Summer is over. Or at least in a calendar sense it is now over. It’s still 100 degrees here in Texas and probably will be for the next month. The big summer blockbuster movie season is over though, and over the next few months, we’ll get a lot of quieter award bait films with fewer explosions. So how did this summer blockbuster season measure up? Well, I couldn’t come up with five films that I would willingly sit down and watch all the way through again, so not very well.
I also realized while compiling this post that I didn’t see a ton of movies this summer. A lot of the big budget films looked like bloated wastes of time, so I steered clear of Transformers 4 (even with the dinosaur robots) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (even – or possibly because of – my renewed love of the characters). I like entertaining films, but I’m not keen on ones that treat me like I’m stupid. There were also several that had been on my radar, like The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Maleficent, where my interest waned as reviews started coming in. Those films quickly landed on my “wait until Netflix” list instead (as did The Fault in Our Stars because there is no way I will voluntarily go to something I know will make me ugly cry in public).
So I made a list of the films I did see and there were four gems on the list. These are movies I would purchase to own. These will become my next Scott Pilgrim or Pitch Perfect, where no matter where it is in the movie, I will watch the rest of it every. single. time. it comes on HBO. These made me happy and left me hopeful that there still could be good blockbuster films to be made. Here are my top four films from the summer of 2014:
Guardians of the Galaxy
I saw this during my doctor-induced blogging hiatus, so my sheer love for this film wasn’t as well documented as it would have been otherwise. This may be my favorite movie on the year so far, though I really don’t want to pit Pratt against Pratt, so I haven’t been thinking too hard about if this beats the nostalgic glee of The LEGO movie.
This movie should have been a mess of nonsense, but instead we got an authentically entertaining mix of action and heart. Is this a perfect movie? Absolutely not, but it’s a fun movie that left me smiling from ear to ear as I left the theatre. A month later and I still desperately want a baby Groot of my very own.
WHERE IS MY FEMALE SUPERHERO MOVIE?! The Internet – or at least the parts of the web I travel – was screaming this over and over again after Lucy came out. It was fast paced and surprising with a bizarre twist ending that I never would have predicted. Scarlett Johannsson kicked some major ass and not a damsel in distress was seen after the first ten minutes. I just wish the commercials and trailers hadn’t given away all the big action-y bits, so that it would have felt newer. Even so I had high hopes for this movie and it fulfilled expectations.
I thought Snowpiercer was going to be a giant wreck. I’d followed the politics and drama with its US release, so I wasn’t even all that interested in seeing it. But the Internet promised me that it was the original director’s cut and not some nonsense Weinstein disaster, so we took a chance. And it was good. I never had any particular feelings towards Chris Evans before now, but I kinda want to see everything he’s ever been in. This movie is pretty straight forward with a predictable story, but it’s the details and the performances that make it so awesome. Don’t think too hard about the logic or plausibility for the setup of the film because you might start bleeding out the ears. Action mixed with some seriously bizarre visuals made this one of the most unexpected and entertaining hour and a half of my summer.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
I knew the basics about the comic storyline for Days of Future Past, and this movie wasn’t the comic. Instead it was a weird pseudo-political thriller action adventure dystopian whatsit taking place over two time periods drawn together by Wolverine. Even so, I would watch James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender stare at each other for two hours. Thankfully I didn’t have to and I got to watch a comic book movie instead. It’s not perfect, but at least I liked Jennifer Lawrence’s Rogue in this one. This barely made my list of favorites for the summer, but the ridiculous set pieces were thankfully overshadowed by some over-the-top-but-highly-entertaining performances from the main cast. Also Quicksilver = the best.
Honorable Mention: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
This movie made it feel like summer came early. I can’t wait to get my hands on the DVD, so I can watch it over and over again to see the things that I missed. The first Captain America movie verged on boring and it’s not one I’ve revisited since its release, but in this second one, Steve Rodgers has a lot more heart and having him paired up with Black Widow gave him a great opportunity for snark and great banter. I fell in love with Falcon and my heart hurt for Bucky, so all around this movie was filled with great characters that I want more from. The giant battle towards the end was way over the top, but it provided great opportunities for action sequences and impressive stunt work (that was probably all computer generated, but whatevs).
Movie I’m Scared to See: The Giver
I almost went to see this and then 7-year-old me started kicking me in the stomach and yelling,” NO NO NO NO!” The Giver is one of those literary touchstones in my life – a book that had such an impact on my life view as well as my reading habits that I couldn’t stand seeing it destroyed on screen. While I won’t say The Giver single-handedly turned me into a lifelong reader, it did introduce me to how to escape into a totally different world through reading (or in my case hearing) some words that were written down. I’ve heard mixed reactions to the movie, so I think I’m going to have to protect 7-year-old me and avoid this screen adaptation.
All right, friends. What were your favorite movies from the summer? Was there something glaringly missing from my list that I must dropped everything and go see right now? Will The Giver break my 7-year-old heart? Let me know if the comments.
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