Summer is halfway over.
I know. You're stuck in the car, waiting for Ms. Chang to finish your laundry. It's hot. Beads of salt are trickling past the small of your back. Your thighs are sweating so much; you'll need to purchase a can of Lotrimin AF on the way home. All you can do is stare at a bootleg copy of Spider-Man 3 on your laptop. You hope that the time passes by quicker than Peter Parker rides that chair across the floor of Mary Jane's jazz club. Well, I'm here to give you something to think about. Something to dream about. Something to help ease you through all that humming heat.
Yes. I'm here to tell you about the rest of the films that await you this summer. We're officially at the midway point. We've seen arachnid-fueled men in tights. We've seen dick-happy ogres of both the cartoon and human variety that refuse to wear a condom. We've seen pirates, and rats, and wizards, and old baldheaded men who like to beat up on much younger women. We've even seen a glove show expose on health care and a bunch of giant robots. But is it true? Is the best behind us?
I couldn't think of one more summer flick that I wanted, or needed to see. But I am in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and I'm always knee deep into a bottle of Bushmills before the trailers even start. So, I've forgotten about a lot of these terrible things. I'm not really doing this for you. I'm doing it for me. Here's an itemized account of what you have left to look forward to before the Oscar season kicks into full gear (though, if you read Entertainment Weekly, you'd think that'd already happened).
Friday, July 20th
I've seen exactly three seconds of this film. I managed to catch the part where Nikki Blonsky is sitting on top of a garbage truck, singing her heart out. Then Movieview, of all people, escorted me from the theater. They're the ones that do all the test screening. They'd overbooked, and no longer had a seat for me. Even though I had a slew of exclusive interviews I needed to do the next day for the film. Oh, well. If New Line doesn't care, I don't care. I will say that the response at the junket was overwhelming. Everyone seemed to genuinely love this John Waters remake. I personally can't wait to check it out. The songs were written by the guy who co-wrote all of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut's music with Trey Parker. I'm going to the drive-in for this one. Even though Travolta in that dress scares the beetles out of my urethra.
Enthusiasm for Hairspray? Four out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts!
Danny Boyle surprised me. He's a lot older than I thought. A lot more whimsical and funny, too. After meeting him for an interview last week, I developed one of those weird man-crushes on the guy. He's awesome. So is his latest sci-fi extravaganza. This movie looked utterly boring when I first stepped into the theater to watch it. Around the thirty-minute point, it had its giant metallic fishing lure stuck in the back of my head. And it dragged me all the way to the close. My lady friend hated it, though. So, fellows, leave your woman at home. She'll just kind of ruin it for you afterwards by telling you that its stupid. And so are you for liking it.
Enthusiasm for Sunshine? Five out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts!
Gay! I know, Kevin James is awesome. And a lot of you like Adam Sandler, too, when he's playing around in the right movie. But this looks like the wrong movie. The trailer is unfunny. The premise is unfunny. This looks like a film for a bunch of frat douche dogs to laugh at and with. Up until they hit the message part of its contextual hidden preaching. I think I'd have to choke myself with some stale popcorn if they made me sit through this arborous thing. Luckily, they didn't test screen it for us critics. Oh, praise the lord of cutoffs and capris!
Enthusiasm for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry? Zero out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts!
Sorry folks, this movie has been canceled. Yup, it's been put on indefinite hold. Sorry.
Wednesday, July 25th
This one is coming from National Geographic. And it was made by the same people that put together the rather long and boring, yet somehow critically acclaimed documentary March of the Penguins. More like Numbing of the Ass Cheeks. Anyway, this flick follows the adventures of a walrus named Seela and a polar bear named Nanu. We get to track them from their birth to their death and watch as their polar landscape quickly melts under the pressure of global warming. Yup, it's the feel good hit of the summer. Queen Latifah, fresh off her stint in Hairspray narrates. Cat Stevens, Ben Harper, Aimee Mann, and The Shins are all contributing music.
Enthusiasm for Arctic Tale? Two out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts!
