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The general mugginess, humidity, and damp heat of summers in DC make it necessary to seek out cooler surroundings from time to time, and so going to the movies seems like a natural escape. I generally enjoy the summer entertainment Hollywood offers, by which I mean that not all movies I see have to be critical examinations of life, deeply-thought out artistic visions, or even always intelligent material.

Sometimes it’s enough that a movie is fun, the characters interesting or likable enough for me to overlook the occasional plot holes (although I will point out inconsistencies, but that is part of the fun), and the spectacle spell-binding, eye-popping and awesome without being completely empty and divorced form the story. Oh, and having a story is still important. Lake Placid for example is for me one of the perfect fun summer movies; it fits within the conventions of its genre (creatures eats people, people hunt creature) but plays with them a bit, there’s great one liners and there are scenes where I have to watch from behind my hands.

This is why I am somewhat bemused and saddened by the fact that of the several movies I have seen so far this summer, only one – an independent movie, first time feature for its directors – has stood out at all while the big Hollywood summer movie machine has left barely any impression on me at all.

There was Superman Returns, yawn, which I found mostly boring except for the action sequence with the plane that happens near the beginning of the movie. And Pirates of the Caribbean 2, where, granted, I wasn’t expecting all that much, certainly not a replication of the surprised and unexpected pleasure I found in the first round of that story, but which I can barely remember at all now even though I do remember laughing at some parts of the movie (Johnny Depp fighting on a big water wheel that’s rolling through the jungle, maybe the bit with the large stick and the fruit, hm, what else?). And while Pirates 2 sets you up to see the third installment, I’m not even all that interested. Finally, there’s My Super Ex-Girlfriend, a movie that might have been interesting and started out sort of promising but then lost it along the way. Meh, [shoulder shrug] what’s next?

The one movie that made me laugh, and that I would enthusiastically recommend to all my friends and family is Little Miss Sunshine with Steve Carell, Toni Collette, and Greg Kinnear. Now that one I do remember. If you get the chance, go see it.

You’ll be happy you did and not only because the theater was air conditioned.


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