So Long, and Thanks For All The Films: A Final Farewell To Summer 2011

We here at TMP have invested a lot of time into Summer 2011.  We tackled a huge guide compiling every single notable release of the Summer into four convenient, easy to read articles. We predicted what would be the highest grossing films of the season, and did a pretty damn good job at it (if I do say so my self).  We had a review of a big Summer flick almost every single week (sometimes twice!). We had news, trailers, editorials, and more all devoted to movies coming out this Summer.

Yet even with the copious amount of articles coming out on an almost daily basis, we were always looking forward to the future.  Be it the next week or the next Summer.  One Friday you’re ranting about how bad the new Pirates of the Caribbean was and the next you’re dissing on The Hangover: Part II.  The Summer Movie Season runs fast, sometimes faster than even we can keep up with.  But today (the first day of the Fall Movie Season) I’m going to take a little time to remember the lows and highs of the past four months, compile my favorites and least favorites, and hand out a couple “Yeahs!” and “mehs.” That’s right, folks; flashback time!

Thor

Let’s start out at the beginning.  It was May 6, 2011.  The first Friday of the Summer Movie Season.  Opening the summer was Marvel’s Thor which, despite almost no buzz, came out of the gate rolling with much critical acclaim.  I found the film to be a super fun ride, but it had some flaws that just couldn’t be ignored.  Also opening that weekend were the dual rom-coms Something Borrowed and Chasing the Broom.  Honestly, though, who cares about those?

Anyways, the week rolled on by and soon we were on to the next Friday, May 13.  The big opening that day was Bridesmaids, the new Judd Apatow produced flick from Kristen Wiig.  The film turned out to be the biggest surprise hit if the season, grossing over 200 million domestically and setting a new record for a comedy staring a woman.  While we never got a chance to put up an official review, I agreed with the critics for the most part; it was hilarious, sweet, and very refreshing.  Definitely one of the funniest comedies of the summer.  Meanwhile in limited release, the indie drama…thing Hesher was met with praise from our Editor-in-Chief Gabriel.  I’m certainly looking forward to catching that one when it comes out on DVD.  Also opening this week was the vampire action thriller Priest and the Will Ferrell dramedy Everything Must Go.  Both were met with nothing more then a “meh.”

Pirates 4

The next Friday, May 20, was a big week for Walt Disney Pictures.  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides made a huge splash at the box office, but reactions were pretty negative.  Jarod gave the film a rather positive review, feeling that it was a “fresh new adventure for the characters we have grown to love since we first met them in 2003.” I personally agree with the critics on this one (I choose it as the worst film of the summer), but I guess we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that one, Jarrod.  Also in limited release was The Beaver, a film Gabriel praised out of SXSW and Victor affirmed with his Blu-Ray review, but was met with almost no fanfare.  I’m still intrigued, but my expectations are rather low now.

On to the next Friday, May 27 a.k.a Memorial Day weekend.  Because of the holiday, all the wide releases of the week were released on a Thursday, which included the massive hit The Hangover: Part II and the under-performing Kung Fu Panda 2.  One of these films deserved to succeed, and it wasn’t The Hangover: Part II.  Dustin seemed to agree with me, claiming that he could “write a book on all the things that he didn’t like” about is.  Sadly, that didn’t stop the film from being a monster hit.  A third one is almost inevitable.  Meanwhile in the indie theaters, Terrance Malick enchanted fans with Tree of Life, a film that Jarod was quite smitten with.  In all honesty, I just want to see it so I can finally know what everyone is talking about.  I feel so out of the loop!

Summer Wrapup

As Hangover II made gallons of money, X-Men: First Class hit theaters nationwide.  Jordan gave the film a super positive review, and I’d have to agree with him.  Definitely one of my favorite films of the Summer.  Also opening was Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer (which had a bummer box office) and, in limited, the coming of age story Submarine.

Next week was July 10 and boy, was it a doozy.  Opening that weekend was Super 8, J.J Abrams homage to the Steven Spielberg day’s of yore.  Overall I loved it.  In my review I called it “a winner”, and claimed that was the only word I could use to describe the film.  In the end, I chose it as my favorite movie of the Summer, and I can’t freaking wait to see it again on Blu-Ray.

Summer Wrapup

Following one of the best releases of the Summer was arguably one of the worst, as Green Lantern swept across theaters nationwide on June 17, delivering a green sea of mediocrity along with it.  While Jordan was a little more forgiving of the film’s flaws, Blake’s Second Opinion almost completely hammered the film for the piece of crap it was.  So many crying DC fans…it was really sad, actually.  Maybe next time, guys.  Meanwhile, Jim Carrey’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins also opened wide to fight off the Lantern.  Overall, Dustin thought it was an alright family film from Jim Carrey, but would have fit in much better if released during Christmas time.

Soon June 24 was here, and with it was Cars 2. Failing critically and financially under-performing, Cars 2 will be forever known as the worst Pixar movie ever made (unless they make a worse one, which I don’t think will ever happen).  I didn’t have a chance to catch the film, and I don’t think I really want to.  If I don’t see it, it doesn’t exist, damn it!  Also opening opposite Cars 2 was Bad Teacher, a crude comedy that Gabriel found somewhat enjoyable.  I’ll probably catch the film sometime on DVD, but it’s not a huge priority for me.

