May 3, 2017

An opportunity to quickly check whether the movie industry has anything to offer you.

"23 summer movies to get excited about."

Absolutely nothing there for me. Nothing even to consider trying to want to see (let alone "get excited about"). I found 2 trailers that I could click on — "The Lovers" and "Tulip Fever" — but couldn't even put up with the trailer until the end.

I know: It means I'm old. That will be the verdict from anyone who looks at this array and actually gets excited about these things. The article is at Vox, and the intro to the list claims "there’s something to suit every moviegoing palate." No, there isn't! Well, yours is not a moviegoing palate, they'll say.


Balfegor said...

Looking forward to watching some of these on my next long flight . . . hmm. Probably some of them will be out by September/October.

tim in vermont said...

About four of these look interesting to me. Guardians of the Galaxy was actually a pretty good move, even though I hate the genre. I just subjected myself to Rogue One, I rented it and tried to watch it twice. I may buy it as a cure for insomnia. But Guardians of the Galaxy was genuinely witty. I can't imagine that they can keep it up through a sequel though, the first one was sort of inspired. Maybe the shtick holds up. I loved Hot Shots AND Hot Shots Part Deux, after all, but the sequel to the best baseball movie of all time, Major League, was a stinker.

David Begley said...

"The movie will doubtless garner many coy critical uses...." Garner.

Paris can Wait. I like Diane Lane. Her mother was the October 1957 Playboy centerfold.

But the comic-book-to-movie trend is horrible. Good foreign box office drives this. One billion people in China.

Bob Ellison said...

Maybe we should challenge ourselves to plunk down twelve bucks or so for the crappiest movie that is most obviously not aimed at ourselves as a target customer.

For me, that would be The Lovers and Tulip Lipps.

I've got twelve bucks burning a hole in my wallet.

whitney said...

Ha. I know what you mean. Any description that says "not for the faint of heart" or "edgy" means I'll pass quickly. Not that I'll watch any of them it's just those particular descriptions really get my ire up.

Temujin said...

Hollywood has been churning out crap for years. I used to think it was just that I had gotten older. But, no. Compare the lists of Top 10 from 30 years ago or further the Top 10 from last year. To get an Academy Award nomination today, the movie just needs to reach the level of 'Meh'. (Manchester by the Sea anyone?) has to have one of these components: Gay, Trans, Race, Women's story, bad corporation killing environment. It's almost too easy to see coming.

Hollywood kicked out real writers years ago. They turned to making movies based on comic book characters...or toys, with multiple sequels. When the kids who grew up on Transformers became old enough to pay for their own movies- we were doomed. Midnight Cowboy? A Man for all Seasons? Those days are gone. Today we have Fast & Furious 19, or The Lego Batman movie.

Then every spring they give themselves big award shows to congratulate themselves on being real artists.

richlb said...

Guardians of the Galaxy is always described as a "surprise hit." I find that a bit of a stretch. It is a comic book movie from the hit machine Marvel/Disney. Maybe it was surprisingly original or refreshing, but it certainly was no surprise it was a hit.

Another King Arthur movie? Yawn.

Wonder Woman may be worth it just to see the most stunningly beautiful woman on screen today - Gal Gadot. She was in the bland comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses last year, and the film with worth the price of admission for one 5 minute scene.

Edgar Wright is always entertaining to say the least, so Baby Driver is probably a good bet.

Another Spider Man movie? Yawn.

The new Planet of the Apes movies have indeed been good. Better than they should be, I would say. I'll give this new one a go as well. Harrelson is excellent in any film he wants to be excellent in.

Atomic Blonde features the previous most stunningly beautiful woman on screen in Charlize Theron. Not that she's fallen off at all. Looks like Shoot 'em Up meets Salt.

I know absolutely nothing about that Stephen King book, or whether that movie could possibly be good. But my wife is a King fan, so I will probably be dragged to it (like I was dragged to Beauty and the Beast a few weeks ago).

traditionalguy said...

How about another Star Wars? It has all the ingredients that Hollywood sells best. And it is famous for being famous, like another Hillary Presidential Run.

surfed said...

