It’s April 26th and we know what that means: it’s the end of April and from here on out for the next couple months we’re going to be looking at the cinematic equivalent of Black Friday: Summer Blockbuster Season. It can come out in one of two ways: as two tons of awesome shoved into a three ton cannon or three tons of crap shoved into a two ton cannon. There’s no point between: Hollywood’s best may come out in the fall but usually the most enjoyable films of the year are released from May to August.
Sometimes you get a summer of good to great blockbusters meshed with some brilliant alternate programming … or you get a summer of cinema where halfway through going to the theatre becomes a chore that eventually gets set aside to do other things.
You can kind of tell how a summer will play out based on trailers and advance word of mouth, et al, but you really don’t know until the end. It’s the downside of being a cinema aficionado: you have to grind out 30-60 films to really get a good feel for a particular film season. Prestige season is the same way: you have to watch a lot of films to get a grasp on how good Hollywood’s award chasers really are (and how much of it is just hype and good marketing/public relations). You can judge a film before you see it, of course, but you can’t form a definite opinion about its quality by merely looking at Rotten Tomatoes numbers and the musings of the professional critic culture. You have to see it.
This is why this summer’s cinematic buffet intrigues me, if only a surface level. There are a number of films that could be tremendous … and some real stinkers, too. It’s time to sit down and make some quick predictions based on this summer’s fare .
Kubryk’s Top 10 Summer CinemaPredictions And Previews for 2013
10. The best film of the summer will be Man of Steel … but the biggest grosser will be Iron Man 3
Superman is a difficult character to pull off because he has no real vulnerability; he makes for a better comic book character than a movie character. But I think the combination of a true reboot and Zack Snyder will make for a shockingly good film. Iron Man 3, on the other hand, has been a massive hit overseas before it gets a proper domestic release. So far it’s crossed $200 million and probably will hit $1 billion in total revenues when all is said and done.
9. The worst film to get high praise will be The Heat
I love Sandra Bullock but when it comes to comedies she doesn’t have a first rate track record. Throw in the fact that it has comedy cancer starring opposite her, and it’s a buddy cop film, and you have all the recipe for a film that’s going to be awful but somehow get lots of praise. Kind of like Bridesmaids, which was solid but made out to be some brilliant comedy. Welcome to Bridesmaids with Badges.
8. Ryan Reynolds officially is stripped of “blockbuster leading man” status after R.I.P.D
Ryan Reynolds should be a massively popular star; he’s got charisma, a good sense of humor and looks like what you’d picture when you say the phrase “leading man.” But he just hasn’t quite found his niche as a leading man just yet and I’m not sure if he ever will, either. There’s only so many times you get a swing at the plate and for some reason R.I.P.D feels like a move out of the Will Smith playbook and not something organic.
7. Star Trek: Into Darkness pisses off Trekkies but manages to be a kick-ass action film … again
The one thing I loved about J.J Abrams version of Star Trek is that it was a shock to the system; Gene Roddenbury’s version of Trek was as a science fiction piece. The film series followed suit until Abrams took over and cribbed from Star Wars and Serenity in making Trek into a more action oriented film as opposed to focusing on more of the science-fiction elements. And so far it looks like he’s cribbing from The Dark Knight (like every other major action film in the past year has, seemingly) with the sequel. I have yet to see the film, only having seen a couple of the trailers, but my guess is that somehow they capture Benedict Cumberbatch and it turns out to be part of his great plan or something.
6. Bling Ring looks great on paper but looks awful on screen
It’s the one film that lots of people are pointing to as perhaps the biggest surprise of this summer and I’m not seeing it. Just not seeing it.
5. World War Z winds up being a John Carter level flop
Ahh … what happens when you take an R-rated genre and a book that focuses more on the aftermath and turn it into an action vehicle for Brad Pitt with a PG-13 rating? A whole lot of suckage, that’s all I can say. The trailers aren’t encouraging and everyone I know who loved the novel is in near revolt at how the book has essentially been thrown out for a generic zombie apocalypse film.
4. The worst film of the year is The Lone Ranger
The western is the greatest genre Hollywood has but they have yet to figure out that it doesn’t have the sort of returns, money wise, as any other genre when you pump in $200 million for a budget alone. Westerns just don’t draw like they used to no matter how you slice it; even James Bond and Han Solo in Cowboys & Aliens a couple summers ago couldn’t draw a significant box office considering the investment. Considering the pedigree and budget of The Lone Ranger it should look a bit more than a $200 million diarrhea Slushee, right?
3. The One Direction film winds up making more money than at least one blockbuster
The band is popular and for some reason music documentary pieces like the one they star in always manage to do handsome amounts of business. Why? Because tween girls come out multiple times to “support the band” and other ridiculous things like that. If we’re being honest bands and entertainers look at their “fans” as nothing but walking, talking ATM’s to pilfer as much cash out of as possible. And
2. The Iceman winds up being the best film that no one sees
It’s a small indie film about a family man who happened to be a mob hitter for a significant period of time. It has a really great cast, too, but indie crime films have a hard time finding an audience. I get a feeling that this film is going to be exceptional but won’t find an audience until this fall, on DVD.
1. Fast & Furious 6 winds up grossing much more than anyone thinks
Paul Walker & Vin Diesel are a part of the worst movie franchise in modern cinema history that doesn’t involve sparkly vampires, this is true, but they’ll also get another big payday because somehow this latest sequel probably will gross the most of any of the franchise.
A Movie A Week – The Challenge
This Week’s DVD – Breaking Bad (Season 1)
Long before Malcolm in the Middle Bryan Cranston was a great character actor who always popped up in films and TV shows but never stuck around for too long. A very good actor he just never found a break … that is until he played the hapless father on the Fox television show. From there he made it onto another high quality television show: Breaking Bad. And it’d be a profound departure from where he started.
Cranston is Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who finds out he has terminal lung cancer. With no money and a kid on the way he decides to do what any nebbish high school science teacher would do: sell Crystal Meth. Teaming up with his drug-addled former student Jesse (Aaron Paul), he decides to take the New Mexico drug world by storm with his awesome version of Meth.
It’s an incredibly addicting show and the first season is stellar. This is about a man going down that rabbit hole and not sure how far down it leads. Strongly recommended.
And here’s a cool 8-bit trailer for the show I saw once and thought was interesting.
What Looks Good This Weekend, and I Don’t Mean the $2 Pints of Bass Ale and community college co-eds with low standards at the Alumni Club
Iron Man 3 – Robert Downey Jr. is back to take on Ben Kinglsey.
See It – So far it looks solid and let’s face it: it’s the signature franchise of the Marvel Avengers lineup. Odds are it’ll be enjoyable at a minimum.
The Iceman (2013) – Michael Shannon in a biopic of a mob hitter. In limited release.
See It – Indie crime films tend to be either hit or miss and so far this looks like a definite hit.
Scott “Kubryk” Sawitz brings his trademarked irreverence and offensive hilarity to Twitter in 140 characters or less. Follow him @ScottSawitz .