Culture

Monday Morning Roundtable: Summer movies

midnight

This week, we asked the Heave staff: What was your favorite movie that you saw this summer?

Everett Salyer
The only two movies I saw this summer were Thor and Transformers 3.  Its not like I DON’T watch movies, but I’d much rather watch them from the comfort of my man cave.  I’m not much for the movie going crowd or the $15 soda/popcorn combo.

That all being said, the best movie that I watched this summer in the comfort of my man cave was Winter’s Bone.  To my surprise it was not a porno, and yes I know it came out quite some time ago.  I am a sucker for strong female leads and meth heads.

Chris Osterndorf
The best movie I saw this summer and so far this year was Midnight in Paris. I have a lot more to say on this film, and while I’d love to elaborate on why I loved it now, I’m almost sure Midnight in Paris will make my year end top ten list. So I’ll save further comments till then.

Dominick Mayer
Beginners. I already wrote a little bit about it last week, but it’s so achingly resonant and lovely that I can’t rave about it quite enough. (It’s getting a week long run at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago starting this Friday, fyi.) Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor are both great in it, and it’s easily one of the most honest, open-hearted movies I’ve ever seen about the origins of how people love, and how the way their parents did it irreparably dictates how their kids will. And, I mean, it has a talking dog.

Amy Dittmeier
I don’t know why but it was hard to figure out what my favorite movie was this summer. I know I saw a lot of movies this summer but I can’t remember what. However one film stands out in my mind the most – Attack the Block. Everything, from the dialogue to the aliens to the action keeps me thinking about it. As Dominick stated in his review of the film, it’s one of the best films of the summer. Maybe it was me, but I felt like there weren’t a lot of shoot-em-up movies this year where you stand up and inappropriately yell “Fuck them up” in the movie theater (see: Warrior for this fall’s installment of the movie genre). Attack the Block satiated my internal need for alien invasions AND curious British accents. That’s a tough thing to do and director Joe Cornish nailed it.

Ryan Peters
I was pretty tempted to say Larry Crowne because, well, why the hell not? The truth is that this summer movie season has been a mix of the forgettable and the disappointing more often than anything else. Things started on a promising note, with Thor being released in May. Despite its Shakespearean pedigree in director Kenneth Branagh, it never had the dramatic weight of The Dark Knight or the style and verve of Kick-Ass (the two best comic book films of the last half-decade). But Thor wins points with me precisely because it’s not The Dark Knight; it allows itself to have a sense of humor, and since it doesn’t take the Norse-Mythology-Meets-Supernatural-Blue-Monsters storyline too seriously, the audience is free to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the action.

But things went downhill from there. Pixar released a cash-hungry sequel to its least impressive or involving story; great performances from Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy were wasted in the otherwise relentlessly hokey X-Men: First Class; Green Lantern happened. There were some good moments, no doubt. Super 8 was a flat-out fantastic, despite an ending sentimental enough to make Spielberg blush, and whatever your feelings on The Hangover 2, I love it when a hard-R comedy becomes a hit. But by and large, disappointments, near-misses and Transformers reigned. No movie was great throughout.

Except for one — Bridesmaids. Released to very little fanfare in the late Spring, the movie is now the largest hit from the Judd Apatow comedy factory at $166 million. And while there are some clear Judd Apatow touches to it, I think it has been so successful in part because it breaks away from the Apatow mold featuring men dealing with problems of delayed adolescence. It was sold as a chick-flick alternative to the summer’s superhero movies, but the truth is that I can’t remember seeing a movie so funny in years. Plus, Kristin Wigg, already the best thing on SNL, is now a breakout movie star. I’ve seen the movie twice in theaters now, and I would happily see it again right now.

And, of course, let’s not forget the brilliance of Melissa McCarthy: