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Summertime Rolls: Closing the Books

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The sound you are hearing is the echo of one thousand teachers lamenting the dog days of August.  To a teacher, August feels like one long Sunday afternoon- difficult to fully enjoy, as the end of all that is good and holy is within spitting distance.  That said, this summer wasn’t one of my favorites for a couple of reasons, the primary one being that I bought a house.

Granted, the end result is pretty great, but the searching?  The haggling?  The inspections?  The escrow?  Not a whole lot of fun, and basically chewed up Summer ’09 and swallowed it up.

I remember in early May, when summer lay stretched out before me, beckoning me forth with inviting arms.  Now here we are, left with a nothing but the husk of another June-August in its wake.

So… were there any good movies?  I think so- I have ten here that are probably worth your while.  The top 5 I would recommend with no hesitation, but the bottom 5 are not infallible. But I do think all of them have at least moments of greatness, and these days that gets a pass.

Before we start, there were a few I didn’t see.  Some may be great, others may be shite- either way, they aren’t on my top 10.  Here they are:  Land of the Lost, Transformers 2, Angels and Demons, In the Loop, Night at the Museum 2, GI Joe, Wolverine, District 9, and Julie and Julia.

The Big 10:

  1. Inglorious Basterds- It may just be freshest in my mind, but there weren’t any other movies this summer that felt this unpredictable. You think you know what you are going to get, but Tarantino denies you.  Then he gives you something you didn’t even know you wanted, and you know what?  Its delicious.
  2. Up- I wrote about those opening 10 minutes earlier this summer, and here I am doing it again.  The whole movie is pretty great, but those opening 10 are sublime.  Probably will be the best 10 minutes we see all year.
  3. Star Trek- When I think of “summer movies” done right, this is what I have in mind.  Didn’t reinvent the wheel, but made that wheel as sleek and fast as possible.
  4. (500) Days of Summer- For making me love something I usually hate.
  5. The Hangover- The plot of this felt sort of Rube Goldbergian, in a weird way.  Ingenious how they got from one really funny set-piece to the next.  We’ll see how the re-watchability goes, though…
  6. Drag Me To Hell- Raimi back doing what Raimi does.  Can’t believe it was PG-13.
  7. Public Enemies- I have a feeling this will gain some traction in the coming years.
  8. The Hurt Locker- When its working, it works really, REALLY well. I’d like to see this one again.
  9. Moon- A weird little science fiction story starring the great Sam Rockwell. Doesn’t wear out its welcome, and encourages discussion (if you can find someone who actually saw it).
  10. Funny People- This felt like one of the disparate dreams, connected by extreme coincidences and random travails that only make sense within the context of the dream.  It lumbers about, and is good more in its pieces than in its whole..

And while I didn’t see a movie this summer that I flat-out hated, but here were my three biggest disappointments:

Terminator Salvation- Not sure what the missing ingredient was, but I don’t think its Arnie.  No, I think what T:S was missing was a reason to exist. Harsh, maybe, but also true.

Bruno- Yeah, it was funny in the moment, but this was a long 87 minutes or whatever it was. Just sort of… flat.

Taking of Pelham 123- Speaking of flat…


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