Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Films Of Summer

Summer has become the time for the film blockbuster. While blockbusters go back at least to The Birth Of A Nation, the idea of a wide-release popcorn movie people see over and over while school is out only goes back to the 70s.

Time Out New York has compiled a pretty good list of the top 30 such summer blockbusters:

30. Independence Day
29. Armageddon
28. X-Men
27. Back To The Future
26. The Dark Knight
25. WALL-E
24. Star Trek
23. In The Line Of Fire
22. Gremlins
21. Pirates Of The Caribbean
20. Gladiator
19. Batman
18. Animal House
17. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
16. The Truman Show
15. Total Recall
14. Die Hard
13. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
12. Jurassic Park
11. The Bourne Ultimatum
10. Aliens
9. Face/Off
8. Terminator 2
7. The Empire Strikes Back
6. Fahrenheit 9/11
5. E.T.
4. Ghostbusters
3. Star Wars
2. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
1. Jaws

For once, I have to say a list gets it right. I don't love (or even like) all these films, and there are a few that don't seem to me to represent the summer experience (Harry Potter, and what is Fahrenheit 9/11 doing anywhere on the list?), but if you want to know what it's like to go to the movies on a hot day with a big crowd in the past 35 years, you couldn't do much better. I like how the list didn't pull an Entertainment Weekly and insist that most of the top finishers be released in the past decade or so--the top five should be in the top five, even though they're all over 25 years old.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Truman Show?? whaddupwiddat?

9:38 AM, May 29, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tricks of memory- I'm remembering Armageddon and Indepedence Day as the same movie

11:16 AM, May 29, 2010  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

As someone who sees far fewer movies than you do, I'm surprised at how many of these I've seen: twenty of them all the way through, four more in pieces on cable, and I happen to be halfway through Bourne Ultimatum on DVD at this very moment.

Was Azkaban the biggest HP movie? It's probably the best book, and the last book that was short enough for the movie to almost do it justice.

12:47 PM, May 29, 2010  
Blogger VermontGuy said...

A few quibbles. On a list like this, there should be no sequels, otherwise the whole list could be comprised of nothing but. So, if you have Star Wars, you have to lose Empire. Second, I agree that the Harry Potter movies probably don't fit the definition, as they have been released both at Christmas and in the summer.

Third, Fahrenheit has no business on the list. It's no one's idea of a blockbuster (unless you've got a bad case of BDS) and, per the description on the TONY website, this movie fits the definition of a "sleeper" perfectly.

Fourth, they scrupulously avoid a whole host of animated hits that would fit perfectly (I know, you could make an entire list of animated blockbusters) and yet they include WALL-E?

Fifth, I would substitute one Wolfgang Peterson flick (Air Force One) for another (In the Line of Fire). I like both movies (and I loves me some Clint Eastwood) but Air Force One did almost twice as well at the box office.

Finally, here's a short (and by no means exhaustive) list of movies that could conceivably take the place of several movies on the list:

Men In Black
Iron Man
Mr & Mrs Smith
Top Gun
The Mummy
and, a sentimental choice
The Spy Who Loved Me (one of my favorite Bond flicks and one of the few released during the Summer)

5:59 AM, May 30, 2010  
Blogger LAGuy said...

If VermontGuy didn't make it clear, most Harry Potter films were Christmas films.

Larry, you shouldn't be surprised how many of these you've seen--that's practically the point of the list.

8:38 PM, June 01, 2010  

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