We’re firmly into Summer Blockbuster season, and that means one of two strategies come to bear at the box office. Either the major studios will put out their biggest budget films against one another to battle it out for supremacy, or they’ll space them out so that there’s one default movie for audiences to watch each week, while the rest of the weekly slate becomes a sort of dumping ground for projects destined to fail, similar to the first two months of the year.
Looking at the list of major releases for June this year, the prevailing wisdom will surely be the latter of the two, at least for a month. With the exception of next Friday, June 7, every week it seems the studios simply decided collectively on one movie that gets the massive promotion in hopes of coffer-stuffing, while everything else is basically a throwaway.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t some potential gems among the afterthoughts. We’ll get one of the major winners from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a new dark comedy from Jim Jarmusch that just debuted at Cannes, and a somewhat intriguing bit of Shakespearean role reversal.
But of course, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here for the shit on the bottom of our shoes, and even though it looks like a light month for releases (just 14, compared to 21 for May), there’s plenty to go around. Some movies look great, others intriguing, others I’m not particularly interested in but I’ll watch anyway (looking at you, Secret Life of Pets 2), but this monthly column is specifically for the films you shouldn’t screen near an open flame.
As always, let me know what you think in the comments, and if there’s a movie you feel belongs on this ignominious list.
And the Lord said, “Let there be crap!”
Do you love Game of Thrones? Have you loved watching Sophie Turner grow from a naïve waif into a certified badass worthy of being Queen in the North? Do you enjoy well-constructed comic book movies?
Well, sorry to disappoint you, because instead you get Dark Phoenix. Never mind that the X-Men films have already tackled the Phoenix arc before (The Last Stand, which basically started all these insipid timeline splits). Never mind that the X-Men cartoon from the 90s already tackled it better than any movie could. Never mind that Sophie Turner inexplicably married a Jonas Brother. Looking at this trailer is just an exercise in futility for anyone who’s enjoyed the quality of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, anyone who believes in narrative logic, and anyone who likes entry-level good acting.
Like most of the films in the franchise, the cast is full of A-listers (Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, etc.) and every last one of them is clearly cashing a check. I’ve seen oak trees that were less wooden. “When I lose control bad things happen, but it feels good.” Quick, is that a line from Turner in the trailer or any porn star ever? When you rely on a side character – I’m guessing Quicksilver? – to roll his eyes at your core premise (“So we do space missions now? Cool.”), you know you’ve done fucked up.
But despite mixed reviews for the franchise (the last entry, Apocalypse, enjoys a whopping 47% on Rotten Tomatoes), no main entry (meaning not Deadpool or Logan) has failed to earn less than $140 million domestically, so no matter how much I and others gripe, we’ll still be getting these illogical franchise installments for years to come, or until the MCU finally just absorbs them and makes them not suck so much. The most recent TV promo says it’s the X-Men’s final battle. I’ll believe it when I never see it again.
Men in Black: International
Look, I love Chris Hemsworth, I love Liam Neeson, I love Kumail Nanjiani, and I love Tessa Thompson. I even recall saying that Tessa should basically become the next Kevin Hart and just be in everything. Well, careful what you wish for, I guess.
I mean, did anyone ask for this? Did anyone really want another Men in Black movie, especially given the debacles that were the last two? Everything about this movie seems like a cheap imitation of the original trilogy, including callbacks to old alien jokes, more absurd giant guns (in a different trailer, they literally carve a canyon in a desert with one of them, to which I was not the only one in the theatre yelling, “Oh, bullshit!”), eye roll-inducing car tie-ins (as I was logging these trailers on YouTube, I seriously got ads for the Lexus tie-in to this movie before being allowed to watch trailers for other movies), and subpar rap (whatever the hell “Oh Snap!” is… Will Smith is too busy trying to be not Robin Williams).
The apparent plot of the movie concerns MIB being “infiltrated” in its London office, forcing a team-up of Agent H (is for Hemsworth, as if Sesame Street wrote the character sheets) and Agent M (Thompson), who spent 20 years “looking” for MIB and somehow found them, which she says makes her perfect for the job. Any other logical person in the agency would more likely call her a loose end and just “flashy thing” her away before she could compromise security even further. Whatever, franchise reboot, YOU ARE AMAZED!
The Remake Rule is firmly in effect here. I mean, seriously? Rebooting Chucky? And making it an AI glitch? I’d make some joke about turning apps into movies, but then, we have an Uber-based action comedy coming up later this summer.
Also, are you seriously trying to scare the audience with a “creepy” version of the theme song to The Courtship of Eddie’s Father? Good Lord, it just hurts my soul!
Annabelle Comes Home
After sitting through the debacle that was The Curse of La Llorona, I can honestly say I have no interest in any further engagement with the Conjuring franchise. And if I had any inkling to give it another go, this trailer just about clinches that I’ll never go back.
Never mind that this is the second consecutive release in June with a demonic doll (not to mention Toy Story 4 also coming out), this just looks objectively stupid. Seriously, every time I look at that possessed porcelain princess all I can think of is that episode of The Simpsons when Lenny got a role in a horror movie (which predates the first Annabelle by a decade).
Prove me wrong.
47 Meters Down: Uncaged
Here’s all the proof you need that this is going to be a steaming pile of shit: Entertainment Studios. Byron Allen’s studio is fine for court shows and comedy showcases, but when it comes to movies… yeah, no.
The studio’s output to date has consisted of the following: 47 Meters Down, Friend Request, Hostiles, The Hurricane Heist, Chappaquiddick, and Replicas. Of that dubious list, the original 47 Meters has the best box office haul at just over $44 million, but the entire intake of the studio is less than even the worst grossing X-Men movie. Also, the group has an average RT rating of 44.3%.
Regardless of the fact that there has not been one good shark movie since Jaws, you can tell that even the studio has given up on this one. It’s going up against Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, as well as Ophelia, which gives a different perspective on “Hamlet,” both of which have major potential, and honestly, I’m guessing Toy Story 4 will carry over to lead the box office for a few weeks. So if you’ll forgive the analogy, this was dead in the water to start with. However, the stain goes further, as a) this movie has undergone two name changes (originally called 48 Meters Down, then 47 Meters Down 2: The Next Chapter) since it was announced, and the most recent trailer doesn’t even reflect the final title; and b) this was originally slated to premiere in August, but it was moved up to June in the vain hope of salvaging something of their budget. Even Entertainment Studios is tacitly admitting that this is a dud, to the point that it’s not even really being marketed. If you feel like plopping down $15+ for a nap in an empty room, this may be for you, but otherwise… yeah, no.
Keep it locked on the site for the rest of the week, because I’ve got six, SIX, new movies to review in the coming days, all of which are likely more worth your time than these turds!
Join the conversation in the comments below! What film are you looking forward to most this June? Will there ever be another good shark movie? Does Baby Button Eyes constitute another case of oddly prescient Simpsons episodes? Let me know!