SUMMER’S HEROES: Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water and Chris Evans in Captain America: Civil War and (Photos: HoHW: CBS Films; CA:CW: Marvel & Disney)
It’s that time of year, when the weather unfortunately begins to chill and we can look back on the summer movie season with some context. Here, then, are some of the seasonal highlights and low points.
Best Impersonation: Ryan Gosling as Lou Costello in The Nice Guys. It’s only for one scene, but Gosling beautifully captures the sputtering routine beloved by Abbott & Costello fans everywhere.
Worst Impersonation: Jared Leto as David Bowie in Suicide Squad. In interviews, Leto said he based his performance as The Joker on the mannerisms of the late Bowie. But there’s so little of the rock legend (like, 0%) in his portrayal that he might as well have stated he based his performance on Donald Trump or Mr. T or even Betty White.
Most Logical Marquee Double Feature: Lights Out and The Darkness.
Most Logical Marquee Triple Feature: Weiner, Wiener-Dog and Sausage Party.
Best Juvenile Performance: Angourie Rice (15 years old) in The Nice Guys. Runner-up: Julian Dennison (13 years old) in Hunt for the Wilderpeople.
Best Double Play: Chris Pine, heroic in Star Trek Beyond and tormented in Hell or High Water. Runner-up: Bill Hader, likably cynical in Maggie’s Plan and delivering the best vocal turn in The Angry Birds Movie.
Most Critically Overrated: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. This weak comedy starring Andy Samberg, a mockumentary a la This Is Spinal Tap, boasts a 77% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But why?
Most Commercially Underrated: The Nice Guys. It’s hard to find anybody who’s seen this movie who didn’t like it, but it’s even harder to find many people who’ve seen it in the first place. It deserved better than a $36 million domestic take; perhaps like writer-director Shane Black’s previous picture, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it will garner more fans via DVD.
Best Legs: Bad Moms. This big-screen sitcom opened decently ($23.8 million) but probably should have tapped out around $70-$75 million, based on average week-to-week drops. But favorable word-of-mouth, particularly among older female audiences often underserved by Hollywood, has resulted in a sleeper hit that’s about to cross $100 million at the box office.
Worst Legs: Warcraft. This fantasy flick opened with $24.1 million, not a shabby number except for the fact that the film cost $160 million. But with the gamers all having seen it that initial weekend, the box office plummeted a disastrous 70% in its second weekend (most acceptable drops range from 35% to 45%), and its final haul of $47 million marks it as a colossal bomb stateside. (Luckily for the studio, it crushed the international box office.)
Most Forgotten Summer Movie: Money Monster. This George Clooney-Julia Roberts drama opened on May 13, but doesn’t it feel like it came out somewhere around October 2012?
Best Villain: The shark, The Shallows. Runner-up: Zemo (Daniel Brühl), Captain America: Civil War.
Worst Villain: Enchantress (Cara Delevingne), Suicide Squad. Runner-up: En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), X-Men: Apocalypse.
Most Insufferable On-Screen Character: Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter in Alice Through the Looking Glass. Depp was only slightly tolerable in the first picture, but by now giving his character a name (Tarrant Hightopp) and a backstory, he’s become unbearable. Runner-up: Sacha Baron Cohen as Time in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Most Insufferable Off-Screen Characters: The misogynistic MRAs and insecure fanboys protesting the casting of (gasp!) women in Ghostbusters. Get a life, losers.
Best Kick-Ass Heroine: Jaylah (Sofia Boutella) in Star Trek Beyond. Runner-up: The quartet (Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones) of Ghostbusters.
Worst Lame-Ass Heroine: April O’Neil (Megan Fox) in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Runner-up: Alice (Mia Wasikowska) in Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Biggest Surprise: The Shallows. Runner-up: Pete’s Dragon.
Biggest Disappointment: X-Men: Apocalypse. Runner-up: The BFG.
Best Tag Line: “Saving the world takes a little Hart and a big Johnson” — Central Intelligence.
