The last two months were pretty bad. Looking ahead, it's about to get worse.
A critic friend of mine wrote the other day that she really isn’t looking forward to the rest of Summer 2011. After picking out a couple of potential highlights (Harry Potter, Cowboys and Aliens) and some sound low points (The Smurfs, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), she concluded that the next month and a half will be a major snore/bore/chore. What any fan of film could have told her, sadly, is that, for the most part, the previous two months argue for one of the worst popcorn movie seasons on record. From underperforming tentpoles to a real lack of original alternatives, May through July have been a trial. Of course, good and bad are a matter of opinion and the laws of probability clearly establish that all perspective is a crapshoot, but a quick overview proves the pathetic trappings.
After the surprising fun of Fast Five (which, while released at the end of April, many considered to be the start of Summer 2011), May measured out quite a bit of mediocrity. Thor, while splashy and flashy, definitely suffered from “Origin Story Syndrome” while certified dung like Something Borrowed and Jumping the Broom belied the ongoing, lingering death of the Romantic Comedy. Bridesmaids and The Hangover II succeeded in selling their scatology to both sides of the gender gene pool, big budget action adventures like Priest and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides underperformed. Unless you count the limited releases - Hersher, The Beaver, Tree of Life, or on the opposite end of the indie spectrum, Passion Play - or carefully created kiddie fare (Kung Fu Panda II), the first month of the annual entertainment overload was very little of either.