Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to February

“Fifty Shades of Grey”

Who: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Luke Grimes and Jennifer Ehle
What: Literature student Anastasia Steele’s life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey.
When: February 13th
Why: The whole “Fifty Shades of Grey” phenomenon baffles me. This is a book that began as “Twilight” fan fiction and miraculously became a bestseller, thanks to a devoted female fanbase that swoons over a character whose sexual exploits would, quite frankly, scare the shit out of a majority of them in real life. So how has it become so popular? I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that question, but kudos to the studio for having the bravado to release the film on Valentine’s Day weekend. Though that may seem like a no-brainer considering its central romance, the BDSM angle makes it a hard sell for anyone that hasn’t read the books or doesn’t find pain in the bedroom particularly romantic.

“Hot Tub Time Machine 2”

Who: Adam Scott, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke and Gillian Jacobs
What: When Lou, who has become the “father of the Internet,” is shot by an unknown assailant, Jacob and Nick fire up the time machine again to save their friend.
When: February 20th
Why: The first “Hot Tub Time Machine” had its moments, but it didn’t exactly light up the box office, so it seems strange that Paramount would move forward with a sequel, especially because no one was really asking for one. John Cusack was smart to jump ship, and although he’s been replaced by Adam Scott, it would have been easier (and less confusing) if they just wrote his character out of the movie. Though the rest of the main cast is returning along with director Steve Pink and writer Josh Heald, the film looks pretty bad. It reeks of desperation, like a once-famous rock band doing a reunion tour, and there’s not a single laugh in the entire trailer.

“McFarland, USA”

Who: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor and Elsie Fisher
What: A cross country coach in a small California town transforms a team of athletes into championship contenders.
When: February 20th
Why: Proving that there are worst sports than swimming (“Pride”) to make a movie about, “McFarland, USA” tells the true story of a high school gym coach (who by terrible coincidence is named Mr. White) and his all-Latino cross country team. Though it’s nice to see a minority other than African-Americans being represented by Hollywood, the movie looks like it was assembled using parts from other inspirational sports dramas. Heck, they even convinced Kevin Costner to play the coach, as if he really needed another one of these films on his resume. Cross country is a boring sport, and while “McFarland, USA” will undoubtedly be harmless and wholesome family entertainment, chances are that no one will remember it by summertime.

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