Fall movies have a big job—making up for summer's cinematic sins

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Oh, the autumn. A time for apple cider … a time for burning leaves in the backyard and scaring the shit out of your dog … a time for shooting last year’s unwanted boots stuffed with dead mice and rocks out of a cannon and into your neighbor’s swimming pool, forcing them to dive into really cold water in order to fish them out, thus hampering their efforts to cover the damn thing.

It’s my favorite time of the year.

It’s also a time for going to the movies with hope for better cinematic explorations. Autumn is the intellectual antidote for big, dumb summer movies. Hopefully, this autumn will please that part of your brain that likes things that go boom, too, because, man, the blockbusters this past summer sucked.

Below is a listing of highlights coming your way before the end of the year. It’s frivolous in parts. That’s how I roll. I have issues.

Blair Witch (Sept. 16)

They are cranking up this franchise again, which means more people pissing on walls and more stick figures in the woods. Seriously though, this one has promise—and might actually deliver on the creepy premise that was only slightly scary in the original and completely stupid in the sequel.

Bridget Jones's Baby (Sept. 16)

Shamefully, the attention will surely focus upon Renee Zellweger’s face and whether or not it’s been surgically altered rather than the actual contents of this film. I think she looks pretty good. Everybody shut up.

Snowden (Sept. 16)

It’s a controversial subject, so Oliver Stone must address it, right? Next up for Stone after this: The Kitten Who Liked Clowns and Bundt Cake, a heartwarming tale of a kitten who conspires to assassinate a unicorn with the help of circus friends. Or did the kitten act alone? Hmm …

The Magnificent Seven (Sept. 23)

This one falls into that rare category of “Remakes That Might Be Worth a Dick.” Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt put on their six shooters and travel with five other guys to blaze away at bad dudes.

Deepwater Horizon (Sept. 30)

Mark Wahlberg is on an oil platform in the middle of the ocean when the bastard blows up. I’m thinking this development upsets his character a tad.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Sept. 30)

This is a Tim Burton movie, so I’m thinking it will feature a lot of pale-faced people with darkness around their eyes and a Danny Elfman soundtrack.

Good lord, I’m wrong! No Elfman! That’s weird!

The Girl on the Train (Oct. 7)

Doctor Strange

Emily Blunt tries to apologize for The Huntsman: Winter’s War with this mystery about a girl who sees something, and might not be firing on all mental cylinders.

The Birth of a Nation (Oct. 7)

Not to be confused with 1915’s The Birth of a Nation, one of the more fiercely racist, moronic films ever made. (I don’t care if it’s considered a classic. It belongs in the garbage can.) This one, about a slave uprising, was directed by Nate Parker, who is having a rough time in the press these days.

The Accountant (Oct. 14)

Ben Affleck travels the globe doing dirty books for terrible people. At night, he puts on tights and a cowl and drives around in this thing called the Batmobile. No, wait …

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Oct. 21)

Tom Cruise does, indeed, go back as Jack Reacher, a relatively grouchy guy who solves crimes while punching through windshields and people’s faces.

Tyler Perry's Boo!: A Madea Halloween (Oct. 21)

God hates you.

Inferno (Oct. 28)

Tom Hanks just won’t let the lousy Da Vinci Code franchise die. This is the third movie in the series, and considering the odds, it’s probably a third too many.

Loving (Nov. 4)

I have high hopes for this interracial love story from director Jeff Nichols, who already has a very good movie out in 2016 with Midnight Special. Let’s hope this is a great one.

Bleed for This (Nov. 4):

Miles Teller plays a boxer because there haven’t been nearly enough actors playing boxers lately.

Doctor Strange (Nov. 7)

By my count, this is the 3,212th Marvel film to be released in the last 18 months. This one stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character, and I think a cape comes into play somewhere in this story.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Nov. 11)

Ang Lee, ladies and gentleman. Ang Lee.

Arrival (Nov. 11)

Amy Adams stars in Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicario) film about an alien arrival and trying to bridge the linguistic gap before things go bad.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Nov. 18)

The world of J.K. Rowling lives on, of course, in this new chapter of wizardry sans Harry Potter.

Manchester By the Sea (Nov. 18)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Casey Affleck is being touted as an early Oscar contender in the latest from director Kenneth Lonergan.

Nocturnal Animals (Nov. 18)

Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams star in this revenge thriller from director Tom Ford (A Single Man).

Allied (Nov. 23)

Brad Pitt says, “Give me an Oscar, puh-leez!” in this period piece from Robert Zemeckis.

Rules Don't Apply (Nov. 23)

Warren Beatty takes himself out of mothballs to direct a comedy that involves Howard Hughes, with him actually playing Howard Hughes. That’s a lot to do for a guy who has been hibernating for 15 years.

Moana (Nov. 23)

This requisite animated Thanksgiving release from Disney stars the voice of Dwayne Johnson as a former wrestler with a gambling addiction, living in an apartment on Moana Lane. Oh, hold on, my bad. It’s about some mythic character in Hawaii.

Bad Santa (Nov. 23)

From the previews, it doesn’t look like Billy Bob Thornton has lost a step as the nasty, boozing, thieving Santa. They also got the original kid back, and this time he’s a bullied adult. Merry Christmas!

La La Land (Dec. 2)

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in this modern-day musical set in Los Angeles from director Damien Chazelle, who just happens to be the same guy who made Whiplash. Yeah, I’m hyped for this one.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Dec. 16)

Yeah, man! Star Wars! And, as the newest trailer reveals, Darth Vader is in the house!

The Founder (Dec. 16)

This is the story of the guy responsible for a lot of hardened arteries and, yes, some pretty damned good French fries. Michael Keaton stars as Ray Kroc, creator of that thing called McDonalds.

Patriots Day (Dec. 21)

Mark Wahlberg stars, for Peter Berg once again after September’s Deepwater Horizon, in this drama about the Boston Marathon bombing.

Assassin's Creed (Dec. 21) Michael Fassbender cashes a video-game adaptation paycheck. Passengers (Dec. 21)

A guy on a long space trip (Chris Pratt) wakes up a fellow passenger (Jennifer Lawrence) after the ship malfunctions and takes him out of cryo-sleep. He probably chooses her because she’s hot, and not for her abilities with a crossbow.

A Monster Calls (Dec. 23)

A monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) befriends a little boy (Lewis MacDougal) who is trying to cope with his mother (Felicity Jones) dying. This was originally set for an October release, but the studio decided to release it in December as an Oscar contender.

Fences (Dec. 25)

Denzel Washington directs himself in this Civil Rights drama set in the 1950’s.

Gold (Dec. 25)

Matthew McConaughey got himself a super bad haircut for this one about a search for gold overseas.

Paterson (Dec. 28)

Jim Jarmusch directs Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Jim Jarmusch, ladies and gentleman. Jim Jarmusch.