The summer is normally a time for massive blockbusters, but in all honesty, it’s been pretty light this year. Never mind that this hasn’t been the strongest year for cinema, but we’ve had two consecutive months with almost nothing to watch as far as mainstream studio output. There were only 15 major releases in June, which is honestly a massive amount compared to what we have to kick off the back half of 2019. As far as major releases are concerned, there are only nine, NINE releases for July, and five of them are concentrated for the weekend of July 12th. Things will pick up again in August, but for now, there’s barely anything.
I honestly considered not even doing the column this month, as there’s not really all that much to analyze, much less decry as crap before I or anyone else even sees it. But that would be a disservice to you all (yes, that’s the ticket), so I will soldier on and find something to complain about. Take these entries with a little bit of salt, as for once I have to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel to get content for this feature. Of the trailers I’m about to post here, only one looks truly, utterly terrible. The others are just ones I’m not interested in for one reason or another.
So here it is, for your pre-hating pleasure, the July 2019 edition of “This Film is Not Yet Watchable!”
Crawl – July 12
Hey, remember the Sharknado movies? Remember how they were intentionally garbage? Remember how half the point of them was to point out how stupid it was to combine apex predators with weather events? Well, Paramount apparently didn’t get the joke, and so they’ve actually put money behind a movie where a hurricane floods a Florida town, trapping a young woman and her father in their house, with a bunch of alligators infiltrating and trying to chomp them.
It’s supposed to be scary, but… no. Using the foley sound effect of dripping water as part of the spooky score is dumb as hell, and I’m sorry, I have NO sympathy for anyone who stays behind during a hurricane. I know that for the purposes of this story, the dad doesn’t appear to be a stubborn idiot defying the forces of nature, but I’ve seen too many cases of people deciding they know more than freaking scientists in the south to even come close to caring. While I suppose that in this one, isolated incident it could be tragic if gators ate these people because they were trying to get out, but honestly, Florida is one of those states doing everything in its power to deny climate change as their state literally starts sinking. As far as I’m concerned, this is what you get, and I sure as hell ain’t gonna fork over $15 for the sake of schadenfreude.
Stuber – July 12
I’ll be honest. There’s a fair chance I’ll see this, because July 12 is the only competitive weekend of the month, and the only other film on the list that I truly want to see is The Art of Self-Defense, so it’s very likely I’ll have the free time to check it out. I love Dave Bautista, and I love Kumail Nanjiani, so the star power may overcome my normal misgivings.
Because for me, the big thing is that despite the cast and the premise (and some pretty funny bits in the trailer), this film really is just a 90-minute commercial for Uber, and FUCK UBER! Product placement is pernicious enough as it is, but to basically frame an entire movie around it is just insulting to our collective intelligence. It’s a blind corporate bullshit campaign to try to make Uber into a generonym (i.e. a copyright brand name that becomes the catch-all name for a certain product, like Kleenex or Aspirin) and attempt to shove Lyft out and monopolize the market. Also, it’ll date the film horribly so that even if it’s somehow spectacular, it will eventually become a cultural footnote because ride shares aren’t going to be around forever.
I’ll give you a prime example. Have you ever seen the movie Phone Booth? It came out a little more than a decade ago, and it was actually a pretty good bottle thriller. But you basically can’t watch it today, because phone booths no longer exist. Any relevance the film might have had is gone because the main setting is obsolete. The same will happen for Uber, Lyft, and all the others someday, so staging an entire movie around an Uber driver is a fool’s errand. Basically any other type of chauffeur (limo, cab, police escort, etc.) could work, but instead we have this empty, hollow, corporate synergy. Like I said, I may see it anyway due to a lack of options and the fact that I really like the core cast, but I’m bracing myself for suck.
The Lion King – July 19
Say it with me folks. THIS! IS! NOT! LIVE! ACTION! IT’S! A! FUCKING! CARTOON!
Look, it might be a good cartoon. It might be a great cartoon, I don’t know. All I know is that for the last two years, Disney has put forth this bald-faced lie that their remake of The Lion King is live action, when by definition it’s not. There are no human characters, no human backgrounds. No matter how realistic it looks, it’s still animated. At least with The Jungle Book you had a couple of humans (including the central character) so you could at least sell the lie somewhat believably. But not here. It’s just a cartoon, folks, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t understand why they can’t just accept the definition of words and just put the movie out honestly.
Oh wait, yes, I do understand. It’s because Disney continues to repackage and remake all their animated classics, and it’s more a brand identity than them giving two shits about honesty and quality. Like Stuber, I may still end up seeing it, but to me this is the rock bottom of this exercise in nostalgia cash-ins. They pack the cast with A-listers (I think John Oliver is the least famous of the bunch), as if we’re ever going to actually see them instead of hearing their voices, they make a big deal out of Beyoncé singing yet another song she didn’t write, and then they outright lie about what the film is. And of course, the entertainment media laps it all up and falls in lockstep to lick Disney’s bunghole, because God forbid we treat the audience like they have functioning brain cells. I remember last year I was pumping gas at a station that had small TVs in the pumps, and the Entertainment Tonight-style clip that played on constant repeat had their anchor falling over herself to gush at Danny Glover being cast in the film, even though it was DONALD Glover who was announced. It’s lazy and borderline racist, but who cares? Time to sell more toys!
Join the conversation in the comments below! Are you planning to see any of these movies? Which potential piles of shit have I missed? Can we all just go watch Spider-Man and skip the rest of July? Please? Let me know!