TMP’s Best and Worst of Summer 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes


Overall, I say this is still one of the better Summer’s we’ve had in recent years.  While only a couple things really stood out and raised the bar, everything on the whole was very enjoyable.  We’ve had a few Summer seasons that couldn’t even claim that!

Best of Summer: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I’m actually torn on my ‘best’ film for the Summer.  Between X-Men: First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (both are must-see films), I have to go with Apes.  It told a familiar story, but did it in a fantastic way.  The filmmakers did a great job of getting you attached to all of the characters and driving the story forward with emotion and action.  I just couldn’t get enough of that movie.  

Worst of Summer: Green Lantern

I hate to say it, but Green Lantern is my ‘worst’ pick of the Summer.  It had so much potential and could have been the smash hit of the Summer, but it failed on all fronts but the visuals.  It couldn’t hold the story together.  Coming in a close second would have to be Bad Teacher.  It was beyond boring, but seeing as how I wasn’t expecting much (like I was with GL) I won’t list it as the worst.

Summer 2011 gets an A-

Super 8


I was extremely excited for the summer blockbusters this year, but in all honesty I feel let down. It started out bad right at the beginning of the year with hardly anything of quality. Battle L.A. was being touted as the first big blockbuster only to turn out to be the longest most boring army advertisement I have ever seen. Follow that up with the highly anticipated Hangover 2 failing flat on its face for me, things were not looking good. Even Pixar’s Cars 2 wasn’t that good, and while last year’s animated line up was absolutely awesome, I’ve yet to see anything to compete with it this year. (Granted I still need to watch Rango). This year as a whole feels rather sub-par with hardly anything unique and a lot of visual effects.

Luckily Marvel didn’t follow Iron Man 2 in poor quality and instead made both of their movies surprisingly good. DC even took a good shot, and while reviewers might disagree, I thought the Green Lantern was awesome! I can’t wait to see DC do more and get stronger, Marvel needs the competition that’s for sure. While Transformers lost Megan Fox, it was still a pretty badass movie and Super 8 was a close “event” film, and easily one of the best films I’ve seen in a long while. Hopefully next year has more movies like these. Overall I find myself enjoying the comedies more than anything this year. Crazy, Stupid, Love and 30 Seconds or Less are still fresh in my mind with very memorable moments. Ruben Fleischer is becoming one of my favorite directors, and as long as he doesn’t rehash one of his movies and call it a sequel, it will stay that way.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes


For me, this “Summer of Sequels” played out like the precision hype for a J.J. Abrams film, the end result a solid one, but ultimately failing to live up to the great hype that was generated about them.  Huge sinkers this summer took the form of Battle: LA, Cars 2, Hangover 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Green Lantern among several others.  These, some of the largest films of the year, seemed to be standing solely on the press generated and the finished products were complete and total letdowns, devoid of memorable characters, careful direction, or strong plots or at least strong act threes, which seems to be a running gag in Hollywood this year, but I digress.

Worst of the Summer: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Fortunately there were a few bright lights amidst the let downs coming in the form of Cowboys and Aliens, Thor, Captain America, Crazy Stupid Love, X-Men: First Class and Rise of the Planet of the Apes which proved that master filmmaking can still take place these days even if they are of intellectual properties that have already proven successes.

Best of the Summer: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Perhaps the 2012 season will shape up to rely solely on its own credibility instead of the word spread by rabid fans, production houses, and rumor mills.

Summer 2011 gets a B-

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2


It was a challenge for me to think of my best viewed film of the summer.  My worst was relatively simple in comparison.  However, after much contemplation, my best and worst are as follows:

Worst of the Summer: Bad Teacher

There may have been moments of hilarity, as well as several obscenities, but the bad seemed to outweigh the good on this flick.  On a positive note, the moral to the story was a nice touch and it was good to finally see the leading lady stop focusing on her vanity and fall for the right man.

Best of the Summer:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

What can I say?  The anticipation has been building for so long over just how Harry would beat Voldemort, and how the film makers would wrap up this beloved series.  Without giving too much away, the script writers certainly did not leave anything to the imagination.

Summer 2011 gets a B+

Rise of the Planet of the Apes


This was probably the best summer for movies that we’ve had in a while. I took in a lot of cinema this summer, some of it good, some of it bad and some of it ugly. There were surprises and thrills and huge disappointments and some movies that were just plain forgettable. Choosing the best movies was a little tough since there were three that I really enjoyed. As for the worst, well sadly it was my biggest let down.

