Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer Cinema

Summer and movies go together in my mind. The combo is probably a result of my distant but vividly remembered childhood when, in an era before the proliferation of air conditioning, matinees ran a close second to the swimming pool as an escape from sultry, Southern days. Summer also meant Friday nights when my parents, whose entertainment budget was infinitesimal, put their three, pajama-clad kids in the backseat of the old Chevy and headed to the local drive-in theater where popcorn, Cokes, and a double feature were all cheap.

Evidently many people share my habit of connecting summer and cinema. Summer 2011 will see 45 new releases between May 5 and Labor Day. I don’t expect to see many of these. Superhero films and raunchy comedies will not persuade me to spend $8 for a ticket.. Most of the summer 2011 movies I will see, I’ll view later on the small screen. I’ve heard good things about Bridesmaids (playing now), and Beginners, a June 3 release starring Ewan McGregor as a man newly in love and Christopher Plummer as his dead father who emerged from the closet at the age of 75, sounds promising. But I will wait for the DVDs.

Looking over the summer schedule, I decided that I’d probably make it to the theater five times this summer, twice for me, twice ostensibly for the grands, and once as a three-generation tradition. Larry Crowne (July 1 release), a dramatic comedy, written and directed by Tom Hanks and starring Hanks and Julia Roberts, sounds like the kind of movie I really like. The recession/reinvention storyline has a strong appeal, and I’m a big Tom Hanks fan. I almost never like movies based on books that I’ve enjoyed, but that history never stops me from seeing the movies and hoping for an exception. I expect to be in a theater on August 12 or soon thereafter to watch The Help, based on Kathryn Stockett’s somewhat controversial 2009 novel by the same title. The novel spent 100 weeks, in three formats, on the New York Times bestseller lists. I wonder of the movie will be that successful.

In late July or early August, I’ll accompany the two youngest grands and maybe the oldest to see The Smurfs. The middle grands (all male) turn up their noses when this movie is mentioned and find belly-laugh funny the fact that their fathers once faithfully watched these blue creatures on TV. But I confess I look forward to hearing Jonathan Winters as Papa Smurf and Katy Perry as Smurfette, and I’m interested in how the live action/animation blend will play. But before we see The Smurfs, the next-to-youngest grand and I will see the new Winnie the Pooh. He loves Pooh and his friends almost as much as I do, and we’re looking forward to sharing the movie.

Still, we won’t see Winnie the Pooh the day it opens. July 15 is reserved for THE summer movie event for this family, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. We’ll buy our tickets for the first day showing as soon as they are available on Fandango, and we will fill a row in a local theater, three generations of HP fanatics. Then we will spend the next week critiquing the movie and, no matter how much we loved the movie, agreeing that the books are better. "Way better," the ten-year-old will say. When the DVD is released, my family will buy at least half a dozen copies, which we will watch again and again. I may even indulge in a marathon viewing of the first seven movies in the series, a feat that will take 17 hours and 28 minutes, or so I’m told. Let’s see, if I start at 10:00 a. m., I should be able to finish by . . .

Do you go to the movies more often in summer? What summer releases are you most looking forward to? 


MsHellion said...

Well, of course, you know where I'll be on July 15th. Probably midnight. Front and center, breath held that they do it right. I even want to have a little Harry Potter pre-party; and I knew about the 17 hours bit because I did some addition earlier this week to figure it out and decided, "Yeah, a movie marathon slumber party is probably out of the question." I certainly don't want to burn out those friends of mine who are only mediocre fans. *LOL*

I will be seeing POTC4 tomorrow, which isn't technically "summer" yet, but hello...PIRATES.

I definitely want to see The Help. The teaser trailer looks hysterical; and it's content is the kind of stuff I love in movies.

Otherwise, I haven't checked the summer listings to see what will be out this summer. I pretty much just thought: Pirates and Potter.

What am I going to do when they stop making POTC and HP movies? *LOL* How will I fill my summers? I don't like comic books movies. *LOL*

Janga said...

Hellie, my fellow HP fanatic, I knew you had July 15 marked as BIg Movie Day on your calendar too. Schools out now, and the grands will be spending time with us between camps. So we will probably watch the first seven movies one, or perhaps two, at a time rather than in the 17+ hour marathon. I'm going to reread the books too. I always do before a new movie.

Since the movie critics seem to include all the releases from May 1 through Labor Day as summer movies, I think POTC4 counts in the category. I'm sure theaters will be filled this weekend.

echo said...

Both Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks have been away for a while. I am really looking forward to their newest movie -Larry Crowne. I just watched this movie trailer in Wally.Tv
I believe they can be another classic couple just like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle.
The movie trailer is fantastic you shouldn’t miss it!

MsHellion said...

I saw the trailer for Larry Crowne, but Tom Hanks is not my favorite actor. And neither is Julia Roberts. So I'll probably be seeing this on DVD. BUT it does look like a wonderful adult movie, which is a rarity to find in all the summer blockbusters.

I saw a trailer this weekend for an Anne Hathaway movie, One Day. Will be seeing that. *LOL* And I admit the Conan the Barbarian remake looks pretty good. (And I'm not a Conan fan. *LOL*)

irisheyes said...

I remember summer movie releases growing up. The excitement of school ending was compounded by all the great movies we would see in all of our free time (provided we could get an adult to ferry us around).

The only sure thing for us this summer is the Harry Potter blockbuster. My daughter owns a Gryffindor scarf, bought one for her best friend and they can't wait to "dress up" and attend the midnight showing! Makes me smile - kind of reminiscent of the Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman and Superman phenomenons when we were younger.

I'm unsure about whether I want to read the book The Help first or go see the movie first. Everyone I know has been raving about the book.

Janga said...

Thanks for the link, echo, and thanks for dropping by. I have high expectations for Larry Crowne.

Janga said...

Hellie, I'll definitely pass on the Conan remake. Now if someone made a movie of Robert E. Howard's other creation, Dark Agnes, the sword-wielding, Medieval heroine who plays a role in Jean Brashear's wonderful Goddess of Fried Okra, I'd pay the $$ to see that one.

Janga said...

What fun for you to watch your daughter's excitement about this summer's HP movie, Irish! It's a big topic of conversation at our house. Last week the seven-year-old said, "Part 2 is going to be more a guy's movie 'cause it'll have more action than Part 1." I know he was repeating what he'd heard his dad say, but I was still amused at the pint-sized movie critic.