Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summer Movie Season: Thumbs Up!

Well, we’ve reached the end of the Summer Movie Season coverage with this… the best. It’s how I end every Summer Movie Season, with reflection and a positive note of what we’ve seen over this past summer. And there have been some good things…even great things. We’ve seen Volcanoes in love. A return to practical effects. Spies out the wazoo. Superheroes. Some of them actually good. There have been controversies. But one thing is for certain: It’s been a fun summer.

And keep in mind that when I say “the best” it’s purely subjective. I know what I like, and I enjoy it.  If you don’t like my responses, feel free to start your own blog.

That being said, here are my favorite moments leading up to my two favorite movies of the summer.

Best Guitar Solo: That guy with the flaming Guitar in Mad Max. I kind of feel that this didn’t need to be said. But what it’s indicative about is the fact that it didn’t need a dude riding a wall of speakers shooting fire out of a guitar. It’s a tribute to the visuals presented in this movie, the use of color, the practical effects. Then, after all that was painstakingly put on screen, we got a flaming guitar solo. Still wish Nux didn’t have to die…

Favorite Romance: Arnie Hammer and Henry Cavill in The Man from Uncle. Spy meets Spy. They Fight. They eventually learn to work together. It’s romantic, I tell you. 

Creative Storytelling Moment that Got Cold Feet. We Are Your Friends isn’t going to win any awards. Except for a movie that people didn’t go see. But throughout the movie there were fantastic moments of brilliance, where we would get these wonderful voiceover narrations that moved onto quick shots of anatomy books, elevating what a lot of people consider letting your computer play some music into an art form. if only the rest of the film had taken hold of these moments, we might be having a very different conversation.

Best Use of a Motorcycle to Subdue Your Enemy: Obviously Captain America in Avengers 2. It just slipped. 

Avengers 2 also wins Best Recurring Gag. “Language.” 

Best Chris Pratt. Chris Pratt in Jurassic World. Obviously. 

Funnest Movie of the Summer. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. A nice throw back to when heroes didn’t need hardcore angst to move a plot forward. 

Now You’re Just Messing With Us Award. Seriously? A singing Volcano? Who just wants to find love, and does after slowly dying over thousands of years? Now Pixar is just making movies on bets, apparently. I was going to make a joke about roaches but they already made an adorable roach in WALL*E

Biggest Surprise. LeBron James in Trainwreck. I, like so many Americans, sauntered into Trainwreck to see  how Judd Apatow’s “change yourself to find happiness” routine mixed with Amy Schumer’s sheer awesomeness in comedy. What I didn’t expect was to find LeBron James holding his own against Bill Hader and Amy. Seriously? When do we get a LeBron James spinoff? Soon? 

Thank God You Pulled Back on the Source Material Award. This is a tie. I originally didn’t like Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl. Mostly because Greg spends most of the book whining and telling the reader how terrible the book was. And because Earl is not really a character so much as an excuse to get the word “tittes” on the page as much as possible. All of this tied in with the fact that the two characters supposedly weren’t friends. But just about everything was pulled back in the movie version, giving the characters a chance to grow and make them real characters, and avoided their offputtingness. If that’s a word. 
Tied with Paper Towns. This is another movie that’s a tough sell, because despite being featured on all the materials, the movie isn’t really about Margo so much as it’s a look at trying to find her as well as trying to find that dream. Again, we get more of an idea of character, and about how the journey is spiritual for one character. Plus, the ending is a lot better in the movie version. The sad part is, I didn’t realize how little I liked the ending of the book until I saw the movie.

Still Not Sure If I liked it Award. End of the Tour still vexes me. I can’t decide if it’s a brilliant portrait of an artist that wasn’t sure he wanted to be considered an artist, or a mocking cash grab by a guy who interviewed a guy who was troubled and shot himself. I’ll still be thinking about this for a while.

The Million Ways to Die in the West Award for a Movie that was Better Than it Was Supposed to Be. Damn You, Pixels. I don’t know if it was the nostalgia, or the tie into my adolescent fantasy about saving the world using my video game skills, but I actually enjoyed you. I spent so much time mocking your premise as an old Futurama episode. Why did you have to do it so well?

Best George Clooney. Tomorrowland version George Clooney. George Clooney is usually at his best when he’s a borderline jerk. Anything to make up for Batman and Robin. Also, this movie was a great antidote to all the pessimism lately. 

Runner Up for Favorite Movie of the Summer


On Paper, Ant-Man probably shouldn’t have worked. In addition to having the superpowers of “being able to control ants” and “not being as well known as all of the other Avengers” the original Ant-Man was an abusive alcoholic. There was turmoil… TURMOIL I TELL YOU… behind the scenes as Edgar Wright exited, displaying that Marvel has finally lost it’s touch. But everyone managed to pull together and make it work.

Paul Rudd worked as a man aware of Superheroes, and befuddled as to what to do with his newfound power. Michael Douglas seemed to enjoy being able to say things like “I’m the Ant-Man.” But mostly… after Thor: The Dark World, Iron Man 3, and Avengers 2, this was the first Marvel Film in along time to feel like a Marvel Film. From the fun with the premise, to the references to other movies, to it’s non-self contained nature… it just worked. Plus, we finally got a decent Superhero on Superhero fight scene. Fantastic. I really hope that Marvel is back on point, and we doing get PTSD: The Movie again. 

Favorite Movie of the Summer.

The Man from Uncle.

I realize this is a controversial choice, because it doesn’t include any combination of the words “Mad” or “Max”. I realize that this movie didn’t exactly break any records on opening day. And that is quite the shame, because anyone who didn’t see this movie missed a rare little treat of a spy movie. There was no attempt to bring it from the Cold War to the modern day. They used big, bulky gadgets, and we loved them for it. The style was awesome, with 3 piece suits and designer shoes. All directed by Guy Ritchie who actually toned down his usual style to try to appeal to more people. All of this and you throw in a great cast… Arnie Hammer, Henry Cavill, Alicia Vikander, Hugh Grant… This was just a fantastic movie all around. I’ve been to it twice, and I may end up going to see it again, because I loved it that much. It was just a cool movie, filled with twists, and really deserved more attention than it originally got. This isn’t just a must see movie, it’s a MUST SEE MOVIE.

And that wraps up Summer Movie Season 2015. Stay tuned tomorrow for our prayer to Tom Hanks.

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