Hot Take: Why?
Ron Shelton had not worked on a feature film since 2003. He was the writer/director of Hollywood Homicide which failed with critics and failed at the box office. Shelton, the man behind such hits as Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump and Tin Cup, took a break. Unfortunately, for anyone who has been subjected to his latest “effort”, Just Getting Started, this wasn’t a retirement. It took 14 years for Shelton to get back in the saddle and what he was able to produce was a highly unwatchable, embarrassingly bad waste of everyone’s time, especially the audience. If you think that’s harsh, it’s the rare film that both critics and audiences universally detest. At the time of this writing, Just Getting Started is carrying an abysmal 8% Tomatometer from critics and a 20% Audience Score. Typically, audiences are much more forgiving than critics and a bad Audience Score is usually anything below 50%. Up until the release of Just Getting Started, the worst film of 2017 was The Emoji Movie. This isn’t really something we’re going to debate. It’s just a fact. Even The Emoji Movie, as bad as it was, received a 40% Audience Score. Let that sink in. A movie featuring Patrick Stewart as the voice of Poop pleased 40% of the Audience which saw it… that’s how bad Just Getting Started has been received.
If it’s not clear yet, Just Getting Started is the worst film of 2017. To be fair, there’s still a few weeks left and I never saw Monster Trucks but even as terrible as that January monstrosity looked, I’d bet money it isn’t able to limbo under the low bar set by Just Getting Started. (This is a reference to something that happens in the movie but considering this is also a warning to never, ever, ever watch this film, I thought I’d point out the reference.) Over the years, Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones and Rene Russo have been in some clunkers. Arguably, Just Getting Started might be the worst film on all three esteemed performer’s resume. It’s not as if Freeman hasn’t already tried to capitalize on the AARP audience. It’s a well he likes to drop a bucket down into more often than you probably realize. There was 2013’s Last Vegas where Freeman co-starred alongside Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro. Maybe the box office success of Last Vegas pushed Freeman down this path. Earlier this year, he appeared in Going In Style, a remake of a George Burns/Art Carney flick from the ’70s, which saw Freeman joining forces with Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. Here, Freeman is paired with Jones and Russo and a second tier of performers with a high geezer factor including Joe Pantoliano, George Wallace, Sheryl Lee Ralph and the recently deceased Glenne Headley.
What makes Just Getting Started particularly awful is how disconnected it is with our current climate. The crass approach to women Freeman’s Duke Diver character has become cringe-worthy with the latest rash of accusations of sexual assault and harassment. The film features jokes about big balls (it’s a Christmas movies) and a double entendre about “flocking” meaning, well, you know, that a Three’s Company script advisor would have even disapproved of. Shockingly, the movie somehow avoids a Viagra joke, though, which might be the movie’s only saving grace. Seriously, though, when the best thing you can say about a movie is it doesn’t have any Viagra jokes, how bad must that movie be?
Just Getting Started becomes a real test of will. Even at it’s brief 91 minute run time, it’s a challenge to sit through. It’s rare I can make it through a film without a quick jaunt to the bathroom and it was very tempting to keep heading toward the exit during my quick pit stop during this clunker. As a comedy flick, Just Getting Started offers almost nothing to laugh about. Heck, there isn’t even much to smile about. As an action flick (Yes, there’s some action, I guess), it’s short of any excitement. Just Getting Started is also a Christmas movie. Guess what? It falls short there, too. If you’re able to make it through all 91 minutes without at least once contemplating an exit or wishing the power would go out to get your money back, you have a stronger constitution than most.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- The Choice To Re-Title The Movie
Originally, Just Getting Started was going to be called Villa Capri after the fictional retirement home in which the film takes place. At least they got re-titling the movie sort of right. (Just Getting Started isn’t a great title, either.)
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- We Don’t Have Enough Time
There are so many problems with this movie and I’ve wasted enough of your time and mine on what is essentially the worst movie of 2017.