Hack-Off: Summer 08?

The Bloody Good Horror Crew goes at it on a new topic every Friday afternoon, we call it the "Hack-Off". Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments.

What films are you most looking forward to this summer, horror or otherwise?
So summer movie season— my favorite season of all — has officially started and we’ve already been blessed with multiple geekgasms thanks to the stellar Marvel Comics flick “Iron Man”. So, for this week’s Hack-Off, I guess the big question is “What summer movies are you most looking forward to?”

Here’s a list of mine:

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” – Okay,who isn’t maniacally pumped for this? Just about everyone of us grew up withthe heroics of Indiana Jones and, with the slight fear of Lucas doing his usual mucking-ups, my hopes are excruciatingly high for this.

“Postal” – I wasn’t alive to catch Ed Wood’s movies in the theater when they first came around in the fifties, so I’ll be damned if I miss Uwe Boll’s. “Postal” just might be his classic.

“The Strangers” – A creepy-as-fuck trailer has got me sold.

“The Incredible Hulk” – I actually loved the first one, and I’m pretty sure I’ll love this one. It’s so hard for me to hate a comic book movie.

“The Happening” – M. Night Shyamalan is a genius as far as I’m concerned, and, once again, he’s cut a trailer that is full of so many maddening clips that hint to a return to his “Signs” glory days, that I really think that this will be a film that not only puts him back on top, but will have all of his numerous naysayers recanting their diatribes.

“Hancock”, “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” and “The Dark Knight” – For the first three weeks of July, there will be a superhero film every week. This is a geek’s cream-dream and, even better, all three look fantastic. Yes, even “Hancock”.

“Step-Brothers”, “Pineapple Express” and “Tropic Thunder” –Usually towards the end of summer the big event movies die down and are replaced with comedies, and all three of these look hilarious. “Step-Brothers” has Will Ferrell and Dr. Steve Brule, “Pineapple Express” has Seth Rogan and lots of weed and “Tropic Thunder” has Ben Stiller and a black-faced Robert Downey Jr. The perfect end-caps to summer!

I am trying to get excited about “X-Files: I Want to Believe” and “Midnight Meat Train”, and I will see them, but I just can’t work up the requisite excitement that I feel I should.

Perhaps next week we should pick the summer movies we think are going to be pure Hell on Earth— “Zohan”, I’m looking in your direction!

My summer excitement starts tonight with the release of "Speed Racer". Sure, it may be brainless and cheesy, but what the hell else do you expect from a live action "Speed Racer" flick? From what I've seen of the previews, this is going to be a top notch action flick. And it's got Christina Ricci. Can you really go wrong with Ricci, explosions, and car crashes? The 10 year old in me says 'Hell naw!'

Second on the list is of course, "Indy 4". I still get as giddy as a school girl just from hearing the theme song in the trailer, and it's been awhile since something as simple as a theme song has had that much excitement and nostalgia contributed to it. So far, Shia LeBouf has done nothing to dissuade me from liking him, so I'm holding out hope for awesome. After these two, my wife's going to be hating life as I run around for a month like an overstimulated man child.

"The Strangers" holds interest as it looks like the next solid horror flick to hit the big screens. Nothing new, nothing mind blowing, but it looks better than "Prom Night". Plus Liv Tyler's a babe. (Notice a trend here?)

Since part of my summer moving going experience is spent with my 8 year old, "Kung Fu Panda" is on my must see list. Being a Jack Black fan as well as kung fu flick fan, I have high hopes on this being a non wimpy, fun kids flick.

"The Happening"; M. Night has let me down the last couple of releases, I hold mild hope for this one to turn out decent. The trailers look good but then again, his always do. Marky Mark has proven himself to be a good actor and Zooey Deschanel has some chops too. (Note: Babe too)

I used to watch "Get Smart" reruns faithfully as an early Nickelodeon watching kid and I think Steve Carell's the perfect choice to take over the reigns of Maxwell Smart. It will be full of corny one liners, but that's okay. We don't expect Shakespeare from "Get Smart". Throw in The Rock who I feel has damn good comedy chops for a pro wrestler and Anne Hathaway (Note:meh) reigniting everybody's latent Agent 99 fantasies, and you've got a good formula for summer fun.

"Wall-E" is a Pixar flick so it's a given that I'll be there opening weekend. The previews look good and the majority of this one has been kept delightfully under wraps. This will be another feature that sees me at a theater packed full of 10 and under's, but that's okay. I'm a pretty much a giant kid anyways!

"Wanted" is a questionable comic book flick, but it's far enough away from the men in tights strain of hero comics that it should be fun. Expect mucho over the top action, lots of explosions and Angelina Jolie in tight clothes.

"Hancock" and "Hellboy II" get thrown into the mild interest column. I enjoyed the first "Hellboy" for what it was and "Hancock", well I'm an unabashed Will Smith fanboy. Both look to be decent popcorn fillers as a lead in to the 'ZOMG HUGE' summer event....

