Middy: It’s a Ben Stiller movie trying to be deep–my guess–she didn’t like it.

Her: About a guy falling in love with his computer, She may think it’s cute since it is a love story but with Phoenix in it, this may be the one she kinda liked.

American Hustle: Getting great reviews and glamorizes the mob–Debbie probably didn’t like it.

Wolf of Wall Street: Capitalism is bad m’kay. -)

Saving Mr Banks: It does a soft soap of Walt Disney– a big time anti semite so I think for that she’ll hate it.

August Osage County: Everyone self destructs in this movie and everyone cries. Debbie hates movies like this.

The Hobbit: She didn’t see.

Mandela: It’s a big lie about Mandela being Africa’s Gandhi rather than a KGB backed Marxist–she’ll hate it.

Out of the Furnace: Justifies criminal behaviour–she hated it.

So my guess: she liked Lone Survivor and kinda liked Her.

jimmyPx on December 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I would second the prediction from ‘jimmyPx’ on Debbie’s views of the Mitty movie. I’d say, stick with the 1947 Danny Kaye version. And I got the same vibe – and make the same prediction – about the Mandela film viz her impression, and for the very same reasons as cited by ‘JeffE’.

ConcernedPatriot on December 9, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Ok, I actually watched all the trailers and my predictions remain the same. That Joaquin Phoenix flick was even more weird than I ever imagined. As if people can’t get more strange and pathetic.

The “American Hustle” seems more like a Scorsese film than the Scorsese film. I think old Mahhhhty is done. Someone needs to tell him. I could easily see DS slagging it (The Scorses film, NOT AH…).

I see nutter Julia Roberts is in the Meryl Streep film. How Yanks embraced that mental case I’ll never know. I made a mistake. I actually saw Meryl in “Doubt”. I liked it and she was excellent. I see that super-nutter Shirley MacLaine is also in that film. You know her daughter wrote a tell-all a year ago that was successfully squashed (you should always read black-listed books and authors…that’s where the truth is in 2013). She was a HORRID mum and I recently heard the space-hag on AM Coast To Coast and she was so brash and abrasive and cranky you could see her daughter wasn’t lying. She just about coughed up a lung during the interview and you can tell the host was glad to bid her adeiu because kissing her old tuchis became a chore.

The Walter Mitty was NOTHING like the book (I prolly should not have assumed to begin with) but I tend to like Ben Stiller serious (weird, I know…) but I still think there *may* be something to like 50%. Now I know what JeffE meant about those Afghanis….

Skunky on December 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Ugh! Being made to watch endless crappy movies is worse than waterboarding!

Michelle on December 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I can’t even watch the trailers let alone imagine sitting through this tripe.

The “Walter Mitty” trailer made me feel embarrassed for Stiller who I used to like, but not any more. I have learned to dissect most trailers and see through the BS. In this case, if that is the best 60 seconds of the two-hour movie, forget it. These type of movies have that built-in, unspoken empathy that we’re supposed to have a “shared experience” with the other movie-goers. Unfortunately, I don’t, so I reject the garbage. But, I digress.

What I wanted to rant about is that awful Joaquim Phoenix. He literally makes my skin crawl. My usual spiel about hated actors is that I wouldn’t bother to Heimlich them if I saw them choking in a restaurant.

Joquim, OTOH, I would gleefully fork over cold, hard cash to watch him getting beaten to a pulp in an MMA octagon match.

Beside being completely annoying, hokey and pretentious, he has that uncommon (Jim Belushi being the other)and repulsive distinction of being a less-talented-brother-ascending-in-his-dead-brother’s-place-phenomenon-because-audiences-are-too-stupid-too-notice-the-stark-comparison.

DS_ROCKS! on December 9, 2013 at 7:04 pm


I read the book ‘Lone Survivor’. In it, one of the main reasons that the seal team did not chose to kill the sheep herders they encountered was because they were afraid to be prosecuted under the ROIs for war crimes and for being crucified by the liberal media. Latrell makes a point that they specifically verbalized this. They did not kill them because of fear of the Left. Was that sentiment clearly depicted in the film? I.E. did the actors explicitly have dialog showing fear of the “liberal” media, not just the “media”?

If you can’t answer, then please incorporate that into your review when you post it. If they did not show this then they spit on Marcus Latrell’s book because that is one of the main reasons they chose to go 120 against 4 (!!) in hostile terrain. I’ll only see the movie if it accurately shows how the soldiers were afraid of the Left. If they wimped out then screw them. They can keep their movie.

J: Yes, rules of engagement and CNN are mentioned as reasons. No use of the word, “liberal,” though. If you saw Marcus Luttrell’s interview on “60 Minutes,” Sunday Night, the movie goes a lot like that. Stay tuned for my review. DS

Jack on December 9, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Any movie longer than 110 minutes is suspect, as far as I’m concerned. (Although I’ve actually enjoyed a handful of too-long flicks, but that’s over a 25 year career as a movie projectionist.)
On another subject, why do you suppose they used the title “Secret Life of Walter Mitty?” Why pay royalties to the Thurber estate when, from the looks of this trailer, this movie hasn’t a passing resemblance to the well-known [back when people were literate, anyway] short story.
Do the producers hope to get a huge boxoffice return from the teeming legions of James Thurber fanatics out there?

Joe Guiney on December 9, 2013 at 9:24 pm

Hi again, Debbie, just trying to make it more of a habit to review here…

Also, I don’t know if I said this before, but what about reviewing not just movies, but TV series as well? If anything, I at least want to hear what you think of “Breaking Bad” after you finish watching that.

Anyway, I just wanted to weigh in on “The Hobbit” movie (part 2 of 3)… I remember how when the FIRST part came out, you commented about how they took ONE book and are stretching it out across THREE movies. Cha-ching! And you’re not the only one commenting on this “long trilogy” thing either, lots of other people are kvetching about it too. (News flash: Longer DOES NOT equal better.)

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of Tolkien… did you know that he was apparently a die-hard Catholic who would have hated the hippies who love his work? (Not many people in history live long enough to see their stuff go wrong.)
Read the whole thing.

Craig on December 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

I couldn’t stand to sit through all of the trailers.
I don’t see how any intelligent human could sit through all of the movies.
I do want to see the Hobbit. The LOTR trilogy was great and I liked the first Hobbit movie. Yes, all the laws of physics were broken, but you have to check your brain at the door of most movies.
Mandela, even the Mandela groupies are saying the movie is pure fiction.

Steve G on December 11, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I read Lone Survivor, feckin awesome. I liked the SEAL training chapters and the harrowing escape down the mountain with the enemy hot on his tail. In memory of his companions and those in the rescue chopper who perished.

jake49 on December 13, 2013 at 6:25 pm

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