You may ask yourself, how the heck did Lethal Weapon win one week of this tournament? It's not a classic. It wasn't the first buddy-cop movie, or the first white-and-black-partners movie. It wasn't even the first movie in which Mel Gibson lost his wife, went nuts, and acquired a devoted canine BFF. It's not a cinematographic wonder. The dialogue is made-for-TV. There are completely implausible plot points, like the neighborhood six year-old who can identify that Mr. Joshua had the same tattoo as Riggs (from across the street). There are ridiculous only-in-the-movies moments, like when Riggs is tortured nearly to death through electrocution, and proceeds to rescue Murtaugh and his daughter, Rianne, and then chase Mr. Joshua barefoot down a freeway. Or when Murtaugh lets Riggs mud wrestle with Mr. Joshua for the WWF title after they've already arrested him. There are eew scenes in which Riggs seems mildly intrigued by Rianne, who is not only his partner's daughter, but somewhere in the vicinity of sixteen years old. Shall I go on? OK, how about this: other than some Stanislavski-rated sweat glands, Danny Glover can't act his way out of a bag in this film, and the entire 21st-century world knows that Mel Gibson and Gary Busey were both just playing their bonkers selves in the late 80s, no acting required. And, last but certainly not least: oh, god, the mullet.
But it's all about the meta game, baby. About accidentally nailing the family's common denominator, which weaves and bobs elusively and unpredictably every week. This film has non-stop action. It has bad guys and good guys. It is precisely an hour and fifty minutes long. It keeps you watching. It has a sappy ending. It is not depressing. You don't have to read subtitles. Sally stayed bundled on the floor, instead of putting her pillow and blanket up and announcing she had homework to do. After the fact we can say this was obviously a week in which people wanted something fun. It was not a week for carefully-written classics (The Sting), for lush period pieces with cop-out endings (An Education), or even for indie movies with the adorable Ellen Page (The Tracey Fragments). Before the fact, who knows?
For years, teen Boggy held the Netflix queue hostage, moving the rest of the family's selections around like chess pieces on a board, or deleting them as heartlessly as toppling pawns. Then he magnanimously created the Boggy Movie Tournament, and a meta game was born. The playing field is finally open. The competition is fierce. You'll never recommend another movie without asking yourself, "But, is it a winner?"