Most Unforgettable Line of Dialogue (for better or worse): “I wouldn’t recommend getting in the Jacuzzi. It’s a smoothie of old-man semen.” — Charlie (Barry Humphries) in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie.
Best Scene-Stealer: Kate McKinnon in Ghostbusters. Runners-up: Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters; Simon Helberg in Florence Foster Jenkins.
Most Dynamic Duo: Bob (Dwayne Johnson) and Calvin (Kevin Hart) in Central Intelligence.
Least Dynamic Duo: Rocksteady (Sheamus) and Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows.
Movie I’m Most Sorry to Have Missed In Theaters: Kubo and the Two Strings. This critically acclaimed picture hails from LAIKA, the studio responsible for past animated gems like Coraline and ParaNorman. At least I now have something to anticipate on Blu-ray. Runners-up: Don’t Think Twice; Southside with You.
Movie I’m Least Sorry to Have Missed In Theaters: Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party. The latest from convicted felon, accused adulterer and all-around tool Dinesh D’Souza. Runners-up: Ice Age: Collision Course; War Dogs.
Best Performances (Alphabetically): Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash; Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins; Blake Lively, The Shallows; Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins.
Worst Performances (Alphabetically): Jai Courtney, Suicide Squad; Ben Foster, Warcraft; Liam Hemsworth, Independence Day: Resurgence; Joel Kinnaman, Suicide Squad. (It should be noted that Foster redeemed himself later with a solid turn in Hell or High Water.)
Worst Film (Wide): Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Who’s down for some turtle soup? Runner-up: Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Worst Film (Limited): Swiss Army Man. At last, an art-house flick for fratboys! Runner-up: None.
Best Film (Wide): Captain America: Civil War. The summer kicked off with this marvel at the multiplexes, and then it was mostly downhill after that. Runner-up: Star Trek Beyond.
Best Film (Limited): Hell or High Water. A compelling narrative, complex characters, morally ambiguous situations — are we sure this was a summer movie? Runner-up: Maggie’s Plan.
Top 15 Moneymakers
1. Finding Dory — $479 million
2. Captain America: Civil War — $407 million
3. The Secret Life of Pets — $354 million
4. Suicide Squad — $286 million
5. X-Men: Apocalypse — $155 million
6. Star Trek Beyond — $151 million
7. Jason Bourne — $150 million
8. Central Intelligence — $127 million
9. The Legend of Tarzan — $125 million
10. Ghostbusters — $125 million
11. The Angry Birds Movie — $107 million
12. Independence Day: Resurgence — $102 million
13. The Conjuring 2 — $102 million
14. Bad Moms — $97 million
15. Sausage Party — $82 million
Top 10 Indie/Specialty Moneymakers
(Less than 1,600 theaters)
1. Florence Foster Jenkins — $20 million
2. The Infiltrator — $15 million
3. Love & Friendship — $13 million
4. That nonsensical movie from that convicted felon — $12 million
5. Café Society — $10 million
6. Hell or High Water — $9 million
7. The Lobster — $8 million
8. Captain Fantastic — $5 million
9. Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie — $4 million
10. Hunt for the Wilderpeople — $4 million
Biggest Stateside Bombs
(Domestic losses of $50+ million)
1. Warcraft — Cost: $160 million; gross: $47 million; loss of $113 million
2. Alice Through the Looking Glass — Cost: $170 million; gross: $77 million; loss of $93 million
3. The BFG — Cost: $140 million; gross: $54 million; loss of $86 million
4. Ben-Hur — Cost: $100 million; gross: $21 million; loss of $79 million
5. Independence Day: Resurgence — Cost: $165 million; gross: $102 million; loss of $63 million
6. The Legend of Tarzan — Cost: $180 million; gross: $125 million; loss of $55 million
7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows — Cost: $135 million; gross: $81 million; loss of $54 million
(Source: Box Office Mojo. All grosses are for U.S. only. Grosses as of Sept. 1.)