By: Riley Zipper
This summer was an eventful one in the world of cinema. The third, fifth and eight highest-grossing films of all time worldwide were released, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides respectively. Now, I won’t comment on how good these films were, I’ll let you find that out yourself, but having three top-ten grossing films released in the same summer is pretty momentous and has never happened before.
You may notice that each of these films was a sequel. This is quite typical for the top ten. In fact, eight out of those ten are sequels or remakes. However, just because a film is highly anticipated and breaks records at the box office doesn’t mean it is a quality film. A quality film is one with a well-written script, dynamic, non-linear storyline and unparalleled direction by a true visionary. Obviously this did not happen with all of these box office hits. Let’s talk about some of the best-reviewed films of the summer.
Crazy, Stupid, Love
I talked about this one last May, but it was so good that I thought I0should re-hash it. An ensemble cast including Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone and Kevin Bacon highlighted this witty but heartfelt tale of the crazy, stupid thing known as love. Carell is fantastic as always, but it is the people around him that directly emphasize his hilarity. His son (a teenaged Jonah Bobo, from Zathura) was probably my favorite character. The bumbling, awkward, but precocious 13 year-old boy deals with the trials and tribulations of love at the same time as his father, who is in the process of divorcing his mother (Julianne Moore). It is still in theaters, so go see it with someone special… Or by yourself, it doesn’t matter. It’s just that good.
The surprise hit of the summer, The Help, based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett, is a comedic, but sometimes dramatic tale of African American servants in the South during the Civil Rights Movement. One wouldn’t think that a film about a time like the Civil Rights Movement can be funny, but The Help provides the perfect balance of humor and poignancy. If anyone has read the novel, they will notice that the novel does take a more serious tone than the film, but both are very quality works, and in a rare turn of events, the film definitely does the book justice. Read it and see it.
Our Idiot Brother
Paul Rudd is as hilarious as ever in this late-summer comedy. Rudd stars as Ned, a stoner idealist who barges in on his three sisters when he has some hard luck. He is trustful of complete strangers and a loner of sorts. His most meaningful relationship is with his dog, aptly named, Willie Nelson. A pitch-perfect script complements Rudd’s amazing comedic timing. Go see it with your… idiot brother.
This 3D remake of the 1985 cult classic with the same name is an exercise in horror-comedy that would delight even the most devout Shaun of the Dead fans. In Fright Night, a teenage boy, Charley, (Anton Yelchin) suspects that his new neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire and decides to do something about it. Starring as Charley’s best bud is the always-hilarious Christopher Mintz-Plasse, or McLovin from the Superbad days. Farrell is deliciously menacing as the vampire and will leave you squirming and laughing in your seat. All this is capped off by Craig Gillespie’s (Lars and the Real Girl) super-slick directing.