Where Have All The Good Times Gone?

Am I the only one who thinks that – Inception and Scott Pilgrim aside, this year has been weirdly devoid of interesting or uber-blockbuster movies? Is this the year of lull?

Perhaps it’s selective memory, but this summer’s big releases feel more memorable for their lack of impact than anything else; whether it was sequels like Iron Man 2 or Toy Story 3 (Let’s all try and pretend Shrek Forever After never happened, huh?), reboots like Robin Hood, The A-Team or adaptations like Prince of Persia, Jonah Hex or The Last Airbender, it feels as if we’ve been through a season of almost-rans and nearlys, instead of a more traditional summer of movies that, if nothing else, dazzle with special effects and have people excited at the prospect of seeing more. Even “original” movies like Knight and Day and Salt failed to set the box office alight. So, what happened?

Part of it, I think, is exhaustion; it feels as if we’re reaching the end of the superhero trend (Sorry, Marvel and DC), but no-one has quite worked out what the next big thing is going to be just yet – My bet? A return to alien invasion movies, as evidenced by Skyline, Battle: Los Angeles and in a sense Monsters; I blame District 9 – and so this summer’s offering has been lackluster and scattershot, without any momentum or sense of cohesion to the whole thing. Maybe we should’ve seen the signs when movies started dropping out of original summer dates for later in the year – The Green Hornet and then The Adjustment Bureau – but, yeah: This is the year that Hollywood seemed to run out of not only ideas, but enthusiasm to try and convince us otherwise.

The thing is, I can’t work out if this is just Hollywood’s problem; the upcoming television season seems, for the most part, as devoid of The New or The Interesting as this summer’s movies; shows like The Event or No Ordinary Family feel familiar already, with even shows debuting next year – Falling Skies, the new Spielberg show in particular – feeling very similar to things we’ve seen in the past. Are we at a stage in whatever pop culture cycle we’re in where we shouldn’t expect a rush of original or polished ideas from anyone other than the most trusted sources (Christopher Nolan, JJ Abrams… Who else?) – and if so, what can be done to break out of it?

Or do we even need to? Is this the classic break-up situation, where it’s not pop culture, but me? Tell me in the comments: Do you agree that we’re in a particularly flat period of mainstream movies and television, or am I just cynical and jaded?

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Comments

  • Jolewist

    How could you NOT love Toy Story 3? From what i've seen so far this year, it is undoubtedly the best film of 2010, helping create the single greatest, most consistent trilogy around.

    I am also someone who cannot see what was wrong with Iron Man 2. It was immensely better than the atrocity that was Kick Ass

  • Fury

    i liked IM2, SFA, TS3, A-Team, Salt, Clash and Green Zone.

  • joe

    as much as i loved the scott pilgrim movie, i'd hardly call it a blockbuster. barely made 15 mil in it's first full week.

  • vivalafrenchy

    iron man 2, kickass, inception, toy story three and scott pilgrim are not only the top five films of the year, but the only ones worth mentioning

  • Dandoruinn

    Movies have been unoriginal for a while. No blockbusters are original; they tend to be novel or graphic novel adaptations. I don't even know if I own a movie that's not based on a book. I think that the superhero hype is dying as well, but clearly it's still in if there are TV shows revolving around it this coming season. We'll see if those fail though. I think the vampire phenomenon is dying as well. Perhaps we'll see a move into realism?

  • Raskal67

    I'll take a Summer of lull where I only really enjoyed 3 or 4 movies compared to summers like that of 2009 where phrases “popcorn movie” somehow became a respectful thing to say about a movie.

  • David

    Iron Man 2 an almost-ran and nearly? Whatever…

  • Memolavin

    Toy Story 3 was a box office success, its about to reach the 600 million mark, its also a great movie in itself, everyone I talk to responds with very positive words about it. I wouldnt pass it as a “no impact” movie. In the other hand, I havent seen Scott Pilgrim, people talk wonders about it, but it seems to be doing pretty badly at box office (a shame), but you could argue that weakens it impact. Most of the rest of the movies you mention I didnt bother to see because it was obvious to me that they hed no quality control whatsoever. C'mon, the A Team? A cheesy tv show that relied more on charisma and people hoped for a good movie? I hope Hollywood takes a hint from movies like Inception, it is possible to be original and successful.

