Yes, that’s right. This is a celebration of GOOD films.
Not those aiming for an Oscar-nomination or art house fare or
movies that necessarily challenge you. We’re talking about the Fun Summer Films. Films for Date Night or Family Night or ones that the teenagers can see multiple times.
Studios release a barrage of summer entertainment meant to please the biggest
audience they can attract.
The genres that get a lot of summer releases are Horror, Action/Comic Book, Animation and Comedy. This summer has seen some great examples of crowd-pleasers in a few of those categories. One such film, “Thor: Love & Thunder” is still playing in theaters.
Australian director/writer Taika Waititi continues his fresh approach to the superhero
genre with “Thor: Love and Thunder”. Subverting the traditional
strong male hero, this film features Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as emotionally
bereft and lovelorn. Natalie Portman (Jane Foster) returns as the new Thor. She
is now wielding the hammer and saves the day. Will there be romance between the
There’s a poignant prologue that sets up the new villain and gives Christian Bale an
emotional arc to work with. The feisty Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) keeps the
Thors from too much introspection. And to inject some much-needed lightness,
there’s a little nudity and a hilarious turn by Russell Crowe (Zeus).
The first film Waititi directed, “Thor: Raganorak” was more fun. This one
has a little ethical complexity and creates new worlds. Waititi brings some
comedic kick in his role as the sidekick, Korg. It’s a Marvel film that aims to
put a spin on superhero tropes and it’s both entertaining and well-acted.
“Thor” may not be a GREAT film; but it’s a great summer movie.
I think we can all agree that “Top Gun: Maverick” was also an example of that
great summer film. Perhaps “Bullet Train” starring Brad Pitt, will be another
thrill ride for this summer. I don’t think there’s been a breakout Comedy film
so far. The Animation category also hasn’t had a standout. It’s worth
mentioning a few book adaptations, which though not qualifying for the Summer
Movie theme, are examples of GOOD films and worth seeking out.
“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris” (in theaters & available on Amazon and other
streaming platforms), is a good British dramedy. Set in 1950’s London, a
cleaning lady decides to use her widow’s pension on a life-changing splurge: a
Christian Dior gown. Leslie Manville (Ada Harris) gives her character some emotional range
and the supporting cast are well-cast. Jason Issacs (Archie) has some awkward moments as his character goes from cad-about-town, to heart-of-gold, to sheepishly supportive.
British director, Anthony Fabian, doesn’t sugarcoat the less-glamourous aspects of our character’s life but the film could use a judicious trim. There’s too much time spent walking
and talking, and perhaps one less sideline character would’ve helped the pacing. Despite the focus on the garbage piled in the streets in Paris (Worker’s Strike), the time spent in the Dior
studio is the reason to see the film.
The best-selling novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, has been turned into a moving
murder mystery. The cast is great and the soundtrack and setting envelope you
in this Southern Gothic tale. If you’re a fan of the book, your mind will
fill-in more depth and nuance to the backstory and Marsh setting than the film
supplies. What could’ve been a serious misstep (awful old-age makeup), was rectified by director Olivia Newman by having older actors play the leads for the final scenes. Sony Classics is
giving the film a wide release in theaters but there will likely be a streaming
option in a few weeks. Daisy Edgar-Jones (Kya) gives a nuanced performance and she’s the reason to see this period piece.
Horror films did good business this summer. That’s a genre I steer clear of. I did
venture (with much trepidation) to see “Nope”. Director Jordan Peele has taken
the Summer Movie and given it a social commentary twist. See my review here.
Did I miss a film that you really enjoyed this summer? Perhaps you found an Animated film or Comedy that made your week. Let me know. I’ll be out there, seeing all the good films, and some not-so-good, and getting my hopes up for the next GREAT film.
Drinks with Films Rating
“Thor: Love & Thunder”: 2 pints of Asgardian beer in a massive manly mug (out of
“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”: 2 ½ flutes of French champagne, while wearing your most
stylish outfit (out of 5)
“Where the Crawdads Sing”: 2 ½ cups of homeopathic tea steeped from marsh nettles (out