We were burning in life and in film.
We’ve had some downers this summer, like the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes, and both the Canada and Maui wildfires threatening our air quality, health, and safety. But as I told Patricia Clarkson, I like to use movies as escapism. We’ve had some fresh and sour films, including the success of “Barbenheimer” and the disappointment of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of the Destiny.” I really hate it when Summer comes to a close, but I can close it with my list of the best and worst films I saw in June, July, and August.
The Best Films of the Summer
Greta Gerwig has made a Barbie movie that appeals to both guys and gals. It’s a lot more than plastic playtime; it’s also about strong womanhood and what they can accomplish. And Margot Robbie is delightful in every way possible as the main Barbie.
4.) “Joy Ride”
This raunchy comedy got overlooked at the box office, but nonetheless, for the way it presents its Asian culture with a spike of Seth Rogen’s producing, it is the funniest movie of the year, so far.
3.) “Past Lives”
This Asian drama features two individuals who couldn’t form a romance, but still managed to connect throughout their lives. We see them beautifully in their youth and adulthood.
2.) “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
The sequel to the Oscar-winning animated movie has expanded its horizons in more ways than we expected. It takes us inside the Spider-Verse with infinite possibilities and a cliffhanger that makes it “The Empire Strikes Back” of all animated sequels.
Christopher Nolan’s latest masterpiece is the most explosive movie of 2023, so far. It has Cillian Murphy playing J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man who developed the atomic bomb during WWII. Filled with remarkable visuals, full-throttle performances (also with Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, and Robert Downey, Jr. in the mix), and heart-pounding, intensity, it’s a blockbuster and a history film that knows how to find the right audience.
The Worst Films of the Summer
5.) “Landscape with Invisible Hand”
Cory Finley’s third movie is a real waste of time. It has an interesting alien concept of how their technology can cause another Great Depression, but it ruins it with ugly creatures and arguing characters. Time for some dissection.
4.) “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”
Harrison Ford reprises his role as Indy, but he’s given a weak conclusion to his adventures with concepts that recycle the first two movies. Stick to the classics people.
3.) “The Out-Laws”
Pierce Brosnan and Ellen Barkin play real parents of the year as bank robbers, whose daughter is marrying a cowardly bank manger played by Adam Devine. You people had to make it a Netflix hit, when there were so many funnier comedies to see this summer.
2.) “Vacation Friends 2”
This just came out on Hulu last week, and I think it’s even more worthless than the original. Lil Rel Howery and John Cena are both back on another trip, and are joined by Steve Buscemi as Cena’s criminal father-in-law. But it ends up becoming one missed opportunity after another.
This raunchy canine comedy was a big misfire for such brilliant talents as Will Ferrell and Jamie Foxx as two strays, who plan to bite off the genitals of one of their cruel owners. Some kids saw it, and is there a part of “Rated R” that parents don’t understand?
Remember: as with my Midway Point, my choices are subject to change. Come back in December to find out who explodes and who still isn’t housebroken.