As we’ve mentioned a time or twelve, it’s mighty slim pickins at the movie house this summer – and that’s even by summer standards. You have to drill pretty deep to find big summer movies actually worth getting excited about this year; mostly, it’s a slate of dumbed-down retreads, rip-offs, and reboots. Being a culture site of some breadth, we try to see all of the important new movies of note, but I’m not gonna lie to you, the thought of sitting through some of this trash is too much to bear. So, in contrast to our previous summer movie preview, these are the ten movies we’re looking forward to least this summer, and what we’d rather be doing than watching them.
10. The Hitman’s Bodyguard (August 18)
IN A NUTSHELL: A wacky action/comedy from the director of noted laugh riot The Expendables 3, in which a bodyguard (Ryan Reynolds) is hired to protect a hitman (Samuel L. Jackson) who is testifying against an evil dictator (Gary Oldman). This one’s probably no better or worse than your average forgotten Reynolds or Jackson vehicle, but it’s on this list on account of its gawdawful poster, a super-timely send-up of The Bodyguard. WOULD RATHER: Eat at Long John Silver’s. Like, at the end of the night, when all the “fish” has been sitting under the heat lamp for a few hours.
9. Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7)
IN A NUTSHELL: In 2002, Sam Raimi made a Spider-Man movie, and it was good, so he mad another one, and it was also good, but then he made a third one, and it was not good. So they started over, and Marc Webb made one, and it wasn’t very good but it made a lot of money, so they made another one, and it also wasn’t very good and made a lot of money but not enough. So now they’re starting over again. They’ve done all of this in 15 years. At this point, I’ve spent more time thinking about Peter Parker’s formative years than my own. WOULD RATHER: Watch Batman Forever again.
8. Wonder Woman (June 2)
IN A NUTSHELL: I get wanting this to be good – Wonder Woman is an iconic and important character, and I’ve got daughters, and they’ve got T-shirts, etc. And it’s female-led comic book movie, from (rarity of rarities) a female director. But all the good gender parity intentions in this world or the next can’t erase the glistening stain of Batman v Superman from this viewer’s memory. Or – be honest – yours. WOULD RATHER: Watch Batman & Robin again.
7. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (May 12)
IN A NUTSHELL: Much like Spider-Man, here’s a goddamn thing they can’t get right, but that’s not gonna stop ‘em from trying. Anybody else remember King Arthur, Antoine Fuqua’s rat infestation of a 2004 adaptation, which even Clive Owen and Keira Knightley couldn’t breathe life into? No, just me? Okay, how about First Knight, in which a woefully miscast Richard Gere and a – well, perfectly cast Sean Connery took up the swords of Lancelot and Arthur? Yep, it was terrible too. In fact, I’ll go this far: the only good King Arthur movies are Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Excalibur, and even the latter isn’t a home run. But yes, sure, I’m quite certain charisma void Charlie Hunnam and Guy fucking Ritchie have the skeleton key for that lock. WOULD RATHER: Finally sit down at the shredder and take care of all those goddamn credit card mailings we didn’t ask for.
6. Annabelle: Creation (August 11)
IN A NUTSHELL: Look, I like me a good Conjuring movie as much as the next fellow, but let’s be clear about what we’re talking about here: the first Annabelle, which came out in 2014, was a spin-off/prequel, an entire movie about the doll featured in the opening scene of The Conjuring. And then this is apparently a prequel to that, which means we’re talking about a prequel to a prequel, and that, my friends, is how terrified this industry is of new ideas. WOULD RATHER: Go to a Dave Matthews Band concert. One of the long shows, with a lot of “jamming.”
5. The Mummy (June 9)
IN A NUTSHELL: Long ago, Universal made a bunch of Mummy movies, and they were great. (This was back when movies were in black and white, and before they called them “content.”) Then, in 1999, they made a few more, and those were garbage. They even let Rob Cohen direct one! That pretty much put a fork in the franchise – until now, since Uni is not only determined to bring this thing back, but to make it the starting point for their own MCU-style Universal monster cinematic universe, and also to make it a Tom Cruise action movie, because why not. If this sounds like a giant clusterfuck to you, well, you’re not alone. WOULD RATHER: Have Paul Ryan sit me down for a personalized, cover-to-cover reading aloud of Atlas Shrugged.
4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (May 26) IN A NUTSHELL: They’ve somehow made five of these. That is all. WOULD RATHER: Have Johnny Depp sit me down for a personalized, front-to-back tour of his scarf closet.
3. Cars 3 (June 16)
IN A NUTSHELL: The Cars movies are absolutely the worst fucking things Pixar’s ever made; there’s not even a discussion to be had here. They’re witness, soulless, forgettable dreck, and they’ve provided a steady stream of residual checks to Larry the Cable Guy. But they are the pet projects of Pixar’s head honcho John Lasseter – Cars and Cars 2 are his only two directorial credits of the 21st century thus far – and so they’re gonna keep making them whether we want them or not. But we don’t have to go! WOULD RATHER: A few years back, one of our cats was having an issue with her bowel movements, so twice a day, for about two weeks, I would have to put on a rubber glove and gently apply an ointment to her anus. I’d rather have to do that again then sit through another Cars movie.
2. The Emoji Movie (July 28)
IN A NUTSHELL: Joining The Angry Birds Movie in the tradition of “Why wouldn’t you go pay money for a movie about shit on your phone” comes this wacky animated comedy from the director of a direct-to-video Kung Fu Panda sequel and a direct-to-video Lilo & Stitch sequel, in which Sofia Vergara voices the flamenco dancer emoji and Patrick Stewart voices the poop emoji. Sony landed this hot property after a fierce bidding war, resulting in a reported “seven-figure deal.” In related news, fuck movies. WOULD RATHER: Head down to the closest biker bar on a Friday night in my best polo-and-khakis combo, turn off the jukebox, call them a bunch of cranked-up longhairs, and get stomped in the crotch for a half hour or so.
1. Transformers: The Last Knight (June 23)
IN A NUTSHELL: To be fair, the trailers for the new Transformers film have easily been the year’s funniest short films, handily housing anything on Funny or Die for sheer volume of lolz, intentional or not. But the fact of the matter is this: the Transformers movies are loud, lumbering, humorless, sexist, hyper-caffeinated, over-edited, grotesquely overlong, maddeningly puerile swill, in which a line of shitty ‘80s toys and the cartoon series created to sell them are somehow repurposed into three-hour epics positively Bergman-eseque in their solemnity. I don’t blame the success of this series for our current cultural stupidity. But they’re symptomatic as hell. WOULD RATHER: The immediate symptoms of arsenic poisoning include abdominal pain, vomiting, brain dysfunction, and watery, bloody diarrhea. Over the long-term, individuals poisoned with arsenic can experience cancer, heart disease, numbness, and death. And yet, knowing all of that information, I’d still rather drink a big ol’ steamin’ cup of arsenic than watch the new Transformers movie.
But hey, get excited about whatever you’re excited about. Happy viewing!