'Borat': Apologies, but I have to lead with a movie that has no chance in hell of winning the box office this weekend, and that's 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,' starring comedic genius Sacha Baron Cohen as the sweetly ignorant Kazakh reporter who criss-crosses the U.S. in search of American culture and Pamela Anderson. And by "sweetly ignorant," I mean blatantly misogynist (women should live in cages) and anti-Semitic (his 'Throw the Jew Down the Well' singalong at a country bar has now passed into legend), but who's counting? Seriously, while there are legions of offended potential moviegoers who don't realize or care that 'Borat' is a satire -- and a wildly hilarious, politically daring one at that -- there are legions more who can't wait to see Baron Cohen pull one over on his clueless victims, whether they be astonishingly patient dupes or shockingly enthusiastic bigots. 'Borat' only opens in 837 theaters this week, so its true glory might have to wait until next week, when it expands to 2,200 screens; but with the deafening buzz that's preceded its opening, we're rooting for 'Borat' to grab some impressive box-office bucks this weekend anyway. High-five!
'The Santa Clause 3': There's a battle royale going on this weekend, and it's not Republicans vs. Democrats or even Lindsay Lohan vs. Hilary Duff. Nope, it's a knock-down, drag-out fight between two family-friendly films set to knock 'Open Season' from its seemingly permanent perch in the top five. One of these is 'The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,' a movie that, to be honest, is depressing me a little bit, because it's reminding me that Christmas shopping season is just around the corner. (We just had Halloween! It's too soon!) As for the movie itself, it once again stars Tim Allen as the big guy and Elizabeth Mitchell (the mysterious Juliet on 'Lost') as his wife; and this time they've got Martin Short around as the dastardly Jack Frost, who's determined to conquer the North Pole and take over the reindeer-feeding and elf-bossing duties for himself. Our prediction: This sequel's got an early Christmas present coming, and it's not a lump of coal.
'Flushed Away': From the folks who brought you 'Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' and 'Chicken Run' -- that would be the British animation studio Aardman Animations -- comes the tale of Roddy, a posh city mouse who gets flushed down a drain into the sewers of London. And then the hijinks begin. Hugh Jackman provides the voice of the flushee, Kate Winslet is cute love interest Rita, and Ian McKellen is the villainous Toad, who's after Rita's ruby (and no, that is not a euphemism -- get your mind out of the, uh, sewer). 'Flushed Away' is loaded with stars and whimsy, and the early reviews are quite good; but can a bunch of British vermin, as charming as they are, beat Santa? Ooh, it's the UK vs. the USA! Bring it on.
My picks follow. Post your own, be sure check back Monday to see how you did (click here for our scoring system), and in the words of Borat, may your weekend be niiiiice.
Borat, Santa Clause 3, Flushed Away, movies, box office