2016: The Summer Films Lack Escapism

By Livia Peterson

The eluded Summer Blockbuster Season commenced during May 2016. Summer is allegedly to deliver “escapism entertainment”. I am able to argue that this Summer is severely lacking in various departments. In my opinion, independent films are currently enjoying the glory days. Of course, the indie sector provided some disappointments -- but “Midnight Special” overshadows the letdowns. (Jeff Nichols’ “Loving” cannot come soon enough.)
May witnessed the likes of “Captain America: Civil War”, “Money Monster”, “The Angry Birds Movie”, “Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”, “The Nice Guys”, “X-Men: Apocalypse”, and “Alice Through The Looking Glass”. I almost immediately forgot about their existence. “Civil War” is slightly memorable due to it providing relevance to the current era. Still, ignore the message and it’s a typical Marvel movie.
June continued to worsen the Summer prospects. “Me Before You” is a respectable romance tearjerker, which follows the steps of “The Fault In Our Stars” (2014). “Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping” attempts to deliver a groundbreaking mockumentary; ultimately, fails to do so in this film critic’s perspective. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” is an additional forgettable sequel to the myriad of pointless sequels. “Now You See Me 2” and “Warcraft” are the worst films of 2016 thus far. I do not understand why they exist. Yet, “Central Intelligence” and “Finding Dory” are fine films. The former is a delightful surprise and meanwhile, the latter is authentic awesomeness due to Pixar Animation Studios. “The Shallows” is today’s replica of “Jaws” (1975); highly recommend seeing the Steven Spielbergian classic before the forgettable Blake Lively versus shark knockoff. “Free State of Jones” is genuine Academy Awards bait; however, it is mostly inferior. “Independence Day: Resurgence” did not revive the “Independence Day” brand.
July continues to demonstrate the substandard film offerings. “The Legend of Tarzan” may deliver some hunk and Margot Robbie, but the star power did not rescue the mess. Spielberg, yes, Spielberg disappointed with “The BFG”. What the heck?! He’s a legendary director and yet, cannot produce a kid friendly “masterpiece”. “The Secret Life of Pets” is cute and advocates animal appreciation; however, it does not surpass the “Despicable Me” series. “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is a crass yet unnecessary comedy film. Nonetheless, the men are handsome. “The Infiltrator” is subpar, compared to “Sicario” (2015). Bryan Cranston deserves better than a drug cartel narrative. Showcase Cranston’s damn talent! “Ghostbusters” (2016) is the most tolerable reboot during 2016 thus far; although, it did not earn the classic status like “Ghostbusters” (1984). Female power. “Ice Age: Collision Course” is an insufferable film. The “Ice Age” series is colliding with several asteroids. “Star Trek Beyond” is incompetent adventure into outer space. Rest in Peace, Anton Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy.
July’s final week delivers “Nerve”, “Jason Bourne”, and “Bad Moms”. I hope this week provides slight improvement with one or two delightful surprises.
August is the Summer Blockbuster Season’s final month. I am absolutely dreading it. August is known as the “leftover month” – studios do not have faith in the films and dump the “leftover” movies to conclude the Summer before school commences. August will witness the likes of “Suicide Squad”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, “Sausage Party”, “Pete’s Dragon”, “War Dogs”, and “Hands of Stone”.
Ultimately, the 2016 Summer films are painful for film critics such as yours truly. I detect every film merit and fault. It’s bitter to witness due to I recognize Hollywood is able to deliver tremendously more than abysmal films. I’ve seen almost every film, excluding horror films. Yet, I cannot help but notice Hollywood requires a major revamp. The domestic box office profits prove audiences desire original content and simultaneously, the film industry is ignoring the warning signs.
Please support independent cinema. Whereas mainstream cinema follows the typical formula (for each movie genre), independent films are not afraid to consider outside the box.

Suicide Squad (2016)

Ghostbusters (2016)