  • Sinistertaco

    Not defending the output of mainstream Hollywood, but you do realize that this summer was the year that the writer's strike caught up with Hollywood, right? All the big tentpoles that would have been in development for this year got pushed back. That's why 2011 and 2012 and loaded to the gills with films while 2010 was very anemic.

  • Alex H

    Calling a year a lull is a bit subjective, it really depends what kind of films you like. I think there are probably actually more films I've wanted to go and see this year than last to the point where I still haven't seen a few I wanted to like Tory Story, Inception and for that matter Shrek. Scott Pilgrim I intend to go an see as soon as it's out over here.

    But in total, compared to last year there are more I wanted to see compared to last year less films I wanted to see but ended up going along with people to things like Avatar and Transformers which left to my own devices I felt no particular urge to see.

    Its subjective, and as with anything the quality of these things goes up and down.

  • stpatrick

    The problem is, you need a simple concept. A lot of movies start with this but then get thrown into the mill that is the movie making machine of Hollywood. Think about the superhero movies. Let's make a Spider-Man movie, but before even a story is begun, you think casting. We have to have a big name to draw people to this. Look at Superman with Christopher Reeve. How many people knew of Christopher Reeve? The big name in the movie was Superman's Dad Jor-el and villain Lex. Getting back to Spider-Man, now that we have had some Spider-Man movies, if we are going to restart this, we need to make it bigger and better than what is already out there. Why? Spider-Man is the every man hero. Do you have to have spectacular special effects, no, but the audience wants it to be believable. We are so inundated with the next big thing, we are tired of it. I mean the next big thing is 3D and even that is wearing thin because of ticket prices. I think people are investing more in television because you can have a TV screen, that even though it isn't as big as a movie screen, it is bigger than 10-15 years ago. But even that isn't a guarantee, I know lots of friends loved Flash Forward, but it only lasted one season. I think execs need to back off a bit in the tv industry and wait a few seasons to see what may develope. It will take a lot of pressure off of creators of tv shows. That's my 2 cents.

  • gnort

    I have to say my favorite movie of the year is hands-down Inception. Followed by Kick-Ass. Iron Man II was good, but mostly felt like just a set-up for Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers. It had a good continuation of Iron Man but needed more action in the middle, could've dropped the Stark in armor DJing at his party schtick…reminded me of Peter Parker dancing in front of the Armani store in Spider-man 3 to much! LOL! It also needed to flesh out the Black Widow character a bit more and give Nick Fury a bit more to do. It also needed to beef up the action a bit in the middle. Fury and/or Black Widow could've provided that if not Iron Man himself. Oh and the final battle with Whiplash was barely 2 minutes.
    I saw Scott Pilgrim on Friday and it was okay. Felt like it went on for a half an hour too long. I don't get what some have been saying like it's the best comic movie of all and other comic book films should be more like it. Those seem to be broad generalizations to me. I guess I felt as if Scott Pilgrim wasn't as good as I expected it to be. And don't get me wrong, I'm not the type that listens to hype or reads reviews too much. I try to go in with an open enough mind and experience the movies for themselves. I just didn't feel Scott Pilgrim was as good as it could've been. But I will say for my griping on Scott Pilgrim, I'm willing to give it it's props because it's a more diverse kind of comic book movie, unlike the usual comic book movie fare. I mean, that's what I dug about Kick-Ass. It wasn't like the usual stuff out there. So on that level I can also feel that as much as I don't feel Scott Pilgrim was as good as I'd hoped, I did get a diverse kind of comic based movie to come away from. So it wasn't like a huge waste of money or anything either. I mean, I've seen worse…..*Cough!*Jonah Hex*Cough!* ;D
    On the failure of Knight And Day and Salt?
    I think people are just kind of sick and tired of Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie, really.

