Summer movies could be as simple as heading to the theater with your friends on a warm, humid night - eating popcorn, holding hands with your crush and going out for coffee at a diner afterwards. But that kind of Utopian nonsense ain't gonna fly here. We're turning the summer movie season into a competition. There's gonna be winners! And losers! There'll be cheers of joy and squeals of heartbreak. It'll be like gym class - but snarkier. So sit back, relax and get ready to over analyze this summer at the movies...
WINNER: Judd Apatow
The dude went from not being able to get a sitcom to stick (and on Fox no less!) to being an A-list director on just a few months. Most directors would kill to have the kind of success Apatow had with KNOCKED UP and SUPERBAD and he had them both in two months. Apatow is so in the forefront of the marketing campaign of SUPERBAD that most people probably had no idea he didn’t direct the film and have no idea who did (Greg Mottola). Apatow’s on such a role he’s working with Adam Sandler next (YOU DON’T MESS WITH THE ZOHAN) and has meetings with Tom Cruise about a possible comedy. AND he's married to Leslie Mann.
LOSER: Anyone Who Went To See LICENSE TO WED
Your significant other went with you to see 300. This was your penance. Somehow it doesn't seem fair. Robin Williams. That annoying kid. The lack of any kind of anything even remotely smile-inducing. If you made it through this one without drooling like McMurphy at the end of CUCKOO'S NEST, life owes you one.
WINNER: Universal Pictures
Speaking of KNOCKED UP, Universal was wise enough to reunite with the aforementioned Apatow to make some serious coin on this comedy. $147 million so far off a film that only cost $30 million. It doubled its entire budget in its second week in theaters. And it was one of the best reviewed films of the year. Someone at NBC Uni deserves a bonus and it ain't Jack Donaghy.
LOSER: Universal Pictures
Uhh, not so fast. Before we start handing out lollipops, spending $175 million on EVAN ALMIGHTY wasn’t a great idea, especially when some countries haven’t even heard of the guy starring in it. Spending that kind of cash on a comedy that's not particularly funny is an even worse idea.
WINNER: CLOVERFIELD Trailer
Internet hype. It’s the kind of thing that made THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and destroyed SNAKES ON A PLANE. JJ Abrams and Paramount probably had no idea the obsession they’d set off by premiering the nameless trailer before TRANSFORMERS. Fansites popped up overnight, other viral sites tried to hone in on the action (yes, I’m talking to you Ethan Haas) and people talked about this 90-second clip more than most movies. What is CLOVERFIELD/1-18-08? Who knows? But not knowing is all the fun (and I was just glad to not see the HAIRSPRAY trailer again).
LOSER: Jazz (TRANSFORMERS)
Even in the movie world of giant, transforming robots, the black guy is the first to die…
OK maybe I’m giving my alma mater a little favoritism but hey, after being the laughing stock of collegiate athletics for years allows you some time to celebrate the new-found glory. From the mentions of Rutgers in both LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (where McClane is spying on his daughter) to the Rutgers hat Michael Moore sports in SICKO, Rutgers was slowly making its mark on Hollywood this summer. Plus they still make a bitchin’ Fat sandwich and for that, they earn a spot on my list any day.
LOSER: Comic Book Guy
He, and many of the non-animated fanboys just like him, wanted so badly to see THE SIMPSONS MOVIE and be able to say “Worst. Movie. Ever.” Sadly for them, not only wasn’t THE SIMPSONS MOVIE the worst movie ever, it was actually pretty damn good. Not Season 4 good, but certainly much better than anything running on Fox lately. Now if only I could get that Spider-Pig song out of my head…
WINNER: IRON MAN
While no one exactly pulled a 300 at the Comic-Con (though Moreno did have close to 300 drinks if that counts), IRON MAN certainly came close. While other panels were practically begging to have their clips shown again, the Con faithful couldn't get enough IRON in their systems.
LOSER: SPIDER-MAN Fans
I consider myself a pretty big Spider-Man fan and grew up reading the McFarlane era, which was highlighted by Venom. Getting to see him on screen should’ve been a big thrill but unfortunately I was forced to sit through the rest of SPIDER-MAN 3. Emo Peter Parker? Kirsten Dunst singing?? A Mysterio cameo??? No wait, that would've been cool. Sadly, SPIDER-MAN 3 was far from cool and a helluva sad way to end the trilogy.
WINNER: Wizard World Chicago
This mini-convention doesn’t get half the press of its insanely larger cousin, the San Diego Comic-Con. But while Comic-Con attendees got a DARK KNIGHT scavenger hunt, Windy City residents got stars Batman himself Christian Bale and the first look at footage from the film. LUCKY.
WINNER: Brian Austin Green
Normally I'd be loathe to call this guy a winner under any circumstances but when that guy gets himself engaged to one of the hottest new actresses of the summer - Megan Fox - I guess he gets a nod. How one of the worst white rappers in history gets to hook up with the crazy sexy star of TRANSFORMERS is beyond me. But then again she is a little crazy so...
How does a film that stars Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Ricky Gervais and Sienna Miller do as badly as STARDUST did? It was written by Neil Gaiman! And got decent reviews! Somewhere along the line the marketing didn't translate and people didn't want to see a movie about fairies and gay pirates. I guess us Claire Danes fans only have this to enjoy this summer...
WINNER: Thomas Jane
LOSER: Jason Lee
Hearing Jason Lee voice a talking, flying beagle in UNDERDOG was weird enough but then we were then subjected to the ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS trailer. A trailer that featured a chipmunk eating the poop of another chipmunk. Shit-eating chipmunks. Jason, we love ya buddy but in this new age of successful cinematic comedy, you're doing this?
While POWDER BLUE won't hit theaters until next year sometime, it already makes the 2007 list. Why? Because news broke this summer that Jessica Biel will star as a stripper in the film and unlike some other actresses we know (*cough*natalieportman*cough*), she's actually gonna take it all off. Can we handle this? There hasn't been this much excitement in the testicled community since Anne Hathaway whipped 'em out in HAVOC. Who's ready to start a camp out line like they had for the STAR WARS prequels?
WINNER: Jason Bourne
When Matt Damon's not busy playing a manimal, he's starring as the baddest bad-ass around. With all due respect to John McClane, Jack Bauer, James Bond and the real life Thomas Jane, Damon's Jason Bourne took the cake with an absolutely amazing end to the BOURNE trilogy. Finally a Part 3 that didn't suck this summer. Can we get Paul Greengrass to direct FANTASTIC FOUR 3?