This may merit a longer post at some point down the road, but I think it’s worth discussing now, albeit briefly. My friend Darren and I are going to Philadelphia tonight and are debating if there’s a movie out to see. Maybe “Hangover III,” maybe “Fast and Furi6,” maybe “Now You See Me,” maybe “Star Trek Into Darkness.” But really – so far, what an uninspiring summer. I enjoyed “Iron Man 3” (moreso than “Iron Man 2,” anyway) but I’m not sure it’ll be memorable in a year the way that “The Avengers” was. As for the other movies? Besides “Now You See Me,” they’re sequels of movies that probably did not warrant another venture. I loved the original “Hangover” but the second helping was such a Xerox of the first one that you left the theater feeling like you were in an office. And as much as the “Fast and Furious” movies are wonderful late-night guilty pleasures, I just don’t think I can justify paying $18 to see Vin Diesel and Paul Walker race again.
As for “Star Trek,” as my friend Mullowney put it, he had to rent the first one because he couldn’t even remember if he had seen it. “Star Trek” feels like the kind of movie that fanboys (like me) are supposed to drool over, but when it comes right down to it, I’m already supposed to be itching for “Iron Man 3,” “The Wolverine,” and “Man of Steel.” There are so many action-blockbusters about which I can care in a given summer.
The irony is that the best movies this summer may be the ones that aren’t the traditional “summer explosion blockbuster” type. No movie has me more excited than “Before Midnight” – the first two are expertly filmed and staged, and the dialogue (particularly in “Before Sunset”) is so crisp and true to life that people often ask Richard Linklater et. al about the improvisational skills of the main actors. And if serious drama fare isn’t your bag, “This is the End” looks hilarious. I’m an abashed sucker for the Apatow players (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” is a perfect movie, and you won’t convince me otherwise), and to see all of those guys play off of their real-life chemistry and real-life personas seems like it will be a treat.
So, summer of 2013: Maybe it won’t be the back-to-back punch of “Avengers” and “Dark Knight Rises” like 2012, or “Twister,” “Mission: Impossible” and “Independence Day” were in 1996, but rather it’ll be a summer where smaller, funnier films stand out. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unless, of course, you’re working at a big studio and you’re dealing with the disappointing box office returns of “Star Trek” and “The Hangover.” In that case, I’d be worried.