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|Written by April Yorke|
|Friday, 03 June 2011 00:00|
Bridesmaids grossed $26 million and opened in second place last month. In the subsequent weeks since its May 15th release, it has remained in the box office top five, even over and above Thor, the latest entry in Marvel's Avengers series. What's remarkable about Bridesmaids' success isn't that it's a so-called "women's picture;" it's that it's an original film.
Bridemaids may be linked to super-producer Judd Apatow, but it's not based on anything else that's been blessed with his Midas touch. It's not a sequel, prequel, or reboot. No characters are carried over from any of his previous films. It's not based on a book or a graphic novel or a TV show. Bridesmaids just is.
Of the 32 movies opening wide over the next three months (no point in talking about movies we may never get the opportunity to see, right?), 12 are original films. Twelve. That's less than half. Less than half of the movies with a wide release in the next 13 weeks are not remakes, reboots, or sequels. That's not even one per week!
The whys and wherefores of this situation don't require a response (here or anywhere, really. The answer is $$$). What matters is, as a discerning cinema-goer who maybe, just maybe, has had it with aliens, robots, and vampires, is there any reason to head to the multiplex this summer beside air conditioning? If not, what can you do instead?
What to see: No one dares put out a wide release against the reboot X-Men: First Class.
What you can do instead: Catch up on TV on DVD, particularly shows no Canadian network carries. FX's Sons of Anarchy, Justified, and the late, lamented Terriers are highly recommended.
What to see: Super 8
Though it's clearly an homage to the kind of movie producer Steven Spielberg made before "Spielbergian" was a thing, it looks as though J.J. Abrams has made a movie that's appropriately mysterious and wondrous and spooky without being too scary for kids.
What you can do instead: Nothing. Each and every one of you needs to ensure that Kyle Chandler has an amazing post-Friday Night Lights career. Yes, this movie clearly stars a group of kids, but I'm rooting for Deputy Coach.
What to see: Yet another original film free weekend.
What you can do instead: If you're in the National Capital Region, check out the CWRDA roller derby tournament hosted by Ottawa's own Rideau Valley Roller Girls. If you're not, rent a car and get down here! Oh, alright, alright. You could also, as per the Pop Culture Happy Hour folks, sit in the dark and read a book (recommended summer read: Getting the Girl by Susan Juby). But c'mon. Sit in the dark and read a book or surround yourself with ass-kicking ladies? It's a tough call.
What to see: A Better Life
Sort of an illegal immigrant update of Bicycle Thieves (a.k.a The Bicycle Thief because we've apparently been getting the translation wrong for the last few decades), a pickup truck has the potential to help a landscaper provide a better life for his son until it's stolen.
What not to see: Recent movies about illegal immigration/racism/interlocking systems of oppression set in LA tend to be, for lack of a better word, TERRIBLE. As such, you may be tempted to go see Bad Teacher, the comedy starring Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake, and Jason Segal, instead. But unless someone tells me that Diaz's character gets fired over the course of the film (and it doesn't look like she does), I don't want to know what happens to that asshole. I don't want to see her learn or grow or change. I want to see her fired because teaching is not an easily attainable fall back career, and people who so obviously suck at it shouldn't be doing it. This isn't Bad Santa. You're a bad Santa for a month, tops. Bad teachers are bad teachers for 10 months a year for decades. Shut up, Bad Teacher. Better luck next time, Timberlake and Segal.
What to do instead: Obsessively re-watch Seasons 1 through 3 of True Blood while wondering just how far Bill can take his regained hotness when Season 4 begins Sunday, June 26 at 9 pm.
What to see/What not to see: Larry Crowne
As great as That Thing You Do! is, the idea of a director and co-writer credit for Tom Hanks on a late in life rom-com doesn't inspire gleeful anticipation. Neither does his pairing with co-star Julia Roberts, as they didn't exactly set the screen on fire in Charlie Wilson's War. But here's where we can be certain: this movie will make something resembling narrative sense, will not feature jive-talking robots, and will contain shots you can follow, which puts it three up on Transformers: Dark of the Moon. (Also, "dark of the moon"? Not "dark side of the moon" but "dark of the moon"? Even the title makes no sense!)
What to do instead: For pity's sake, it's Canada Day! And while movies on Canada Day are a nice break from the crowds and the heat, you can't find some fireworks to watch or a barbeque to attend?
What to see: Horrible Bosses
Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis are going to go murderously 9 to 5 on Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, and Colin Farrell, respectively, and we need to see the shit out of that. It's so hard to make a living!
What not to see: Zookeeper
Mall Cop with zany talking animals. Do not let that pitch doesn't work on you.
What to do instead: Go to an actual zoo and meet a real zookeeper, who can confirm for you that animals can't talk or give relationship advice based on their own mating rituals.
What to see: Let's not kid ourselves. You're all going to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
What to see: Friends with Benefits
Consider it the non-dire, actually funny No Strings Attached. Directed by Easy A's Will Gluck and bringing together a winning combination of Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, the trailer actually manages to avoid showing us the moments when their relationship falls apart because of feelings and then gets back together because those feelings are mutual. Plus Patricia Clarkson is always a delight.
What to do instead: Head to the beach with your own summer fling.
What to see: Crazy, Stupid, Love.
It's fantastic to see Ryan Gosling in something light for once, and he makes an excellent guru for Steve Carell's signature combination of misanthropic humour and sweet vulnerability.
What to do instead: You've only get a month left! Better get rolling on that vacation.
What not to see: The Change-Up
The Change-Up should be pretty exciting: two (2!) Jason Bateman comedies this summer. So why isn't it? Because everything about it looks tired: the body-swap premise, the married guy who hates his life and fantasizes about his hot assistant, Ryan Reynolds. What, he looks like he needs a nap! If you hate your life, find a way to communicate with your wife rather than swapping bodies and trying to nail your assistant, okay? And "for the first time in your life, you're good looking?" Jason Bateman already is good looking! And, just for the record, close the door when you take a shit. That's alone time.
What to do instead: Take advantage of museum's free nights (Thursdays here in Ottawa) to enjoy intense air conditioning without having to pay a cent. You might even take in some culture while you're at it.
What to see: 30 Minutes or Less
I wasn't entirely sold on this one (it looks a little too premise-heavy) until the very end of the trailer when Aziz Ansari started singing a little ditty about how he was spray painting a plastic gun to make it look real and that was probably going to get him shot, but then he did, so I say we see it.
What to do instead: It is officially too hot to eat. Your new diet is popsicles and slurpees.
What to see: No original movies yet again.
What to do instead: Sick of trying to come up with new ideas for summer pot luck barbeques, you decide to be the jerk who brings napkins. On the plus side, people totally need napkins at barbeques.
What to see: Our Idiot Brother
While we probably shouldn't laugh at an uncle who slams the door on his nephew's fingers, Paul Rudd dopily doing it somehow makes it hysterical.
What not to see: Colombiana
If only because "Cataleya, never forget where you came from" is whispered three or four times in the trailer alone. How often do you think it comes up in the movie proper? Good to see you again, though, Michael Vartan!
What to do instead: Suddenly realize that you've wasted your summer at the movies and try to cram in a week's worth of outdoor activity into one weekend, then remember that it's too hot to move and lie down with a restorative G&T.
Tags: aliens, cinema, jason bateman is dreamy, married men dont all hate their lives, possibility, robots, teaching jobs are hard to come by, vampires