Worst of the Summer: Green Lantern

I thought it might be Conan the Barbarian since my expectations weren’t very high for that film. As luck would have it Jason Momoa proved to be a good barbarian. For me, the biggest disappointment was Green Lantern. I am a huge Ryan Reynolds fan and from what I saw of the trailers and given the subject matter from the comic books I thought nothing could go wrong. Guess again. Sadly the story was weak as watered down tequila and the blob from space, well let’s just say it ruined it for me right out of the gate. It felt like they spent so much time getting Ryan’s suit just right that attention to what could have been a riveting tale was thrown completely out the window. As much as I wanted this movie to rock, it comes in as the dismal worst movie of the summer.

Best of the Summer: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The decision for this honor was a struggle between three movies. The contenders are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, X-Men: First Class (which really shocked me by how excellent it was), and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. As great as each of these movies were there can only be one champion, and for me the stand out on all levels was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I had no expectations whatsoever going into this flick and I was surprised in a huge way. Such love for the original was apparent in this reboot of a classic. Yet this film also managed to tell a story that was in and of itself credible, poignant, incredible and memorable. The CG was phenomenal and Caesar is a main character that is easy to love and root for. His rise to leadership was chronicled in such a way that it makes me excited to see what else will be added to his story by way of sequels. Rise definitely went above and beyond in storytelling, visuals and heart, and for me was the hands down best movie of the summer.

Summer 2011 gets an A!

Super 8


I’m a list man myself, so here’s my five favorite films of the summer in a nice, convenient package.

5. Attack the Block – A sure to be cult classic that nails both the comedy and the action expected during this time of year.

4. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – The story of Caesar the ape is powerful and technologically amazing…I just wish the humans had more to do.

3. X-Men: First Class – An exciting, well acted, and emotionally fulfilling prequel (how many times have you gotten to say that?

2. Captain America – The closest a film in years has come to nailing the tone of Raiders.  A fantastic film that is, in my opinion, the best one so far from Marvel Studios.

Best of the Summer: Super 8

As a lover of both Steven Spielberg and J.J Abrams, Super 8 is my cinematic nirvana.  Well I’ve realized the film has its flaws in the past two months, no filmgoing experience this summer has come close to the level of thrills I got from Super 8.

Worst of the Summer: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Strander Tides

Truly one of the worst films I’ve seen this entire year, Pirates 4 is both lazy AND boring, and thrives for nothing more then to take your money.  A cinematic abortion if I’ve ever seen one.

Overall though, I was lucky enough not to see that many bad films.  And the good certainly outweighs the bad in any case.  In my opinion, Summer 2011 is the best summer in film since the legendary Summer of 2008.

Summer 2011 gets an A.

X-Men First Class


If there is one good thing we can take away from the 2011 Summer Movies, it’s the fact that we are finally seeing blockbusters that are truly good films. For far too long, summer films got by on special effects and big names that failed to deliver on the hype. This year, we have seen an effort to get good filmmakers and good actors to make a project with some lasting effect. It does not always work: getting Kenneth Branagh to helm Thor seemed like a great idea. But why linger on the bad, let’s get to the good.

Best of the Summer: X-Men First Class

Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass) really surprised me here. I wondered if he had the talent to make something smart and entertaining, when Kick Ass was a bit too blunt and obscene at times for my taste (and I actually liked it). First Class, however, was bold enough to present a unique vision that did not pander to teenagers’ expectations and sensibilities. It finally got the taste of X-Men The Last Stand out of my mouth (damn you, Brett Ratner!).

Runners Up: Super 8, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Worst of the Summer: Arthur

Arthur, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways. You failed miserably to be anything close to Dudley Moore’s original classic. You gave a leading role to Russell Brand, the worst British export since the Spice Girls. You completely wasted Jennifer Garner, my personal Hollywood crush since Alias. Sure, it opened in April, so it was not technically a summer film, but I’m still ticked off with it. If you are going to do a remake, you better bring your A-game, not a British A-hole.

Runners Up: Cars 2, Thor, and anything with Kevin James and Justin Bieber.

Summer 2011 gets an A-

In general, it looks like this Summer had a positive side to it.  While there were some obvious stinkers out of the bunch, on the whole, this season provided more ups than it did downs.  While only a few films will stick with us, most of them were fairly enjoyable and worth spending your time and money on.  Let’s just hope that next year can continue moving things forward, and not be a massive step back as too many Summer’s have been in the past.

So what are your Best/Worst of the Summer?  Let us know in the comments below or in our the current discussion we have over in the forums!