I don’t know if you guys realize this, but this summer we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the summer that happened ten years ago. Pretty crazy, huh? Seems impossible to even consider, but I did the math and it all checks out. So I knew I couldn’t just let that go by without acknowledging it.
As you know I have an ongoing fascination with the evolution of the Big Summer Popcorn Movie. I love watching this type of movie, even some of the bad ones, have my opinions about them, wonder if they’ve gotten worse over the years, how they’ve changed or how our standards for them have changed. Last summer my project for exploring that was my study of the movie that gave marine-mammal-style live aquatic birth to the Big Summer Popcorn Movie itself, JAWS. Well, actually I didn’t write about JAWS proper, just all its sequels and some of its rip-offs. (what do you want, people? I do this shit for free.)
I had fun with that so naturally I was looking for another summer movie project to do this year. This time I wanted to do one that would more specifically give me a window into the way these type of movies have changed over the years. I decided the best method would be to pick a specific summer from a while back and watch all the major movies of this type that came out. 10 years ago seemed most natural, although 15 and 20 years were also considered. Then there was the whole “shooting Osama bin Laden” deal that happened and I realized that after a decade there might even be something to analyzing the frivolous summer movies we were watching just a few months before 9-11, when the whole world seemed to crumble. Are ten years of war and terrorism different when considered in context with THE MUMMY RETURNS and LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER?
(spoiler: probly not. But worth investigating.)
I am a man and I follow my own path and therefore I know I must embark on a 2001 Summer Movie Odyssey. There is one big catch though: even through the romantically soft lens of nostalgia it’s hard not to see 2001 as a pretty god damn shitty summer for movies. In the interest of suspense and showmanship or something I’m not gonna reveal the full list of what I’ll be reviewing, but you can look up what came out that summer if you want to see how grim the outlook is. From those I picked 13 to review. My lineup will include 7 movies I never saw before, 3 that I purposely skipped because they’re by directors whose previous movies I seriously hated. I’ll also be revisiting a couple that I liked or thought were okay back then but haven’t seen since, a couple that I seriously hated back then but haven’t seen since, one that I hadn’t seen before because it was Crocodile Dundee part 3.
Other rules: I’ll be reviewing them in order of their release dates. I’ll consider anything released from April through August to be a summer release. Because my interest is in the sons of JAWS I’m mainly sticking to things that involve action, adventure or sci-fi type shit, and will be skipping some of the biggest movies if they were straight comedies (AMERICAN PIE 2) musicals (MOULIN ROUGE) or cartoons (SHREK). Also I won’t be re-watching JURASSIC PARK III because I did that last summer and my opinion hadn’t changed enough to write a new review. (But that’s an important one so I’ll do a post when we get there so you all can tell me why I’m wrong.) Other than those it’s gonna be most of the major releases.
For the most part I’m just gonna watch the movies and review ’em, but along the way we’ll definitely be noticing and discussing some connections and comparisons to the movies coming out this summer. I would like to close this post with a few figures about the two summers.
Sequels released in summer 2001: 8
(POKEMON 3: THE MOVIE, CROCODILE DUNDEE IN LOS ANGELES, THE MUMMY RETURNS, DR. DOLITTLE 2, SCARY MOVIE 2, JURASSIC PARK III, RUSH HOUR 2, AMERICAN PIE 2)
Sequels released in summer 2011: 11
(SCREAM 4, FAST FIVE, HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL, PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, THE HANGOVER II, KUNG FU PANDA 2, CARS 2, TRANSFORMERS 3, HARRY POTTER PART 7 PART 2, FINAL DESTINATION 5, SPY KIDS 4)
plus two prequels: X-MEN FIRST CLASS, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
2001 based on comic book: 1
(JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS)
2011 based on comic book: 6
(DYLAN DOG: DEAD OF NIGHT, THOR, PRIEST, GREEN LANTERN, X-MEN FIRST CLASS, CAPTAIN AMERICA)
Note: 7 if you count THE SMURFS
2001 based on video game: 2
(LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN)
2011: none, surprisingly
2001 remakes: 1
(PLANET OF THE APES – 2 if you count RAT RACE)
2011 remakes: 4
(ARTHUR, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, FRIGHT NIGHT, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK)
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.