This week, the Funkhouser crew is tackling the big pop-culture questions that need to be answered. Today, Josh Juckett and S.E. Shepherd look ahead to predict which big-budget movies will crash and burn this summer.
Josh Juckett: So S.E., it’s almost summer movie season and I’m pretty pumped for Avengers 2 and Jurassic World. Enough about good things though, let’s talk about movies that are going to be awful!
S.E. Shepherd: There’s nothing I like more than talking about awful things, Josh! And there’s no better word to describe the summer movie season. Each year the movie studios ramp up the hype machine and try to convince the masses that whatever third-tier superhero origin story or effects-driven action romp they’re rolling out will make you spit Coke out your nose and choke on your popcorn because YOU’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE! But in reality, the vast majority of summer movies are disappointments at best, complete garbage at worst. Even though this summer’s lineup looks pretty great on paper — I mean, I’m on record stating that the new Mad Max movie has the potential to be the best movie ever made — we both know that when September rolls around and we’re digging our sweatshirts out of storage, we’ll look back at 2015 as The Summer of the Stinker.
There are A LOT of potential poop emojis this summer. Like San Andreas. I know The Rock is everywhere these days and he’s not the worst action star to ever come along, but do we need another big, loud, dumb natural disaster movie that consists of two hours of watching buildings fall into giant holes in the earth or seeing recognizable landmarks get washed away by enormous waves? Roland Emmerich already gave us the Final Form of this genre with 2012, and honestly I don’t think The Rock playing a rescue helicopter pilot is going to be any more fun to watch than John Cusack playing the world’s bravest limo driver, right? Sure, it might make a ton of money at the box office, but it’s going to be a pain to sit through.
And that only takes us into MAY! There is still an entire summer’s worth of terrible movies ahead! Which flicks do you think are primed to go down in flames this summer?
Josh: There’s a lot to not look forward to this summer. To your point about movies marketing themselves as “you have not seen this before”, this absolutely does not apply this summer. Like you said with San Andreas, I have seen that before. The following is a list of awful looking movies coming out this summer that are reboots, sequels, or copycats: Poltergeist, The Vatican Tapes, Vacation, Terminator: Genisys, Insidious 3, Sinister 2…I have to stop or I’m going to throw up. And don’t get me started on Hot Pursuit. Excuse me for a second while I do that throw thing.
S.E.: Yeah, the Vacation remake/reboot thing definitely has the potential to be terrible. I’m a huge Chevy Chase fan and the original Vacation is one of my favorite movies, so I’m going to hold the new version to a pretty high standard that I doubt it will reach. Ed Helms is great, but on his best day he couldn’t hold in-his-prime Chevy’s jockstrap.
That said, there are other summer movies that I’m certain will be worse than Vacation. For example, Aloha, the latest flick from Cameron Crowe starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, very well may end up being terrible. Crowe hasn’t made a truly great movie since Almost Famous in 2000 (although I actually liked Elizabethtown more than most people I know), and something about the trailer for Aloha feels more like We Bought a Zoo than Jerry Maguire.
But let’s get down to brass taxes. The absolute worst movie of the summer is going to be Entourage. Why is this a movie in the first place? Where are the throngs of rabid Entourage fans clamoring for a big screen version of what was an entirely mediocre show?! Seriously, do you know ONE person in real life who was a legitimate fan of Entourage? I admit, I was part of a large group of jerks who actively hate-watched the show so I’m definitely part of the problem, but I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone in person who claims to be really into the “adventures” of Vince and his boyz. If you’ve ever seen an episode of the show, you know that the writers struggled to fill 26 minutes of run time with anything more than awkward celebrity cameos and scenes where Jeremy Piven yells a lot. And now they are going to stretch that formula out to nearly two hours? Unless the final scene ends with Turtle accidentally driving an SUV filled with Vince, E, Drama and Ari off a cliff, it will undoubtedly be the worst movie of the summer.
There are plenty of fish in a barrel we could shoot, but let’s up the ante. Which movie that you’re actually looking forward to do you think has the biggest chance to end up really disappointing you?
Josh: I actually do know one legit Entourage fan (you know who you are) but I haven’t gotten his take on the movie. I was kind of half in and half out on the series, although I always enjoy Bob Saget guest spots. I like your proposed ending, as long as it’s done Thelma and Louise style.
