May 29, 2009, may just turn out to be the single best day of movie-going this summer, if not all year. Not only does the delicious little Rian Johnson indie The Brothers Bloom go wide, but two of my favorite films of the year finally see release. In a bit of counterproductive programming, the studios have taken the family-friendly animated Pixar film Up and placed it against the fun, irreverent '80s-style horror/comedy throwback Drag Me To Hell (my review of which you can find right here). So say you're like most folks and only plan on seeing one of these two fantastic films on opening weekend: How do you know which one is right for you and your family? Well, here's how to tell the difference.
Which one can we take the kids to?
Up. The horror in Drag Me to Hell is far too intense for young children. It is frightening, occasionally gross, and likely to scar the young for life. It is, however, perfect for teenagers and possibly mature kids as young as 10 (with supervision, of course.) I know this is exactly the kind of horror movie I would have flipped for when I was around that age. But as you know by now, Pixar films work for the whole family.
Which one will the adults have the most fun with?
Drag me To Hell. While Up is adorable, heartwarming, and very funny, Drag Me To Hell got a visceral reaction out of the audience I saw it with. People were screaming, writhing in their chairs, cheering, and jeering with the fervor of an audience possessed. It is a classic see-it-in-a-packed-theater movie that you will regret seeing on DVD instead. If you can find a crowded midnight show of this, so much the better.
Which one is the most quotable?
Up. While Sam Raimi has been known to make very quotable films in the past, Drag Me To Hell is not one of them. It's one of his most entertaining, by far, but nowhere near as quotable as Army of Darkness. My wife and I saw Up about a month ago and we've been quoting it on a daily basis ever since. Dug the Dog has some of the most adorably funny lines you've ever heard in an animated film. Once you see it, just try to avoid saying things like, "I do not like the cone of shame" or "I just met you but I love you."
Which one will make Top 10 lists?
Up. This is easily one of Pixar's best, eliciting tears from the audience on no less than two occasions. Horror films, no matter how fun, tend to be ignored come Best Of ... time. That said, I think five to 10 years from now Drag Me To Hell will be regarded by film buffs as one of the very best and long lived of this year's films.
Which one will have the most special edition DVDs?
Drag Me To Hell. Seriously. Raimi fans will buy the same movie half a dozen times if it includes a special outtake in which Sam Raimi orders a ham and cheese on rye rather than his normal turkey and swiss. And being one of his best and certainly most commercial horror films to date, Drag Me To Hell will have a wide appeal, especially to the teenagers who grow up with this being one of their favorite horror films.
Which one has the scarier old person?
Up. While Drag Me To Hell has a gypsy woman who curses a young girl to be ... dragged kicking and screaming to hell ... Up has an old man crazy enough to fly his house with balloons. That's some serious crazy going on right there.
Which one is better?
Tie. These are two of the best films you will see all summer, if not all year. The best thing you could do is make them a double feature that weekend or, if you're hardcore like me, a triple feature with The Brothers Bloom.