-Any summer where new Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, Chan wook Park and Hayao Miyaaki films come out is automatically awesome. The fact that this is some of the best (or, if not best, than most unique) work from each landmark director is almost too much for a film geek to take. My weak ass blu-ray collection is going to get a lot bigger soon!
-Fewer poorly conceived summer blockbusters. Why: the writers strike from a few years back finally caught up with us. Who wudda thought though that writers in Hollywoodnotworking turned into a good thing for moviegoers? It allowed a rush of lower scale but arguably more interesting (and innovative) group of movies to slide into the place of the usual crap. Okay, a few duds like “X-Men: Origins” and “G.I. Joe” slipped through, they had to, but it could have been worse, there could have been a Michael Bay film–oh.
–I am now ready to come out say it: Star Trek kinda sucked. Look, as a fan of sci-fi I’m allowed to bitch. My favorite genre disappointed big time. “Star Trek” and “District 9” are overrated spectacles while “Terminator: Salvation” was barley interesting enough to rate and, of course, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is second-rate if it deserves a rating at all. Fresh ideas were either not there at all or vigorous to a point of masturbation.
–WAR,what is it good for? A LOT. “Inglourious Basterds,” I went to see “another” war movie and left wide eyed and invorgrated by a film that does what’s least expected. It’s a drama when it “should” have been a war movie, yes, but its a better drama than it ever could have been a war movie! It’s also talky when it should be shooty but, again, the words are so much better than the bullets. Then there’s “The Hurt Locker,” another “war film” I didn’t see coming but, man, when it came… it came hard (that sounds gross). While “Basterds” is one of the best non-war films ever made (much better than “Deer Hunter”) “Hurt Locker” is one of the best actual war movies.
–Destruction then Detectives–The summer opend with the video game “Red Faction: Guerilla” and ended with “Batman: Arkham Asylum.” Summer gaming usually sucks, these two saved this year’s season in a big way. Destroying any building in sight all summer long in this underrated video game follow-up to the FPS “Red Factions” is my idea of fun. Doing it on Mars makes it unbeatable! Seriously, after playing this game I walking into buildings looking for structural weaknesses and plotting all those sweet spots where my trusty hammer hammer could tear this motha down–don’t let the terrorists get ahold of this thing. And at the end of summer, playing the immersive Batman game (the caped crusader by way of “Metal Gear” or “Splinter Cell”!) felt like a dream come true. Literally, too, because it’s not only the best superhero game ever to come out (Move down “Avengers” arcade and “Ultimate Spider Man”) but the best Batman game of all time. As someone who has taken my share of batarang lumps, starting with 1991’s NES Batman and spanning decades of semi-playable crap, I realize calling this one the “best” of the bunch is not saying much but neither was calling “Chronicles of Riddick” the best Riddick and look how good that one turned out. All I know is that after “Dark Knight” last summer and “AA” this year if we don’t get another fantastic Batman story in the summer of 2010 I’ll be suicidal.
-Until this summer my potential top tens for the year was looking dismal. As I write this it’s overflowing.
–P-o-n-y-o!!! I love living in a world where this film exists.
-While “Away We Go” and “Paper Heart” were hipster death traps that many (but not nearly enough) were able to avoid, the hipster offering that worked, “(500) Days of Summer,”worked well. This anti-romance is far from perfect but still managed to reminded me of a modern “Annie Hall” and worth it for the performance by Jason Gordon Levit, who is now forgiven for being in “G.I. Joe,” and getting his lame male stripper turned “actor” Channing Tatum friend (this guy is now in our lives?!) to be in “G.I. Ho.”
-I hate the sun. I hate the heat. It was nice and cool where I live. As a Vampire American I appreciate that. That’s all.
-Despite it being Dan Brown and, ugh, made by Ron Howard, “Angels & Demons” turned out to be… not good necessarily but a lot better than it had any right to be. An exciting, steadily told, no frills mystery with some atmosphere and a really cool payoff. I actually saw it twice and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Okay, maybe I am.
-This is the first summer since I can remember that such a small amount of good music came out. In fact, I’m pretty sure Black Eyed Peas are making anti-music. And how is it that people are still buying that shitty Kings of Leon album?
–Christopher Waltz drinking milk or doing just about anything in “Inglourious Basterds.” May I just say, good sir, how wonderful your cow is.
-The good news: two funny but serious as hell horror movies came out that made me love the genre again, “Thirst” and “Drag Me To Hell.” The bad: they made no money while “The Final Destination” and “Halloween II” cleaned up.
-The “Watchman” is not only a great movie but a movie that was practically made for home viewing this summer but seriously, fuck you guys for releasing the director’s cut on blu only to tell us that the “other” “real” director’s cut with the animated Black Pirate sequences and everything is coming out this winter. I call shenanigans on this one! Directors should be allowed one cut, anything after that should be free.
Top Five Movies That Made this Summer Great (in no order)
- Hurt Locker
- Drag Me To Hell
Films I Should Have Seen