Love my Sun Ray theater in the Five Points area of Jacksonville. Quirky old 1940's movie house where they play small movies from everywhere. Loved the movie Kedi from Turkey. I'm not even a cat guy.
Here's a trailer for you Althouse.

Quayle said...

I've started watching Bollywood movies more than Hollywood movies.

My current favorites are (most available on Nexflix):

"Dear Zendagi"

And Ann, you may very much like "Pink". A Bollywood movie about a famous but retired trial attorney who comes out of retirement to defend some 20-something girls who got entangled in the unfair, harsh cultural rules about how girls should behave.

Also last week on a flight I saw a pretty good German movie called "Der geilste Tag" ("The greatest day")

If you don't like subtitles, these will not be for you.

Kate said...

Guardians was surprisingly fresh for a Marvel product. We've already got tickets for #2 on Friday.

Otherwise, I check boxes to keep up with the times. Wonder Woman. The Star Wars at the end of the year. Oh, and one of my sons is insisting on Pirates. I didn't click through; is Nolan's war movie -- "Dunkirk" -- on the list? That one I would see just because it looks good.

sparrow said...

I have a 14 yr old son: it seems to me Hollywood writes just for him. We'll definately see Guardians 2, the first 1 was fun. Wonder Woman looks to be the best of the summer lot IMO.

Quayle said...

Need to correct spelling,

That's "Dear Zindagi"

Ann Althouse said...

"And Ann, you may very much like "Pink". A Bollywood movie about a famous but retired trial attorney who comes out of retirement to defend some 20-something girls who got entangled in the unfair, harsh cultural rules about how girls should behave."

Hmm. Okay. I looked at the trailer. It's got all of these "thriller" effects -- cars driving here and there, squealing around corners. Closeups of beautiful women's faces looking worried, eyes darting around. Anxiety about terrible things that could happen. I'd rather read a serious article on the subject. As for a social consciousness... this is how sexuality is served up to people who are repressed about sexuality.

Also, I prefer not to watch courtroom scenes.

Mark said...

Amongst a lot of sequels, repetitive overdone genre, and a remake or two (why remake Clint Eastwood's The Beguiled??), the only two I would go see are Dunkirk (although I could probably wait to see it on my TV) and The Dark Tower.

Otto said...

It is simple joy to see a 60s girl start defending old people and getting authoritative. Yes woodstock dies and it's back to reality. Over time without hierarchy there is chaos and darkness and not the ill conceived collectivist utopianism of the 60s adolescent mind.

Sally327 said...

I'm pretty sure I'll go see Dunkirk.

penelope said...

Dunkirk for sure. And the second Kingsman movie (although I see that that is not scheduled for release until September 22, so technically not a summer movie.

Quayle said...

OK, so that would be a 'no' on "Pink."

Might I suggest, then, "Piku"

An unmarried young architecdt cares for her aging father who is obsessed about his constipation.

rhhardin said...

Stuff blowing up and cars squeeling around corners keep the guys interested.

What you don't want is deep pyschological dramas, including drinking problems. Long stretches of bad acting with no offsetting explosions.

Also horror doesn't work.

rhhardin said...

Also note to Nicholas Sparks - stop with the killing off one of the lovers, even though women love it. Cheap box office trick.

Quayle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quayle said...

"As for a social consciousness... this is how sexuality is served up to people who are repressed about sexuality."

I would say this is how social consciousness is served up to people who are repressed about sexuality, which to me ruins it because it becomes too didactic.

But one of the things I like about Bollywood films is that there is still tension in their romantic relationships. Hollywood has destroyed all tension because there is zero sexual self-restraint and because of the destruction of femininity as an ideal. (Something, I believe, Camille Paglia often points out.)

Bollywood filmmakers have a lot of cultural tools with which to work, ranging from the "sexual repression" which you allege, to the tantrism and kama roots and elements in their culture. The sexuality is palpable, but everyone doesn't fall into bed with each other within the first 2 minutes of meeting, so that creates another element helping their movies transcend the flatness the left has caused in western culture by abolishing sexual self-restraint, and by disallowing all variations and all dissentions.

Kate said...

I want to try some Bollywood, so I'm excited to see you recommend "Piku".

