Summer Movies

Everyone’s a critic at the movies. It’s the boon and the bane of popular culture: since your $10 ticket + $47.50 for snacks are paying for the movie, you get a vote. Especially if you’re an 18-34-year-old male or a 13-year-old girl. God help us if the studios ever figure out how to reliably get that money in the cash register. All we’ll ever see at the multiplex is Transformers XXVII and Harry Potter and the Plastic Seive. (Not that I wouldn’t enjoy both of those, mind you, but the steady diet might kill me.)

I, like everyone else, has something to say when I leave the theater, but mostly I don’t write about it (even though, unlike most everyone else, I actually have a degree in film). Why? Because there are a lot of people already saying things about the movie I just saw and I don’t like crowds.

Today, however, I’m going to make an exception. Again with the, “Why?” My, aren’t we inquisitive, this Monday morning! Well, I’ll tell you. Because yesterday, R and I saw The Hangover and I spouted on a bit about some other movies we’ve seen recently and how to rate them and R said he’d like to hear more, so here we are. That just goes to show how much I like him. And if you disagree with me on any of these, you can take it up with him.

I rate movies based on how successful they are at doing what they set out to do, not how they stack up against the best movie ever made. If it weren’t on a relative scale, Casablanca and The Philadelphia Story would get A’s and Bad Boys, all of the James Bonds and the VeggieTales would get F’s. I love Pierce Brosnan too, but you know I’m right.

Angels & Demons. C minus. Even without the godawful haircut Tom Hanks sported in the first one, this sucked almost as much. Without the overlay of religion, the plot looks like something out of Superfriends, especially when you count the exploding helicopter. If Ewan McGregor weren’t so good at being good while shoveling down a plate of ham, I’d have given it a D.

Frost/Nixon. A. While we’re on the subject of Ron Howard, this is recently out on video. Given his abysmal record (Apollo 13 was a long time ago and no one but me loves The Paper) of directing quality (not “money-making” but “quality”) movies, I was very worried to hear Howard had gotten his hands on Peter Morgan‘s (The Queen) script and might cut out Frank Langella (who played Nixon in the stage version and – bizarre and irrelevant – dated Whoopi Goldberg for ages). Glory be, though: he kept Morgan and Langella’s work intact and the movie kicks some Watergate ass. Also: extra points for the super-effective preview.

Up. A. Yes, I’m upset too that there wasn’t a not-dead girl in sight in the movie but them Pixar boys (yes, they’re mostly boys) produce some quality entertainment. 3-D was an OK gimmick but inessential. It’s quite a feat to make a movie that everyone from my management-consultant father to my urban artist friend to an eight-year-old is quoting three weeks later.

While we’re on the subject, that animation crowd needs some therapy re: killing moms. Either they can’t write ’em (which is a sign of laziness but not malice) or going home for Thanksgiving must be quite the ordeal.

The Hangover. B minus. It lacked the poignance of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and some of the brilliant banter, but the premise was excellent, the resolution not cringe-inducing and Zach was weird but not outta hand. Whew. (Is Bradley Cooper shark-y or what?)

Terminator Salvation. D. Trust me: there’s no salvation for anything/one/cyborg here. Completely forgettable. Thank you, Christian Bale, for forcing them to dilute the original storyline so you could get more camera time. I love Batman as much as the next guy, but McG, this ain’t no music video: the star doesn’t rule the shoot. Also, stop being a schmuck and using your ghetto nickname in the credits like you’re not an overpaid, blonde white guy.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine. B minus. Brace yourselves: there are, like, 50 X-Men named in the previous movies, so this Origins series is gonna be a long one. Thank God they started up with the hot one. I hate the facial hair, but I can’t forget Hugh‘s tragic look and slim hips or Liev‘s vicious incisors and claws, so they must’ve done their job. And by “job” I mean “getting me into the theater even though I saw part of the pirated version and it looked like it might be a complete train wreck but decided that seeing it on an extremely large screen might make up for its obvious shortcomings in plot and execution.” Well done, boys.

Star Trek. Drag Me to Hell. Oh wait, are those two separate movies? Not for me, they’re not.

Transformers: The College Years. C. No, I haven’t seen it, but I’ve done the math.

Muscle cars (hot in 1983)[-72]
+ Shia LaBeouf (over-exposed a la Jude Law circa 2004)(-23)
+ Megan Fox (get over your-“I’ve never been a big believer in formal education”-self)(-NC17)
/ sequel [possible -37]
-3.02 (which is about a C).


Categories: News, Nuisance, Miscellany, Watch This


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One Comment on “Summer Movies”

  1. M
    June 25, 2009 at 2:35 pm #

    can’t believe you panned the star trek movie. it was really really entertaining.

    your commentary is very entertaining though… i’ll be back on a slow afternoon again for sure.

    two thumbs up.

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