S.G. Browne

Movie Review Monday: Summer Movie Sigh

When I saw the slate of films scheduled to be released this summer, I found myself filled with anticipation for more than a dozen upcoming movies, including Super 8, Green Lantern, X-Men: First Class, Horrible Bosses, Cowboys & Indians, and The Tree of Life. While I haven’t seen all of these films yet, I have to say that so far I’ve been underwhelmed.

Super 8 was fun and entertaining, but I felt it lacked the emotional resonance of the Spielberg films to which it paid homage. Horrible Bosses wasn’t nearly as funny as I’d hoped it would be, especially considering the cast. And while I appreciated the acting and what Malick was saying in The Tree of Life, if I want to spend half an hour watching the evolution of life on Earth, I’ll turn on The Discovery Channel.

Maybe it’s because I have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly. Maybe it’s because I’m too familiar with the actors and directors. Maybe it’s because I read and hear too much hype about these films so that by the time I actually see them, they can’t possibly live up to my expectations.

I remember going to see movies and not knowing anything about them except maybe a little word of mouth buzz. I didn’t know anything about films like Big, The Untouchables, or Beverly Hills Cop before I saw them other than who the stars of the films were. I had no idea what the movies were about or who was directing them or what critics were saying. I don’t even remember seeing any television commercials. Or billboards. Or ads on the sides of buses. I just went to see films and enjoyed them without any preconceived notions.

I didn’t even have any expectations when I went to see Star Wars for the first time in 1977. And I didn’t have a clue what Raiders of the Lost Ark was about until I saw the film on video a year after it left the theaters. But today, the advertising is impossible to miss.

I don’t know if the saturation of information and hype is partially to blame for my less-than-enthusiastic response to some of these films, but so far the best movie I’ve seen this summer has been Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, which had no significant marketing or hoopla surrounding it but which was a fun, intelligent, and creative film. And which should at least get Allen an Oscar nomination for Best Original Script.

Filed under: Movie Review Mondays,Movies and Books — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 8:00 am


  1. Totally agree. Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed Midnight in Paris. No flash, no trash. Just a creative twist on a time travel story line. Loved seeing his character interact seamlessly with all the greats without much fanfare about traveling back and forth in time. Very creative and enjoyable film.

    Comment by Erin V — July 11, 2011 @ 8:40 am

  2. I saw Midnight in Paris last night. True, it has no gratuitous violence, robots or men in green tights, but it is the perfect summer movie. It is a movie from the Woody Allen we all know and love; I really enjoyed it.

    Comment by Kevin Morehead — July 11, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  3. Thanks Erin and Kevin. Yep, no flash, no superheroes, just a good, character-driven film. Thanks for playing!

    Comment by admin — July 11, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

  4. Terrific review!

    I think you’re right about much of the pondering in this post — we are inundated with marketing and jaded by expectations. Although, I have to say that I’ve enjoyed the summer movies just a bit more than you for personal reasons: first, they are my only escape right now from my 8-days-a-week schedule (I sneak away from my computer about once a week to go sit in a theater, eat popcorn, and be entertained), so I think I adore the movies just for granting me that abandon; second, I feel like I have a vested interest in some of these titles. I gave A’s to SUPER 8 (having grown up on Spielberg films), THOR and X-MEN (being a comic-based movie geek), and PIRATES (being a fan of Captain Jack Sparrow) — I found them all wonderfully entertaining. Or maybe I’m just a big immature kid — could be that! HORRIBLE BOSSES got a B — I found it fun to watch, but it’s underwhelming for the cast involved; I was disappointed that Jason Bateman was so deadpan.

    The best thing for me about your review is the recommendation for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS. I have had a couple of people recommend it, but they are kind of film snobs who don’t even go see these “other” films we’ve been going to this summer. For me, Woody Allen films have always been hit or miss; adore some, shake my head at others. But I’ll take YOUR word for it!

    Keep up the great reviews!

    P.S. I still can’t wait to see the last HARRY POTTER movie, CAPTAIN AMERICA, and COWBOYS AND ALIENS! :D

    Comment by Zuzana — July 16, 2011 @ 5:40 am

  5. Thanks Zuzana. And while I’m not a huge Woody Allen fan, I’ve enjoyed a number of his films. This one is one of my favorites, though that may be in part because it spoke to the writer in me. And I love Paris.

    Comment by admin — July 18, 2011 @ 8:56 am

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