Look Back in Ange…Apathy

So, that was the summer, being widely called the worst season for movies since whenever the last really-bad spell was. Time to move on, and see what the Christmas season is likely to offer…but first, let’s ‘fess up and see how our May predictions held up, based on the critical and/or financial success of our picks.

May (2 out of 4)

  • Sure thing: The Mummy Returns. $201.5m – any questions?
  • What we’re looking forward to: Shrek. Look, I’m sorry…
  • Dodgy ground: A Knight’s Tale. Rating a surprisingly decent 6.7/10 in the Internet Movie Database.
  • Please bomb…please bomb: Pearl Harbor. Normally, $195.5m wouldn’t count as a bomb, but when you’re the most expensive film ever greenlighted, it’s not enough.

June (3 out of 4)

  • Sure thing: A.I. Artifical Intelligence. No laughing at the back, please.
  • What we’re looking forward to: Tomb Raider. Well, I liked it.
  • Dodgy ground: Evolution. Painful, obvious and very dull, much as expected.
  • Please bomb…please bomb: Swordfish. Failed to cover its budget, despite Halle’s breasts.

July (3 out of 4)

  • Sure thing: Planet of the Apes. $173m and still going. Say what you like about the ending (“it sucked”, perhaps?), it certainly got people going back again.
  • What we’re looking forward to: Final Fantasy. Despite bombing spectacularly (taking $105m less than it cost), we’ll be first in line for the DVD.
  • Dodgy ground: Scary Movie 2. A $71m gross is less than half the original’s.
  • Please bomb…please bomb: Jurassic Park III. With a $176m take, the franchise is unfortunately not extinct.

August (2 out of 4)

  • Sure thing: Rush Hour 2. We say: one of the worst of the year. The box-office says: $200m.
  • What we’re looking forward to: Rollerball. Pushed back from August to February 2002 and will be cut to a PG-13. No longer eagerly anticipated.
  • Dodgy ground: American Pie 2. Revved up past $125m, breaking the string of R-rated comedy flops.
  • Please bomb…please bomb: Ghosts of Mars. Will be lucky to take $10m. Carpenter now batting 0-for-6.

Making my tally for the summer season ten out of 16, which is not that much better than sticking pins in at random. Mind you, it’s probably not all that much worse than studio executives do, since they will insist on continuing to employ John Carpenter. Is he their drug connection or something?

Anyway, we continue undaunted. Here’s a look at what’s coming up between now and Christmas.


Sure thing: Award withheld. Looking at the release schedules, I see nothing until November to get the masses queuing at the multiplex. Training Day with Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke might do it, as might Bandits (Willis and Thornton), but it looks a lean spell.

What we’re looking forward to: From Hell (October 19) – Johnny Depp has come a long way since Cry-baby, and while some of his career choices might be questionable, he does have an eye for interesting movies. And having worked in Jack the Ripper’s territory for ten years, we have a fondness for such flicks.

Dodgy ground: Collateral Damage (October 5) – “Arnie is regular guy fire-fighter stalking the terrorist who killed his family”. Deja-vu? Fifteen years ago, this’d have been a massive video hit, but Schwarzenegger seems to have lost it badly recently.

Please bomb…please bomb: Zoolander (September 28) – Inspired by a skit Ben Stiller did for the VH1 Fashion Awards. Need I say any more?


Sure thing: Monsters, Inc. (November 2) – Disney’s animation reputation took a bad hit with Atlantis, which was seriously out-Shrek‘d. But the toy-boys of Pixar are back, and the results should be massive.

What we’re looking forward to: Brotherhood of the Wolf (November 2) – A French cross between Predator and The Howling starring Eurasian martial artist Mark Dacascos? It’s a million-to-one shot, but it just might work…

Dodgy ground: The Black Knight (November 21) – Martin Lawrence goes back in time to King Arthur’s Court. Oh, hold my aching sides…

Please bomb…please bomb: Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone (November 16) – I see so much Potter merchandise sitting on the “50% Off” shelf already, it’s clear this one has missed the boat. Last year’s biggest hit may be as much use as a new Pokemon movie.


Sure thing: Fellowship of the Ring (December 19) – Compare and contrast Jackson’s expert handling of publicity with the Lucas-botch for Send in the Clones (or whatever it’s called). This will be huge, whether or not it’s any good – and I think it may well be.

What we’re looking forward to: The Time Machine (Christmas) – Guy Pearce starred in Memento, the only intelligent movie to hit the multiplexes this year. Hopefully, this will prove an equally intelligent reworking of the classic SF story.

Dodgy ground: Ocean’s Eleven (December 7) – George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts. I guess Steven Soderbergh has tired of making innovative and original films, opting instead to remake an old Frank Sinatra movie.

Please bomb…please bomb: Vanilla Sky (December 14) – Both stars and the director all have names that start with CR – Cruise, Cruz and Crowe, and given the egos possessed, it wouldn’t surprise me if the result can be summed up starting with CR as well.