Gigantic and stupid

This year’s crop of summer flicks promises to provide ample opportunities to shut down the brain

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There’s one way this summer will be a whole lot different from last summer: a surprising lack of superheroes. Last year gave us Iron Man, Batman, Hulk, Hancock and more, while this year we just get Wolverine.

And, if you are web savvy, you can see X-Men Origins: Wolverine online as you read this. Somebody managed to upload an unfinished print of the thing to the net, thus punching a hole in the side of one of this year’s big blockbusters. I, for one, would like to see the movie in complete, pristine fashion on the big screen rather than sifting through some rough cut. Shame on the bastard who did that, and shame on me for bringing it to your attention (like you hadn’t heard about it, already)! Oh hell … shame on everybody!

The following is a list of the Top 10 movies that have me most excited. Wolverine isn’t one of them, but I do look forward to it. They have release dates of May through August, which means many of them are sequels or prequels with a lot of money attached. I love me some summer blockbusters, so here’s to hoping this year’s season is as gigantic and stupid as last year.

1) Land of the Lost

Will Ferrell stars in a big-screen adaptation of the goofy Sid and Marty Krofft TV show from the ’70s. The film looks like it will be more camp than science fiction, as was the TV series, with Ferrell playing Rick Marshall, a park ranger who goes through a time portal, with friends Holly and Will along for the ride, and finds himself battling the Sleestacks and a dinosaur named Grumpy. It’s worth noting that Ferrell played a character named Marshal Willenholly in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Of all the big releases this summer, I’m most excited about this one.

2) Star Trek

No Roman numerals after the title for this one. J.J. Abrams goes the reboot route, taking us back in time—well, actually, to a future back in time—where we see the origin stories of Captain Kirk, Spock, Sulu, etc. Leonard Nimoy makes an appearance as Old Spock, while Zachary Quinto plays him younger. There’s also Chris Pine as young Kirk, Harold Cho as young Sulu and Simon Pegg stepping into the role of Scotty. William Shatner has been whining for years about how he wasn’t invited to the party. It’s probably because he’s a whiny bastard, and nobody wants to be around him.

3) Terminator: Salvation

This film already inspired Christian Bale’s epic on-set tirade, which has been mixed into a fine dance tune. Bale steps into the role of John Connor, battling machines in the wake of a nuclear holocaust. It’s rumored to have a cameo by one Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the voice of Linda Hamilton reprising her role as Sarah Connor. The third Terminator was just OK, but this looks like it’s more in the spirit of James Cameron’s original premise.

4) Funny People

I’m hoping Judd Apatow can return Adam Sandler to some form of comic goodness with his latest directorial effort. Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman costar in a film about a stand-up comedian (Sandler) forced to take inventory of his life after getting a terminal illness. This gives Sandler and Rogen a chance to do stand- up comedy, which should be interesting. It also gives the great Leslie Mann, Apatow’s wife, another decent-looking role in one of his movies.

5) Brüno

The return of Sacha Baron Cohen, playing his third alter ego from the hilarious Da Ali G Show. Using a format similar to the documentary style of Borat, Cohen plays a homosexual fashion reporter, conducting interviews and segments with unknowing victims. The trailer is online for this one, and it looks pretty damned funny. A former working title for the film was Bruno: Delicious Journeys Through America for the Purpose of Making Heterosexual Males Visibly Uncomfortable in the Presence of a Gay Foreigner in a Mesh T-Shirt. I’m not kidding … it really was called that.

6) Up

Pixar always provides reason for excitement, and this one, about a grumpy old man attaching balloons to his house and going on an adventure, looks tasty, and it’s also in 3-D. I love the talking dog collar in the promotional teasers, and the look and attitude of the main character. This is one of this blockbuster season’s sure things.

7) Drag Me to Hell

Director Sam Raimi, who has been teasing about an Evil Dead 4 for years, takes a break from Spidey to deliver what looks to be a horror film in the vein of his early Dead work. Alison Lohman (replacing a once-cast Ellen Page) plays a loan officer who denies a creepy lady money and finds herself battling demon forces. Could be fun, and perhaps a much needed antidote for Raimi’s terrible Spider-Man 3. I still have a bad taste in my mouth from that one.

8) Year One

Jack Black and Michael Cera play two banished tribesmen from ancient times who travel the world and bump into biblical characters, including Cain and Abel (Paul Rudd and David Cross). It’s directed by Harold Ramis, who actually plays Adam in the film, and I’m hoping for a return to the Caddyshack sophomoric humor glory of yesteryear.

9) Public Enemies

Michael Mann directs Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in this gangster film/period piece. Mann is a visual genius, and he’s assembled a stellar cast, including Depp, Christian Bale and Billy Crudup. This could be one of those summer films with a high level of intelligence to go with the thrills. Do you think Christian Bale verbally eviscerated a coffee cart guy on the set of this one? Do you think he made him or her cry? Do you find this possibility funny? I do.

10) Inglorious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino casts Brad Pitt as the leader of Jewish American soldiers on a mission to collect as many Nazi scalps as possible. That’s all I really need to know in order to get excited about this one. Mike Myers and Eli Roth also appear.

We will also be getting the latest Harry Potter, Rob Zombie’s Halloween sequel, another apocalyptic film from Roland Emmerich (2012 with John Cusack) and a Transformers sequel. Throw in another Night at the Museum, Ice Age, a stupid-looking Eddie Murphy comedy (Imagine That) and a Da Vinci Code prequel (Angels and Demons) and you have the makings of standard summer fare. Time to switch off the brain at the movie theater and let the jaws hang open.