However... this:

"An unmarried young architect cares for her aging father who is obsessed about his constipation."

is not the most enticing description. lol

AReasonableMan said...

tim in vermont said...
Guardians of the Galaxy was actually a pretty good move

Another vote for Guardians. Very funny movie. Sequels are a crap shoot but probably the best on list.

Larry J said...

I'm a WWII history buff. Dunkirk is the only one of those movies that interests me.

Jeff Gee said...

The trailer for 'Tulip Fever' looks like one of those YouTube fan edits, where somebody takes the trailer for 'The Shining' and makes it look like a rom com. Staccato rhythms, driving music, no shot held for more than a second and a half... I'd really like to see a movie about the Dutch tulip mania. I gather from the Wikipedia synopsis that's the background here, but between the 'No, no! This is a really exciting movie!' trailer and the fact that it's been scheduled for release and then pulled for re-editing twice, I am not optimistic.

rhhardin said...

I'm a WWII history buff. Dunkirk is the only one of those movies that interests me.

The American Radio Relay League's W1AW sends code practice M-F at 4pm Eastern. I always tune in MWF for the 35 words per minute session on my bicycle on the way to the store, and it's always text from some article from their magazine QST on some technical issue.

Except in qualifying runs, where you copy the fastest you can and send it in for a certificate of proficiency, run once or twice a month.

These are (mostly) WWII histories and analyses, and those are great to listen to. Actually something interesting instead of just listening along to the music.

They also have practice sessions in the morning and evening but I'm not on my bike then.

tim in vermont said...

Guardians of the Galaxy is always described as a "surprise hit." I find that a bit of a stretch.

I never said I was surprised it was a hit, I said I was surprised it was good.

ALP said...


Been looking for some Bollywood movies - thanks for the recommendations. There are so many out there! I love the music, and often run YouTube "Current Bollywood Hits" compilations as background for domestic tasks. The singing style the men employ in that musical genre fascinates me. I have never been one to listen to the lyrics of songs anyway - I focus on the mood/tone so songs in any language appeal to me if the sound is right.

St. George said...

WSJ this morning says the new Guardians movie is "dimmer"..."charm vaporizes quickly"...."doesn't recapture the sweet and singular silliness of the original."

Other than that it's a wonderful movie.

Big Mike said...

I loved the original "Guardians of the Galaxy," and wife and I will definitely see the sequel. And Diane Lane is great -- if you can promise me that Alec Baldwin won't be on screen chewing scenery very much, then she and I will probably see "Paris Can Wait." As for the rest ... A "Mummy" movie without Brendan Frasier but starring my least favorite action hero? Pass. The rest? Probably won't even watch them when they come out on HBO.

richlb said...

@tim in vermont - the original article described it as a surprise hit. And I've heard many other media outlets call it that, too. I guess it all depends on your meaning of the words "surprise" and "hit."

Quayle said...

"I want to try some Bollywood, so I'm excited to see you recommend "Piku".

However... this:

"An unmarried young architect cares for her aging father who is obsessed about his constipation."

is not the most enticing description. lol"

It is a good movie with excellent acting. The pace is slower than Hollywood would ever tolerate. But Irffan Kahn is really great, and Deepika Padukone shows in this movie that she is much more than just a pretty face.

Subtle but satisfying.

Bob Ellison said...

By the way, and it's not really by the way, but really a big deal:

Movie theaters are dying. They aren't putting enough butts in the seats they sell. It's a disastrous industry. They're all gonna die, killed by cable, Netflix, Amazon, and everyone else.

The death knell will probably come for A-list actors, too.

JAORE said...

The last time Judy and I went to a movie the previews included about 10 movies. If you exclude prequels, sequels, spin offs and remakes there were two. Just two. And they looked to be SJW fodder.

Hollywood seems absolutely devoid of original thought. Exacerbated, no doubt, by the tremendous bags o' cash thrown into the making of a flick and the deadly consequences of a box office bomb.

Hence the other "givens" of ACTION, ACTION, ACTION and "Hey, I like THAT actor".

Gripes aside I will go to Guardians 2, though I doubt it lives up to G1 - and it WAS a surprise to me, comic book flicks are not my favorites.

