So once again we have survived.

Summer Movie Flashback epilogue

tn_speedracerThanks for indulging me with this Summer Movie Flashback series. Now that I’ve gone through 20 summer movies from the last decade I figured I should have a brief post-game huddle or whatever.

Shit, me starting writing this series almost seems like longer ago than PROMETHEUS, the most recent movie I reviewed in it. So it deserves a wrapup.

 

I did 10 movies I hadn’t seen before and 10 that I had. Of those I hadn’t seen I have to admit the ones I enjoyed most were LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER’S CRADLE OF LIFE, STARDUST and THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN – none of them great movies. So I guess I didn’t do too bad of a job with the movies I skipped for 10 summers. The ones I watched that I enjoyed the least were THE DA VINCI CODE and PRINCE OF PERSIA. VAN HELSING is probly technically worse than those, but I enjoyed analyzing its terribleness (and it has some fun parts) so I definitely enjoyed it more.

Of those I had already seen the one that really surpassed my memory of it was SPEED RACER. I knew I liked it, but I didn’t know how much. There was nothing I did a total flip on (admittedly I wasn’t watching anything I flat out disliked before, like I didn’t do TRANSFORMERS for example), but my appreciation definitely deepened on this one. Others that held up really well were WAR OF THE WORLDS and INCEPTION. Ones that I liked a little less than I remembered were HULK and SUPERMAN RETURNS, HULK being more disappointing since I remembered that being a favorite movie of the time. But I still got some enjoyment out of both, I just noticed more things I didn’t like about them this time.

Based on the unscientifically chosen titles in this series I don’t think there’s any evidence of these types of movies getting better or worse over this period. There were risky, auteury ones early on (HULK) as well as later on (SPEED RACER). There weren’t any as stupid as VAN HELSING in the later years, but that one is an anomaly in my opinion, not necessarily a standard we as a society have moved beyond.

I guess the titles I chose do support the idea that all the big movies of this era are based on previously existing “properties.” I did 2 based on video games, 4 based on comics, 3 based on books, 1 TV show follow up, one based on an old cartoon, one non-adaptation sequel (one of the video game ones is also a sequel), 2 prequels/prebootquels, 1 remake, and 1 whatever you want to say VAN HELSING is. That just leaves MR. & MRS. SMITH, SUNSHINE and INCEPTION as original movies, plus COWBOYS & ALIENS, which they had to pretend was a comic book to sell to the studio. So, less than 25% original material.

Well, I don’t know if I learned anything from doing this, but I had fun. Which I guess is what you’re usually looking for from summer movies.

Here’s the complete run of reviews:

2003:

LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE
HULK

2004:

VAN HELSING
I, ROBOT

2005:

MR. & MRS. SMITH
WAR OF THE WORLDS

2006:

DA DA VINCI CODE
DA SUPERMAN RETURNS

2007:

STARDUST
SUNSHINE

2008:

THE X FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE featuring Xzibit (extended remix)
SPEED RACER

2009:

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123
TERMINATOR SALVATION

2010:

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME
INCEPTION

2011:

COWBOYS & ALIENS
THE RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

2012:

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
PROMETHEUS

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.
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30 Responses to “Summer Movie Flashback epilogue”

  1. yeah, I suppose it’s true that movies haven’t really gotten better or worse in the last decade

    sometimes it feels like it’s gotten worse, but not really, I mean this is not a GREAT period for movies or anything, but it’s been like this for a long time now

  2. A few words to the wise:

    The Fake Griffs are finished, you understand? I see a Fake Griff reply, I spam the man postin’ it. So run, you sockpuppet… RUN! Tell all the other sockpuppets the law’s comin’. You tell ’em I’M comin”… and Hell’s comin’ with me! HELL’S comin’ with me!

    (There, that oughta do it).

    On a relevant note, I kinda hoped Vern would do a reevaluation of The Dark Knight Rises, but… nope, didn’t happen. C’est la vie.

  3. One other thing (this kinda pertains to TDKR): Does anyone else BESIDES me get a 500 Days Of Summer vibe from the trailer for Don Jon? Except Joseph Gordon Levitt (who wrote and directed it) has replaced the comparatively normal couple from 500 DOS with a hipster guy and a (borderline?) dirty tramp girl? Same basic formula, different context.

    Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

  4. Ever going to do your Michael Mann series?

  5. It was a lot of fun to read that series, although I would have loved to see a few less re-reviews. But it was a good way to talk about those movies again and of course reading what you write is always fun, so I don’t mind.

    The observation that I took from the series though, is that the modern pattern of a string of dozens of huge effect and explosion filled blockbusters per summer seemed to have started in 2008, when Marvel started their little filmmaking experiment. I mean, most previous summers seemed to be pretty low on spectacle and mostly filled with mid-budget action stuff, but since then it seemed like during summer we get every two weeks one fucking expensive special effect extravaganza. I doubt that anybody would dare to shedule a pedestrian, dialogue heavy thriller like THE DAVINCI CODE during summer today, doesn’t matter how popular the property it’s based on is.

  6. Amazing Larry, I didn’t see 500 Days, but I thought his character in *that* movie was supposed to be what is colloquially understood as a ‘hipster,’ and Don John was him doing some sort of Jersey Shore thing. The previews I’ve seen didn’t give much in the way of Scarlett Johansson’s character other than her accent. But yeah, I can see the similarities.

    Either way, JGL = household name. Who’d have thunk it?

  7. If you think Don Jon is a hipster, you’ve never seen a hipster. He’s a meathead, basically the polar opposite of a hipster.

  8. I don’t even know what a hipster is anymore. (Strangely enough, as I wrote that sentence I happened to be listening to a song with the lyrics “The sound of hipsters getting old.” I don’t know what that means, but it’s a weird coincidence).

  9. You reviewed Van Helsing as part of this series? How did I miss that??

  10. Don’t be sad, Griffy. Make love to me like you used to.

  11. Yeah Griff, make love to me like you used to.

  12. Make love to all of us, Griff.

  13. What’s up with all da Griff haters recently, yo? Dammit. Everybody got haters these days, except me!

  14. I think years down the line we’ll all remember this as the day shit got WEIRD.

  15. I dug this series. Thanks, Vern, for doing it!

    Also, to the cheap motherfucker who is perpetrating the hate towards Griff: stop being jealous just cause the kid got mentioned by Vern. Go back to AICN where flame wars and cowardly comment attacking is the norm. Here we talk about movies and games and music and tv and shit and, while we may not always share the same opinions, I’d like to think we respect each other. Creating fake screen names just to talk shit about a guy who, as far as I can see, has never insulted anybody else and has simply been sharing his thoughts is just fucking lame.

  16. “What’s up with all da Griff haters recently, yo? Dammit. Everybody got haters these days, except me!”

    CJ – you suck! Also you smell.

    Happy now? :)

  17. yeah, I seriously have no idea why this person is targeting me, is it really because Vern mentioned me in a review? is that what’s got you so pissed off? how petty

  18. Unless anonymously accusing someone of having made love to Bota-Kan is considered a really sick burn in anime circles, Griff, nothing this mysterious doppelgriffer has said has been particularly insulting. I’m not sure it’s even about you. I think you’ve been randomly swept up in someone’s private conceptual art project.

    It could have happened to any of us. Your name’s probably just easiest to spell.

  19. in fact, implying I’ve made love to Bonta-Kun (this character fyi http://fullmetalpanic.wikia.com/wiki/Bonta-kun) makes me laugh more than it insults me

  20. FUCK YOU, RRA! (And thank you for hating me. :) )

  21. “I think you’ve been randomly swept up in someone’s private conceptual art project.”

    Now I’m imagining that the faux-Griff is in fact James Franco. I wouldn’t put it past him.

  22. Until proven otherwise I’m just going to assume that Franco is behind everything I don’t understand.

  23. the idea of James Franco trolling me is hilarious

  24. I am James Franco.
    Or, are you James Franco?

  25. In a way, aren’t we all Franco?

  26. Everybody Franco tonight!

  27. Sockpuppet, I served with James Franco. I knew James Franco. James Franco was a friend of mine. Sockpuppet, you’re no James Franco.

  28. Q: Are we not men?

    A: We are Franco.

  29. Are these confessions?

    You get down below alright. You get down below. Your’e James Franco too you know, you all are, dirty little Franco bastards and I don’t owe you a goddamn thing.

  30. This might not be a summer movie but this looks so bad it has to be good and I just had to post this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxOSPfUw3qw

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