I can't write about anything depressing today so let's look back at the summer films filled with some blockbusters and a lot of bombs, some epically. The funny part is that a few of the biggest disasters should have been realized on the written page and NEVER been filmed in the first place. Everyone of the hits however were known long before their release which says that some in Hollywood do know what they are doing. Let's look at the best of the best first:
BEST OF SUMMER 2015:
5) AVENGERS; AGE OF ULTRON: While not nearly as good as last year's Marvel entries like Captain America 2 and Guardians of the Galaxy, Ultron was still better than a lot of stuff that came out this year. The main issues was the villain was kind of lame, the end of the movie was a lot like the first film and you could tell Marvel was demanding plot points be stuffed in regardless of whether they worked or not. However, Joss Whedon is still one of the best directors today and the cast is electric together. All in all, it was still a pretty good movie.
4)INSIDE OUT: Pixar strikes again with this touching, hilarious look at the different emotion that reside within all of us, particularly a tween girl who just moved to a strange city. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and, especially, Lewis Black mine gold from this story which was one of the best movies of the year and has a real shot at a best picture nod. Pixar is run by people who understand movies.
3)MISSION IMPOSSIBLE:ROUGE NATION: Tom Cruise proves why he is the best box office draw on the planet with the action packed sequel that keep getting better like the Furious series is. Doing all his own stunts, eschewing CGI and relying on an excellent plot about an anti-IMF force intent on world domination, this film hit on all cylinders. This guy may be loony when it comes to religion but he knows how to pick the right scripts.
2)JURASSIC WORLD: Probably the greatest surprise as a no name director was hired to helm one of the most successful film series ever, even if the last two weren't that great. However, a winning script, Chris Pratt and CGI dinosaurs made this the biggest hit of the year. This was a real winner and like most blockbusters will get no love even though three of the five movies on my best of list should be up for best picture and probably won't in lieu of some small French movie about stale bagels during the Nazi invasion.
1)MAD MAX:FURY ROAD: No movie was more action packed and thrilling than the return of Mad Max, this time with Tom Hardy taking over for Mel Gibson. George Miller schooled younger directors with this sand drenched film that made you feel like you spent the day at the beach afterward, sand everywhere in every nook and cranny. A non-stop roller coaster that had little dialogue and an actual plot still, this film was brilliant. If you missed it in the theater, get it in DVD You won't be disappointed.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Spy, Trainwreck, Antman, San Andreas, Minions, Shawn the Sheep.
DISAPPOINTMENTS: There were films I liked but didn't do as well in the Box Office as hoped.
3)VACATION- Savaged by critics, this film was far funnier than many said. Yes, it wasn't Chevy Chase but it was still a hilarious look at a vacation gone wrong again. No matter how you look at it, it was far better than the last one Vegas Vacation.
2)AMERICAN ULTRA- Too violent for critics and the public apparently, plus sent to it's demise by having three films open all with the same target audience on the same weekend, this film died a painful death. That was too bad because this funny, action packed take on the Manchurian Candidate was pretty good. And say what you want about Kristen Stewart, she is turning into a real good actress and the camera loves her. Catch it on DVD when it comes out in, most likely, a few weeks.
1)TED 2- I loved this movie but it definitely didn't do as well as the first and makes another Ted movie unlikely. I know I was in the minority last year when A Million Ways to Die bombed and I loved that film too, but this one should have been a bigger hit. Hopefully, it will find new life on DVD.
BOMBS- There were a lot of movies that tanked this year and with good reason. I will admit I haven't seen any of these yet, but will when they come later and do not expect my opinion to change.
8)POLTERGEIST- STOP MAKING REMAKES OF CLASSIC MOVIES! They aren't, as remakes of films like Scarface, The Raid and Frankenstein are all on the horizon and there are a dozen more on top of that. Allegedly this film did so poorly they halted the remake of IT, like they were similar in any way, causing a talented director to leave and that project to be up in the air still. This was a terrible idea and I know it will be, like many on this list, on my worst of the year column.
7)MAN FROM UNCLE- If you are going to update a series here's a list of things not to do. One, don't pick a project few have seen. I've never seen one episode of this and Wild Wild West suffered from the exact same problem. And two, if you do go through with it, do not pick two people who cannot open a movie. Armie Hammer and Henry Cavill are not proven stars by any means and this film tanked because of it.
6)HITMAN:AGENT 47: See above for why this film tanked. The first one died because you hired some one who in no way looks like Hitman. So what did they do this time? Picked someone even worse with a terrible script to go along with it. This video game series is made for films and yet they messed it up twice now. Hire people who have actually played the game series before doing anymore of these, like that is actually going to happen.
5)RIKKI AND THE FLASH: Diablo Cody is one of the worst screenwriters of all time. Her Oscar for Juno is the biggest tragedy in the history of the awards and that includes picking Shakespeare in Love over Saving Private Ryan. Since then, she has written unwatchable drek like Young Adult and Jennifer's Body. This latest one was savaged by critics who rightfully called the screenplay trite and stupid, which I don't have to see to know. Stop hiring this woman who must have blown her way through Hollywood to keep working because her films suck hard. And what blackmail must they have used to get Meryl Streep to be in it?
4)ALOHA: Cameron Cruise has been a hit or miss director and here he really missed. Critics and Asians were pissed when he hired Emma Stone to play a woman who was part Asian. WTF? Yeah, she looks real oriental guys. The script wasn't any better from what I hear but the casting was the true tragedy here.
3)TOMORROWLAND: Another film which showed the George Clooney cannot open a big movie, this film also tanked hard, due in part to a confusing trailer and a stupid release date. Films that come out on Memorial Day don't do well for new pictures but are better suited for already established film franchises. This film got horrible reviews and should have been redone in pre-production instead of rushed out where it died a painful death.
2)TERMINATOR: GENESYS: Can we all agree that this film series should just end by now? We've suffered through several awful sequels and a less than stellar TV series. The last film was so bad I had to go to therapy to recover. This one was just sad even with the return of Arnold. Just stop and move on to fresher pastures.
1)FANTASTIC FOUR: No film did worse than this piece of garbage which stunk up every theater it was in. Using an untested director proved the nail in the coffin for this series which in it's fourth attempt proved to be the worst yet. The cast sucked, the film was boring and dark, and everyone seemed bored by all the whole thing which according to sources was what the director wanted. Who was to blame was placed on a director who became unhinged while directing and studio executives who mangled it from day one. This project was so bad Marvel stopped printing FF comics and pulled an animated series as well. Please sell this back to Marvel already because this is getting old as you have shown no idea what to do with this series. The amount of money this film will lose is staggering.