Lex's Corner / Movies / Random

My Take on the Biggest Box Office Hits of the Summer

A lot of people are complaining that the summer movie season of 2013 wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. And…that’s where I have to disagree.

While there were definitely some lackluster movies that found their way into the summer spotlight, there were some wonderful entries and surprises that swooped down to make the summer a great one. So, after coming across several “top movie hits and misses” of the summer lists from the likes of people like Forbes and E! News, I decided to add my input to the matter.

Here are my top five box office hits of the summer:

1. This is the End

After being utterly disappointed by The Hangover Part IIII had almost given up hope on the idea of a good summer comedy and was pleasantly surprised when This is the End dropped into theaters.

Granted, it shouldn’t have surprised me all that much. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were the masterminds behind this movie and they had previously proved their comedic genius with movies like Superbad and Pineapple Express and continue to enjoy a huge amount of success because of this.

Bringing it back to This is the End, even though apocalyptic movies can get a bit tiring to sit through, this one was wonderfully refreshing and hilarious and the fact that Seth Rogen and company were playing fictionalized versions of themselves made it all the more better. Some people might complain that the movie was too gory and all, but I am all for excessive violence as long as it has a point, which it did. I mean, there has to be a method to the madness right?

But there was a point. So, deal with it.

Anyways, I found the film’s focus on the strong, yet strained friendship between Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel to be genuine and compelling and I thoroughly enjoyed laughing at the on-screen deaths and appearances of many stars including Channing TatumRihannaEmma WatsonMindy KalingKevin Hart, and many others. On top of that, the respective deaths of Jonah Hill and James Franco in particular were sights to behold.

And I have to award bonus points to Rogen and Goldberg for ending the film with an appearance from the Backstreet Boys.

2. Fast and Furious 6

I have to admit that a couple of years back. I thought this franchise was bound to go down the toilet at one point. However, after this movie and its predecessor Fast FiveI am not so sure about that anymore. And for that, we should be thanking Justin Lin.

Moving on, this past summer, Fast and Furious 6 served up what most people expect in a summer movie. It had plenty of action, its characters were engaging and very believable, and it had you super-pumped for life after you left the theater.

Let’s go race our cars and blow up sh*t and sh*t.

In this movie, the idea of family was emphasized and we saw Dom (Vin Diesel) and his crew go to crazy ass lengths to try to preserve this idea by attempting to rescue rogue crew member Letty (Michelle Rodriguez). With excellent performances turned in by Luke Evans, (who played a villain in this movie), and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, (who is apparently now known as “the reviver” of all franchises), the stakes felt extremely high and this in itself resulted in a good and fun movie.

What makes this movie (and this entire franchise) endearing and fun is the fact that it doesn’t take itself that seriously. If you’ve seen the Fast and Furious movies, you know that physics apparently don’t apply in this universe and sometimes, weird sh*t happens that doesn’t get addressed until way later. (In light of the latter statement, I urge you not to get too attached to Han). But regardless of all of this, The Fast and Furious franchise takes it all in stride and continues to what it does best: entertain.

3. World War Z

This by far was the most surprising hit for me. Don’t me wrong. I wasn’t expecting the movie to flop or anything, but World War Z had been stuck in development hell for a while.

Just to illustrate why this movie could have gone either way, consider the fact that filming on this movie began back in July 2011 and ending up moving from Malta, to Glasgow and Budapest in less than three months. It was originally set to premiere June 2012, but after a bunch of development f*ckery took place, it was moved back to December 2012. The movie had to be moved back to Budapest for an extra seven weeks of shooting. Fast forward almost six months and World War Z timidly debuted in theaters and ended up knocking the socks off of mostly everyone.

It was a sleeper hit and I take my hat of to the production/development/film team that made it happen. It was definitely not an easy feat.

Anyways, in World War Z, we are once again hit with the idea of a zombie outbreak, but the movie finds a way to offer a fresh spin on it. In this film, the idea of a zombie outbreak is shown in the vein of the outbreak being the result of an extremely prevalent virus. Add this with the fact that the zombies are as fast, as dangerous, and as unpredictable as those of Zombieland and you are in for quite the treat (and scare too).

Welp. I guess I should be working on my cardio.