"The Dark Knight". Good god the trailers look amazing and I think Heath Ledger's going to make all the nay sayers pee a little. The movie looks dark as hell and the return of Christian Bale to the mantle can only be seen as good. This franchise isn't there yet, but it's got the potential top rank up there with Indy Jones for the school boy giddiness.

The end of July brings us the return of "The X-Files" and for me, that's a good thing. I've grown far beyond the rabid fan stage for this show, but I still look back ion it fond enough to be looking forward to the return. My only hope is that we're far enough out from the series now to avoid being tied in to the overall conspiracy story lines and we get some good old fashioned monster and alien hunting fun. (Note: Gillian Anderson, mega babe)

Finally, August throws in a handful of must see flicks with "Midnight Meat Train" and "Tropic Thunder". Watching Vinnie Jones as a Clive Barker serial killer has to be fun. After the juggernaut of "Iron Man", how can anybody not want to see Robert Downey Jr. play a black man? Packed in with Jack Black and Ben Stiller, this one looks funny without having to dip into the Ben Stiller comedy formula. Let's hope for the best.

I'm going to keep things simple here and make three lists, followed by some (hopefully) short explanation.

Pumped: "Indy 4," "The Strangers," "The Dark Knight," "Hellboy 2," "Wall-E," "Midnight Meat Train," "Hulk (redux)," "X-Files," "Bangkok Dangerous"

Most of these fall into one of two categories: films by known commodities (directors, studios, franchises) or low-risk, high-reward genre stuff. The first category includes "Indy," obviously, but also the new Batman, Del Toro's return, a new Pixar can't miss, and a Mulder and Scully reunion. The funny thing is, I didn't even see X-Files 1, I just didn't care to, but this one I'm excited for. The second category contains both of the main horror releases of the summer, which both coincidentally are non-remake, non-sequels. Go look up the last time that happened. I also would have listed "All the Boys..." but I don't want to jinx any potential summer date for that movie. Finally, a lot of folks might see "Bangkok" and say, "Nic Cage, are you crazy?!" Well, you know what, yeah, I sort of am. When Nic Cage is working with two OGs of Thai (that's Thailand) film. They're remaking their own movie about gangsters and hitmen in Bangkok. When I hear gangsters, hitmen, Thailand, and Nic Cage, I think, "Awesome."

Un-Pumped: "The Happening," "Hancock," "Wanted," "Get Smart," "SATC: The Movie!," Ex-SNLers doing movies

Not a whole lot to say here. All of these movies could be good, and most will likely make a butt-ton of money. But to me they look like very probable clunkers, or at the very least, films that I won't really enjoy. The one that I was the most conflicted about was "Wanted," which fits a lot of my favorite holes, but the buzz is starting to sound pretty negative and I'm a buzz-whore.

It's probably the only movie on this list that I plan on seeing though, and a small part of me is still desperately hoping that the crazy-Ruskie behind this one knocks it out of the park. That being said, the following actors should be put on notice: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler. Guys, your schtick is tired. It was getting tired before. Start thinking about challenging yourselves as actors.

It might not make you $10 mil a picture, but you'll be able to look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day. If it wouldn't result in a total uprising against me, I'd also throw Carell into that mix. I still like "The Office," but his last couple movies haven't exactly bowled me over with quality (I'll cut him some slack for "Little Miss Sunshine," though).

Indifferent: Apatow, et al. films

"Pineapple Express" will likely mark the now third straight Apatow film that I don't see in the theater. There's just too many of them, coming too close together. I usually enjoy myself, but I felt like quality was dropping off back with "Superbad." "Pineapple" does re-team James Franco and Seth Rogan though, so that's a vote in its favor.

I'm really shocked that no one else besides Louis is looking forward to "Tropic Thunder". Hell, Jack Black with that ridiculous blond buzz cut is enough to get me excited by itself, even without Robert Downey Jr. in blackface. Okay so Ben Stiller isn't exactly always comedy gold, but I think that the power of those two will cancel him out. Come on now, whose with me?

Other than that, the only real Horror we're getting this summer is "The Strangers", set for release on May 30th. With a trailer like that I'll let this film do dirty things to me, even without buying me dinner first. "The Dark Knight" is going to blow everyone's minds, without a doubt, so that's up there at the top of my list too.

I also agree with the assertions that the ex-SNLer's are scraping the bottom of the barrel this summer, so I won't even go there. "Hancock" is also at the bottom of my list, although I did read a really interesting story yesterday about how the original script for this was actually really messed up, and it's already had to go into editing twice to avoid an R rating. Am I intrigued? Yes, a little. But I still won't see this in the theater.

Other than that, I'm pretty interested to see Dario Argento's "Mother of Tears", if only to see if it's as bad as some are saying. That gets a very limited theatrical release in June, followed by an immediate DVD release that same month.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!

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