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How Bad Is Summer 2016, Movie-wise? Plus 60-sec reviews!
By Steven D. Greydanus
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:
Last year had Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, not to mention Shaun the Sheep Movie. Pretty great.
In 2014 we got X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Edge of Tomorrow. Another strong summer.
2013 — okay, that was a terrible summer too. Some people loved World War Z, Iron Man 3 or Pacific Rim, but I didn’t. My top picks were The Wolverine and either Planes or Monsters University, all B-level films.
2012: The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises. Boom. Also Brave. (Some would add ParaNorman, but I’m not a fan.)
2011: X-Men: First Class, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. Oh, and Winnie the Pooh.
2010: Toy Story 3 and Inception; also How to Train Your Dragon and Tangled.
2009: Up. Remember when Pixar could be counted on to release a great film every year?
2008: The Dark Knight and Wall-E, as well as Iron Man.
2007: Ratatouille and The Bourne Ultimatum. Not many critics would add Spider-Man 3, but I would.
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.
The Innocents (DD)
Here’s my full review of this powerful film.
Central Intelligence (SDG)
Dwayne Johnson is amazingly good in this.
Me Before You (DD)
This year’s euthanasia movie? Here’s David’s take.
Finding Dory (SDG)
Here’s my full review of this summer’s best Hollywood animated film.
This may be the first movie I’ve ever seen where I got more out of reading the Wikipedia entry afterwards.
More 60-second reviews
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