Summer Roundup

There were a gazillion movies released this summer, and that's nothing
new because summer is something that Hollywood does better than anyone
else in the world-- thirteen weeks of brassy blockbusters (and
blockbuster wannabes) that are occasionally, sometimes, every-now-and-then
actually worth watching.

Summer 94 proved no exception as the Triangle was deluged with over 40
mainstream movies between Memorial and Labor Day.  There were sequels
and three-quels and Mavericks and wolves; two Arnolds, one king and a
man called Flintstone.  Keanu was here and Woody was there and Tommy Lee
Jones seemed everywhere.  Remakes and updates were par for the course;
one even featured a narrating horse!  Hey, GUMP happens.

Bottom line, a large time had by all.  Or was it?

Despite the much ballyhooed box-office records, the summer season was
failure for a score of fine filmmakers.  Forget the grosses and the
lines and the hype over FORREST GUMP and look back at the movies as you
first saw them.  Were any of them *really* that great?  No.  Good, yes.
Great?  Not quite.

James Cameron came the closest with TRUE LIES-- but even *that* film
needed a little more work.  Remember those awful blue-screen shots in
the limo?  Blame a rushed editing schedule.

Robert Zemeckis, Oliver Stone, Jan DeBont, and Roger Allers and Rob
Minkoff were responsible for the other good films of the summer.  Each
film was flawed, to be sure, but they were hugely entertaining
nonetheless.  Together with Cameron, they marked the "A list" of the
summer and their five films-- TRUE LIES, FORREST GUMP, NATURAL BORN
KILLERS, SPEED, and THE LION KING-- were the ones worth watching.

The rest?  Well.. the rest of the rest were dubious, at best, with the
actors and the material often struggling to overcome the liabilities of
the filmmaker.

Jack Nicholson stole the show in WOLF, despite Mike Nichols's no-clue
approach to monster-movie making.  Mel Gibson didn't seem to mind
Richard Donner's humorless helming of the humorless MAVERICK.  And even
sloppy editing couldn't cancel the charm of Brian Levant's THE

Other directors who squandered their own talent included Michael Lehmann
(AIRHEADS), John Landis (BEVERLY HILLS COP 3), Stephen Hopkins (BLOWN
AWAY), Joel Schumacher (THE CLIENT), Charles Shyer (I LOVE TROUBLE),
Andrew Bergman (IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU), Penelope Spheeris (THE LITTLE
RASCALS), Rob Reiner (NORTH), Russell Mulcahy (THE SHADOW), and, heaven
help us, Richard Rush (COLOR OF NIGHT).

Such a sad waste of talent.

Fall brings the promise of real food, with works due from Robert
Redford, Tim Burton, Neil Jordan, Kenneth Branagh, Robert Altman, Woody
Allen, Barry Levinson, Alan Parker, Norman Jewison, Robert Benton, Garry
Marshall, Luc Besson, Ron Shelton, and, thankyouGod thankyouGod
thankyouGod, Quentin Tarantino.

Did somebody say summer 95?

Copyright 1994 by Michael J. Legeros  
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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