Bob Grimm counts down the hottest movies of the summer movie season

<i>Tropic Thunder</i>: Be vewy, vewy quiet. We’re hunting wabbits

Tropic Thunder: Be vewy, vewy quiet. We’re hunting wabbits

The summer movie season kicked off a few weeks ago with the very good Iron Man, crashed violently into a wall with Speed Racer and Prince Caspian, and resumed nicely with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of This Movie Is Sort of a Mess But I Like It Anyway. There’s plenty more to come. The following is an ascending list of the films that have me the most excited.

10) The Incredible Hulk (June 13): Plenty of folks have already written this one off because the preview features sub-par special effects. I remain excited because 1) it has Edward Norton as Bruce Banner and 2) the transforming green eyes and, apparently, the piano music from the TV show have returned. That’s cool beyond words. Let it be said that I thought the first Hulk movie was unfairly panned. I really liked it. I guess that makes me a dick or something.

9) Mamma Mia (July 18): The following statement is likely to get me punched at the gym by guys far cooler and bigger than me: I really like ABBA. I also like Meryl Streep, so this goofy looking movie set to ABBA tunes has got me excited. I make no apologies. ABBA’s vocals and melodies soar into the heavens, and I’m a total pussy when it comes to them.

8) Wall-E (June 27) You can’t really go wrong with Pixar. Their latest is the story of a robot left on the planet after humans have abandoned it. It’ll be cute, all the kids will want Wall-E toys for Christmas, and the Pixar boys will buy new Porsches.

7) Pineapple Express (Aug. 8): Another movie where Seth Rogen smokes a lot of weed. This time, instead of getting somebody way-out-of-his-league pregnant, he witnesses a murder and must go on the run. This is from the Judd Apatow comedy factory, which makes more movies than Chevy does Malibus.

6) Hancock (July 2) Will Smith plays a grouchy, homeless superhero looking to improve his public profile through the help of a marketing genius (Jason Bateman). That sequence in the trailer of Smith throwing a whale at a sailboat looks worth the price of a ticket on its own.

5) Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Aug. 15) Hey, it might be a cartoon, but it is a Star Wars movie, and that’s enough to get me stoked. George Lucas, in a season when he’s already giving us Indiana Jones, looks to whet our appetites for an animated television series with this theatrical introduction. The animation looks OK, if a little bit strange. Still, the Clone Wars are a major part of Star Wars lore, and it should be fun seeing them played out in the animated medium. One question: Why isn’t it in 3-D?

Hancock, not to be confused with the Grammy-winning jazz pianist of the same name.

4) The X-Files: I Want to Believe (July 25): What the hell is going on with that title? No matter, it’s The X-Files, and that’s good enough for me. Apparently, this film has little to do with the alien conspiracy that dominated the TV show and is a stand-alone story. Whatever … seeing Mulder and Scully again has the makings of a cinematic treat. Perhaps they’ll make out, giving all types of science fiction nerds massive erections.

3) Step Brothers (July 25) Yes … more Apatow and, holy Jesus, does this movie look funny or what? Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, so good together in Talladega Nights, re-team with director Adam McKay. They play two lazy adult men forced to share a room after their parents get married. The preview where Ferrell is burying Reilly alive makes me laugh every time, and I’m encouraged by the rumored R-rating. Ferrell is at his best when his mouth is allowed to spew all the expletives.

2) The Dark Knight (July 18): My favorite superhero movie is Batman Begins, and director Christopher Nolan seems to be on a great path with this sequel starring the late Heath Ledger as a demented Joker. It also has Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, who becomes Two-Face during the course of the film. The only reason this doesn’t have the top spot here is the fact that my once-favorite film comedian, Ben Stiller, looks like he might be about to deliver on all the promise he showed early in his career.

Does Mulder finally share his porn obsession with Scully? Find out in <i>X-Files: I Want to Believe</i>.

1) Tropic Thunder (Aug. 15): No doubt about it, this one has me the most excited, and it looks to be the film that gets director Ben Stiller some of his street cred back. Stiller plays an egotistical actor who, in a bid to be taken seriously, signs up for a Platoon-type war movie, along with the likes of Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. Downey, Jr. plays an actor so method that he has his skin pigmented to play an African-American. The actors aren’t giving their director (Steve Coogan) everything he wants, so they are dropped, unknowingly, into a real war in order to capture a sense of realism.

Stiller also wrote the film with buddy Justin Theroux, and he managed to score Tom Cruise in a much talked about cameo as a film producer. The trailer indicates this is hard-R comedy at its best, complete with over-the-top gore. Looks like Stiller is putting his box office muscle to good use, and this is his chance to capitalize on the excellent directing chops he displayed with the under-appreciated The Cable Guy.

So, yes, I’m excited about films this summer, but a few look like they could suck bad. Mike Myers looks a little desperate in The Love Guru (June 20), but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. The idea of Jet Li joining Brendan Frasier for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (Aug. 1) doesn’t exactly raise my cockles, and the fact that Eddie Murphy’s Meet Dave (July 11) is directed by the ignorant asshole who did Norbit doesn’t provide much along the lines of promise. All said, nothing has me more scared than the prospect of seeing Vin Diesel in Babylon A.D. (Aug. 29). How that man continues to find employment is one of this world’s greatest mysteries.

Box office predictions: Many movies will make more money than God. I feel safe and confident with that prediction.