  • Ethan Shuster

    I would say its a combination of things. First, there's the obvious unoriginality, which has certainly been plaguing movies for a long time. Secondly, many of these films are simply assigned to some director by a committee of executives who believe that the quality of the movies makes no difference. Only the concept being based on some well-known geeky sort of property. They assume, often quite correctly, that the concept and familiarity alone will get them 100 million dollars in the opening weekend, no matter the quality. So, they just say, “Here, make this movie”. For a time, they felt that kind of money was guaranteed.

    It's not that people are tired of superhero and other similar concepts, it's that the more recent crop are just plain crappy. And there IS a point where the geeky fans will give up on a movie, even if they're fans of the concept, if they think it is bad. While mediocre reviews may not deter fans, horrible reviews, like those for The Last Airbender, will keep people away. Also, I think that now that there are so many of these movies, fans are more selective in what they see. At one point, when few of these movies were made, those fans would run to see any, regardless of reviews or quality. Now, with many choices, they'll skip some.

    Also, a movie executive's lack of understanding of the genre hurts matters. To many of these people, there's little difference between, say, Spider-Man and Green Arrow. Some may not understand that Jonah Hex may have a bunch of fans, but the property is NOTHING compared to the popularity of Iron Man. So, when Jonah Hex tanks at the box office, they wonder what happened.

  • Faodhga

    For me, the year has been outstanding for Inception alone.

    As for the rest, there are as many tastes as there are people, and lack of mega-blockbusters is not an indication that the overall impact of this years movies has lessened from the past.

    In fact, it may have increased for the target audiences. Take a look at Splice, for example.

  • tada

    I think you owe us a column about why you thought Toy Story 3 had a lack of impact. So far, it's the best movie of the year!

  • nickmarino

    The Other Guys was amazing. A big action movie and a hilarious comedy rolled into one.

  • BrianD

    What, Predators doesn't even get mentioned?

  • DF

    Toy Story 3 was the best of the Toy Storys imo. Just an excellent movie. Also Inception was amazing. I liked Iron Man 2, but I admit it wasn't as great as the first one. I haven't seen Scott Pilgrim (prob won't till it comes out on dvd), but I'm looking forward to seeing it. I think your right about this summer not being as good as previous years. Though, the year is not over yet and we'll have Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Pt. 1, the new Narnia, and especially TRON: Legecy in November/December. I do think next year is going to be a ton better though with three Marvel movies (Thor, X-men, and Captain America), Green Lantern, a new Pirates, and other good stuff.

  • http://www.dodgethebulletcomics.com SaintSwan

    Toy Story 3 deals with essentially the same content of the other two movies so no matter how well done it was, or how much you liked it, it cannot possibly be considered innovative or fresh. The first movie was extremely innovative and this is just a continuation of that innovation.

    The odd one to me is Robin Hood, in that I've seen it claimed as a remake (of Adventures of Robin Hood), when it's more like a re-examination of a legend. So, more like all of the various Robin Hood movies draw from the same well (the legend), rather than being remakes of previous movies. Unless, of course, they're using the same title and the same structure and actually claim it is a remake. The makers of this year's Robin Hood went out of their way to tell people it wasn't a remake.

  • Critic-AL

    Way to start off a blog post with an immediate derailing of the premise. Inception and Scott Pilgrim don't even deserve to be in the same sentence. Neither were the most original nor the highest grossing. You completely ignore Despicable Me which was both original and blockbuster.

    No doubt, this summer has sucked. It happens. It's the same disease that hits every form of entertainment at one time or another. Comics are pretty crappy right now too. In Hollywood, movies tend to have one of two designations–Spectacular or Spectacular Failure. Just like there's no more middle class in American there's no more middle ground at the box office. Originality is an illusion, and we're saddled with sequels which are the epitome of unoriginal.

    I am interested in shows like No Ordinary Family and The Event even though they're possibly covering familiar ground. Undercovers is just Mr and Mrs Smith (TV show, not movie, but you get the idea) all over again…how's that originality from a trusted source? Dollhouse was original and see what it got? Original tends to die while familiar gets rich. The lull is when familiar becomes too familiar and stops making money but there's no original to fill the gap and pick up the lost revenue because everybody has been putting all their money in familiar. It's a cycle. It's about to start again.

