September has historically been a dumping ground for films that the studios thought were going to be bombs. Looking over the schedule for this month, it appears that business is just starting to pick up. After a summer where weeks would go at a time without a movie that I had any interest in, this month starts out with a bang (or a slash, in this case) with Machete. Also, you have Drew Barrymore and Justin Long praying that people will pay to watch them yearn for each other for 90 minutes in Going the Distance, and a comedy opening up in limited release that I'll tell you more about below. Mexico's my beat, and I'm walking it.
Machete - Finally! A few weeks ago in this column, I wrote about how action fans had been following The Expendables, from the beginning when idea first was printed until it was finally released into theaters, anticipation building every inch along the way. That may have been nothing compared to Machete. First, you had the trailer that was shown before Grindhouse, which became a cult classic. Then, you started hearing rumors that they may actually turn the trailer into a feature length film. Finally, the director, Robert Rodriguez (Desperado), made it official. Not only had he written a script, but the cast was already signed and ready to go: Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Jeff Fahey, and about a dozen other actors that will make you go, "Hey, I didn't know they were in this!" If you somehow don't know what Machete is about, a shady government organization hires who they think is a simple day laborer (Danny Trejo) to do a job for them. They set him up, not knowing that he is really an ex-Federale with serious knife skills and a taste for revenge. If you have never watched the original trailer, rectify the situation now (NSFW).
Going the Distance - I will say this for Going the Distance, for a movie starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long it doesn't look 100% horrible, which I didn't think was possible. Directed by Nanette Burstein (American Teen), this is the story of a couple who, after spending the summer together, shuttle between Chicago and Los Angeles trying to keep their relationship alive. The advertising for this doesn't look half bad, which is amazing, because I am not a fan of either of these two. If an audience actually shows up for this (doubtful because, cmon, Machete!), Charlie Day (It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia) could be the breakout star of this film. Early reviews have him giving a great performance as Long's best friend.
The Winning Season (limited) - The latest in the long line of Sam Rockwell performances that are supposed to make him a huge star, this time he plays a has-been basketball coach who is given one last shot at redemption by coaching a local high school girls basketball team. Sounds like a bad Martin Lawrence flick from a decade ago, right? This one has unbelievable word of mouth behind it, with Rockwell, Emma Roberts, and Rob Corddry all supposedly putting in award caliber jobs. This is very limited, NY and LA only, but if you are lucky enough to live in those cities, it might be worth a matinee ticket to check it out and leave a comment here. Let's us know if we're full of crap. Check out the trailer here.