Without a doubt the biggest set up for a let down for me will be Jurassic World. Jurassic Park is my all-time favorite movie, Chris Pratt and Jake Johnson are two of my current favorite actors/people I want to be, and Michael Giacchino is doing the music. The trailers and viral marketing have been good, but there’s just something in my head that is telling me to keep my expectations low. Maybe it’s the trained herd of raptors, I don’t know. As long as we get an Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm reference it’ll probably be all right, but the stakes are high.
How about you?
S.E.: Mad Max is the movie I’m most excited about, but judging from the trailers, there is NO CHANCE it isn’t going to be great (famous last words, right?).
For me, the movie that I’m looking forward to the most that I’m also most worried about is Ant-Man. Even more than Guardians of the Galaxy, it feels like the biggest step away from the superhero beaten path Marvel has taken to date. And while Paul Rudd’s presence alone exponentially increases the film’s potential for awesomeness, the fact that Edgar Wright walked away from directing it after spending so much time developing it doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Replacement Director Peyton Reed has a fine pedigree (he directed episodes of Mr. Show and Upright Citizens Brigade, and helmed Bring It On), but the last movie he directed was the 2008 Jim Carrey yawnfest, Yes Man. And I feel like Hollywood is really trying to make Corey Stoll (who plays Rudd’s rival in Ant-Man) happen, but his turn in The Strain really soured me on him. To top it all off, check out all the people who get a writing credit on the movie over on IMDB. If that doesn’t scream “too many cooks in the kitchen,” I don’t know what does.
It just feels like there is too much working against Ant-Man and it may end up being Marvel’s first real bomb.
Josh: I think you’re right about Ant-Man, the project has struggled from the start. As this phase of the Marvel films starts ending I think there will be a drop off in quality and interest. The Avengers and the related movies have carried the franchise well but as those big names start fading out and the lesser-known titles emerge, it will be near impossible to maintain the momentum. (D.C. execs pray fervently.)
As for Mad Max, talk about capturing the spirit of the original. There will be a lot of people who went like it, but it should do well commercially and critically.
So we know which movies have let down potential, what movie would say is going to be the biggest bust of the summer? I’m talking no chance at all of living up to the hype and just being black hole of awfulness.
S.E.: For me, there is only one candidate for the biggest bust of the summer: Adam Sandler’s Pixels. We’re both big Sandler fans, and even though I know I shouldn’t get excited about his movies any more, I still do. I just love the guy (even after seeing the god-awful The Cobbler). But even before the recent mess surrounding the comedy Western he’s filming for Netflix, the tides seemed to be turning against The Sandman and I think Pixels is doomed. The concept — aliens sending angry video game characters to destroy earth — is just a little too out there, and the early trailers just don’t include much that I think will convince audiences to spend $10 to watch (with the possible exception of Peter Dinklage and his awesome mullet). I still dream of a return to the day when Adam Sandler is the box office king of man-children, but even I have to admit Pixels might be one of the final nails in Sandler’s movie star coffin.
How about you? What’s your vote for the biggest potential bust of the summer?
Josh: The truth hurts and you just punched me in the stomach with that analysis of Pixels. I think you’re probably right about that but I’m going to hold out hope anyway.
I think the biggest bust of the summer will be Hot Pursuit. The trailers are unwatchable and it opens at a horrible time (week after Avengers and Mother’s Day weekend). Have you seen the trailer? How is Katherine Heigl not in this movie? It looks that bad. Imagine the movie Identity Theft but switch Jason Bateman for Reese Witherspoon doing a Paul Blart impression and Melissa McCarthy for a screaming Sofia Vergara. If someone is reading this and thinking of going to the movie theater to spend money on this movie…DON’T DO IT!
S.E.: LOL! Yeah, I saw the Hot Pursuit trailer again last night and I just find it hard to believe that someone thought essentially remaking Midnight Run with Reese Witherspoon and the lady from Modern Family was a recipe for success. You crazy for this one, Hollywood!
All in all, I think this summer movie season is going to set some records behind films like Avengers and Jurassic World, but it’s going to have more than its fair share of high-profile box office busts. It doesn’t really matter anyway, though, because this year’s REAL summer blockbuster doesn’t come out until December 18, 2015!
Josh: It seems like production companies are just spitting out movies because they have to. Perhaps the original summer release dates of Star Wars and Batman v Superman along with Jurassic World and Avengers scared off some of the studios and they just didn’t invest much in this summer’s crop. Regardless, there will be a lot of stinkers this year.
Your right though, come December we may still mention Jurassic World and Avengers 2 when talking about the summer, but most everything else will likely be forgotten in light of Star Wars.
Until that time, happy movie going S.E.!