But that’s at the end of the summer. For now you’ve got the fifth “Fast and Furious” and the fourth “Scream.” Soon you’ll have a second “Hangover,” a second “Kung Fu Panda,” a fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean,” a fourth “X-men,” and a third “Transformers.” Not to mention the l-a-s-t Harry Potter. Somehow all of these follow-up films feel like all ice and no soda, the straw scrapping the bottom of a polystyrene collector cup, sucking air. Emphasis on suck. Are we really supposed to get excited about the same stuff over and over and over again? Yes. Yes we are, because historically we do. We are so predictable. The first lesson in PR and / or Advertising 101 is plain and simple: “The masses are asses.” And maybe it’s genetic.
What’s worse though is this crop of forgettable films is going to be some one’s first date, some one’s first kiss, some one’s perhaps only summer movie experience. I can speak to this, because you see, gentle reader, I’ve been there. Back in ’98 on a road trip through Hollywood, determined to catch a matinee at Grauman’s Chinese Theater I endured a screening of (wait for it) “Lethal Weapon 4.” Now maybe you can’t place the fourth in this franchise, but I really only need to offer it was the one with Chris Rock. ‘Nuff said. No more weapons that might be considered lethal ever appeared after that. Ever. Again. The less-than-memorable movie event is of course not owned sequels. Why, just last summer on yet another road trip, this time through the Pacific Northwest, I popped over to Port Townsend for an evening at The Wheel-In-Motor Drive-In. Why? Because it’s a drive-in! The experience was fantastic save the cinematic fare on hand. A double bill. “Get Him To The Greek” and (expedited cough) “The A-Team.” (pause) Can I get an amen?
My love of summertime celluloid transcends the medium. Clearly, I will watch anything, as it’s usually the venue that usually gets my attention first. Which is why back in the summer of ’01 I sat through yet another mediocre double bill at yet another awesome drive-in, this time in Wellfleet, MA. My friends, I sat through “Joe Dirt” followed promptly by “Josie & The Pussycats.” At least the former can boast a cameo by Kid Rock, but I digress. So you see, these are the summer movie experiences. Visiting places not my home and watching how the locals might watch. (Conversely if you are only passing through New Orleans and you don’t catch something, anything, at The Prytania, then frankly you’ve shortchanged yourself.) My best drive-in experience though (because there has to be one right?) was summer ’07 in rural Pennsylvania I treated the wife and kids to an evening at The Becky and we soaked in “The Simpsons Movie.” It drizzled a bit, my kids played on the swingset before the show, and it was pretty memorable.
So do I think the mighty hammer of “Thor” will save us from the prospective doldrums on the horizon? Meh. Will the power ring of “Green Lantern” one-two punch its way into America’s heart? Could be. And can Captain America’s super soldier serum ward off the hours we will age while feeding on the eye candy before us? Guffaw, no. Ladies and gentlemen, glass half full if you must, but this is as good as it gets in the mainstream. So lap it up or at least seek out a destination to make the CGI before you taste less like MSG. I for one will be trekking back to The Wheel-In-Motor for whatever may be on the menu, and I think this season will fare just fine. Just so long as Liam Neeson isn’t mugging on an 80s staple as was dished out last go a la the cigar chomping Hannibal. Groan. That plan didn’t quite come together.
Jean-Paul Villere is the owner of Villere Realty and the Du Mois gallery on Freret Street and father of four girls. In addition to his Wednesday column at UptownMessenger.com, he also writes an occasional real-estate blog at villererealty.com and shares his family’s adventures via pedicab on Facebook and Twitter.