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Funkhouser’s Guide to the Movies of Summer 2014 Part 2


Mmmmmmmm…. Can you taste that delectable popcorn?  This morning I dropped this first half of the Funkhouser Guide to this Summer’s movies.  (You can find it here)  Almost 2000 words in I discovered that I’d only covered half of the movies on the list, so in the tradition of Harry Potter, Twilight, Divergent, Kill Bill, Nymphomaniac, and the last seasons of Breaking Bad and Mad Men I decided to break this guide into two.  Welcome to the sequel friends!

This morning we covered Superheroes, Indie movies, Franco, and should they/shouldn’t they sequels.  That probably covers half, or more, of the entire summer’s gross.  You just can’t stop those comic book movies.  Yet to be tackled, though, are a whole slew of comedies, action movies, a musical, a classic kid’s book, as well as the movie that I’m personally most excited to see this summer.  So hold to your Marty McFly hats and don’t bother watching the road, because where we’re going, we don’t need roads.  (PS If you’re reading this while driving, please actually look at the road, what’re you thinking?)


The “I Need Something To Do This Weekend” Action Movies

This category really feels like a crapshoot.  Half the problem with trailers today is that you just can’t tell from most of them whether the movie is going to be good or not.  Sometimes you think they’ll be good and they’re terrible (Looking at you The Dark Knight Rises) and other times some movies look terrible in the trailer but are actually pretty good.  The collection this year seem to be split down the middle for me.  I’m down for a super-enhanced ScarJo and apes riding horses, not so down for the Wachowskis and/or Tom Cruise.  Let’s start with the latter.

These two are Edge of Tomorrow (6/6) and Jupiter Ascending (7/18).  I don’t think I’m the holder of a very unique opinion when I say that I don’t really like Tom Cruise.  His 80s stuff never really did it for me and I’m still mad at him for being the very weak link in what would be one of my favorite movies ever, if not for him (The Last Samurai).  That being said, does this movie feel like the action movie equivalent of Groundhog Day to anyone else?  So he relives the same bit everyday and he has to change things until the timeline breaks (aka they win the war)?  Yes.  I can now say this movie was better with Bill Murray and Andie McDowell.  Also, how goofy does Cruise look in that super oversize mech suit?

Jupiter Ascending looks like a mess.  I want to like the Wachowskis.  They gave us The Matrix.  That has bought almost infinite good will.  But have any previously heralded directors had a worse output then them since 1999?  Maybe Tim Burton.  Just look at this list of movies and pick out the good one.  The Matrix Reloaded.  The Matrix Revolutions.  Speed Racer.  Cloud Atlas.  Did anyone like any of those movies?  The Matrix sequels were–for all their technical wizardry–a regression.  Cloud Atlas was also a mess of a movie.  And Speed Racer.  That being said, watching this trailer this movie already looks like a mess.  The plot sounds very convoluted.  There’s so much going on and the visuals look like Pacific Rim had a love child with Ender’s Game.  It could be good.  It might surprise me.  But I’m not holding out much hope.

Those two I can’t really get behind, but I’m pretty excited for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (7/11) and Lucy (8/8).  I love the Planet of the Apes series.  I’ve seen all 7 of them, watched the animated TV show, and can’t wait to see Dawn.  While I loved the original series because of Charlton Heston and the fantastic overacting that went along with the concept, the reboot with (Yes!!) Franco was great from both a visual and story telling perspective.  This looks to continue that with another chapter still starring our favorite mo-cap actor Andy Serkis, and trading in Franco for Gary Oldman.  This sounds like losing John Wall and getting Brandon Knight to me.  You can’t lose and I’m stoked.

I can’t explain why some things work for me in a movie and other things don’t.  I’m going to start reading some psychology 101 today and maybe I’ll figure out in time for next week’s post.  Even though Lucy seems to recycle some bits of other movies (Limitless with Bradley Cooper immediately came to mind), this trailer just works for me.  With her run as Black Widow in the MCU, I just instantly buy Scarlett Johansson as a bad ass.  In Lucy, she’s kidnapped and has a drug implanted for transport in her stomach.  When the drug begins to leak, she gains some super powers and goes to kick ass and chew bubble gum.  She’s all out of gum.  This movie looks pretty fantastic.


The ‘Eh, Wha?‘ Category of the Summer

This category has one movie.  Maleficent (5/30).  I have no idea what to think about this movie.  On one hand, Angelina Jolie looks like she’s having fun in a role for the first time in years.  She looks as though she could play the deliciously evil part pretty well and the concept is, at first, interesting.  Then I think about the slew of post-Wicked seeing-it-from-the-villain’s-perspective stuff that has come out in the past decade and suddenly I don’t care.  All the different movies trying to make us feel something for the “bad guy” by showing events we know well from their point of view.  I’m kind of tired of that shtick.   Maybe this movie won’t be that, but I’m afraid it will.  Still.  Maybe I’ll let someone else go see it and tell me how it is, maybe you can be that person!


