This summer has been particularly terrible for movies, even worse so than 1996. I came to this conclusion partly based on the fact that, yes, I am getting older and I am starting to see through the hidden agendas involved in a lot of story telling and production. That's why films like Lone Survivor are such a breath of fresh air because it appeared to be unabashedly patriotic by simply telling a true story.
Not-so-hidden politics, needless stereotypical cliches, and reasons behind choosing what country a film is shot in are but a few things that have been irking me as of late with many other film productions. For example, I get an uncontrollable urge to have a diarrhea outburst in my pants when I learn that China was chosen as the location for the third act of Transformers: Age of Extinction NOT based on a story telling need, but because the producers knew that the Chinese would spend a ton of money to see giant robots whooping the shit out of each other. We all know that location scouting outside the U.S. is something that is probably ALWAYS taken into consideration by any film's producers, but what I have been seeing lately is this general need to shoot in China because, in reality, they have quickly been buying up a lot of America's economy, and now it has translated over into the film industry. Sad state of affairs for the American film community, and a subject for another rant which I probably won't engage in for the simple fact that people will think it's political when it is mostly based on simple mathematics.
Those statements aside, anyone can admit (especially teenagers and young adults) that there has been a general lack of fun in the theaters, minus a few exceptions. I have been very vocal about the poor choices of Independence Day movies this year (one horror film, one shitty comedy with a one-note star), but we are quickly approaching August and the only film looking forward to is the ONE film that actually has an ability to save an entire season - Guardians of the Galaxy. Why, in the name of Athena's' hemorrhoids, was THIS film not considered for the Fourth of July weekend? I know that production schedules make for most of that decision, but a big-budget Marvel film with space adventure, comedy, and heartfelt characterizations connected to the Avengers universe COULDN'T have pushed its production back a few weeks to get that weekend locked down?
My problem is, outside of Guardians, there has been nothing really to look forward to. 22 Jump Street was a lot of fun, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a worthy sequel, and a few other movies were good, but where's our Men in Black? Our Independence Day? Our Jurassic Park? Hell, our Saving Private Ryan? All these films were big summer movies, and with the exception of Private Ryan, were a lot of fun. All of them were hits, relatively original or groundbreaking, and none of them held out for the winter holiday movie season.
And THAT'S why this summer sucked so hard. Almost every big movie, probably eight out of ten major productions, were targeted for release around Thanksgiving and Christmas to capitalize on holiday spending and the winter school breaks. This is a similar pattern as the video game industry - the summertime is the doldrums, and the winter is the golden key.
In hindsight, this won't be a terrible year, but the summer will go down in record (at least my mental record that hasn't been punched-drunk yet) as the worst summer in nearly twenty years. What's going to save the entire year are the last two months when we see the final Hobbit film and another Hunger Games, as well as all the films that held out specifically for recognition at the Oscars.
As I get older, I don't look forward to the summer as much because I KNOW that once Halloween hits, the really good shit comes to the theaters. Right now, all we are getting is mainly shit in the fan, with an occasional good nugget that sticks to the wall.
This movie may very well be the undigested peanut we are looking for: