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Five Movies to Get You Pumped for Summer

The blockbuster season is nigh. That statement can be as foreboding or as hopeful as you wish depending on your appreciation for mind-numbing explosions and excessive FX. Even if you pledge to the former camp and plan on avoiding the multiplex until Awards season rolls around once again, Player Affinity will jump back to five films that should at least get the most jaded of movie-goers into the mood. Superheroes, fast cars and aliens aplenty — this season has them all.


What better way to start off our countdown than with the original blockbuster, the film that essentially coined the term and forever changed the hottest months of the year into Hollywood's time to put most of their proverbial eggs into one basket. Jaws, Steven Spielberg’s inaugural masterpiece, to this day remains a favorite of movie-lovers everywhere and still has the power to make anybody afraid of the deep blue sea. In many ways Jaws speaks to a time when an “event” movie could rise to the occasion not because of excessive GCI and a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, but with innovation, atmosphere and simple ambition. These days, hasty 3-D conversions and $200-million budgets are what constitute a blockbuster season, and though there are some sufficient offerings each year, it is better to remember the classic roots of the season and take some of the most recent offerings with a grain of salt. 

jaws pic

The Incredibles

The original Toy Story or the first Shrek are good substitutes for The Incredibles if you are so inclined, but they all have several things in common: energy, humor and wonderful animation. Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Cars 2 are the three animated flicks on the docket this summer (sequel fever is not discriminatory of genre) all from rival animation houses and all following-up debut hits in their respective franchises. The Incredibles is one of the best from the latter studio, Pixar, and certainly has the “feel” of a summer movie with the superhero angle, fiery actions sequences and plenty of tongue-in-cheek satirical humor. Frankly, if I was craving any sequel from Pixar it would be The Incredibles 2, but I digress. Overall, the second generation of animation (CGI over hand-drawn that is) has taken a step forward with DreamWorks upping their game to rival the aforementioned Disney subsidiary. Summer wouldn’t be complete without some animated fare and The Incredibles remains one of the greatest of all time and requisite viewing to prepare for May and beyond. 


The Rock

Before Michael Bay was a punch line, the former music video director actually had some far-reaching success (for Michael Bay) with the low-budget Bad Boys (an oxymoron when coupled with the man’s fare today) and The Rock which gave him his big break. That 1996 teaming of Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage remains his best reviewed movie and even his leagues of haters usually admit to enjoying this action-packed buddy film. Like it or not (like him or not), Bay is now a staple of the summer movie season and as long as his films continue to rake in oodles of moola he is not going to go gently into that good night. His third installment of the "Transformers" series assaults theatres and our senses on the first of July and despite continued self-deprecating comments to myself, his amazingly cut trailers have again made me interested. But if you (unlike me and unlike many) have no desire to leave the theatre deaf, pop in The Rock and get your mindless action fix in the safety of your own home.

the rock

Independence Day

The second king of mindless FX-bombarding mayhem, Mr. Rolland Emmerich, purveyor of such blockbusters as The Day After Tomorrow, Godzilla and 2012, started his mainstream success off right with the alien invasion classic Independence Day. Also a 1996 offering, this Will Smith-headlined genre flick combined state-of-the-art computer graphics with models and real pyrotechnics. While bloated, silly at more than one time and far from a good movie in the traditional sense, it is great fun. It's one of the highest-grossing movies of all time and helped to pioneer the modern alien invasion flicks. Cowboys & Aliens and Super 8 add to the ever-expanding list of recent things-from-another-planet films and both seem to have a great chance at monetary and critical success considering the talent involved in both. So in preparation for two possible new classics, go back a decade or so and revisit some alien-fuelled destruction of old. Welcome to Earth. 

independence day

Hot Fuzz

The summer wouldn’t be compete without some popcorn-choking larfs, but seeing as this is the season for explosions let’s go with a movie that embraces both genres. Actor Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s second teaming with Brit director Edgar Wright arguably trumped their first effort, Shaun of the Dead, in genre-deconstructing havoc while existing as a tidy little action flick of its own. And let’s be honest, any movie that references Bad Boys II is alright in my books. The Friedberg/Seltzer brand of spoofs will simply not die, so to get cerebral satires like Hot Fuzz is a blessing times two. While we don’t have any comedies this summer in that same vein, The Hangover Part II, Bad Teacher and Horrible Bosses all have breakout potential combining the raunch that seems to have been re-appreciated as of late, with great casts and writers. I love to watch warring wizards as much as the next guy but that can’t replace the need for hearty chuckles.



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