My Summer Movie Journal

Tracking the winners and losers in cinema this summer.

By Bryan Berlin

Thursday June 16th – Super 8

There’s nothing like an epic movie with a homage to the 80s and Spielberg, written and directed by the mind behind Lost, to get your summer started. The element I liked most about Super 8 was how JJ Abrams beautifully created the film’s reality. I fully believed this world existed, which made the disruption to that world so much more interesting. I loved 80% of this movie, but then I think JJ Abrams gave too much away at the end. Maybe Lost fans got to him after wanting more answers,  but he definitely strayed away from his magic box theory of mystery.

Saturday June 18th – Midnight in Paris and Bridesmaids

Sadly, this was my only double-feature of the summer. LA movie theaters do this both awful and awesome thing where you have reserved seating for the movie you go to. This means you’re guaranteed to get a great seat, but it also keeps you from walking into another movie.

Bridesmaids was easily the funniest movie this summer, and the credit for that belongs to the director Paul Feig. As he showed with Freaks and Geeks, Feig has an amazing talent of making stories that are both heartfelt and hilarious. Midnight In Paris was my biggest surprise movie this summer, only because Woody Allen has had some lackluster films over the past few years, and the trailer did a terrible job of showing what the movie was. Midnight In Paris was both a fun movie and a movie that you can take something away from. Owen Wilson also got to fully take advantage of his “Owen Wilsoness” that he pulls off so well.

Friday June 24th – Submarine

Submarine was the worst movie I saw this summer paired with the best theater experience. I saw Submarine in Denver, driving across the country with two friends on my way to LA. The theater was awesome because it was an independent theater with an Aztec theme to it, and it had a fully stocked bar on top of the usual snack bar. Before the movie began, the owner came out and talked about the theater and how he made this place because he loved movies. He probably had a good Cinema Paradiso-esque story going on. Oh, the movie. The problem with Submarine was it basically just seemed like it was made with the intention of being the indie movie. It had dream sequences, slow motion shots, an awkward young kid trying to figure out life, and a fatherly figure with facial hair. It was as if Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach had adopted a baby, but the baby couldn’t tell a good story. Ultimately, nothing really happened in the movie, and it did not do much for me.

July 2nd – The Tree of Life

Sometimes after you see a movie, you walk out of the theater with this incredible feeling. The movie just made this lasting impression on you, and you’re a better man because of it. When we walked out of The Tree of Life, the only sentence my friend said was, “My life is exactly the same as it was before I went into that theater.” The problem with The Tree of Life was that it was 2 or 3 separate ideas being crammed into one. I actually really loved the storytelling aspect of the main story with Brad Pitt and his family. The rest of the movie felt like an episode of Planet Earth for people on an acid trip.

July 9th – Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses was easily one of my favorite movies this summer and probably one of the funniest movies this year. I enjoyed how they took three actors who are generally in supporting roles (Bateman, Day, and Sudekis) and put them in the spotlight. I’m a huge fan of all those actors, and they did an awesome job supported with a cast of Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Ferrell, and Jamie Foxx. Jennifer Aniston’s character was a little too crazy for me, but other than that this was a huge success.

July 16th – Harry Potter Deathly Hollows Part 2

There is not a lot I can say about Harry Potter that hasn’t already been said by everyone else. It was by far my favorite of the series, and I think it totally deserves some Oscar attention.

July 21st – Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop

I got to see Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop the last night it was being played in theaters, and I was so grateful for it. This documentary does a great job at both telling a good story and showing you a lot of awesome stuff. You can even get a little more out of watching it if you saw Conan on tour, since it gives you a little bit of insight on what went on behind the scenes on the nights of the actual shows. My favorite aspect of the movie was that they weren’t afraid to show every side of Conan. He has an incredibly quick wit to him and is enormously grateful for what he’s been given, but they weren’t afraid to show that he can be kind of a dick sometimes. I really respected that, because it showed you that he’s like us, and spending two straight months constantly around people while performing would probably be tolling on anyone.

July 23rd – Captain America: The First Avenger

Although Captain America had an incredibly simple structure to it, it was a fun movie to watch. Yes the underdog hero, love interest, and villain were not that complex. Even though Captain America wasn’t as complex as Batman or Iron Man, but I had a great time watching the movie. For me, the best character of the movie was Howard Stark. Dominic Cooper was the ultimate comic relief for a movie while still being a major factor in the story. I’m also a sucker for overlapping story lines, and it was cool seeing Iron Man’s father in his prime.

July 30th – Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love wins for my favorite movie of the summer. Steve Carell’s role was the role he plays perfectly (funny, caring, slightly ignorant), and it co-starred my current #1 female and male crushes with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. It was funny, sweet, emotional, and even had a surprise twist. It may have pushed its point for a little too long toward the end, but other than that this movie was extremely satisfying to watch.

August 5th – The Change Up

I knew going into it that The Change Up hadn’t gotten great reviews. While I usually steer clear of badly reviewed movies, I can never deny myself some Jason Bateman. While it started off a little shaky, the movie kind of came into its own halfway through and wasn’t half bad. My biggest problem with it was that it’s big marketing strategy was pushing it as “the first R rated switching bodies movie.” The problem was, it was a PG-13 movie at its core that they forced into an R rating. I actually think it could have done better if they didn’t force it to be raunchy, and I was actually incredibly surprised Leslie Mann was naked multiple times. If they embraced the movie for what it was instead of using a gimmick, it may have worked a little better.

August 12th – 30 Minutes or Less

30 Minutes or Less was enjoyable and funny, but I had a real problem with the whole premise of the movie. Here’s the situation. A guys father won the lottery a few years ago. The guy decides he wants to kill his father to get the inheritance because his father has been spending all the money. The guy can’t kill the father himself, so he decides to hire a hitman to do the deed. However, to hire the hitman it costs $100,000. Since the guy doesn’t have the money, he figures the best way to get it is to rob a bank. This guy doesn’t have the motivation to do anything himself, so he has his friend make a bomb and strap it to a unsuspecting victim who will have to rob the bank for them. If you’re going to go through all that trouble, wouldn’t you just have the guy with the bomb take all the money in the bank? This would take a lot less steps, but then I guess the movie would be over in the middle of the second act.

Bryan Berlin is an aspiring comedy writer and is the Creator and Editor-In-Chief of Broken Spork. You can follow him on twitter here.


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