John Christopher said...

I stopped watching movies cold turkey in 2011. Just lost interest overnight after considering myself a film buff since high school.

That said, Dunkirk is intriguing to me. If I don't see it in the theater, I never will watch it so might give it a try.

Quayle said...

"The singing style the men employ in that musical genre fascinates me. I have never been one to listen to the lyrics of songs anyway - I focus on the mood/tone so songs in any language appeal to me if the sound is right."

I cound't agree more:

If you want some cool Bollywood tunes with great mood/tone, I recommend:

Kaise Mujhe (A.R. Rahman)
Guzarish (Prasson Joshi)
From the soundtrack of Talaash by Ram Sampath:
Jee Le Zaraa
Jiya Lage Na
Hona Hai Kya

Saree Je Fakk Sa (really has a great beat)

Tere Bin (From Bas Ed Pal) - like this a lot.

I also really like Aao Milo Chalo (by Pritam) from Jab We Met (another silly but fun movie)

Quayle said...

Correction - Tere Bin (From Bas Ek Pal) - needed the k in Ek.

rhhardin said...

DVDs are fine. You don't need the theaters, and the snacks are better.

mockturtle said...

I think the newest movie I have watched was The Hurt Locker [great film!]. If I watch movies at all they are usually old ones.

DKWalser said...

My wife and I seldom go to the movies. When we do, after half the "coming attraction" advertisements are shown, my wife or I will turn to the other and say, "I'm going to be too busy to see that." That doesn't mean that we don't watch movies. We do. We're just glad we have access to TCM.

LilyBart said...

Ann: I'm in the same position - Today's movies are not made to interest me. And this is frustrating because I like going to movies. I have assumed for sometime that it was because I'm 'aging out' of the group movie makers target. However, someone in the 'industry' said the real reason is that movies are actually being make to target foreign audiences where the big money is made these days.

LilyBart said...

Speaking of palate - with no movies we want to see, my husband and I have found a new weekend 'date' activity: one of the local cooking school offers recreational classes on evenings and weekends. Its quite fun, we learn a little and meet new people. I recommend this!

DKWalser said...

My younger daughter loves foreign video. She's currently binge watching a number of Korean TV series. She also likes Bollywood. A good Bollywood film to try out is Bride and Prejudice from 2004. It's an Indian adaption of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice set in modern times. It's also a musical. The dance numbers are spectacular. I think the movie is worth seeing just for the exposure to another culture, but its also worthwhile on its own merits.

Another good Bollywood introduction is Outsourced from 2006. I'm not sure if this is technically a Bollywood production or not, but most of the story takes place in India. The story is of an American manager whose entire department is outsourced to India and he is sent to India to train his replacement. It's a romantic comedy that respectfully highlights differences between American and Indian cultures.

Fernandinande said...

Only one talking-monkey movie. Sigh.

Saint Croix said...

Paris Can Wait looks kinda awesome.

Sam L. said...

Forget it, Jake; it's VOXtown.

Arthur James said...

I gave upon on Hollywood years ago. I also question the independent and foreign film output. Living in Cleveland, I was disappointed in the offering of the Cleveland Film Festival, an extensive twelve day event offering over two hundred features, as well as two hundred plus shorts. In the past, it was a matter of whittling down my choices. This year, it was matter of finding something that actually excited. My girlfriend enjoys the shorts, this year commenting there was so much garbage screened, efforts she felt simply wasted her time. An avid film watcher, I am committed to utilizing my home theater to catch up on all the films I have always wanted to watch. Looking back over the entirety of filmmaking, there is so much out there to be explored. Yet the social experience of viewing a film at the theater is important to me. We are also blessed in Cleveland with the Cinematheque, an excellent venue ambitiously exploring the world of film.

Fernandinande said...

I aborted a movie ticket demographics search after coming across a few "white men are bad" articles like "Women Buy Half of All Movie Tickets. That Won't Mean More Female Characters" and "Minorities At The Movies Fill Seats, But Not Screens", but no information. IIRC, movie ticket buyers are "disproportionally" 18 to 30 years old so they're the target audience.

