Weekend Movie Guide: October 12-14

As we barrel towards Halloween, we’re resisting the urge to go full monster mash, and luckily, this weekend makes it easy! Of course, if you want to ease into the season, you can let Jack Black be your guide — between Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween and The House with a Clock in Its Walls, October is really shaping up to be his month. But he’s not the only star who’s appearing in multiple movies that are currently playing! From an awe-inspiring historical drama, to a comedy that’s as dark as a burned Thanksgiving turkey, here’s what’s coming to a theater near you this weekend:

First Man

Is it just us, or do you kind of wish that director Damien Chazelle had made his Neil Armstrong biopic into a jukebox musical that features The Police’s “Walking on the Moon” at its climax? Come on, what a missed opportunity! We already know that Gosling has the chops, and we bet that both Claire Foy and Kyle Chandler can hold a tune. What else could be covered? Let’s see… Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” of course, and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” obviously. Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” could be sweet for a romantic scene between the Armstrongs, perhaps as they dance in the living room. What about an epic rendition of Europe’s “The Final Countdown” for the liftoff scene? Heck, put the Steve Miller Band’s “Space Cowboy” over the end credits and just call it a day!

Anyway, that’s not the movie that’s going to be in theaters this weekend, but the one that actually looks pretty okay too. So whether you’re trying to encourage or discourage your little ones from signing up for the U.S. Space Force, it’s hard to go wrong with one of our last great American myths, retold. Bring your favorite “flat earth” conspiracy theorist along for the ride. 

Watch Now: You may not know this, but before our fantasy movie Moon Landing: The Musical and the real movie La La Land, Damien Chazelle directed a delightful black-and-white modern musical called Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. You can watch it on Fandor!

Bad Times at the El Royale

It’s a symptom of 2018 that a movie can be directed by the guy who made The Cabin in the Woods and wrote The Martian, and star Jon Hamm, Jeff Bridges, AND Chris Hemsworth, and still spark so little enthusiasm from anyone in the Fandor office. What can we say? What little adrenal support remained after seeing Roma was totally shot after seeing A Star is Born. Hype is not always a renewable resource.

That aside, some of us are looking forward to being, let’s say, pleasantly surprised by Dakota Johnson (any minute now). Besides, a cameo from our favorite French-Canadian wunderkind filmmaker, Xavier Dolan, is something that no one can be mad about. Stay tuned for a point-counterpoint review from two Fandorians who’ll be swallowing their ambivalence and giving Bad Times at the El Royale a little of their time.

Beautiful Boy

Every choice made in this film — from casting Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet, down to the Sigur Rós song used in the second trailer — was carefully designed to strum your pain. It’s not you. It’s the movie. Trust us.

It’s hard to fathom that people still believe in punitive measures to treat addiction, but they might have a hard time continuing to do so after watching Beautiful Boy, which was adapted from the collected memoirs of a father and son who struggled for years with the son’s dependency issues. Rock bottom, treatment, and relapse become a cycle for the family to cope with (or not cope with), and the limits of empathy are tested as trust, love, and sympathy all become weaponized by the addiction. The film isn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows, but it’s an increasingly urgent story, and it could not be wrapped in a more respectable package for the ease of your consumption. Watch it, and then do yourself a favor and check in with somebody you love.

The Oath

What happens when Guess Who meets Get Out and brings Beatriz at Dinner along for the ride? Perhaps something a bit like The Oath. One thing is for certain: This is no Meet the Parents. The Oath marks the directorial debut of comedian Ike Barinholtz, who also stars in the film alongside Tiffany Haddish. Barinholtz is not pulling any punches. In fact, it seems that he’s doing just the opposite! Dynamics at the Thanksgiving dinner table — in what many might feel is a fairly accurate preview of what’s to come during their own holiday weekends — go from passive-aggressive to aggressive-aggressive, with a quickness.

With a supporting cast that includes Nora Dunn, John Cho, Carrie Brownstein, and Jay Duplass, The Oath joins Assassination Nation and The Hate U Give as one of the year’s most prescient movies, if not the most awards-season-worthy.  If you haven’t yet, why not double down on your Haddish intake and watch Night School this weekend as well?

Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

Why is Ben Hanscom breaking back into the Derry haunted house? Wait, sorry, the wrong movie entirely. Jeremy Ray Taylor of It-fame is apparently breaking into R.L. Stine’s house, and R.L. Stine, as we all know, was a performance art piece conceived by Jack Black in 1992. We’re kidding. Jack Black actually looks nothing like the real R.L. Stine, author of a bazillion beloved kids’ horror novels, but nobody seems to care, and who are we to blow against the wind? Slappy’s back! That’s right, everyone’s favorite rude and crude ventriloquist dummy dude is back to cause spooky mayhem. And by that, we mean PG-rated chills. And honestly, it’s been such a tough couple of weeks that maybe that’s all we can handle. At the very least, it’ll give everyone a nice bit of runway to help us warm up for watching Halloween next weekend!

Don’t miss the lowdown on all of the recent releases that you want to see, with our Weekend Movie Guide: October 5-7, Weekend Movie Guide: September 28-30, and Weekend Movie Guide: September 21-23. And while you’re at it, do yourself a favor and check out our new videos on “The City of God,” “Kill Bill,” and the Radiohead Effect!
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