Entire Summer Movie Season Recap

Nathan Fisher

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MMMMOOOVIES were my great escape from working a zillion hours at two minimum-wage jobs lifeguarding and scooping balls at the golf-driving rang. Thankfully, this summer was filled with great flicks. Here’s my arbitrary grouping of movies that I saw this summer. Enjoy!

Risqué (Shakin’ your junk!): My 16-year old sister dragged me to watch Channing Tatum strip and strut his stuff in “Magic Mike,” based loosely on his pre-acting gyrations. Old Tater-Tot (my name for Tatum to drive my sister nuts) might not be able to act, but boy can he “move.” Steven Soderbergh brilliantly directs and teases out a great off character performance from Mathew McConaughey, an aged sleaze-bucket stripper who isn’t afraid to bust a move. Next up, “Rock of Ages” was a bit disappointing and used many actors out of their usual characters, but Tom Cruise stole the show. Cruise, living up to the potential he showed in “Risky Business,” plays a drunken rock-and-roll star who can actually sing! Like McConaughey, Cruise was not afraid to show off his bare ass. Rounding out the risqué category is “Ted.” Surprisingly, I found Seth MacFarlane’s cursing, pot-smoking, cash-register-humping teddy bear hysterical. It’s R-rated for a reason.

Indie (Old fart quirkies): I was the youngest in the theater by at least 20 years when I went to the only independent theater in Tacoma to see the next two movies. First up, was “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” sporting a wonderful group of classic older English actors. The humor, the scenery, and great acting made this simple movie about a group of retirees moving to India one of my favorite movies of the summer. Next up at the retirement home theater was “Bernie,” with Jack Black playing a much-loved funeral director/mortician who also happens to be a murderer. Shirley Maclaine plays a verbally abusive widow, and Matthew McConaughey sheds his thong to play a dim-witted sheriff. The plot is strange, but the chemistry of the actors is a joy to watch, and nothing matches Black belting out a church hymn. The one disappointing movie in this category was Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love,” a European follow-up to “Midnight in Paris.” Although Allen himself brings several laughs as he reprises his usual neurotic and mumbling character, overall the movie was just too bizarre to enjoy.

Sci-Fi (Die, humans, die): This summer brought the much-anticipated “Prometheus,” Ridley Scott’s prequel to “Alien.” While visually stunning, I walked out of the theater without remembering a single human character’s name because they were all forgettable. I kept hoping Sigourney Weaver would fly in to save the show––didn’t happen. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” was equally disappointing. Not going to lie, I was really looking forward to this as a mindless, bloody, “I can’t believe I’m watching Honest Abe slay vampires” kind of movie. But by trying to take this silly and goofy premise too seriously, the movie floundered and squelched my patriotic bloody-violent hopes.

Kids (Sloths, Bears, & Dead Horses): I can’t believe I’m saying this, but “Ice Age: Continental Drift”, the fourth installment in the franchise, made me chuckle. Arguably, number four is not a great movie and obviously just another squeeze for more money, but Sid the Sloth (John Leguizamo) and his grandma (the hysterical Wanda Sykes) used clever wordplay to bring laughs to what I thought was going to be a serious beating of a dead horse. Maybe I expected too much, but Pixar’s “Brave” was a disappointment. Visually, the movie was spectacular–the flowing red hair made you almost feel the wind–but the storyline fell short of Pixar’s usual. In fact, my favorite characters were the bears, who did not speak.

Sequels and Reboots (Keep the Money Coming): At least 15 summer movies fall under this category, and surprisingly most were better than I expected . . . most, that is. After a 10-year hiatus, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back in “Men in Black III.” After such a long absence, I was hoping for a better movie. On the other end of the spectrum, I was hesitant going into the newest reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, because not enough time had passed since Tobey Maguire was crawling up walls. But, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the newest installment of “The Amazing Spider-Man.” Although Andrew Garfield was a great Spidey, he looked more like a graduate student than a high-schooler, but I enjoyed the new scrawny kid take on Spider-Man! The final retread was “Madagascar 3,” which completely threw me off-guard when I found myself laughing right along with the kids in the theater. I did have to give my death glare at the baby crying behind me because King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) and the penguins can make anyone laugh!

The Movie Hermit’s 2012 Summer FAVES: Clearly, I am a lounge lizard who spent hours this summer vegging at the movies. Hands down, the final Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” blew me away. Maybe it was because a group of Whitties met in Tukwila to see all three Batman movies culminating with the midnight showing on IMAX, but nonetheless, Christopher Nolan nailed everything. The runner-up, and the biggest summer surprise was the hysterical and quirky “Moonrise Kingdom,” a movie about misfits, young love, and the outdoors. The kids rule, with a little help from Bruce Willis and Bill Murray. All in all, the summer releases were a treat and you should head to theater before we need to (or should) crack open the books!