    Also, people sometimes realize that what they're paying for isn't often worth what they're paying. But then sometimes they pay for crap anyway and you get The Expendables at #1 for two weeks in a row. It's a crap shoot.

  • demoncat_4

    i thought we were in a flat period of movies and tv shows when most of the talked about movies were sequals that plus one type of genre seems to be the must do for the networks.

  • Toyminator

    You don't need anyone here to comment about how they enjoyed Toy Story 3 (and the web is certainly full of people who didn't like it). The fact of the matter is the impact of the movie can be seen by its box office. It's doing amazing box office (regardless of 3D inflation), numbers that are a clear indication of REPEAT viewings. The critical word of mouth was high for weeks after the film came out. For weeks, the media and social networking sites bantered about how emotionally resonant the movie was.

    It's not entirely groundbreaking, but if you can't see the improvement in effects in this movie from Toy Story 2, then you're clearly not paying attention. The filmmakers made a movie that reviewed incredibly, sold a ton and was enjoyed by millions. Sure most people feel like it was a great finale to the Toy Story franchise and that Pixar shouldn't beat a dead horse. But i don't know many people who left the theatre not wishing they could spend hours more time with those characters.

    You mentioned something about the “pop culture cycle.” That's part of the problem, there is such a hyperactive pop culture movement now where things explode and burn out quickly. And then inevitably, the cynics emerge specifically to tear down something with hype. The media hype machine in America is a broken thing. It's never going to be like it was after everyone first saw Star Wars or Terminator 2.

  • Invasionforce

    This has been a weak year for movies so far, but there is still the fall “prestige” season. Every year can't be a winner, and in fairness, I think the last several years for Hollywood have been strong. All of the Oscar winners for the last decade have been good choices, and some years there were several films that arguably were better. The superhero genre has run out of steam? Ha! The superhero genre is the oldest form of story telling. Hercules, Achilles, Samson, and King Arthur are superheroes, for instance. Audiences will never tire of superheroes.

  • Coryjameson

    There is a lull. But it's much worse than you think. This lull will last several years if not more because the American population is getting more and more stupid. Have you seen the declining High School graduation rates? We have congressmen who genuinely believe that Guam will literally tip-over due to overpopulation (no, he was not joking like he later claimed). When you have people this stupid in this country there really isn't any hope of Hollywood funding intelligent movies.

  • RetroWarbird

    There are certainly highs and lows. I imagine about fifteen years ago, the same scenario was playing out, as people were like “Christ … the only trustworthy sources of good entertainment are Spielberg or Cameron, and even their latest aren't as EPIC as their earlier films.”

    Comic Book-based movies can stay ahead of the curve by properly selecting “which” comic character best matches the current trends. If “Alien Invasion” is the next big thing … Green Lantern's timing isn't bad at all, actually. If after that it's all Bourne/Bond again … there's Suicide Squad. If it's Pulpy Indiana Jones style stuff, there's Wonder Woman.

    But “Summer” as some sort of time of wonder and bemusement has been over for me since Jurassic Park (and maybe The Lost World) left the theaters. Now it's just pick and choose, hit or miss.

  • Josh

    The movies this year were pretty weak. I didn't even like Scott Pilgrim that much. If it wasn't for Inception and Despicable Me, I probably wouldn't have gone to the movies at all.

  • LordGanja

    Iron-man 2 was retread – Marvel is starting to swallow their own bull about their 'vision' – have they forgotten the so-so reception for Incredible Hulk?
    Toy Story 3 was also re-tread – great fun to watch but it didn't linger in the memory like TS 2.
    Inception very well executed but again it disappeared up it's own backside for cleverness. But I feel geekdom is bestowing too much love on this one. Remember Donnie Darko? All the different time-travel stuff people came out with – that is until the director did his cut & screwed it all up. & everyone realized they'd over-analyzed it:)

    The best thing I saw was the Swedish version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – now that's class. Don't wait for the English version – hunt down the original.

  • Ziggy

    Any article that dismisses Toy Story 3 as this one does is automatically invalid.

  • Not Harrison Ford

    Yeah you are way overlooking Toy Story 3, Iron Man 2 wasn't perfect but there was a lot of good to be found and I really fail to see how people don't love the A-Team. Great comedies too like Dinner for Schmucks, Cyrus and Kids are All Right.

  • SeanX

    The problem is even more simple. The majority of movies just sucked. People aren't going to go to a bad movie here in Great Depression 2. Another unwanted sequel.

    Toy Story 3, Inception, and Scott Pilgrim were the only movies I really liked this summer. And Pilgrim is a huge flop. Fanboys like us saw it. There just aren't enough of us to open an obscure character like that.

    The sequels, save for Toy Story, were dull or awful. Iron Man 2 was just dull. An action movie with NO ACTION for the first hour. A dull bad guy who clearly didn't want to be in the movie. The less said about Shrek the better.

  • Allen

    See I thought this summer's movie season was much better then last year's. Scott Pilgrim and Inception were awesome movies that weren't sequels, Iron Man 2, and Toy Story 3 were both great sequels, Despicable Me was a good original film. Predators was a fun reboot, and the Expendables didn't completely suck (nor was it all that great).

    Compare that to last year when I saw the crap that was GI Joe and Transformers 2 with only Up and District 9 to make it any better, I will gladly take this “lull” of a movie season myself.

  • NInjazilla

    Your crazy, Toy story 3 is easily the best film of the year so far

  • JJ HM

    inception and toy story 3 were the only great and enjoyable films of all those crap films this summer

  • Jimmy Quentin Trapp

    It comes down to the fact that people love the continuation of a story. With TV making more and more series that are angst driven and “soap opera” like, movies are beginning to follow that trend as well. People want to see the next chapter in the story and film is embracing that aspect hard core.

  • Jimmy Quentin Trapp

    Any comment that dismisses a person opinion purely based on one aspect is automatically consider insignificant.

  • BDJ1

    Apparently,your zest for movies,or lack of come from something you're missing. Ironman2 and Toy Story 3 were very good movies. A lot of the other movies you mentioned,you might have slight point about. But it all comes down to what a person's taste are…….Besides,couldn't you wait until the new television series come out,before you bad mouth them?

  • whocares

    That was the most awkward comment on the whole thread.

  • Brad Rzanka

    What I find interesting about this summer's movie season, is how many sequels, remakes and adaptations flopped or under-performed financially, while many films based on original concepts (Inception, Despicable Me, Salt, The Expendables) far exceeded industry box office expectations. I hope Hollywood has taken note; it could be a good sign.

  • Drew Melbourne

    Inception and Scott Pilgrim both left me cold. (Okay, but ultimately disappointing.) Toy Stoy 3 isn't just one of the best movies that's come out this Summer, it's arguably one of the best movies of the past few years.

  • http://twitter.com/mmeans68 mmeans68

    I happened to like The A-Team and Iron Man 2. It's all a matter of taste. I will agree that 'exhaustion' played a role in where I plunked down my movie dollar this summer. My exhaustion, though, was from over exposure. With all the advertising and internet gushing over Scott Pilgrim, I had no desire to see it. I still don't. Same for Kick-Ass….I just saw it from Netflix and was so glad I didn't pay to see it at the movies. Again, a matter of tastes.

    To predict the end of the superhero movie is extremely premature and ditto for the new t.v. season.

    I think it's just you.

  • Wayne

    I liked Iron Man 2 and Toy Story 3 – and any demeaning them being for 'sequels', well, that just sounds a bit foolish. But overall it's been a pretty lackluster summer and you're not alone in noticing it. It seems like we get 'waiting' years, now. All the REALLY cool stuff will hit next year and the studios are putting their efforts towards that. Then the year after that will probably be somewhat lacking, as it takes two years or so to gear up for the follow-ups or new franchises.

    I can't answer as to TV. I watch so little TV that I can't really comment. As far as 'familiar', well, when we do get smart interesting different shows the first thing people do is start a cancellation countdown.

  • Wha'eva

    No it's just you. Your opinion shouldn't be forced on anyone. I'm not saying you did, but this article is just a opinion. And please remember that going to the movies is getting to be too expense, why go a see a film that will be on DVD in a few months?
    That's if you don't get a bootleg the week it comes out.
    No trips to movies are few and far between, sometimes I wait on word of month from friends.
    And that has saved me a lot aggravation.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IVGIFWS4T7KPZO7E3EANJCWAPQ Louis-Philippe

    You're right.

  • Alekesam

    I've been thinking about thismyself lately. I honestly don't think it's solely Hollywood at fault here. It's society itself. It's staggering how many forms of entertainment competing for our money and attention is thrown at us every second compared to even 15 years ago. Society is getting faster and faster to the point that the Well of Creativity can't keep up with the demand for the next big thing. Next Big Things don't even have a chance to be properly appreciated because before the last NBT is even over, we're being prepped for the NEW NBT. And we're going to keep getting lemons until Hollywood starts favoring quality over quantity.

  • Fjdeangelo

    I think the reviewer's criticism of Toy Story 3 isn't that it's a bad movie, but that it's not a new concept. Yet, I feel that's an unfair criticism, since some properties work quite well as series. Toy Story 3 was by far my favorite movie of the summer, because I knew these characters and I felt for them. That's something I didn't get from Inception. I think perhaps the reason why it feels like nothing is new, especially for those of us comic book fans, is because all these characters we read about every month are being transplanted to the silver screen. It's nothing new for us to see Iron Man fight Whiplash. For the general movie going public, ongoing superhero stories are new to them.

  • Talisonpulido

    What was wrong with Shrek Forever After, it was way better than Shrek the Third. Iron Man 2 wasn't as perfect as the first, but was still very enjoyable. Kick Ass was great, A-Team was fun, Green Zone was underrated, Karate Kid was a gem. Even Robin Hood was solid, even if I expect more from Ridley Scott. I don't know what point he was trying to make about District 9 but that movie was overrated garbage.

  • Mdk

    It's the final death a creativity. What else do you expect when the money men and penny pinchers completely take over an industry and consolidate it?

  • http://twitter.com/Giggaheim The Giggaheim Museum

    I'm with you for the most part. Summer Blockbusters are my favorite films to watch for pure escapism. Sure, I like the art films, but it's the blockbusters in the summer that make me excited about movies, and make me wish I worked at ILM or WETA. Last summer was chock-full of great films, but this summer did seem to pass along quietly, and I have a hard time remembering what came out.

  • http://cverso.blogspot.com Esteban Pedreros

    I think they've been gone for a while now, maybe a couple of decades. Every once in a while you get a big movie that's interesting. But If you are looking for good cinema in Blockbusters you are competely lost.

  • The Patent Dragon

    Iron Man 2? Check. Toy Story 3? Check. Inception? Check…

    Errrr, no, sorry. Think that's about it. I will go and see Avatar Special Edition, but that may be all until Dawn Treader and Tron Legacy. After that, roll on 2011!

  • WeaponX

    I agree with Wha'eva's comment. This article is purely opinion. It's probably a minority opinion at that. How can you put 'Scott Pilgrim' in a sentence that talks about “uber-blockbusters”? You mentioned that 'Salt' failed to set the box alight? I agree that it wasn't a runaway hit, but the movie has made almost $110 Million to date and Scott Pilgrim won't even come close to half that when its run is finished. Then you go off and say that the “we’re reaching the end of the superhero trend”? Is that why we have X-Men: First Class, Thor, Captain America, Green Lantern (and its sequel), the Avengers, and another Batman in production? Studios wouldn't be investing hundreds of millions of dollars in superhero movies if fan interest is weakening. You also can't use the Green Hornet to back up your opinion. Yes, that movies is being moved back of because of the negative buzz it carries but that's more about the actor (Seth Rogen in an action role is a big mistake) and not the property itself. So just because Seth Rogen in a lead action role caused Sony to push the film back doesn't mean studios are giving up/backing off comic book movies.

  • Brian from Canada

    Not cynical or jaded — just TOTALLY not getting it.

