I am what you would call a summer movie buff.

I like the big, goofy, enthusiastic spectacle – often at the detriment of story logic or coherent editing, I’ll admit – that summer movies do well. And hey, sometimes you get a real gem in the mix. Think back to…what, 2003? Did you honestly think you’d enjoy “Disney Johnny Depp Pirate Monster Movie” as much as you actually did?

So when I see things like Jonah Hex’s dynamite gun, or Nicolas Cage: Sorcerer Supreme…I get a little bit giddy, in all the stupidest ways.

But then again, I got a little jazzed when I saw Ray Park as Snake Eyes, and we all remember how that turned out.

And with movies costing like $11 a pop now, we must choose wisely. Here’s the short list of what I’ll likely see: 

PRO: It’s a Pixar movie, so, duh. Also, I have a tradition of going to see them with my niece (starting with Ratatouille), and this time my 3-year-old nephew might join in as well (though Cars 2 is where he’ll probably get really excited about the Uncle Jeff movie tradition – kid LOVES that one).
CON: There is probably going to be that staple of all Pixar movies where I damn near lose my shit (see: opening credits of Up), but somehow I will soldier on.

PRO: It’s Jonah Hex – the baddest sumbitch to roam the plains of DC Comics – and I am a fan. People may complain about the magic powers the movie version seems to have added, but that doesn’t matter. Hex stories have been set in straight westerns, southern-fried horror, and even a post-apocalyptic future, but as long as you keep the core of the character – mean SOB with a basic moral code – you can tell whatever story you like. Also: There are horse-mounted gatling guns and dynamite-crossbow-guns. These are good things.
CON: Megan Fox drives me goddamn bug-nuts. Having subjected myself to 90 excruciating minutes of Jennifer’s Body, I can tell you: no, it wasn’t Michael Bay – she actually can’t act.
LIKELIHOOD: 80%. I may need someone to come with me on this one.

PRO: “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” the Nickelodeon animated series, is absolutely awesome. It’s a great mix of superb animation, epic storytelling, and warmly developed characters that’s easy to fall in love with, and other than the “whitewashing” issues involved with the casting, the trailers look spectacular.
CON: It’s actually “M. Night Shamalyan’s The Last Airbender.” And as much joy as The Happening brought me in terms of unintentional comedy, I would not like to see Shamalyan’s awkward scripting and wooden acting direction destroy something I have great affection for.
LIKELIHOOD: 90%, because I know I can get people to come with me on this one. My girlfriend’s the one who got me into it, anyway.

PRO: A competently-directed action flick starring Angelina Jolie, who I actually kind of respect as an actress now that she seems to have hit the post-blockbuster George Clooney phase of her career where she just picks the roles she wants.
CON: Competent action, sadly, may not be worth $11. I need some crazy big-screen visuals to plunk down that cash. And I know damn well I can catch this on HBO, so…maybe.
LIKELIHOOD: 50%. Might depend on how bored I am that weekend.

PRO: I will explain it as I did to a friend recently: “Okay, so Nicolas Cage is like this good sorcerer, right? And he takes on the guy from ‘Undeclared’ as his apprentice. And there’s fireballs, and Alfred Molina’s the evil sorcerer, and hee hee hee”. To put it another way: 1) Jerry Bruckheimer and Disney brought us the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and that’s just fun. If you don’t like that movie, you just don’t like fun. 2) Nic Cage seems to have a good track record with Bruckheimer movies, where he can be quirky and cheesy without chomping through all the CGI scenery. And 3) This kinda looks like what I figure a Doctor Strange movie would be like, and I am on record as being a Doctor Strange nut.
CON: If you read the last paragraph and thought, “Yeah, but…”, or “You did SEE the other two Pirates movies, right?”, then I am right there with you. It could also be god-awful. But I am an optimist, dammit.

PRO: I generally laugh at Apatow-produced comedies starring Will Farrell (yes, even Step Brothers). And while I’m pretty certain Mark Wahlberg does not have a built-in sense of humor, I believe he can be directed so as to appear to be funny (if the asshole who directed I Heart Huckabee’s can do it, how hard could it be?).
CON: As with Salt, $11 is a lot to spend on a visually unremarkable comedy I know I’ll see on TV a hundred times next year.
LIKELYHOOD: 55% (it is easy to get people to at least one summer comedy)


PRO: It is in the title. And the trailers. And the commercials. And the director’s track record. And the comics.
CON: I will slap you in the face if you try to tell me there’s a con.
LIKELYHOOD: 100,000%. For serious.

Anything I’ve missed? NO, I haven’t forgotten about The A-Team. And I know I said I’d check out The A-Team and The Losers and compare them (and I figure that Stallone+everybody movie would round it all out), but unless you’re giving me $33 to see it – and also I’d like some snacks, so let’s just boost it up to $50 – we can all wait for the DVDs.

And yes, one day I will watch the third Twilight movie because at this point I’m just fascinated by its awfulness, but the prospect of sitting in a theater with a crowd willing to pay money to see those movies is really terrifying.

So…anything I’ve missed? Any of these selections just fill you with hate and disgust? By all means, sound off in the comments section.

  1. braak says:

    I do like about Megan Fox in the Jonah Hex movie that she has the emaciated, malnourished look about her that you’d actually expect an Olde West hooker to have. It’s like they actually went to some trouble to make her look “not hot, you know? Just hotter than all the chicks with syphilis.” I get tired of all the women on the frontier looking fresh and clean and pretty all the time.

  2. Jeff Holland says:

    Yes, though apparently on the plains even hookers have ready access to teeth whitening bleach.

  3. braak says:

    Come on, man; I don’t want to watch a movie where everyone’s got a mouth full of rotten, jagged teeth. Realism is only worth so much.

  4. Tad says:

    I’m in for Scott Pilgrim (duh), Airbender (Avery is getting psyched), and I would be willing to catch Jonah Hex.

  5. Jeff Holland says:


    Allow me to amend my post:
    “I will be going to see Inception.”

  6. Jeff Holland says:

    (And that’s how Salt’s chances dropped down to 25%.)

  7. Shane says:

    I was sincerely waiting for some Knight and Day insight. I mean, that title is just CLEVER.

  8. Jeff Holland says:

    Woooow, you guys: Jonah Hex is getting pummeled pretty hard with the reviews.

    And yet something about the terms “incoherent,” “80 minutes,” “script by the guys who did Crank” and “looking like something assembled under a tight deadline, and possibly under the influence” almost makes me even MORE intrigued.

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