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Death of the Summer Movies

So most people know that there are movie “seasons” throughout the year. Late fall and early winter are usually when the big Oscar contenders come out, late winter is more often than not the “dead zone” of movies. And then there’s summer. Summer is blockbuster season, where studios empty their wallets to collect the attentions of students off for the summer everywhere. But what does this mean for us? From what I remember as a kid, it meant action, adventure, and maybe some excitement. But things seem to have taken a turn for the worse. Now it has become a trough for revamps, reboots and sequels to sequels. What the hell happened to the summer movies!?? Lets take a look at 3 different summers of the past along with the summer of the present.

The year is 1995 and I am in elementary school. Take a gander at this list of top movies of the summer:

  • Braveheart
  • Apollo 13 (You know, most of of the anti-gravity scenes were actually filmed in anti gravity?)
  • Batman Forever (shut up, it wasn’t as bad as you think)
  • Clueless (annoyingly hip, but also more depth then most think)
  • The Usual Suspects (!!!!)
  • Desperado (Oh, the gun play…)
  • The Prophecy (Christopher Walken. Period.)
  • Se7en (WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!?!)
  • Showgirls (hahahahahahahahaha, well puberty hits everybody)

More important then each individual movie is what they have in common, which is almost FREAKIN’ NOTHING! Each one has an element of true uniqueness. Plus, they were entertaining just because you were watching something you hadn’t seen before! Now let’s go to 1997, middle school:

  • Austin Powers (Yeah, Baby! Well, I said blockbusters, not Oscar winners)
  • Jurassic Park (C’mon, velociraptors, ‘nuf said.)
  • Face/Off (Fuck off if you aren’t a Nic Cage fan. John Woo believed, I believe)
  • Men in Black (Who would ever think to pair Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones?)
  • Air Force One (Harrison Ford as the President. I’m in.)
  • Cop Land (If you haven’t seen it, you should. Sly Stallone actually acts.)
  • G.I. Jane (Ridley Scott and Demi Moore’s nipples. Hoo-raa!)
  • The Game (one of Fincher’s most under rated movies)
  • L.A. Confidential (One of the best of the year, let alone the summer)

Once again, we are getting a great range of movies. You have action, you have drama, you have sci-fi, you have slap-stick, what more can you ask for in a summer? Now before getting judgemental, keep in mind that “Oscar season” is later in the year. Let’s move on to 2001:

  • The Mummy Returns
  • Shrek
  • Pearl Harbor
  • Dr. Dolittle 2
  • Scary Movie 2
  • Jurassic Park 3
  • Rush Hour 2
  • American Pie 2
  • The Others
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Starting to notice anything? Quite a lot of numbers tacked on to the ends of movie titles, isn’t it? Now granted, this is not all the movies put out that summer, and most of these sequels (or Kevin Smith branch offs) were money-making blockbuster hits when they came out…the first time. Sadly, it’s largely the publics’ fault. Do you know how much money Dr. Dolittle 2 made? DO YOU??? An estimated 112, 950, 721 FREAKIN’ DOLLARS!! IN THE USA!!!! What the hell is wrong with us? Now, before I get carried away, lets travel closer to the present and look at the summer of 2014:

  • Amazing Spider Man 2
  • Godzilla
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past
  • Maleficent
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  •  22 Jump Street
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Planes: Fire and Rescue
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Hercules
  • TMNT
  • The Expendables 3
  • Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Holy shit, do you see that list of movies? With the exception of Edge of Tomorrow (thank you Tom Cruise, even if you are a jackass) and Guardians of the Galaxy (although this is arguable due to the popularity of the comic book universe nowadays) those are all either sequels or reboots!! The formula now seems to be either, “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to improve the damn thing,” or, “Bring it back, but make gritty.” I mean how the hell did we let Michael Bay get to four, going on five!, of these horrendous atrocities against a childhood comic/toy?! My eyes start to water after the first 90 minutes of rumbling CGI machinery, I’m practically bawling by the end of the 144-165 minute spectacle. And by the way, who the hell decided our comic characters can no longer be campy? It has been replaced with angst; it must be dark and sorrowful or it is unacceptable!

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things are going to get much better anytime soon. With the exception of the occasional gem amidst a garbage pile of rubbish, we are going to be buried with reboot, after sequel, after makeover. Looks like we are just going to have to sit back and wait till Oscar season. Meanwhile, I’m going to go watch Darkman.

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