Summer 2013 didn’t quite have the blockbusters of recent years, but that’s not to discount it. There were some truly excellent films this summer from each genre along with ghastly ones.
Apocalypse time, get crude
Rude, crude, and totally meta, This is The End nabs my pick for best summer comedy. Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, and Craig Robinson all-star as themselves as the rapture begins and Hollywood’s biggest stars are left behind. Loaded with hilarious cameos, humor akin to that of a 5th grader, and at least one or two legitimately frightening scenes, This is The End was the perfect summer comedy.
Rising above immaturity
This summer’s heart-melter, The Way Way Back is the story of Duncan (Liam James) who is forced to spend the summer with his mom’s (Toni Collette) new boyfriend (Steve Carell) at his summer home. Stuck with nothing to do and surrounded by adults acting like college students on spring break, Duncan starts working for the charismatic Owen (Sam Rockwell) at the local water park. Heartfelt, touching, endearing and hilarious, The Way Way Back easily wins my drama pick of the summer.
A great summer for horror
Two excellent movies which are complete polar opposites of each other. While The Conjuring is a completely serious supernatural thriller, You’re Next pulls off the seemingly impossible task of taking one of the more grim sub-genres of horror – home invasion – and injecting some much-needed humor. And though The Conjuring uses a rather formulaic plot to set up the most terrifying movie so far this year, You’re Next takes a formulaic plot and turns the home invasion thriller on its head. 2013 was an excellent summer for horror fans. Both score four out of five feathers.
Cliché done right
Aside from some rather cliched and rusty storytelling and an overhyped “original” premise, Pacific Rim delivered everything you want in a summer blockbuster. Guilermo del Toro’s much anticipated return to the director’s chair stars Charlie Hunman as a Jaeger pilot, giant robots engineered to help combat an infestation of giant creatures known as Kaiju. Something Pacific Rim did right by was the action scenes, too often today we see action movies with cinematographers acting like a squirrel with ADD, so it’s nice to have distinguishable action shots, especially when you’re seeing something as jaw-droppingly awesome as a robot punching giant Godzilla-esque creatures in the face.
With the return of the infamous Gru, his beloved daughters and the well-known minions, Despicable Me 2 came back with action and romance galore. Lucy, played by Kristin Wiig, is the willowy, energetic, red-head who becomes Gru’s love interest. Attempting to find his “lost” minions, manage a cupcake shop and take care of three growing girls: Agnes (Elise Fisher), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Margo (Miranda Cosgrove) the battle to save the world is more complicated than ever before. Despite the fact that it’s a sequel Despicable Me 2 is charming, whimsical and deserves five out of five feathers.
Worth the long wait
After waiting ten years for this movie, finally Mike and Sulley return to the big screen. The prequel flashes back to their college days of popular kids and the social ladder. With games and competitions to see who will be the overarching fraternity, friendships are tested and the odds are overcome. In the end Mike proves he is underestimated and those letter jackets don’t mean everything. Pixar also did a fantastic job of leading into Monsters Inc. I would wait another ten years for a Monsters production which is why this movie easily earns five out of five feathers.
-Jessamine Von Arx
What NOT to see
The Smurfs 2
We really only have ourselves to blame for this one. After all, Hollywood producers frequently make sequel decisions based on box office gross from the previous entry. Unfortunately The Smurfs 2 has done pretty well at the box office, with a worldwide gross of $208 million, easily making back its $105 million budget. Looks like we’ll be seeing more of this garbage in the future.
Apparently this is still the ‘90s
Maybe star Liam Hemsworth is taking too many acting tips from former fiancé Miley Cyrus. At least it was a box office flop, Paranoia debuted to a measly $3.5 million and landed 13th on weekend gross. We probably won’t be seeing more of this though, as it seems highly unlikely the flick will make back its $35 million budget. Unfortunately a thriller about insider trading ends up being as fascinating as today’s stock reports.