The “Don’t Watch Me Crying Bro” Hits of the Summer

Outside of the “Indie” category from this morning, the two movies that are most likely to bring a tear to your dry, itchy summer eyes are the baseball movie Million Dollar Arm (5/16) and the film version of the very somber and dour book from middle school, The Giver (8/15).  In the former, our favorite Ad Man, Don Draper  Jon Hamm is a down on his luck Sports Agent who, when his business is going down the drain, goes to India to try and covert some cricket players into baseball stars.  I know I shouldn’t want to see this movie.  It’s obviously full of cliches and what not, but I can tell this hits just the right Disney buttons that will tug at my heart leathers.  Plus, it has Jon Hamm who, whether or not the Emmys’ ever recognize him, is one of the best actors out there.

I remember the book of The Giver being depressing.  A downer and one of my first experiences with the ‘failed utopia’ genre of books that I like so much to this day.  I’m sure tons of you had to read the Giver in school and tons of you like Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges (it’s hard not to, man).  If there’s a movie that’s going to be a tearjerker though, this is probably it.  It’ll be interesting to see also, given the books famously ambiguous ending, how it all goes down in the movie.



The “Wait, Clint Eastwood Made a Musical?” Category

Yes, it’s true!  Dirty Harry Callaghan, The Man Without A Name, has gone Every Which Way But Loose and made a musical, Any Which Way He Could. That musical is one we’re probably all familiar with from Broadway, Jersey Boys (6/20), which is the story behind Frankie Valens and the Four Seasons.  I’m not super big on musicals, or movies based on them (with a couple of exceptions), but if The Outlaw Josey Wales tells me to watch his musical, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to do it.  Could be a fairly interesting one too, it looks like a mixture between Goodfellas and That Thing You Do!  For you Joe Kidd, I’ll do it.



The “We Promise Dane Cook Is Not In This” Summer Comedies

The second most populous category of our guide, this is a compilation of all of the summers various comedies.  From a couple of raunchy comedies, to another Sandler/Barrymore movie, to Seth Macfarlane’s latest attempt to make us like him there is a pretty good variety this year.

There are two movies coming out this summer that seem to promise to be a little more risque than others.  The first you’re probably familiar with, because they’ve been showing trailers for Neighbors (5/9) all week.  In this movie a frat house moves in next door to brand new parent, Seth Rogen.  There are parties, there’s a newborn baby, there seem to be hi-jinks galore.  This seems like a pretty typical summer comedy and should have some decent laugh out loud moments in it.  The second is the Jason Segel/Cameron Diaz movie Sex Tape (7/25).  This one is about a couple (Diaz and Segel) who make a sex tape to try and re-instill some verve into their marriage, and end up uploading the video onto a bunch of gift iPads accidentally.  They have to the destroy the iPads.  Like you expect, there are lots of cameos, lots of sex jokes, lots of jokes about the Cloud.  I don’t know, this doesn’t really have any allure for me, but it could make a decently funny date night movie I suppose.  Kind of like how This Means War was terrible but girls still seem to like it?

There are three movies coming this summer that seem to be pure vehicles for their stars.  Blended (5/23) is your Shaft in Africa of Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore awkward love story movies.  They go on a bad first date, both end up with a vacation in Africa and then, probably, fall in love in Africa.  Does anyone think it’ll be different?  I think we need S.E. to weigh in.  (This looks terrible, even though I’m sure Kevin Nealon and Terry Crewes are hilarious in it.)  The next is the Robin Williams vehicle The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (5/23) where he is an asshole given an improper diagnosis of an hour and a half to live.  He gets even more neurotic and runs around Brooklyn attempting to make his life right.  I feel like this is the film equivalent of his show The Crazy Ones on Williams attempt to get back to relevance.  It could be pretty funny in the way that Anger Management was funny because of Jack Nicholson, but I’m not going to hold my breath (that’s how aneurysms happen).  The last is the latest from Melissa McCarthy, Tammy (7/2).  I didn’t see The Heat and I’ve never watched Mike & Molly, so I don’t believe I’ve ever seen her in anything, at all.  That being said, does anyone disagree with me when I say that this seems like exactly the movie that Hollywood will churn out for McCarthy for the next 10 years?  That’s going to get old.

The last comedy is one that I want to like, even though I didn’t like Ted and I haven’t enjoyed new Family Guy in years.  Seth Macfarlane is really kind of hit or miss, but he is producing Cosmos, which I love.  His new movie is A Million Ways to Die in the West (5/30) a western spoof starring himself.  And the rest of the cast looks pretty damn good too.  NPH.  Charlize Theron, Sarah Silverman.  But most importantly, Liam Neesons though.  I’m sure it’s going to have juvenile humor, I’m sure it’s going to be in bad taste.  But I think this one might actually be Seth Macfarlane being funny again.  I’m not positive, but I certainly hope so!



The Lizard King Category 

The movie I’m most excited about?  My preemptive movie of the summer?  Godzilla (5/16).  It’s Godzilla… and it’s starring Bryan Cranston.  Giant lizard Kaiju vs. Heisenberg?  GET THE F*** OUT OF HERE!  That sounds like the greatest popcorn munching, city leveling, heart-rate inducing summer movie of all time.  I’m all in the way in on this one.


Well that does it for Funkhouser’s Summer Movie Guide!  Hopefully now you can go into the season emblazoned with this knowledge and spend your well-earned money on good movies.  Let me know which ones you liked and didn’t on twitter (@KalanKucera) and have fun at the movies!

Article written by Kalan Kucera

So by your account Harold Potter was a perfectly ordinary Englishman without any tendency towards being a Scotsman whatsoever?