Also, Brad Pitt turns in an awesome performance as the film’s protagonist, former UN employee Gerry Lane, and will have you cheering for him as he fights to get back to his family and discovers an interesting and (surprisingly new) way to stop the zombie outbreak. So, it’s no surprise that World War Z ultimately did very well at the box office.

4. Despicable Me 2

Let it be known that I hate sequels. Period.

Unless there was a trilogy or series of movies planned from the jump, most of the sequels I’ve seen have been unnecessary at best. However, I do admit that some sequels end up surprising me and proving this notion wrong and one of those sequels happen to be Despicable 2.

I blame them.

Despicable 2 sees former supervillain Gru joining up with the AVL (anti-Villain league) to stop El Macho and serving as a devoted dad to his adopted children Margo, Edith and Agnes. In between stopping El Macho, rescuing his minions, and dealing with his new hero anti-hero status, Gru also manages to find some time to fall in love with undercover AVL agent Lucy Wilde.

I will say no more than that, lest I spoil the cuteness that was this movie.

Anyways, the movie proves to be just as fun, adorable, and enthralling as the first and it served to be a very welcome addition to the summer roster.

Having Pharell make some music for your movie obviously doesn’t hurt either.

5. The Conjuring

Scary movies usually aren’t my cup of tea for a number of reasons, the first and foremost being bogged down with various and tiring clichés (i.e splitting up a group for no reason, asking “who’s there” as if the killer will answer, too much f*cking falling, and etc). However, James Wan’s The Conjuring served to do the opposite of these things and performed well at an already crowded summer box office.

The film follows the story of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who happened to be investigators of the supernatural. They get more than they bargained for when they enter the Rhode Island home of the Perron family and discover that their home is one of many that lie on a cursed piece of land. I can’t say much more, lest I give away the entire plot.

Anyways, I found this movie particularly enjoyable because it displayed the return of old-school scares. Modern horror films depend too much on CGI and cheap camera tricks to the point that I am rolling my eyes even when decent characters meet their demise at the hand of whatever they’re running from. Wan was able to deliver a good, old-fashioned horror movie by focusing mainly on mood and sound effects that were appropriate and able to catch even the brave at heart off guard.

Also, bonus points for Wan making good use of that creepy ass Annabelle doll. That thing gave me nightmares.



Honorable Mentions:

– Pacific Rim

I gotta say. I’m still surprised that this movie underwhelmed like it did in US box offices.

With people like Guillermo del Toro and Idris Elba involved, I was expecting this movie to go to work at the box office. Granted, this movie was far from a flop and even gained more traction in Chinese box offices after the fact, but still.

Like Fast and Furious 6, Pacific Rim came off as a very entertaining, fun, and colorful movie that nicely juxtaposed all the other, dark and semi-brooding summer movie entries. And with its cool plot that involved colossal monsters (Kaijus) that migrated from the floor of the Pacific Ocean and made use of gigantic robots (Jaegers) to put down those monsters, it gave off a very nice Anime feel and I thought that was pretty interesting.

Tell me this doesn’t look cool. Exactly. You can’t.

Anyways, I’m still really curious as to why it didn’t smash the box office. Though I acknowledge that the movie had a bit of an issue with the ending and the plot could have been cleaned up some more, it is still a pretty good movie. I mean, with all the complaints about the lack of original pictures hitting the box office these days, I would’ve expected the movie to do better, but hey.

Here’s to hoping that its DVD sales are much better.

– Iron Man 3

I know what you’re thinking: “OMG LEX, YOU’RE SUCH A HATER.”

I’m not insulted.

Anyways, I wasn’t going to completely leave this out of the “hits of the summer” because it obviously cleaned house and beat the hell out of the box office (mostly in a good way of course).

Iron Man 3 started the summer movie season by grossing 1.2 billion worldwide and becoming the fifth, highest-grossing movie of all time. However, most would agree that such accomplishments don’t even mean that much (I am looking at you, Avatar). With all that being said, however, though Iron Man 3 was a good and solid movie, there are a lot of things that kept it from being a great movie in my eyes.

