Monday, June 24, 2013

T.J.'s 10 Summer Movies

It's officially of Friday...but was Friday and we don't blog about things like this exactly on time. (Just see Joe's Father's Day post from last week.), I'm gonna talk about my summer movies. These are movies I like to watch during the summer and more than likely came out sometime during the heat-filled season, which if you know me, is reason to stay inside and watch a movie whilst cranking the AC. And all but one of these fits the sci-fi/fantasy genre.

Note: These are not in any major order. Other than the last 3 are the ones I really enjoy watching during this time of year.

1. Batman & Robin: I don't care what people say about it, I like it. I've heard a lot of complaints about this film. The most common being this: "It wasn't true to the comic books. It was too campy." (Campy is a slang term. I'm using it to mean "a comical take on a serious theme.") Amazingly, that is exactly why I like it. It fits with the 1960s campy television series, which was my first exposure to Batman. The storylines in those shows sucked. But that's not why someone watched. They watched it for the guest stars (I wouldn't have any idea who Burgess Merideth, Cesar Romero, Julie Newmar, or Eartha Kitt were if it weren't for that show). They watched it for the "pow" and "kablooie". And that is exactly what the 1997 Batman & Robin film was: big names and big fights. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurmin, Chris O'Donnell, Alicia Silverstone, and George Clooney were all big names in that era. O'Deonnell and Silverstone were just trying to keep their careers alive, imo. But still.

2. Sweet Home Alabama: Here's my one non-sci-fi/fantasy genre. Well, except that one chick has two men who love her at the same time. Generally speaking, that's pretty fantasy. At least in my life, I've never had two chicks going after me. Not that I want to, but it would've been nice to have been that person. Of course, I don't look like Josh Lucas or Patrick Dempsey. And most certainly, I don't look like Reese Witherspoon, whose accent makes her character that much more charming. One of the reasons I like this film is its themes. And a reminder that the South is's the South. (Did you know that "baloney cake" is a real thing? Bleh!) FYI, I never noticed the dog on this pic before. That's kinda cool/interesting, random and strangely important.

3. The Princess Bride: As you wish. My wife is one of very few people I know who doesn't like this film. Her reasoning is it was overplayed. I gotta hand it to her, it probably was. But it was a worthy overplay, in my book. When my oldest brother told me he was gonna watch this movie when HBO was airing it one random summer day, I thought he was weird for liking a chick flick. (Like I'm anyone to judge with my enjoyment of "happily ever after.") But as I watched this, I saw that it really tries to have something for everyone. Not only that, but it's got a humorous look at fairy tales in general. Much like the following movie.

4. Shrek: This is the world's most irreverent fairy tale, which is what makes this movie so awesome. I actually can sit and watch Shrek and follow it up with Shrek 2. But I can't do Shrek 3 again. And I've never seen the 4th one. Still, Shrek mocks your average ordinary fairy tale. And yet, it's still a fairy tale in its own right. It's the one that teaches you that loving someone for who they are instead of what they look like is one of the most important things. Also, the irreverent humor makes me laugh. Sometimes, I just need a good laugh.

5. X2: X-Men United: In my opinion, this is the best of the X-Men movies. First Class comes in at a worthy second. I loved this movie enough to see it in theaters three or four times, to buy it the day it came out on DVD, and to watch it so many times, I have its scene structure memorized...maybe. Regardless, this was a proper use of adding extra mutants to the scene without oversaturating them. Nightcrawler and Lady Deathstrike were the biggest additions, while everyone else new was subtle. We were already familiar with Iceman, and Pyro just got a bigger presence. Professor X vs Magneto vs William Striker made for a compelling storyline. And leaving it open for a number three (never mind, they shouldn't have...) was a great ending to the film.

6. Spaceballs: Speaking of sequels, I still hold out hope that Mel Brooks has a secret script stashed away for "Spaceballs 2: The Search For More Money." Without John Candy, may he rest in peace, I suggest John Goodman to take his place as Barf. Of course, the rest of the cast, who are well past their fifties, needs to be replaced. Unless they can do a part 2 well enough. Shoot, Joan Rivers just needs her voice to do her role. Regardless, I love this film for its random break of the 4th wall, mocking sci-fi movies (specifically Star Wars). Not to mention a good-looking princess with a blaster. Oh yeah, and the shwartz. Here's a tidbit for you. It was on this date in 1987 that Spaceballs was released. Happy anniversary Emperor Skroob et al.

7. Independence Day: Yeah, can't go through summer without this blockbuster from the mid-90s. I loved this the first time I watched it. Also, watching The Little Mermaid beforehand, and then this, makes for a humorous moment when the preacher says "Dearly beloved." The rest of the theater didn't get why my brother, his friend, his friend's girlfriend, and I were all busting up at that. But we did. Anyway, this movie was a great sci-fi flick, especially for its decent storyline. Pro: blowing up the White House. Con: killing Lt. Commander Data. Regardless, this is one of those films I can just sit and listen to while doing a puzzle or organizing something.

8. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: "Did a little too much LDS." "LDS?" Oh, an awesome Mormon joke. Oh, and don't forget "Hello computer?" *Bones hands Scotty the mouse. "Ah, computer? Hello?" "Just use the keyboard." "Ah, a keyboard, how quaint." Okay, maybe I screwed it up, but it still makes me laugh. One of the reasons I like this movie so much is it's the first Star Trek movie I remember watching. Not only that, it was freshly out on VHS for the first time ever and Star Trek V wasn't even made yet. Yep, I'm that old. Rescuing the whales, not that great of a thing for the movie, but good jab into the politics of whaling at the time.

9. Star Wars: IV-VI: Does this need to be talked about too much? Sure. I'm a classicist. I liked Star Wars when Vader was Vader and not some little kid you knew was destined for evil. Cheesy graphics (or high-tech ones, for the time period) did not trump a decent story. Fight scenes were multi-tiered so as not to be focused on one thing, because usually multiple battles happened at once. I love that aspect of the story. You've got the space fight, the planet-fight, and the good vs evil battle on the death star. Three great events happening at once. Yeah, plenty of movies have this plot device. Shoot, some books do it too. But Star Wars is one that, in my opinion, does it so well and gets its tension to the right spot before moving on to the next one. If I were to watch only 1 of these, though, it'd be episode IV. Why? Because it's a completed story all on its own. Yeah, there's some room for a sequel, but it stands alone well.

10. Star Trek: First Contact: Where Star Trek IV was the first Star Trek movie I watched, First Contact was the first one I saw in theaters. Starting off with the eye (which was somewhat disturbing and cool all at the same time) to the final scenes, I loved this movie and rank it as one of the best in Star Trekness. A few not so exhilarating part don't even detract from the awesomeness that is this film. This was Star Trek at war, something spoken about plenty during The Next Generation's run. The battle on the Enterprise is just awesome and the humor on the surface was well-done. The right characters were in the right places for them to shine. Riker, Geordi, and Troi on the surface with Picard, Data, Crusher, and Worf fighting the Borg.

And there you have it, ten movies (okay, twelve, I cheated) I think are worth viewing in any given summer when it's too hot to do anything (at least for me anyway.)

Alien abductions are involuntary, but probings are scheduled.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha. Batman and Robin?!? Seriously?!? Ha ha. Awesome.

    I'll have to take some of these to watch this summer. I never saw Star Trek IV and would like to see First Contact again. X2 and Independence Day are some really good ones.

    Good list.