Transformers 3

So now, we’re on to July.  Beginning the month and opening for the Fourth of July weekend was Transformers: Dark of the Moon. In my review of the film, I called Dark of the Moon a “fun ride” and “definitely the best of the Transformers franchise.”  Even now, I’m still sticking to my original sentiments.  If anything, the last third is some of the best actions of the year.  You just have to slog through some other crap before you can get to it.  Also opening was the Tom Hank’s movie Larry Crowne and the Selena Gomez starring Monte Carlo; but once again, who really cares?

Next week up was July 8, in which two comedies vied for Box Office power, Zookeeper and Horrible Bosses. The latter I found to be one of the best comedies of the Summer, with a fantastic cast and some great gags.  While I didn’t see Zookeeper, I’m glad that Horrible Bosses ultimately won out.  Of the two, it was certainly more deserving.

Harry Potter

July 15 was all about Harry Potter, the second part of the final entry in the eight movie series (yup).  I’ve been a fan of Potter since 2000, and it was nice to finally see the franchise come to its complete close (and I thought the last book made me feel nostalgic…).  Kyra agreed with me, calling the film “almost perfect.”  While I certainly think the film has its flaws, its heart was in the right place.  And for that, I found the film to be one of the best.  Also opening the 15th was Winnie the Pooh, one of the most under-appreciated gems of the Summer.  Hopefully, it will find its audience on DVD.

The next big thing to come out July 22 was my second favorite film of the summer, Captain America: The First Avenger. While we never got the chance to post up an official review, I nonetheless thought it to be a perfect homage to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and simply the best film to come out of the young Marvel Studios.  The Avengers can’t come fast enough.  Also opening that week was Friends with Benefits, which we found to be nothing special.  Better luck next time, Timberlake!

Cowboys and Aliens

After Captain came one of my biggest disappointments of the summer, Cowboys and Aliens.  I generally enjoyed Jon Favreau’s previous works, and the idea of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford teaming up sounded amazing.  Sadly, I found it to be a bit of a bore.  Jarod disagreed though, and thought it was a fun, interesting ride.  Once again, Jarod, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.  Also opening that week was The Smurfs, which Gabriel found to be “entirely watchable.” In limited release was Another Earth, a film Jarod lathered with love in his review.  Definitely looking forward to that one.  One of my favorite films of the year so far, Attack the Block, also opened in limited that weekend.  I called it “Shaun of the Dead Meets Aliens” in my review, and I still find it to be one of the best times I had at the theater this summer.  Finally, the Steve Carell rom-com Crazy, Stupid, Love hit theaters garnering some very positive acclaim.  Another film I can’t wait to see.

The final month of the Summer, August, started off with a bang.  The prequel/reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened with near universal acclaim, garnering some of the best reviews of the year.  Jordan loved the film, proclaiming it the best film of the Summer.  He  wasn’t the only one; as many of our writers felt the same way.  I loved the film as well, even though the humans were a big waste of time. Also opening opposite Apes was The Change Up, which Gabriel thought was an enjoyable, if not predictable, comedy.

30 Minutes or Less

Speaking of comedies, one of my most anticipated ones of the summer opened up the following week: 30 Minutes or Less.  I expected great things from the film, but I was ultimately disappointed at the final product.  Also opening was Final Destination 5, which Gabriel claimed to be on par with the previous installments of the series.  The final film this week was The Help, which is still the reigning box office champ in the US as of this writing.

Next week came a boatload of remakes and sequels.  Conan the Barbarian led the pack, although Kyra found the film to be average at best.  Fright Night also came out, but to little audience reaction.  Spy Kids 4 grossed the highest box office of the new releases, but in reality it doesn’t make the film any better.  Finally hitting theaters was the romance One Day starring Anne Hathaway.

Hey, this should sound familiar!  Finishing off the summer was a trio of unremarkable films: Colombiana, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, and My Idiot Brother.  Sadly Summer ended with a bit of a whimper, didn’t it?  And just like that, the Summer Movie Season was over.

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Boy was it a great ride.  I want to end this article with a bit of a personal note.  A year ago, I would have never imagined myself in this situation.  I get paid to write about movies.  My work has been read by thousands.  Studios are sending me press releases and other goodies in hopes of coverage.  ME.  I’m not bragging here in all honesty, I just have no idea why and how any of this happened to me.   But I got to attend the biggest convention in the world of geek, San Diego Comic Con, for free.  Nothing hit this fact harder than when, after receiving my badge, I read the word PRESS labeled across the front.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would ever see that on an ID.

And I owe it to you guys; yes, you!  The person reading this article.  Without you, I or TMP as a whole would be nowhere. Over the next couple months, we have a lot of surprises in store, and I hope you stick around to see where this crazy, bizarre train takes us.  This Summer was a wild ride.  But with luck, the Fall will be even wilder.

Welcome to the Fall Movie Season, everybody.

-Matthew