Welcome all, to the first edition of Staff Picks. There’s not much to explain, as I’m sure you grasp the whole concept from the title itself. Every week the staff at RC will offer up their pick for a category that can range anywhere from TV, movies, books, and comics. Other than perhaps bringing to your attention something you’ve perhaps never heard of, or forgotten about and would like to revisit, Staff Picks will give you an idea of what everyone likes & recommends, so you know if your taste line up whenever you read a review from someone.
This week: Best Summer Blockbusters. The two most despised words in the film-hipster community.
This is everything I could ever ask for in a Summer film experience. Extremely hilarious moments, over-the-top action, explosions, and the ability to just have fun for the sake of intelligence. No brains; No sophistication; Just a good ol’ fashion action movie. Most people bash Michael Bay for making movies of this nature but I personally believe Bad Boys II is the exception.
The first, the best.
Aidan Myles Green
The Dark Knight
A harrowing film with a legacy permeating it before it even hit theaters. The tension and hype were palpable in the months leading up to its release – the first comic book film with Oscar buzz?
It exploded onto screen, and no one could really grasp what they had just seen. A movie for the ages, carrying that intangible, TITANIC-esque atmosphere of a historical lightning-strike of a movie event. It’s a classic crime drama that birthed one of the most iconic characters to ever grace the screen, and just like with STAR WARS, everyone will remember where they were on July 18, 2008 when they witnessed a masterpiece birthed from a “silly summer blockbuster.”
Shawn S. Lealos
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Yes, JAWS was the first true summer blockbuster, but Steven Spielberg really perfected it with Raiders of the Lost Ark. JAWS is more of a horror movie, which I don’t really associate with summer as much, but Raiders is a giant action movie with chase scenes, bad guys, hidden treasure – basically all that a kid wants to see during his summer vacation. In my opinion, Raiders is still the perfect action movie and the one that all others are judged against.
(insert Inception ‘bwowwwwww’ noise here). It’s Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi action brain bender! The film raised questions on so many levels. It was a great start to that summer in which the film was thoroughly discussed among many. Debating the ending was a highlight of that summer. Some even still talk about the film today. This is yet another one of Nolan’s films that will stick with us for generations to come.
The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan’s brilliant sequel to his own “Batman Begins” is at once one of the finest sequels ever made, and the most impressive superhero movie to date. Heath Ledger took an iconic role in the Joker, and redefined it for generations to come. The plot was intelligent and multilayered, but fluid enough so that each story beat felt natural in progression, and the average moviegoer could follow along. Though the moral was cynical and bleak, it didn’t harm the audience’s enjoyment or the box office. In fact, people came back for multiple screenings! I worked for a multiplex movie theater off and on for a grand total of five years from 2007 to 2012. In that time, we never had a busier, more chaotic weekend than that of July 18th, 2008. Our lines went down the halls, snaked around, and ended up crossing the lobby itself. One of our biggest auditoriums was so cluttered that we had to bring in an entire gondola to hold all the bags of trash. Keep in mind, that was ONE screening. Throughout my remaining time at that theater as both employee and customer, I have yet to see any film that delivered on intelligence, entertainment, or financial success as “The Dark Knight.”
When thinking of Summer Blockbusters, the one that always comes to mind for me is “Independence Day”, 1996. It was in theaters on July 2, perfect for the Fourth of July. It grossed over $800 million worldwide (great for its time), which was almost twice its competitors that summer. The speech given by the president in the film, Bill Pullman, was definitely one to remember!
Raiders Of The Lost Ark
I think a lot of people would automatically say Jaws and that would be an apt choice, as that film is universally regarded as the one that started the entire summer blockbuster phenomenon. For my money, the best summer blockbuster of all time comes from the guys behind Jaws and Star Wars, Spielberg and Lucas. Yup, you guessed it; I’m talking about Raiders of the Lost Ark.
I was (almost) 6 years old when my aunt took me to see Raiders in the theater in the summer of 1985. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. Everything from the opening sequence at the Peruvian temple (what’s more cringe inducing to a 6 year old, Hovitos with blow darts, Sapito impaled on a spiked trap, or spiders? I’ll give you one guess) to the grand melting face finale completely captivated each and every audience member. The only thing missing was a bull whip of my own to take home and swash buckle with. (Sounded like a perfect promo idea to my 6 year old self, but adult me knows better.)
Raiders of the Lost Ark introduced one of the most popular characters in movie history, made a ton of money as the highest grossing film of 1985, and was (and is) simply a great film, a captivating work of magic committed to celluloid. It’s not only my favorite summer blockbuster of all time; it’s one of my favorite films of my lifetime.
This movie is one of those ‘once in a generation’ kinds. One of those pieces of art that the entire world stops for one moment to just look at in awe. Really, Jurassic Park is the epitome of the whole idea of movie. Of why people write them. Why people direct. Why people act. Why people create special effects. Why people go to the theater. Jurassic Park is the answer. Every summer blockbuster wants to be this film.