The summer is passing so quickly — and with so little worth remembering, movie-wise. Has there been even one A-level popcorn movie all summer? My top picks would probably be The Shallows and The BFG or Finding Dory (see 60-second reviews of all three below), but these are all B-level films.
When was the last summer without a single terrific summer movie? Let’s take a quick look back at the last ten years:
2006: Hm. At first I thought that I could include Casino Royale, but no, it was released in November. The best I can do this year is Superman Returns, which I gave an A- and which I think was and is better than many people remember it. (This was also the year of Pixar’s Cars, their first not-great film since A Bug’s Life.)
So, at least one A-level summer film every year except 2013. This summer’s dearth isn’t unprecedented, then, but it’s still pretty bad.
Still, even when the movies aren’t great, I have fun reviewing them. Here’s the latest crop of 60-second reviews. (Are you watching “Reel Faith”?)
The Shallows (SDG)
“Blake Lively versus shark” is definitely one of the better pitches of this summer.
The BFG (DD)
I’m sorry to see family audiences flocking to The Secret Life of Pets and skipping this far better film from Steven Spielberg. (I may have liked it even better than David.)
Independence Day: Resurgence (SDG)
We had 20 years to prepare. I would have liked more time.
Free State of Jones (DD)
I didn’t see this, but David’s take seems pretty typical.
Deacon Steven D. Greydanus is film critic for the National Catholic Register, creator of Decent Films, and a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Newark.
With David DiCerto, he co-hosts the Gabriel Award–winning cable TV show “Reel Faith” for New Evangelization Television. Steven has degrees in media arts and religious studies, and has contributed several entries to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, including “The Church and Film” and a number of filmmaker biographies. He has also written about film for the Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy.
He has a BFA in Media Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, an MA in Religious Studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook, PA, and an MA in Theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.
Steven’s writing for the Register has been recognized three times by the Catholic Press Association awards, with two first-place wins in 2017 and 2016 and a second-place win in 2015.