Last year boasted a pretty strong summer’s worth of movies, hitting just about every sort of terrific flick you could’ve asked for. We may have started off a bit rocky with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but the following week picked up the slack and then some with Star Trek. Moving right along through the remaining months, we had Up, Drag Me to Hell, The Hurt Locker, Moon, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Funny People, and we finished off with District 9 and Inglourious Basterds. Not too shabby, if you ask me.
Can we expect as much this year? I would hope so, but there isn’t much that I can honestly say I’m genuinely excited for. Looking through a list of the summer’s releases, there are a lot of movies that I’m “interested in,” but very few that I’m getting that rush of fanboy excitement about. Am I outgrowing this stuff, or is the outlook not good for this summer?
I say, let’s find out together! I need YOUR HELP to shake off this chagrin and put on a happy face for this summer’s cinematic activites! Strap yourselves in, boys and girls, and prepare yourselves for Shep’s Summer Movie Preview—Ennui Style!
Next week starts off the big ol’ blockbuster season with Jon Favreau’s you-asked-for-it-you-got-it sequel Iron Man 2. I know a lot of people are really stoked for this flick, and early word-of-mouth is positive, but honestly—the trailers don’t really look that good. There’s nothing uniquely discernible about it at all—the trailer doesn’t really reveal much of anything in terms of story, it’s just looks like more of the same. And I literally mean “more”—more action, more heroes, more villains. It’s the perfect recipe for a mess. I remember having a similar feeling towards trailers for Spider-Man 3…I was right.
The week after Iron Man 2 bestows a couple of small romantic comedies that I haven’t really heard of until just now—Letters to Juliet and Just Wright. Suffice it to say, I don’t exactly have much in the way of expectations there. But also hitting us that weekend will be Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood, which certainly fits under the aforementioned category of “I’m interested.” I like Ridley Scott, I like Robin Hood, I like the cast, but the trailer just seemed a little…standard. Still, I’m intrigued, and I hope it’s good.
I have a confession to make. I’ve seen a couple of the trailers for MacGruber, and it honestly looks like it could be really funny. That “three-wire guy” line gets me every time. I groaned right along with everyone else when I heard they were making yet another worthless SNL spin-off movie from a sketch that wasn’t funny to begin with. But between the trailers and the positive early reviews…I think I’m kinda sold. Now, Shrek Forever After, on the other hand, I couldn’t possibly have less interest in. The first Shrek was just okay, but has generated nothing but disdain from me for starting this whole smarmy pop-culture-laden animation genre that needs to die. I was consistently annoyed by Shrek 2, and, as such, stayed far away from Shrek the Third. This franchise is dead to me.
Sex and the City 2. I don’t get it. No interest. Moving on. Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is the other movie hitting theaters on this particular weekend, and again, I have no interest. Does anyone, really? I love me a good time travel movie, but this thing just looks boring and bad. And seeing as the video-game-to-film genre has exactly zero credibility, that’s another strike against it.
I like Jonah Hill, and having Judd Apatow’s name on a comedy is usually a good sign, but the trailers for Get Him to the Greek are kinda bland and stupid, and the movie is a spin-off of (and from the same director of) Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a movie I didn’t really care for at all. In other words, it looks like there’s not much to see here. I don’t know what Killers is, but seeing that it stars Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl, I would recommend steering clear on that basis alone. Of course, there’s also Marmaduke, a feature-length family film based off of the worst one-panel comic strip in history (and that’s saying something). And then there’s Splice, a horror movie starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polly, which could go either way.
The only thing I find remotely interesting about The A-Team is the casting of District 9’s Sharlto Copley in one of the leads. Let’s face it—an big-budget A-Team movie was inevitable at some point, so I guess it’s good that we’re getting it out of the way so we don’t have to be bothered by it in the future. Also filling out the weekend is the remake of The Karate Kid. Here’s another confession—I’ve never seen any of the original Karate Kid movies; not even the Hilary Swank one. My Ralph Macchio frame of reference begins and ends with My Cousin Vinny. And this whole Karate Kid thing…just seems boring. Feel free to berate me.
Jonah Hex. Insert prolonged groan. I like that Josh Brolin has his own tentpole action movie, but this looks…just awful. And then there’s Toy Story 3! I really, really, really hope this is good. I’m nervous. It doesn’t really look all that amazing, and if the calamitous Cars proved anything, it’s that Pixar is capable of striking out. However if their last three films (Ratatouille, Wall-E, and Up) are any indication, then they are on one hell of a hot streak. Toy Story 3 will be the first Pixar flick directed by a first-timer since Finding Nemo. Let’s hope we see results on that level!
