Get An Opinion

September 1, 2011

Summer 2011 In Review

This summer, I managed to snag a job reviewing for my town newspaper. As a result, I saw more movies this summer than I ever have in my very brief and insignificant existence. There were some highs and some lows, but this summer saw a significant redemption from last year's crapfest (excluding Inception and Toy Story 3, of course). Here is what I thought of the films I saw.

Best Film: Super 8

Super 8 marked the most memorable movie of the summer for me. It's a magical trip down nostalgia lane, bringing back memories of Spielberg classics like E.T., Close Encounters, Indiana Jones, and even The Goonies. It's no surprise; director J.J. Abrams admits that Spielberg was a source of inspiration and he even executive produces. The child actors are the best I've seen in any movie, acting like (shocker) actual kids might act. Throw in the most thrilling train crash ever put to film, and you've got one unforgettable experience.

Worst Film: The Hangover: Part II

Truth be told, I wasn't a huge fan of the first one, and I didn't see that many bad films this summer. But I at least enjoyed the first Hangover film, and I was somewhat excited to see a sequel. Then I realized how lazy the filmmakers got this time. There is absolutely nothing in this film that you didn't see in the first one. Just about every gag is reused, sans laughter. The tone is meaner, the characters are meaner (especially Alan. Fatass.), and the movie just is not very funny. At all. The Hangover: Part II is not so much a sequel as it is a lazily disguised remake.

Biggest Surprise: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Yeah, I liked this movie. I'm as surprised as you are. Going in, I knew that most critics (and other filmgoers) were extremely displeased with this fourth installment. Considering my hatred for Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, I didn't expect to like it either. However, I found it to be a nice return to form for the franchise. The humor and sense of adventure present in the first film returns and the story is streamlined, lightening the load by leaving out a few characters. God knows it needed to happen. Dare I say it, I was entertained. Here's hoping the next two follow suit.

Biggest Disappointment: Cars 2

You don't know how much it saddens me to say that PIXAR  has made a stinker. The first Cars was certainly their weakest film, which begs the question: why a sequel to THIS? The answer: merchandising. I think that's the only thing this film had going for it. It simply wasn't funny (at least to adults, but PIXAR is known for providing fun for all ages), the plot was cliched, and Mater was annoying as hell. Look at the bastard. Sitting there with his stupid grin like there's nothing wrong. Simple fact is the film is mediocre, which is a first for describing just about any PIXAR film.

Best Superhero Movie: X-Men: First Class

This summer the X-Men franchise got its redemption. After bombs Last Stand and Wolverine, fans finally got the film they deserved. Boasting rich characters, outstanding performances from James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor X and Magneto, as well as Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, an awesome retro vibe courtesy of director Mathew Vaughn, First Class is one knockout of a comic book movie. Furthermore, the film developed the relationship between the two leads magnificently, something never explored in the franchise before. It's easily the best film in the franchise, and the best superhero film of the year.

Biggest Overreaction: Green Lantern

Judging from the critics' reaction, you'd think this was the worst movie ever made. The truth is that it's not, and it's actually quite fun. Did it live up to its full potential? No. Could it have been better? Absolutely. And I can understand how fans would have been displeased. But what we got was still a fun, campy summer film, even with its myriad of problems. Seriously, guys. Just take a chill pill and enjoy.

Best Use of 3D: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I'm gonna be honest, this was the only movie I saw in 3D this summer. That being said, this final film in one of the most hated franchises ever used it extremely effectively. Seeing shit get blown up real good is exactly what 3D was made for, and love it or hate it, Tranformers: Dark of the Moon blows shit up reaaaal good. And it's even more awesome in three dimensions.

Best Experience: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II

Harry Potter is dead, long live Harry Potter! The end of an era has come, as we saw the final Harry Potter film hit theaters. And boy did it go out with a bang. Perhaps the greatest film in the franchise, Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was an emotional thrill ride, featuring all the badass wizarding action the franchise has been building up to. While it's sad to say goodbye to this series, and these wonderful characters, the ending of the film eases any sadness you may have about seeing this franchise end. All in all, it was a fun, emotional, and brilliant experience.

Those are the highlights (and a few lowlights). Now, here's all the films I saw this summer, along with what I rated them. Comment below, let me know what you think.

Thor - 4/5
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - 4/5
The Hangover: Part II - 2/5
X-Men: First Class - 4.5/5
Super 8 - 5/5
Horrible Bosses - 4/5
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - 3.5/5
Green Lantern - 3/5
Cars 2 - 2/5
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II - 5/5
Captain America: The First Avenger - 3.5/5
Cowboys & Aliens - 3.5/5
Rise of the Planet of the Apes - 4.5/5
30 Minutes or Less - 3.5/5


  1. Great blog feature. I agree with most of the films I have seen. We really do have similar taste in film (Super 8 is also my favorite summer flick of 2011, and I wasn't crazy about the first Hangover film either). Keep up the good work. I might do something like this on my blog, once school starts.

    Oh, and I'm curious to know the details about your film critic job. Do they compensate you for your cinematic expenses? Just wondering, because I've been unsuccessfully trying to land the same kind of job. The damn people at my local paper don't even have the decency to email me back. GAH. Oh well.

  2. Totally agree with your number one pick. Super 8 is the best film of the summer so far. They the most likeable, enjoyable and well bonded group of kids since Stand By Me. Anyway I've followed you.

    @Nick L I have the same issue, I emailed them not reply. I might just go in the actual office and hand the letter in personally. Just don't accept no for an answer =P

  3. @Nick thanks. Yeah I've noticed that a lot since starting on RT. I guess it wasn't necessarily a "job" per se. I pretty much just saw movies at my own pace and when I wrote a review I'd e-mail it to them and they'd publish it. At some point I'd go to the office and they'd reimburse my ticket. The only way I got it was really because my friend, who was the editor of my school newspaper, recommended me to them because he did stuff for them. gotta get those connections, my friend.

    @Myerla Thanks, I totally agree. The friend I saw it with agreed that it was awesome, I can't believe some of the haters that say it's overrated.

  4. Haha! Great post. I didn't get to see Super 8 but I wanted too...big mistake missing that! I agree with you about Green Lantern. But I loved Cowboys vs. Aliens. Cheers...