August is usually a dumping ground for movies. It’s still hot, and most of us are still looking to go to the theater to be entertained AND keep our electric bills down, yet there’s never anything to see. We THINK there is due to the amazing trailers we see for movies during this time, but let’s be honest, we’re always disappointed.
I thought this time was going to be different. For the first half of the month, the movies weren’t terrible. Some like ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ were even damn good. Alas, with my recent viewing of ‘The Expendables 3’, it appears that the summer film trend is going back to the dripping pile of street trash it calls home. I had the same hope last year as well when I actually had some fun with a few of August’s offerings.
Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, FUCK YOU!
When I was younger, starting at about ten, my brother and I were taken to a movie for our birthday. Whoever wanted to come could come and get a free ticket in. I can still remember the first movie we saw. PT, Bobby Rock and I went to see Mortal Kombat. Depending on who you ask, this movie might not stand the test of time (with a 5.4 on IMDB, and a 34% on RT, I’d say that’s a pretty safe bet), but I still have fond memories of it. I still remember the chill from watching a new trailer and new footage at a science fiction convention (a chill I wouldn’t feel again until I had a chance combination of a Rob Zombie CD and ADHD meds). It was a great start to a yearly adventure until I was old enough to legally shoot a man in the face (I.E. join the Army [NOTE: I never joined the Army]).
My birthday is August 18th. The very tail end of the summer movie season.
It’s not as bad as February, but I could argue that August is more heart breaking. When you see the glut of movie previews, you can’t help but root and cheer for all the exciting action and witty banter thrown your way! Every movie looks like it’s going to take you by the nuts and drag you the highest cliff and throw you right the fuck off! The summer movie hype seems like it’ll never end! But it does, and that’s when logic starts to kick in.
Not all movies are good. Everyone knows this. But you can’t tell that until you see them because the trailers got you so pumped, you were ready to punch your sibling in the teeth (then get in trouble for punching your brother/sister/adopted Somalian baby)! Movie companies know what movies are good enough to generate shit tonnes of money. They place those during the holidays where they know parents have time off as well as their kids. They’re guaranteed to make $100 million off the nagging alone! What do you do with the movies you know you’re not going to make much with? You still have to release them, and you need to do so at a time when you can still rake in maximum profits.
August may not have any holidays, but kids are still out of school.
Just like when you were a young dumb ass, August is the month of remembering that your fun and freedom is over. It’s time to wind down and get ready to go back to the grind. When I was in school, despite being a whole month left to do nothing, August 1st was a constant reminder, a countdown, of when I had to be back in the classroom. I would enjoy the last few morsels the movie companies would throw me, even if the quality was…how should I put this, on par with watching insects gnaw on the soft bits of a dead hooker.
But I watched them. For a while, I loved them. The movies I saw on my birthday were fucking gold to me. Even when my friends started saying that the movies were starting to get sucky, I stayed on board. I think it was around the time I saw American Outlaws back in 2001 that even I had to concede to the shit pile that August was. And it wasn’t one that grew pumpkins for Halloween, or delicious vegetables for Thanksgiving. It was the one that reminded you of the farm from afar, but made you check your boots when you got too close (I have no idea why I made this terrible analogy. I think that mentioning Halloween made my long to go apple picking…in fact, I think I’m going to go buy a fucking apple).
Now that I’m a grown goddamn man, I shouldn’t feel the way I do. I graduated from college five years ago, yet I feel like school is coming. Sometimes I’m drawn to notebooks and pencils and shit to decorate my dorm (I did buy one of those fluffy seat pillow thingies for my bed) even though, come September, nothing’s going to be different! You know what September is going to be like to me? It’s going to be exactly like May, November, March, and every other fucking month of the year!
Just like the inescapable ‘Back to School’ feeling, I can’t help but look forward to my birthday movie. I keep thinking “Maybe it’ll be good this year. It’s possible that this August will have something a little better than the usual cinematic drippings that fell from the pan that the dog is now licking up.” But it’s never been good. The movies I loved as a kid were panned by critics and audiences alike. I actually refuse to re-watch many of them because I know they won’t hold up. Keeping the good memories is more important than remembering the story itself. My grand father told me that. He also told me to never enlist during the first wave since no one would know shit and you’d end up dead for a stupid reason.
For my birthday this year, I get to choose between The Expendables 2 and ParaNorman. I know what to expect from The Expendables 2 and I made my expectations quite clear. I want to see a shitty action movie that blows shit up. I’m sure it’ll be a stupid, but fun ride. The fact that the rumor that it might get pegged with a PG-13 turned out to be false actually let me raise my expectations. I’m expecting a shitty plot with a bloody mess. I’ll except nothing less.
As for ParaNorman, I would’ve had higher expectations if it came out sooner. Someone saw it, decided that it probably didn’t have the quality to make much money, and dumped it at the end of the summer. The psuedo-horror theme is enthralling to me, but the forced publicity, and it’s spot at the point in summer when most people are burnt out, make me believe that there’s something about it that will keep me from enjoying it. Maybe I’m wrong, hopefully I am, but it doesn’t seem like it has much going for it.
What else does this month have to offer besides my gimp bound birthday gifts? Two generic looking PG-13 horror flicks (both trailers close on a hand/fingers shown coming from nowhere within the victim…something that has become a major cliche as of late), a Disney movie about a boy grown in someone’s goddamn backyard (I.E. the movie that makes you forget you have a penis), the ‘obvious that Joseph Gordon-Levett wanted a paycheck’ movie, an old person’s comedy with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones, a young person’s comedy with Will Ferell and Zack Galifianakis, and two action movies that won’t let their franchises die. Jesus, even Dredd made sure to get the fuck out of dodge.
I would love the magic to come back to this time of year. I really do. I know I manufactured it, but it was a blind ignorance to mediocre entertainment. I still felt the hype and had yet to know August’s disappointment. I’m hoping a few gems stand out this year, even if they end up being guilty pleasures. Besides those, I have to acknowledge that the Dark Knight franchise is over, The Avengers is past, and that I now know the secrets of Prometheus. The big movies are gone. What’s left needs to be enjoyed for what they are. After this, I get to prep myself for the movies (and the people) ready to suck dick for an Academy Award and be disappointed all over again.