The Adam Sandler all-stars step up to the plate in Grown-Ups, another movie that looks really, really bad. I like Adam Sandler when he branches out, but when he’s doing his own stuff (he co-wrote the script for this one) then you can count me out. And I remember seeing a trailer for Knight and Day in front of shitty-ass Avatar and thinking it looked very unusual, but in a very usual kind of way. It stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz and looks like something of a Mr. and Mrs. Smith knockoff. As of right now, I have next to no opinion on the matter.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. No.
I have no ties to the source material of The Last Airbender, but the concept sounds kinda silly to me, and I have a tough time trusting M. Night Shyamalan. I can only imagine that this one will wind up attracting the fans, but otherwise get crushed under the weight of the Twilight hysteria.
Again, I’ve seen a couple of trailers for Despicable Me that were kind of cute, but I fear that it could really go in the direction of that horrible animation sub-genre that Shrek started. My fingers are crossed, though. Predators is one that I feel like maybe I should be at least semi-excited for, but I’m just not. I never liked Predator. Sorry. Between Predator and Alien, I’ll pick Alien 100 times out of 100. He’s a cool-looking monster, but otherwise just boring.
Finally!! A movie that I am truly excited for—Christopher Nolan’s Inception! I love Nolan, I love the cast, and all of the cryptic, strange things that everyone involved is saying about it are getting me really, really pumped. Thank God there’s going to at least be something!! Also on this date is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I’m not gonna lie—it could be fun!
I watched the trailer for Dinner for Schmucks, a new comedy starring Paul Rudd and Steve Carell, and directed by Jay Roach. All talented, funny guys. I couldn’t really tell what exactly the movie was about, and found that with every second that went by where I wasn’t laughing, I cared less. So there’s that. There’s also Salt, which if I see one more damn trailer for, I’m gonna scream. Again—no interest.
I don’t know what Beastly is, but I just saw a poster for it, and I know immediately that it’s not for me. Apparently there’s also Cats and Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore. I had no idea that Cats and Dogs, a family film from about ten years ago that wasn’t really that big of a hit, got a sequel—a theatrical sequel nonetheless. Strange.
I’m not much into this whole dance movie thing, and the prospect of watching fit youngsters sashaying right at my face doesn’t further entice me, so I guess Step Up 3D is out. And while Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg is an inspired action-comedy pairing–and that’s a funny poster, too–the trailer for The Other Guys did absolutely nothing for me. Plus, director Adam McKay failed to impress me with both Talladega Nights and Step Brothers, so this is another one that I think just isn’t for me.
I don’t really know enough about Eat, Pray, Love to merit any bitter words, although I don’t see it being one that I’m really going to get “excited” for. Director Ryan Murphy made that Running with Scissors movie, which I didn’t like, so that’s one strike against it. The Expendables trailer looks a bit standard, but the amount of attention that this movie has been getting from day one makes me think I should be more interested in it than I am. To be honest, it’s is pretty fascinating to watch a 60-something Stallone still knocking out big action-centric roles like this. Might be worth it for that. And then there’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which boasts an amusing concept, a pretty good cast, and an excellent comic director, Edgar Wright. I’ll show up for this one, certainly.
There are four movies opening up on this day, all of which I don’t believe I’ll be attending. Lottery Ticket with that Bow Wow person, Nanny McPhee Returns with Emma Thompson, The Switch with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, and Takers with a lot of people I don’t care about. I guess I’ll stay in this weekend.
And what’s the movie that the summer of 2010 is choosing to head out on? Piranha 3D. If there’s a bigger sign of the worthlessness of this summer, then I’d sure like to hear it.
So there it is, folks. Am I crazy or is this summer looking to be totally dissatisfying. In all honesty, the theatrical experience that I’m most excited for is The Complete Metropolis, the new restoration of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent sci-fi masterpiece incorporated with newly discovered footage. The movie has already been making its way around the nation and I would love for it to come to my noble little city. (That’s Louisville, Kentucky, Kino!! If you’re listening…
If I have to drive for it, I will, but other than that, it looks like I’ll be staying in a lot more so than usual this summer. It’s a sad, sad day.