Without giving much away, most people will automatically think that I am talking about the “Mandarin Twist” or whatever, but that wasn’t even the film’s biggest issue. To be honest, the twist was great and shout-out to Marvel for being ballsy as f*ck, but I wasn’t exactly happy with the fact that such a twist left us with an uninspiring and cheesy ass villain. On top of that, an event that happened at the end of the movie actually negated the purpose/existence of Iron Man 2 and made me scratch my head and say: “WTF?”

But seriously.

Even if you didn’t like Iron Man 2, you can’t go acting like it didn’t exist, or you may have a movie-verse on your hands that’s as f*cked (continuity-wise) as Fox’s X-Men Universe.

Yeah. I went there.

I’m that asshole.

Also, the film attempts to show us the adverse affects that the Battle of New York had on protagonist Tony Stark/Iron Man. While I initially liked what Shane Black was trying to do with that, the subject ended up being seriously undermined by the amount of excessive humor that usually followed. I understand that Marvel isn’t going the super-dark-and-intense route that are reminiscent of movies like The Dark Knight or the-soon-to-be-discussed Man of Steel, but come on. Can we try to be serious for like ten seconds?

In the end, this movie could have been so much better, but I will give its due props.

– Man of Steel

Go ahead and hit me with the hater rant again. I frankly don’t give a singular f*ck.

Anyways, if you thought Iron Man 3 was slightly divisive, then Man of Steel was probably polarizing as hell from where you’re standing. To be honest, I was definitely as hyped up for this movie as I was for Iron Man 3. So when I finally saw it, I wasn’t exactly happy with what was presented to me. Granted, even though I had been really excited going into this movie, I went in with a couple of reservations that mainly involved the likes of Zack Snyder and Superman himself. Even though I loved 300 and all, movies like Sucker Punch and Watchmen have me giving Zack Snyder the side-eye these days and Man of Steel was no exception.

Yeah. Feel the side-eye.

As for the subject of Superman, Superman is a hard character to bring to the silver screen because of the utter ridiculousness of this character (He can do everything!). So aside from 1978’s Superman, Supes hadn’t been doing too hot on the big screen.

Moving on, Man of Steel was relegated to the “Honorable Mentions” list for a number of reasons. If you haven’t heard by now, this movie was actually really gray (seriously, not even joking), and was seriously lacking in the joy/fun department. Don’t get me wrong. I understand WB/DC is going for an edgy, dark, and more serious feel, but this movie seriously left me devoid of all hope. I remember seeing the recurring TV spot where Superman/Clark’s family crest was supposed to mean hope and I don’t think the movie conveyed that idea clearly enough.

How I felt leaving Man of Steel.

On top of that, the award-winning cast was criminally underused (save people like Russell Crowe, who completed his badassery quota by delivering sufficient, albeit odd, ass-whoopings as Jor-El) and I am convinced that everyone was talked into severely toning down their appeal and charisma as actors to let Henry Cavill’s Superman stand out. I didn’t hate Cavill’s take, however, and he was actually (and easily) one of the best parts of this movie. 

Also, I won’t even talk about how all of the action played out in this movie. I’ll just politely give Snyder the side-eye and go about my day. However, I am still raging at the fact that Pa Kent (who was destined even from comic book lore to meet his demise at some point in life of young Clark) meets his untimely death in one of the most head-scratching, confusing, and left-field plot cop-outs that I have seen in a very, very long time.

That’s correct.

If you were expecting Pa Kent to be hit with the usual “death-by heart attack” arc, you will be very surprised disappointed.

In the end, Man of Steel placed excessive emphasis on action and as a result, it left the movie severely lacking in substance. However, I’m cutting this movie a bit of slack for successfully (albeit haphazardly) launching a new franchise and giving WB/DC a real shot at assembling their own movie-verse.

And so, my extended, but well-intended movie rant ends.

Here’s to hoping that the summer movie season of 2014 is infinitely better.


Images From: Theurbandaily.com, Keatonmagazine.com


Agree? Disagree? What do you think were the best movies this summer? Sound off below!

3 thoughts on “My Take on the Biggest Box Office Hits of the Summer

  1. Pingback: 4 Movies I’m Looking Forward To This Fall | Sublime Zoo

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  3. Pingback: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ – Did It Live Up To the Hype? | Sublime Zoo

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