I say good-day to all of you readers, followers and the like, and welcome to the latest edition of the Seattle Cinema Survey, where local writers answer the various, probably odd, questions I lob there way.
This week, in honor (?) of seemingly everybody and their cat being disappointed by this summer’s run of high-profile films, I asked: What’s your favorite summer movie season?
Considering a number of my favorite films of all-time saw their release during the summer of 1982, this ends up being a remarkably easy question for me to find an answer to. John Carpenter’s remake of The Thing, Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, George Miller’s The Road Warrior, John Milius’ Conan the Barbarian, Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist, Nicholas Meyer’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Steven Lisberger’s TRON and Clint Eastwood’s Firefox make this one of the greatest science fiction/horror/fantasy stretches in all of Hollywood history, each film making an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape that is still being felt today.
But that’s not it. Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy, Taylor Hackford’s An Officer and a Gentleman, Ron Howard’s Night Shift, Alan Parker’s Pink Floyd The Wall, George Roy Hill’s The World According to Garp, Don Bluth’s The Secret of NIMH, John Huston’s Annie and Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky III all hit theatres as well, each proving to stand the test of time rather nicely (and, in some instances, rather surprisingly). This was also the summer of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Friday the 13th Part III, Young Doctors in Love, Grease 2, The Last American Virgin, Megaforce and The Beastmaster, and while no one is going to mark any of those as classics to say none of them still don’t have their rather vociferous supporters would be Trump-sized lie. Heck, speaking of that whack-a-doo Presidential candidate, even that bizarre, close to unwatchable teen sex comedy featuring everyone’s favorite Donald supporter Scott Baio Zapped! premiered, and if that doesn’t put 1982 over the top I’m not sure what else does.
Oh. Wait. Yes, I do. Star Wars, Bambi and Raiders of the Lost Ark all saw major reissues, each playing once again to enthusiastic sold-out houses.
Erik Samdahl of Film Jabber @FilmJabber
Well, I imagine that some people may scour the summers of the last three to four decades looking for the greatest collection of movies to be released in any given year. But since I haven’t been alive for four decades, and certainly didn’t care what summer movies were coming out when I was eight years old, I restricted my search to 1995 and later, a time period where I can confidently say I actively sought out movies.
It may be odd that the year I’ve selected boasts one of the biggest summer disasters of all time – an infamous film I’m certain no one has watched in the last decade called Wild Wild West – but it also was home to the release some great movies, and at least a bunch of solidly good ones. This summer saw the release of The Iron Giant, The Sixth Sense, Arlington Road, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, The Blair Witch Project, Eyes Wide Shut, The Wood, American Pie, Deep Blue Sea, Tarzan, Run Lola Run, The Red Violin, South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Election, The Mummy, Notting Hill, and yes, Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination, but one that kicked off the summer in high fashion nonetheless.
The year was 1999, and it was the best summer movie season I can remember.
To be honest, I could probably pick any summer movie season from like 1982 to 1989 and be satisfied with my choice. 1982 gave us E.T., The Road Warrior, Conan the Barbarian, and more favorites. 1985 dropped The Goonies, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Fletch, and Weird Science into our laps. And 1989 introduced us to Dalton in Road House (I thought he’d be bigger), Michael Keaton’s Batman, and everyone’s favorite English teacher in Dead Poet’s Society.
But I have to go with 1984. That summer gave us The Karate Kid, Gremlins, The Never Ending Story, Purple Rain, Once Upon a Time in America, Revenge of the Nerds, The Natural, and Bachelor Party. Val Kilmer has still never topped Top Secret! Ghostbusters remains one of my all-time favorite movies. I have an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom tattoo for Christ’s sake. I may have even pitched a book-length essay about Red Dawn to a publisher once upon a time. (Perhaps more than any of these other movies, Red Dawn had a massive formative influence on my life for many, many years.)
I was seven-years-old that summer, and probably way, way too young to reasonably watch and understand a number of these movies. But this year, and maybe one or two on either side, was the era where I really fell in love with movies. This is where I became a more active viewer, where movies became something more than a collection of images on screen, and where film took on a place of great importance. And we all know where that lead.
Matt Oakes of Silver Screen Riot @SSRdotcom
First a qualifier: I’m only going to select a year in which I’ve been (semi-) professionally writing about film so although there might some years that blow the roof off, I’m sticking solidly with modernity. Ok, onward. In 2014, I wrote an editorial praising the alarming population of quality flicks (http://silverscreenriot.com/695-has-the-summer-of-2014-been-the-best-in-years/), from indie sleepers to popcorn hits. Its sparkling, gilded quality only seems more apparent in summer 2016, which has seen a verifiable dearth of good films. Seriously, even the Bourne movie was a solid let down. Let me just list some flicks from summer ’14, shall I? Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a superb highlight of heady intellectualism and top-notch effects work; X-Men: Days of Future Past, one of the finest in a standout franchise; Snowpiecer, Bong Joon-ho’s madcap Occupy Earth parable; Edge of Tomorrow, underperforming though it was, this remains one of the best action films of the decade; 22 Jump Street, where a hysterical pairing meant bristling satirical overload; Guardians of the Galaxy was an unexpectedly weird jolt of energy for the Marvel camp (and even though I’m not on record as being a huge fan, Captain America: The Winter Soldier admittedly drove many fans mental); As Above So Below was a shockingly effective horror/thriller; The Rover kicked a malevolent storm of dust in our faces; Luc Besson’s Lucy was utterly insane, an undeniably unique deconstruction of the genre; Godzilla, though admittedly not perfect, had major high highs; Chef from Jon Favreau was a scrumptious father-son dramedy; Obvious Child as thoughtful as it was hilarious; Calvary from John Michael; McDonagh was a moving portrait of faith in humanity, misplaced; How to Train Your Dragon 2, easily the best animated film of the year, unless we factor in The LEGO Movie which was far better than it had any right to be; oh and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was naught but the cherry on top. Seriously, look through that list. It’s insane. Insane. If we’re factoring in the last decade, you just can’t compete with 2014.
Tim Hall of The People’s Critic @peoplescrtic
BZ!!! This is too easy. The Summer of 2008! Check out this amazing list
Sex and the City
Kung Fu Panda
The Dark Knight
The Pineapple Express
Vicky Cristina Barcelona