Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Summer Movie Anticipation

Even though I've been increasingly disappointed by the blockbuster movies of summer, I continue to look forward to them gleefully. The summer always looks better than it turns out to be, and this year in particular there are a ton of movies I'm excited about. I was going to do some kind of post about them, but couldn't figure out exactly what to write, and then Smith Michaels over at Blurred Productions posted his "Optimistic, Cautious, Pessimistic" post and I thought, "Hey! Let's steal that!"

Except that I'm also modifying it into a sort of Top 13 movies I'm looking forward to this summer. With trailers to show you why. Starting with #13, and moving to my most anticipated movie of the summer. Btw, with my schedule and my inability to get out of the house on a regular basis, not to mention that I hate seeing movies by myself, my guess is that I'll see at least 50% of these late, when they come to DVD. Which may happen with Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Harold & Kumar as well, although I'm really excited to see both of those too.

13. Tropic Thunder (August 15)

Optimistic Because: Great cast, potentially funny concept, and I've liked a lot of what Ben Stiller directed
Cautious Because: The trailer doesn't look great or provide a ton of laugh out loud moments
Pessimistic Because: Meet The Fockers

12. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (May 22)

Optimistic Because: The '50s time period update is kind of cool, even closing on sixty Harrison Ford *still* looks awesome as Indy, plus I have super nostalgic attachment to Indiana Jones
Cautious Because: Steven Spielberg is very hit and miss with me
Pessimistic Because: George Lucas stinks up anything he touches these days, and I have little interest in seeing more of Shia LaBeouf's "acting"

11. The Dark Knight (July 18)

Optimistic Because: Heath Ledger looks impressive as the Joker, and everybody else loved Batman Begins, so I want to like this
Cautious Because: I did not love Batman Begins, found it a bit over-the-top toward the end and loved Bale as Bruce Wayne, but hated his growly Batman
Pessimistic Because: Not really pessimistic, just not really hyped either

10. Incredible Hulk (June 13)

Optimistic Because: Ed Norton as Banner, Tim Roth as Abomination? That's pretty cool. And Louis Leterrier does pretty good action, and an action-heavy Hulk film is what I'd like. Also, not a bad little trailer.
Cautious Because: I liked The Transporter, but it was highly cheesy
Pessimistic Because: The strife between Norton, Leterrier and the studio, which delayed the marketing until almost the last minute, is worrying

9. Wanted (June 27)

Optimistic Because: The trailer looks good, I love Angelina Jolie, like Morgan Freeman and James McAvoy and enjoyed the Nightwatch/Daywatch films of the director
Cautious Because: I didn't really like The Wanted graphic novels
Pessimistic Because: This could just be a Matrix style also-ran.

8. X-Files: I Want To Believe (July 25)

Optimistic Because: Turns out that even though I stopped watching the show several seasons before it ended, I do still have some love for the property and the characters
Cautious Because: No trailer, so there's no way of knowing what we're getting other than the bits of online news
Pessimistic Because: Right before or right after the movie (depending on how charitable you're being) The X-Files began to really, really, really suck

7. Get Smart (June 20)

Optimistic Because: Steve Carell is perfect casting for Maxwell Smart, Anne Hathaway is pretty good casting for Agent 99
Cautious Because: The trailer is merely OK
Pessimistic Because: Casting him as a fish out of water analyst seems to miss the point of Maxwell Smart, and re-inventing TV comedy franchises rarely works out well in film

6. The Happening (June 13)

Optimistic Because: I generally like M. Night Shyamalan, I like the genre and it's a pretty intriguing trailer
Cautious Because: The Village was a bit weak
Pessimistic Because: By all accounts, Lady in the Water sucked

5. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (July 11)

Optimistic Because: Two great trailers, good cast, and I loved Pan's Labyrinth
Cautious Because: I wasn't a huge fan of the first Hellboy
Pessimistic Because: Let's be honest, nobody is going to do better on Hellboy than the comics, especially considering how great the BPRD and Hellboy stuff is right now

4. Pineapple Express (August 8)

Optimistic Because: Great trailer, nice to see Franco in a role more like his Freaks & Geeks role, love Seth Rogen
Cautious Because: It's easier for comedy to fall flat than action or drama, although I don't expect this will

3. Wall*E (June 27)

Optimistic Because: Pixar. Never. Misses. There is no doubt in my mind that I'll love this movie, because I haven't been wowed by a trailer since The Incredibles, but I loved Ratatouille and Cars just as much as all the rest.

2. Speed Racer (May 9)

Optimistic Because: The trailers look awesome, I love the stylized look, I still remember how great The Matrix was and it turns out I have some nostalgic fondness for Speed Racer, even though I was never a fan of the cartoon. I even went out and bought some of the Hot Wheels style cars the other day
Cautious Because: It's ambitious, and ambition can sometimes lead to failure
Pessimistic Because: There were two really weak Matrix sequels

1. Iron Man (May 2)

Optimistic Because: The trailers are fantastic, Jon Favreau has directed some great movies, Robert Downey Jr. is perfect casting (and I loved him in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), Iron Man is a favorite hero of mine, the armor looks great... so many reasons to look forward to it
Cautious Because: There's always the "great trailer, sucky movie" potential. But honestly, I have a hard time this is going to be anything but the best superhero movie in a long time, possibly the best superhero movie period


Dylan said...

Nice list. My "Summer Movies To See" list is similar, except, uh, where it isn't.

I have a segment on my blog on Fridays called "Big Red Robot Goes To the Movies" where I look at the trailers and decide if I'd (theoretically) see it in the Theater, Rent it, put it in my Netflix Queue to sit next to all those Criterion Collection DVDs I never get around to watching, or if I'd simply say No Thanks.

Last week's trailer was Iron Man and I agree with your summation: they're going to have to work really hard to screw this one up.

Johannes said...

Hi Randy!

Felt similar about Batman Begins. Gave it a 5/10. Am thinking that the Iron Man trailer is the best superhero movie trailer I have ever seen. Unlike you, I loved the first Hellboy movie even though I think the comics, especially B.P.R.D. are unbelievably good and obviously different. Not sure about the rest of your list, I don't usually watch many comedies even though I probably should. (Who doesn't need more laughter in his/her life.) Generally love all Pixar movies except that I like Cars and Ratatouille somewhat less. I think it's probably because I'm a European. For example I hated Shrek (I know it's not a Pixar movie) because of the cheesy American sensitivities. OTOH, I think that The Incredibles is the best superhero movie ever made, including non-animated material.

P.S. Love your comic book reviews. Surprisingly you have never steered me wrong and I have tried and learned to love genres that I would not have touched with a 10ft. pole without your recommendations. So, thank you!

CH said...


What?! No love for Hancock? That's looking really good to me. Will definitely see it asap.

And Tropic Thunder looks hilarious, bro! Downey will totally steal that show! You didn't find "What do YOU mean "you people"?" to be hilarious? I couldn't breathe, man!

Randy said...

I actually hadn't seen the trailer and sneak footage for Hancock when I made this list. Now I think I'd slot Hancock in at around #6 or #7, actually.

Tropic Thunder... I dunno. I mean, it might be hysterical, or it might suck. I don't think there's going to be a middle ground.