Summer 2016: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
In hindsight, this wasn't the best summer we've ever had. While we've had some good films, we've also had a lot of disappointments. Last summer had so many giant, awesome blockbusters (like Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World, Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation) that maybe our expectations were a bit too high going into this summer. Because we didn't get that level of quality in our blockbusters this year. And actually, it was the smaller films that came out this summer that turned out to be the good ones. So as we head into the fall, it's time to reflect on this past summer, and weigh the good with the bad with the ugly.
2016 was not necessarily the best year for the big summer blockbusters. Many that have come out have been disappointing or just plain bad. But it would be a crime not to mention the few blockbusters that were actually good. Captain America: Civil War (read our review here) may end up being one of my favorite movies of the year. It delivered on amazing action, mind-blowing spectacle and an emotional core that drove the film. This was a true culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seeing all of our favorite heroes fight it out over ideological differences. Star Trek Beyond (read our review here) also delivered as a blockbuster. While it wasn't as good as Civil War, it definitely continued the legacy of J.J. Abrams' fantastic films, and gave us another solid entry into this franchise. The characters were further developed, the action was well done, and there were a lot of meaningful philosophical questions posed, in typical Star Trek fashion.
The summer has also been great for horror movies. It kicked off with the kickass The Conjuring 2 (read our review here), which wasn't as good as the original, but that doesn't take away from how great of a movie it! It once again gave us quality and fleshed out characters, as well as real, tangible scares, and not just cheesy jump-scares. Lights Out (read our review here) also came out, and while it wasn't the best, set a precedence for horror movies in terms of character and story development. Lastly, the summer finished strong with Don't Breathe (read our review here), which gave us a compelling villain in the form of Stephen Lang, and a terrific home invasion flick that has a gut-wrenching third act. And for a person who generally doesn't like horror movies, 2016 given us some great ones, and a lot of them were from the summer.
But where the summer delivered most was with its smaller films. Cafe Society (read our review here) will undoubtedly end up in my list of favorite movies of the year. It has brilliant performances, great comedy, smart writing and terrific direction. In the same vein, though a completely different kind of movie, was Hell or High Water (read our review here), which gave us Oscar-caliber performances and adrenaline-rushing action sequences. Blood Father (read our review here) was an 80's action-style flick that we haven't seen in a long time, proving Mel Gibson still has it not only as an action star, but as a true actor as well. And how could we not talk about Kubo and the Two Strings (read our review here), which proved the good quality fantasy movies are not dead, and that stop motion animation can be a powerful tool for a film experience.
I chose the title "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" for this article more for show than anything else. It's kind of hard to talk about both bad and ugly, since they're both negatives. So I'm going to treat this "bad" category as more the disappointing films of the summer, before I get into the ones that are truly bad. So these are movies that maybe I had higher expectations for and ended up really disappointing me. Ghostbusters (read our review here) was one that I wanted to be better than it was. While everyone was against this movie, I defended it and said that it had a lot of potential. And unfortunately, I was proven wrong. While it wasn't a God-awful train wreck, it wasn't the best it could have been, and that was truly disappointing.
Now, I didn't think that X-Men: Apocalypse (read our review here) was necessarily a bad movie, but it was not nearly as good as I wanted it to be. It was definitely a big step back from how great X-Men: Days of Future Past was. Apocalypse had some great scenes and did some good things with its newer characters, but ultimately it had a poorly utilized villain and a convoluted plot that made the film just really disappointing. And Sausage Party (read our review here) sort of falls into the same vein. I saw it a second time and liked it more that second time around, but it's still disappointing, in that it's not the movie I wanted it to be. My excitement for that film was through-the-roof, and it just didn't meet those expectations. So while I have come to appreciate it for what it is, it doesn't meet the possibilities it had for what it could have been.
And now we can get into the fartbombs, the sh*tsticks of the summer that just opened your mouth and took a dump on your tongue. Now keep in mind, I didn't see a lot of this summer's stinkbombs. I stayed away from garbage movies like Independence Day: Resurgence, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Nine Lives or Ice Age: Collision Course. I'm not the richest person in the world, and I can't afford to go out to see every single movie that comes out. So if there's a movie that's really bad, I'll stay away. But some of them you can't avoid, like Suicide Squad (read our review here). This was a film I was so excited for, and one that I really wanted to be great, especially after I was disappointed by Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. But this movie turned out to be even worse. It's choppy and incoherent-- injected with so much artificial pop and flare that you become nauseous. The music is crammed in and it never once feels organic or apart of the film. While it has some good moments, it was overall a very disappointing movie, and just a bad film.
Bad Moms (read our review here) was one that I didn't have high expectations for, and it unfortunately met those expectations. It just is not a good movie. Sure, you get a couple laughs and some funny moments, but most of the time it's just over the top scenes and far-reaching comedy. If you really want to waste time, you could flip this on, but I don't recommend it at all. But if we're talking about bad comedies, we have to talk about Central Intelligence (read our review here). I love Dwayne Johnson, and I think he's one of the best in the business. So while I wasn't thrilled with the trailers, I thought this could be something good. And it wasn't. As an action/comedy, this movie had two things to do, and it failed both. It wasn't funny, and the action wasn't well choreographed. It had some decent comedic moments, and I think there is good chemistry between Johnson and Kevin Hart. I would love to see them do another movie together, because Central Intelligence did not do them justice. This was poorly written film, and was overall a major disappointment.
What do you think? What were some of the best films of the summer? What were some of the worst? Which movies really disappointed you, and which really surprised you? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Written by: NateEmail us your movie questions at: email@example.com
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