That Hollywood’s usual Jujyfruit summer offerings this year have been subpar is no secret. Though the season kicked off with the megaton hit The Avengers, almost every big release since has underperformed, underwhelmed or just tanked flat out.
Last week, both of the big new releases — Rock of Ages and That’s My Boy — failed to land at #1. Or even #2. Aside from Avengers, only one other summer movie so far has managed to crack $150 million (Men in Black 3), just barely.
Brave looks to change that this coming weekend, but beyond that, it’s pretty thin gruel for the height of the 2012 summer season unless you like superhero movies.
Why not use this as an opportunity to broaden your horizons. No, I’m not suggesting you necessarily go to “eat your vegetables” matinees. There are plenty of breezy, entertaining options to sample as you’re trying to beat the heat. Here are a few of my favorites to tide you over until The Dark Knight Rises and Tasers this underwhelming movie season back to life (or so fanboys everywhere hope):
June 21: 48 Hour Film Project (Riverview Theater)
There were more than 60 teams reportedly mixing it up around town for this year’s 48 Hour Film Project, and the cream of the fast-working crop will be screening on June 21. There will be 10 nominees presented from the best film category, and awards will be handed out in a number of other categories. (Disclosure: A number of fellow WCCO employees were behind one of the nominees — The Inheritance, so I have a rooting interest.)
June 22-24: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Trylon Microcinema)
When it was released two summers ago, director Edgar Wright’s F/X-heavy video game satire unceremoniously flopped. But hold this snarky miracle against the likes of Thor, The Green Lantern or Iron Man 2 and tell me this doesn’t seem like the wildest, most inventive comic book movie in recent memory. Trylon is screening this along with Flash Gordon as one of the tiny cinema’s summer microseries.
June 22-24: Walker Art Center Cinema Reopens
Expect another blog post on this later this week, after I take a sneak peek at the newly remodeled Walker Cinema. The museum will be marking the occasion with a troika of arty options: Beasts of the Southern Wild, This is Not a Film, and Aelita: Queen of Mars.
July 5-8: The Godfather & The Godfather, Part II (Trylon Microcinema)
If comfort inside a movie theater is what you want, you probably can’t do much better than to take in the two first of Francis Ford Coppola’s gangster trilogy. The first is stately, melodramatic, unfussy and iconic — like an engrossing beach novel (which, back in the day, Mario Puzo’s book pretty much was), only bloodier. The second is complex, multi-layered and brooding. In other words, everything Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies are often credited for being.
July 6: To Rome, With Love (Landmark Theatres Edina)
We’ll review this one when it gets released, but suffice it to say for now that for many, the release of the newest Woody Allen movie is the art house equivalent of Will Smith releasing his annual summer blockbuster-elect. It’s Landmark’s “event” for the hot months, so deal with it.
July 27: Back to the Future (Riverview Theater)
If I were to rank out my favorite summer blockbusters ever … oh wait, I already did. As you can see, I rank very few summer movies higher than this one. Midnight show it up!