By now, it’s easy to know what to expect from the summer movie season. There will be a few movies with big robots (Transformers 2, Terminator). There will be at least one superhero movie (Wolverine). At least one Judd Apatow movie (Funny People) and at least one Adam Sandler movie (Funny People, again). Then there will be another movie only produced by Apatow (Year One). Finally, there will be a critically-acclaimed Pixar movie (Up) and, yep, it’s also a Harry Potter year.
Chances are, they won’t all be good. But we’re excited about them anyway, because they deliver everything we want out of summer movies: explosions, laughs, and, well, that’s pretty much it. We’re easily satisfied.
But then there are other movies. Movies that somehow find themselves in the summer season amidst all these blockbusters that just don’t jive with the summer spirit. They’re too serious, too treacly, or too completely, horribly awful. We present to you the top ten summer movies of 2009…that we guarantee will bomb.
10. Dance Flick (May 22nd)
Does anyone lament the death of the spoof movie? They were on a big roll for a while with the Scary Movies, and then on a smaller-but-still-profitable roll there with Date Movie and Epic Movie, but finally — after the painfully diminishing returns had hit their lowest point with Meet the Spartans — Superhero Movie and Disaster Movie flopped. And it was about time. But apparently the Wayans brothers, who did the first two Scary Movies, never got the memo. So they’re coming out with Dance Flick, and the title is all you need to know. To avoid paying money to see it.
9. Away We Go (June 5th)
Unlike Dance Flick, this is a movie that actually has higher aspirations in mind. In fact, on paper, it sounds terrific: The Office’s beloved John Krasinski and SNL’s undervalued Maya Rudolph team up for a comedy written by author Dave Eggers and directed by American Beauty’s Sam Mendes. It looked good, until we saw the trailer and realized it was so hipster-pretentious that it made us want to claw our eyes out. (No no, it’s deep, see, because he has a beard. And they stare off into space a lot while indie music plays.) Who’s not tired of that?
Final Destination: Death Trip 3D
8. Final Destination: Death Trip 3D (August 28th)
Aren’t animated movies kind of embarrassed that the only other genre embracing 3D is B-grade horror? My Bloody Valentine 3D came out in January, and now we have this, actually the fourth Final Destination movie. (We imagine they were afraid Final Destination 4: Death Trip 3D would’ve been too confusing.)
7. Battle for Terra (May 1st)
Remember Delgo? Delgo was a computer-animated original story that took over $40 million and six years for an unknown independent animation studio to finish. Unfortunately, unknown independent animation studios don’t know much about marketing, so it set the record late last year for the worst per-theater opening weekend of a wide release ever. Battle for Terra, which screened at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival (yeah, it’s been sitting around not getting released for two years) looks like the next Delgo.
6. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (July 17th)
Battle for Terra premiered at the 2007 Toronto Film Festival, right? Well, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane premiered at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. It’s been mishandled by the Weinstein Company (which recently gave up the film to Senator Distribution) ever since. Not that that means we want to see it — it looks like the umpteenth crappy horror movie of recent months — but it does have rising star Amber Heard (the chick from Pineapple Express who also just booked a Johnny Depp movie) going for it. Of course, if you’re an Amber Heard fan, just go see The Informers when it comes out later this month; she spends the majority of the movie naked.
5. The Time Traveler’s Wife (August 14th)
We hear “Time Traveler,” we think: hey, time travel, sci-fi, that sounds cool. (Yes, we’re that easy to please.) But then we look at the official still photos from the movie: nothing but Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams staring at each other. Seriously, a bunch of production stills have been released, and that’s all they are. What a lame bait-and-switch. When you drop phrases like “Time Traveler,” we want Lost meets Back to the Future meets Star Trek IV, not a romantic drama!
4. Jennifer’s Body (September 18th)
At first, any movie starring Megan Fox with the word “body” in the title sounds like a winning idea. That is until you find out it’s written by Juno’s precocious one-hit-wonder, Diablo Cody. Not to mention Fox’s topless scene is said to have been cut. And on top of all that, it’s being billed as a “horror-comedy” which is just Hollywood speak for “we have no idea how to market this piece of crap, but we’re sure as hell going to try.” Sorry, Megan - we love you. But this one is going to be one for the sh!tter.
3. The Ugly Truth (July 24th)
At a glance, it looks like a pretty harmless romantic comedy. And we haven’t picked on Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (May 1st), starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner, or When in Rome (August 14th), starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel. So why are we complaining about this one? One, because it stars Katherine “I’m such a jerk that I publicly insulted the writers of my own show via not a slip of the tongue but a full-blown official statement” Heigl. And another, because the story seems sexist. Seriously, we know we just made fun of Heigl, but go with us here: she plays a morning show producer who can’t find love because she’s apparently too self-confident and successful — until a chauvinistic correspondent comes along who apparently tames her into falling in love with him. Kind of weird, right?
2. Imagine That (June 12th)
Eddie Murphy scored at the box office with Norbit, then failed badly with Meet Dave. So in a world where Daddy Day Care can gross over $100 million, what will audiences make of his return to family-friendly territory with Imagine That? Hopefully, that it looks like an even blander version of Bedtime Stories.
My Sister's Keeper
1. My Sister’s Keeper (June 26th)
Let’s see…My Sister’s Keeper, starring Abigail Breslin and Cameron Diaz, is the story of a girl who was genetically conceived as a bone marrow match for her leukemia-ridden older sister so that she could help her fight the disease via lots of surgeries and blood transfusions, and once she discovers this, takes her parents to court in order to emancipate herself from them. Who knows what happens to the sick sister (actually, we have an idea), but we are sure that we’re never watching this movie in a million years, and for something that sounds this emotionally devastating to be released in the otherwise happy-go-lucky whiz-bang summer season seems like it should be illegal. Just writing that synopsis made us want to crawl in bed for three days and sob.