Beach Brutus said...

Movie houses have to compete with TV for business; it's a division of labor sort of thing. That means they have to offer what they are best at and TV less so, and vice versa. For first run movies that means big visual effects. Movie houses could not stay in business by offering first run House of Cards, character and story driven type of stuff when TV can offer that to you in home.

And this isn't recent. The growth of TV in the late forties, undermined the prevailing habit of families going to the theater at least once and sometimes several times a week. Until then the movies were competing with radio. TV was visual but of mixed signal quality, small screens and B&W. Movies responded with more color productions and a plethora of wide screen versions, then stereo sound, surround sound, etc.; all innovations to keep ahead of improving television quality.

Until fairly recently, movies could still compete with story driven product as long as it incorporated some high end visuals superior to what TV offered. But now with TV offering in-home big screen HD , the movie houses are left with only the bigness of its screen, or IMAX or 3D -- the visuals have to knock your socks off to complete with what you can get at home.

This applies to sports as well. The cliche used to be that watching on TV was not as good as actually being there -- that's not necessarily the case anymore.

victoria said...

Ann, I feel the same way. My husband, step-son and grandson and daughter-in-law love those "summer" movies. Me, I just saw "their finest" and i loved it. I hold out hope for those small, interesting films that they release in August. Last year, i saw the absolute best (and i mean best) film of the year, " Hell or High Water". Incredibly good.

Otherwise, i am getting old too. So sad.

Vicki from Pasadena

Arthur James said...

Speaking of Bollywood, I found it interesting speaking with a young lady from Nepal. For her, as a child in Nepal and still as an adult in USA, Indian movies are central to her dreams and interpretation of life. I understood Hollywood would never usurp Bollywood in her heart and mind.

Saint Croix said...

What makes Paris Can Wait fun is

1) the likability of Diane Lane

2) and the irritability of Alec Baldwin

it's brilliant casting

the slyness in the movie is whether Diane is going to cheat on Alec with this sweet French guy

she's probably not (I'm guessing from the trailer) but the flirtation of it, and making Baldwin insane, is what gives the movie it's bit of thrill

I'm a big fan of flirtation

especially at Alec Baldwin's expense

also the track record of Coppola's family on their first movie is very, very high

Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation A+
Roman Coppola CQ A+

My theory on this is that spend a lot of time to make sure that first one is good. Probably a lot of feedback from dad, too. So I suspect mom's first narrative film will be really good.

Anyway, nice trailer, I want to see it.

Saint Croix said...


left out a pronoun


Saint Croix said...

The Big Sick looks like fun!

trailer here

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Yeah I don't feel pulled toward most of those superhero/comic book/bad sequel movies, but a couple are intriguing.

Know what's gotten me back into a movie theater regularly, though? Alamo Drafthouse. I LOVE that place. My city just had one open recently and I've been there twice in a month, to see The Matrix and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Would have gone to The Wizard of Oz but it was sold out. And I'm spending Mother's Day there with my daughters to see The Sound of Music, my #1 favorite movie of all time. I probably won't go see a lot of new movies there, but I really enjoy the modern classics that they show. Love the efficiency of eating dinner while watching the movie (as someone who pays a babysitter by the hour) and the food is pretty decent.

Saint Croix said...

Atomic Blonde! I think I will see that one on the big screen.

Birches said...

The substandard podcast calls Atomic Blonde Hot Lesbian John Wick, lol.

rehajm said...

You want this list.

William said...

Put me down for the next Guardians. I like sci-fi and superhero movies, but not for the enlightenment they cast on the human condition. I like them for the special effects. The plots and dialogue are at the level designed for and seemingly written by seventh graders, but the special effects are the attainment of MIT post grads.......Every so often a sci-fi movie like Guardians or the first Matrix comes along where the dialogue and conceits are as clever as the special effects, and it is a thing to be treasured. But they're very rare. For the most part, special effects are produced by a superior race than by those who toil among the scripts. ......I just saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The plot, where it's even comprehensible, is just plain silly. Nonetheless, the movie is quite watchable, and that's entirely due to the special effects. It was written by J K Rowling between Potter royalty checks. Doesn't she have enough money?