Monday, July 28, 2008

2008 - The Summer Where My Cinematic Cynicism Melted



Your age is most likely going to affect your judgment of the crop of summer movies. I'm 34 - and for a good portion of this decade, I thought the crop of summer movies were absolute crap with the exception of one or two decent crowd pleasers (see Spiderman 2, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). For me, each crop of summer movies had to measure up against two years in summer movie yore: 1984 and 1989. 1984 gave us Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Gremlins. 1989 gave us Batman (which nearly all summer blockbusters since then have attempted to replicate in terms of crass marketing), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Lethal Weapon 2. OK, Temple of Doom sucked, but as a fourth grader, the heart-ripping scene was totally badass.

Years change, tastes become more refined and cynicism serves as a great bullshit detector when the big blockbusters come rolling out and asking you for $8.50 plus another $10 for a small soda and a small popcorn. But this year is different. It's like what 1967 or 1977 was for music. Folks - we are currently experiencing the greatest crop of summer movies...ever. And audiences deserve nearly as much praise as the filmmakers and actors.


It started off with Iron Man - a hugely entertaining movie where the director went for talent rather than popularity or "big name draw" for a leading role.


Then came Wall-E. Even if you didn't care for the not so subtle "big business bad - sincerely Pixar - partially owned by Disney" message, it was a marvel to look at and in a time where everyone is saying kids are suffering from rampant ADD - having a movie that was virtually dialogue free for nearly 45 minutes is a feat worth celebrating.

Then Batman came - and Jesus - did it come with a vengeance. It looks like it's going to breeze by the ghastly Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and the just as bad Shrek 2 for box office gross.

So, we have three great movies, but even the lesser ones have been great. Hellboy 2 was stellar. And regardless of what your opinions of the series are, Sex in the City was no better or worse than an average episode, which is usually funnier than most comedies out there.

The only real piece of cinematic trash that cleaned up was Indiana Jones, proving that you can still market a movie that absolutely no one likes to $300 mill.

Audiences have more to look forward to. Barring a major disappointment, Pineapple Express looks like a sure lock for best comedy of the summer. And if it's written as well as previous Apatow projects, it'll mean four blockbusters that didn't stoop to the usual dumbness (e.g. fart jokes and gay jokes) of most comedies.

Just as surprising as the quality, audiences have stepped up as well, kicking well deserved turkeys like The Love Guru and Speed Racer to the curb.

Most summers, you'd be lucky to get a film with the quality of an Iron Man or definitely one Dark Knight. This year, we've had about four. Enjoy this year folks - chances are you won't see another crop like this for a good 20 or so odd years.






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3 Comments:

Blogger scituate said...

I actually liked Hellboy 2 more than The Dark Knight. Ledger was amazing but Hellboy had more heart.

9:08 PM  
Blogger TransformerGeek said...

Thanks for the comment! I'd have to agree on the Hellboy 2 statement. Batman seemed more like a commentary about the age we live in and the nature of what a "hero" truly is than a movie that wears its emotions on its sleeve.

8:29 PM  
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12:43 PM  

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