Friday, July 27th
Everyone and their mom is going to go see this thing. I predict that it's going to be the next big film of the summer. I think it will hit at number six on the top ten films of the year. But that's just my prediction. You all know what its about. And judging from the lines at the 7-11's that have been transformed into Kwik E Marts this week, you all are going to rush out to see it, too. Heck, the movie is bringing back every key writer that ever worked on the program, including the exalted Conan O'Brien.
Enthusiasm for The Simpsons Movie? Five out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts!
Skinwalker, skinwalker, skinny walker, you are! Yeah. They showed us some clips from this film at last year's Comic Con. It looks horrible. It's about a twelve-year-old boy who gets caught up between two warring werewolf factions. Snooze. If the only scene they could show me to get me excited about the flick bored me to tears, I can't even imagine what the rest of the film is like. Even werewolf aficionados are going to run right over the top of this hairy thing to get to The Simpsons Movie.
Enthusiasm for Skinwalkers? One out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts!
What the Hell is this? I have no clue. Is it just me, or does Catherine Zeta Jones look like an old lady now? I think that has everything to do with her marrying Michael Douglas. I think of her supple cheek skin, and I get the taste of cobwebs in my mouth. Here, Jones is appearing against one of my favorite dudes, Aaron Eckhart. The movie also features Little Miss Sunshine's Abigail Breslin. It's about cooking in restaurants and inheriting little kids, or some sh*t. Don't ask me. I really can't be bothered. See you at the bottom of Wal*Mart's five dollar bin, No Reservations!
Enthusiasm for No Reservations? Zero out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts!
Lindsey Lohan gets chopped up and tortured. That's all I have to say.
Enthusiasm for I Know Who Killed Me? Four out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Now this is what I'm talking about. A black African remake of Caddyshack. The film stars OutKast's Big Boi, along with the pervy Jeffrey Jones, Susan Ward, and Sherri Shepherd. It's about a rap mogul who wages a war against racism on the greens of an exclusive country club. Who said white face and knickers can't be funny? I surly didn't...
Enthusiasm for Who's Your Caddy? Zero out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Here's another series of films that I've completely missed out on. They're based on Robert Ludlum's novels about a spy who has lost his memory. This new incarnation stars Matt Damon and is directed by the genius Paul Greengrass, who also directed the second Bourne sequel as well as the critically acclaimed feature film United 93. This third go at the Bourne franchise has Damon is hunting down his character's past so that he can have a future. There will be bullets, and car chases, and Julia Stiles. Those that have seen the previous two swear by them. I'm going to have to rush down to the video store here in a second and catch up, so I can join in the fun, too.
Enthusiasm for The Bourne Ultimatum? Three out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
This is basically Transformers for girls. It's a ninety-minute commercial for a bunch of cha-cha hooker dolls that have already sold over a trillion units. Kids love this trashy little line of action figures. Personally, I would never let my daughters play with them. But maybe that's just me. The film is about breaking stereotypes and retaining important friendships. Too bad all of the characters and their ethnic families are made up of the exact kinds of stereotypes the film is preaching against. It was produced by Avi Arad, the guy who brought us Spider-Man and X-Men. As a thirty-five year old male, I feel a little creepy just even watching the trailers.
Enthusiasm for Bratz: The Movie? One out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Damn, I haven't even heard mention of this film. I'm sure someone will see it in the theater. It does star Robert Downey Jr. in a bit part, and he has his fans. The film is about a rich kid who becomes the self-appointed psychiatrist of his new high school. I'm guessing it's a comedy, but I can't really tell. It looks talky and full of snark. The buzz on Charlie Bartlett has been very quiet up until this point. If it was super awesome, I'm sure more of us would have heard about it by now.
Enthusiasm for Charlie Bartlett? Zero out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg, who has been described as an Indie Dip-Shit, makes his big screen debut with a film about a second rate stuntman. Rod plans to jump over the Snake River on a moped so that he can win some money and save his dying father. Thing is, Rod's dad was an abusive asshole, and once he gets better, he's going to get a supreme beating by Hot Rod himself. A lot of people have been talking this sucker up. Its supposed to be hilarious, and it brings the sensibility of Samberg's popular SNL digital shorts to the big screen. I've heard it slaps like a cross between Napoleon Dynamite and Eagle Vs. Shark. Which is really kind of an oxymoron if you think about it.
