THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan
"THE LEAST-ANTICIPATED SUMMER MOVIES OF 2015"
The summer movie season is always one of great anticipation and excitement. So many big, promising films lie ahead! But let's be honest: some of them are going to disappoint. It always happens. That's why each year I make a list of the summer movies that look a little dubious. Not to brag – well, okay, totally to brag – but in previous years, I've selected such eventual duds as The Lone Ranger, The Internship, That's My Boy and The Oogieloves. Not a bad track record, if I may say so myself. (Note: I may.)
The summer of 2015 is expected to be one of the biggest in movie history. Maybe even the biggest. The Avengers: Age of Ultron! Jurassic World! Mad Max: Fury Road! Tomorrowland! Yep, those are all lookin' pretty good. Honestly, though, a few other summer flicks seem a little questionable. So here's the list of my least-anticipated summer movies of 2015:
Hot Pursuit - Essentially remaking Midnight Run with two women (Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, in this case) is not a bad idea. However, you really need a script that's as smart as the one for that Robert DeNiro/Charles Grodin classic was. If you've seen clips for Hot Pursuit, you already know that there seem to be way too many hackneyed jokes about physical appearance. Vergara is enraged when a news report lists her age as fifty, Witherspoon is mocked for her granny-panties, etc. Apparently, Hollywood thinks women have nothing else to be concerned with other than their own vanity, even when being stalked by killers. There has to be at least one female-centered picture this summer that'll be more uplifting to women than Hot Pursuit.
Terminator: Genysis - Most people agree that The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day are sci-fi classics. But Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines struggled to find something new to do with the idea, and Terminator: Salvation was an outright dud. So is there really any reason to think that Terminator: Genysis is going to be any good? The trailer looks incredibly desperate, with a group of young resistance fighters getting more screen time than Arnold Schwarzenegger. The CGI effects look especially crappy, and there appears to be a considerable amount of fanboy-pandering taking place. This is most apparent with the arrival of an utterly gratuitous reference to the original movie's catchphrase, “Come with me if you want to live!” At this point, it feels like the people in charge of the Terminator franchise are just grasping for straws in trying to figure out what fans want. Heck, I'm a fan, and I don't know what I want from this series anymore. I just know that it isn't Jai Courtney.
Ted 2 - The original Ted was a big hit and a very funny movie. And, like The Hangover or Horrible Bosses, it was a comedy that had a conclusive end point. The entire premise was wrapped up at the end. That hasn't stopped Universal from greenlighting an unnecessary sequel, much like The Hangover Parts 1 & 2 and Horrible Bosses 2. With nowhere left to go, director/co-writer/overall mastermind Seth MacFarlane has created a story in which the titular stuffed bear must legally prove he's a real person so that he can have a baby. (*gag*) In other words, the plot is a contrivance that will seemingly contain none of the identifiable growing-up-and-letting-go-of-your-childhood satire that made the original so appealing. There also appears to be a romance brewing between Mark Wahlberg and an attorney played by Amanda Seyfried, meaning that his character maturing so as not to lose girlfriend Mila Kunis was a load of hooey. Prediction: Ted 2 makes A Million Ways to Die in the West look brilliant in comparison.
San Andreas - How many times can we see America get destroyed by natural disasters? It's been a recurring subject of big-budget action movies for a long time. And it rarely works. The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, both of which San Andreas heavily resembles, were not exactly awesome. While the presence of Dwayne Johnson in the lead role seems promising on the surface, the director here is Brad Peyton, the guy who previously made Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. Uh-oh. Sounds like the real disaster might not be an earthquake, but the film itself.
Entourage - Pardon my language, does anyone actually give a shit about Entourage anymore? No? That's what I thought. By this stage, Sex and the City 3 sounds more appealing than another two hours spent with Vinnie Chase, his bros, and Jeremy Piven's exhausting obnoxiousness.
Hitman: Agent 47 - In 2007, Hitman, based on a popular videogame, earned a measly $39 million at the box office, and received a 14% critical approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If ever a movie screamed Please, for the love of mankind, never give us a sequel! it's this one. And yet, here comes Hitman: Agent 47. Setting aside the fact that all movies based on videogames suck, it's important to remember that all movies based on videogames suck, and Hitman: Agent 47 is based on a videogame, so it will therefore suck, too. Then again, if it performs anything like its predecessor, no one will go see it, and so it will suck to empty theaters.
Of course, I hope I'm wrong about all these movies. I'd love for them to be good, and I'll give each one a fair shake once I'm in my theater seat. For now, though, they're the ones I'm feeling a bit skeptical about. And even if I'm right, I'll take solace in the fact that none of them could ever be as soul-crushingly awful as The Oogieloves.
Buy a copy of my book, "Straight-Up Blatant: Musings From The Aisle Seat," on sale now at Lulu.com! Paperback and Kindle editions also available at Amazon.com!