Summer movie season is over; Mr. Movie says it was so-so

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comSeptember 5, 2013 

Film Review Iron Man 3

"Iron Man 3" has been the major moneymaker of the summer.


The summer movie season ended up boring. Not good. Not bad. Just boring. The most interesting thing about this year's summer movies is a significant change in how studios release them. Traditional Friday openings are gone. Wednesday and Thursday have become the opening days for most movies since May.

Summertime is not when studios release the best of the best. Most award-worthy movies are saved for the holiday season and are released from just before Thanksgiving through Christmas Day.

Summer is when studios release films they think will make them the most money. Eight of the 10 best earning films of the year so far were released between May and July.

Just one summer release has a chance to be considered award worthy at the end of the year. That is Lee Daniels' The Butler. The civil rights history lesson is still charging up the box office income charts and is high on superb acting. The plodding plot, however, is predictable and preachy.

Tradition says summer movies are more fun than those released the rest of the year. This year they were anything but. No shock. No surprise. Summer 2013 was an average movie summer.

A sequel --Fast and Furious 6 -- was the most fun followed by the quite funny sequel Despicable Me 2. We're the Millers got me laughing. I also loved 2 Guns, a violent buddy-cop crime saga in the vein of Lethal Weapon.

The most interesting seen-by-almost-no-one release -- if we can put it that way -- was Lovelace, a just released biopic based on the life of porn star Linda Lovelace. Great acting laces a so-so script, but the topic is too close to the real thing to get any play in mainstream theaters.

The moneymaker king of summer was Iron Man 3. To date, it has taken in $409 million worldwide. My king of summer was the indie film The Kings of Summer. It and its-coming-of-age cousin The Way Way Back were my two favorites. Barely behind at third is Short Term 12 which will never make it to a Tri-City screen.

The blockbusters weren't that impressive. The Great Gatsby contained more glitz than Gatsby. Critics around the country are still confused as to why Paramount refused to show us Star Trek Into Darkness ahead of time and did a critic's screening on the night it opened.

The movie didn't boldly take us anywhere we hadn't been before but managed an excellent box office showing with $228 million so far.

Summer 2013 saw a bunch of sci-fi releases. Fare like the father and son Will and Jaden Smith bomb After Earth stiffed. It now sits at 40 on the box office income list. Other box office and critical duds of that ilk are Oblivion and Pacific Rim. R.I.P.D. arrived in theaters already dead.

For horror, you can't beat World War Z. Zombies continue to grow in popularity and it sits just behind Star Trek Into Darkness in box office earning.

The real summer surprise was the tanking of The Lone Ranger. Johnny Depp in recent years has been box office magic. Though magic is part of the film, it didn't translate to the screen. The Lone Ranger got crushed by the delightful Despicable Me 2, which to date is the second-highest grossing film of the year at $356 million.

Comic book characters almost always turn into box office success. Iron Man 3, as noted earlier, tops box office income. Man of Steel stole its way to third in box office earnings with $291 million. The back story of Kal-el's beginnings works. The predictable battle with his Krypton enemies does not, and like Marvel Comics rival The Wolverine, it makes one wonder if we'll ever get something fresh from a comic book flick.

Two big sequels, The Hangover III and Monsters University, were so boring. Both suck the life out of some of our favorite movie characters. Monsters is still bringing in big bucks, and The Hangover III is taking in more money than it deserves.

Mr. Movie summer favorites:

1. The Kings of Summer

2. The Way Way Back

3. Short Term 12

4. Blue Jasmine

5. 2 Guns

The worst:

1. R.I.P.D.

2. The Wolverine

3. After Earth

4. Getaway

5. The To-Do-List -- it hasn't been in Tri-Cities yet and won't likely make it.

The 2013 summer movie rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 5.

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