Enthusiasm for Hot Rod? Three out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Wet Hot American Summer director David Wain is back with an anthology film about the ten commandments. It features ten short vignettes that weave and wind there way through each other. We get to see The O.C.'s Adam Brody jump out of an airplane without a parachute only to get stuck in the ground and become the subject of his own reality series. We also get to see Winona Ryder having sex with a stolen ventriloquist dummy, Paul Rudd and Jessica Alba making out, Gretchen Mol having sex with Jesus, and Oliver Platt pretending to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's a great big, unfunny mess of a comedy that is supposed to be outrageous and shocking. Maybe even a little controversial, but it can't quite muster up the support it needs. The writing is weak and directionless, it's pointless, and the actors never seem to be in on the joke. Overall, it's basically a pretty bad movie. I know. I had to suffer through it the other day.
Enthusiasm for The Ten? Zero out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
This is a big screen adaptation of the hit 1960s television show about a super mutt with unbelievable powers and a very ugly girlfriend. Jason Lee provides the voice of Underdog, so you know there's some sort of underlying Scientology teachings buried within the narrative. It's basically taken the same approach to updating an old cartoon that Garfield: The Movie did a couple of years ago. The plot revolves around Barsinister's plans to destroy Captiol City. I'm sure it will contain many parallels to the war going on in Iraq.
Enthusiasm for Underdog? Two out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Wednesday, August 8th
This Eddie Murphy-less sequel to Daddy Day Care finds Cuba Gooding Junior in charge of a summer camp for prepubescent kids. Its basically taking a cue from Son of the Mask, only this looks even funnier. If that could possibly happen. You know who won't be there opening day? That's right. Me.
Enthusiasm for Daddy Day Camp? Zero out of Five Tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Friday, August 10th
It's the summer's last big sequel, and humanity's last real chance to be entertained. Chris Tucker dusts off his surely bones and joins Jackie Chan's endo-skeleton for a little mischief and mayhem. This particular outing finds the monosyllabic crime-fighting duo in Paris, France, fighting a very familiar sect of the Hong Kong Triad. Hopefully, Chris Tucker will be funny. But I doubt it.
Enthusiasm for Rush Hour 3? Three out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
The best-selling graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess gets the big screen treatment in Matthew Vaughn's latest directorial effort. The film stars Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Claire Danes, Peter O'Toole, Ricky Gervais, and Sienna Miller. It's about a guy who goes on a quest to retrieve a fallen star. I thought that sounded like a great idea for a movie, but when I told someone else about it, they said, "Gay!" Now, when I buy my ticket at the box office window, I'm going to feel like a watermelon. Yeah, I'm going to feel like a big fruit.
Enthusiasm for Stardust? Three out of Five Tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Friday, August 17th
The buzz on this one is so loud, my ears are ringing. It's given me tinnitus. It is coming from Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen, the pair behind this summer's very popular comedy Knocked Up. That was a film that I didn't think was funny at all. But I have high hopes for this one. I love Michael Cera. And the trailer elicited a couple of chuckles out of me. I just hope this one's as good as everyone's already saying it is. I personally can't wait. Superbad has the potential to be the film of the summer.
Enthusiasm for Superbad? Five out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Directed by Frank Oz, I can't help think that this one would have been better starring his cast of Muppets. It's a farce in the same vein as Sylvester Stallone's Oscar and National Lampoon Presents: Dorm Daze. It's something your parents will like. If they rent it. They'll probably be pissed if they send money at the theater on it, though.
Enthusiasm for Death at a Funeral? One and a Half out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
The only thing I've seen of this movie is that footage where the stunt car goes out of control and slams into Nicole Kidman's truck. The Invasion is supposed to be a remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but I doubt it can match the creepy vibes the ads for the 1978 film managed to pull off. I still remember seeing those in every comic I bought as a kid.
Enthusiasm for The Invasion? Three out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
I'm really looking forward to this documentary, which has already been optioned for a feature film adaptation. It follows two mean men as they vie for the highest Donkey Kong score ever. Their prize? A mention in the Guinness Book of World Records. Yup, its about nerds playing video games, and advanced word says that its super donkey awesome.