    Blockbuster cinema requires getting the most profit out of the shortest window because of the level of competition. In order to get the most profit, you need the most ticket sales. And to get the most ticket sales, you offer people something that they want vs something that they don't know — because most times out of 10, people will choose what's safest.

    Iron Man 2, Robin Hood, A-Team, Scott Pilgrim, Toy Story 3, etc. are all “safe” choices. We know the characters, we know the basic concept, and if we don't then we've heard about it.

    Even Salt, Inception and The Expendables are safe choices: Salt is the latest Angelina Jolie action flick a la Wanted and Tomb Raider using the basic plot of deception we've already seen; Inception promoted itself totally on being by the guy who did Memento — a trick flick — and the dark Dark Knight, starring the guy from that other shocker Shutter Island; and The Expendables are all action stars doing what action stars do.

    So your basic conception that there SHOULD be originality falls totally on its ass. That's what Oscar season is for, in December.

    As for the quality of movies that made it out this summer, that's a different thing. THAT has to do with Hollywood hype and bought off critics (of which most of them are) who laud over films that just aren't worth more than a simple video rental. Or, they do the Dark Knight thing and read sooooo much into it that you have to wonder if you're actually seeing the right film. And since it's become all about performance at the box office rather than performance with audiences, every time one doesn't reach the imaginary goal then it's considered a “bomb.”

    Dark Knight made huge numbers, Avatar made huge numbers, and now they're looking to make the next big numbers film without realizing that a middle-level film will last longer.

    Case in point one: last year, Transformers 2 was declared best film of the year based on ticket sales, but by Christmas the best film had become Star Trek because critics were realizing that the comments on Transformers 2 were generally becoming negative in retrospect.

    Case in point two: any Oscar winner over the last 20 years, which has most of the time been forgotten compared to other films released that same year.

    Moving a movie date to an off-season period — like Green Hornet into January — may carry negative connotations, but it also suggests that the summer numbers expected aren't even remotely possible for this movie, which will do better compared to lower expectations. Machete is coming out in September, but I expect it will be just as enjoyable as any other time in the year and so will any of the other movies I choose to give my hard-earned cash for.

    As for TV, don't forget as well that advertisers prefer the safe over the original most of the time because it has a better expectation of numbers, and you're investing big dollars you can't get back. Would you spend $100,000 on an ad campaign during #1 show NCIS or #250 reality show? Who's going to get more people seeing the ad and knowing your product??

    Where the key is lies in HOW you take the concept and go with it. Capes is already open about not wanting to repeat the same mistakes Heroes made. Castle is a remake of a British series and going off in its own direction. Even Stargate: Universe, third series in the franchise, has its own distinct presence on television compared to the other series on SyFy and the other Stargates.

    Movies are made to be enjoyed. If you enjoyed it, it's not disappointing. If you didn't, ask yourself what you were expecting out of it and you may find your answer as to why you think it sucked.

  • Brian from Canada

    By the way, just in case someone was wondering, I didn't think Inception was great as a story (cool effects though!), but thought that this summer had some very entertaining films like The Expendables, A-Team, Iron Man 2 (though there were structural problems forced on it by not knowing what Avengers would do), Scott Pilgrim and Twilight: Eclipse (which was much better than I ever expected).

    And for a blogger who seems to care about film, why not mention this summer's BIGGEST stinker of all, Sex & The City 2? Saying it's amazing they made something so bad is giving it the best praise possible. :-|

  • BlueSpider

    This article seems to yearn for the 'glory days' of summer blockbusters, but really, when the f**k where those days? Please tell me because I can't remember 'em…

    Yeah, every now and then you get a behemoth movie like Terminator 2, Jurrasic Park, the first Matrix, blah blah – but one 'actually decent' blockbuster per year is more than I've ever expected from Hollywood since I was a teenager

  • Sylar Wesker

    How about putting the summer movies…in the summer, not april or may

  • noiamspartacus

    I just realized this is the first year I've been enjoying television more than Hollywood. Breaking Bad, Dexter, Fringe, Survivors (on BBC), Justified, True Blood and Spartacus (admittedly, the last two are campy, but great fun and audacious) all have better acting and plots than any of the summer movies. And Walking Dead on AMC in October!