Since the Oscars expanded eligibility for Our Plague Year: 2020, we are now getting a rash of new year movies to meet the extended February deadline. Malcolm & Marie is one of these movies, and now we have a teaser for Cherry, starring Tom Holland. It’s a Zendalland reunion! Kind of. Let me have this, I miss the halcyon days of Zendalland, or Zomdaya if you like your celebrity portmanteaus to sound like the virus in a zombie movie, KATHLEEN. Cherry is the Russo Brothers’ post-Endgame project, an adaptation of Nico Walker’s novel of the same name (their sister, Angela Russo-Otsot is one of the co-writers, making this a true family affair). It’s Apple’s late entry into the Oscar race, but we will have to see what that really means because Apple does not care about trophies with the same maniacal fervor as Netflix.
The teaser is a clip of a scene in which Holland’s character, Cherry, enlists in the Army. He plays an Army medic and veteran who self-medicates his PTSD and then becomes enmeshed in the opioid crisis and starts robbing banks to pay for his habit. It has all the pieces of a great drama, but it also has the recruiting sergeant wearing a nametag that says “Whomever” which is certainly a choice. There’s a certain kind of smugness to decisions like that which does not bode well for the film overall, but hey, Team Cherry has Robert Downey, Jr. stumping for them. Hollywood’s prom king hosted a Cherry Q&A on Instagram on Friday:
In the clip excerpted on Insta, RDJ said, “this is one of those movies […] that you’re gonna wind up, when it comes on in five years, wherever it is in the movie, you’re gonna wanna watch it.” I would like to point out two things about calling Cherry the kind of movie “you’re gonna wanna watch” regardless of how far in it is. One, as more and more people cut traditional broadcast/cable TV out of their lives, the chances of stumbling across a movie on a Saturday afternoon and becoming engrossed go down drastically. I have been wondering what happens to this class of movie for years now. There are some movies, like Road House, Point Break, or Coming to America, that got absorbed through cultural osmosis because they were just always on. But when you no longer channel surf, how do you find these movies? I legitimately want to know what happens to these “Saturday afternoon movies” when everything we watch is increasingly self-selected.
And two, the so-called “Saturday afternoon movies” aren’t necessarily good. RDJ saying Cherry is the kind of movie you’ll want to watch when you stumble across it on TV—IF you stumble across it—doesn’t tell me that Cherry is GOOD. It tells me that Cherry is WATCHABLE. These are often two different things, especially among those “Saturday afternoon movies”. For instance, I will never try to convince anyone that Road House is good, but I dare you to not watch the hell out of it once it starts. What I’m saying is, Cherry, for all its Oscar pretentions, might just be our next Road House.