Enthusiasm for The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters? Five out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Friday, August 24th
This is an adaptation of an Ethan Hawke book. It's about a young up and coming actor that has his heart broken. It's very voyeuristic and sweaty. And by the midway point, you feel trapped in someone else's relationship. It's a well-made film, and Hawke's performance as the lead character's dad makes it one to watch. But, be warned, it's torturous.
Enthusiasm for The Hottest State? Four out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Another film I have heard absolutely nothing about. And the poster doesn't raise much interest in my waning heart. It tells the secrets of Excalibur, and how it came to be lodged in that rock. It looks like another boring sword and sandals epic. Ben Kingly plays a wizard, but that's just not enough to get me in a seat. Plus, I heard the bootleg was already available on Google video.
Enthusiasm for The Last Legion? One out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Damn, this was a big hit overseas. The sequel to 1997's Bean has already raked in a ton of dough in almost every other part of the world but ours. Can it make the same splash here in the states? Where people are a little less than familiar with Rowan Atkinson's hilarious character? I seriously doubt it. Americans look at Bean as though he were a cancerous growth chewing at the inside of their cheek skin. And I sort of feel the same way.
Enthusiasm for Mr. Bean's Holiday? One and a Half out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
We're certainly dredging the backwaters of summer, now, folks. This ain't no Snakes on a Plane, but it does star Samuel L. Jackson. This time, the minister of cool is playing a washed up boxer that has made a lot of dough lying about his past. Its reporter Josh Hartnett that solves the riddle of the rearranged boxing gloves. We've got high drama in dry heat. The trailer is hard to sit through, so I can't imagine the actual movie being any better. Everyone, now, "I've had it with these mother f*cking boxers in this mother f*cking ring!" Don't you feel just a little bit better about yourself? I know I do.
Enthusiasm for Resurrecting the Champ? Zero out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
I thought Jet Li quit making martial arts flicks. Maybe this one is all gunplay. Jet plays an assassin who is being chased by an FBI agent played by Jason Statham. The One, their last movie together, was a big fat turd. Still, you have to admire Statham's chutzpa. He's able to turn the corniest flicks into nonstop funcore thrill rides.
Enthusiasm for War? Three and a Half out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Friday, August 31st
The last weekend of summer is going out with a bang! All three major releases this weekend look just plain terrific. I want to see them all. The first, Balls of Fury, is about the game of ping pong, and it stars Dan Folger, Christopher Walken, Thomas Lennon, Patton Oswalt, and Robert Patrick. It is coming from the same people who created The State and Reno 911!. And did I mention that it's about ping-pong? This is a sure thing, full proof, can't miss hit in the waiting.
Enthusiasm for Balls of Fury? Five out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
This is a sure thing too. It stars Kevin Bacon in a Death Wish for the new millennium. When his hockey star son is gunned down in a gas station convenience store, Kevin goes after the gang member that did the deed. The brother of that guy then marks Kevin's whole family for death. And the brutality escalates from there. I don't know about the movie itself, since its being directed by James Wan. He's made the notoriously incompetent films Saw and Dead Silence. But the trailer for this thing rocks the sheep out of a Shepard's balls. Its one of the best three minute stretches of celluloid I've seen in quite some time. I can't wait to watch this one at the Mission: Tiki Drive-In.
Enthusiasm for Death Sentence? Five out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
It's Rob Zombie doing Mike Myers. I know everyone and their blood lovin' little cousin has dissed this sucker on the Internet. But I think it's going to be a superb entry in the Myers mythos. I know he's redoing the origin story, but lets face it. A lot of kids today just aren't familiar with the Myers family. The Devil's Rejects delivered on all counts, and I personally think it was a masterstroke of genius. That film couldn't have been a fluke. No way.
Enthusiasm for Halloween? Five out of Five tiny Joel Siegel hearts.
Well, there you have it folks. That's what you have left to look forward to. I think there may be a couple of gems hidden in there, somewhere. You know where you can find me. I'll be at the Mission: Tiki, enjoying a chimichanga and a double feature. Until then, stay fresh.