This Summer at the Movies

As all of us head back to the hills of Colgate, summer begins to draw to a close. For many, this is a sad event, especially for us here in upstate New York with the impending cold weather. However, let us not dwell on this. Instead, let us reflect on what a wonderful summer this was. Namely, let us talk about the many, many movies that came to our local theaters. This list is quite substantial. Though not all were terribly memorable or frankly good in any way (ahem, ahem, Green Lantern. Why, Ryan Reynolds? Why?), some made for a fantastic time at the cinema. So I’d like to share with you my top five movies of the summer, as well as some that I wish I saw and some that I am grateful I wasn’t made to sit through.

Starting off much earlier in the summer was a gem of a Woody Al­len movie: Midnight in Paris. Funny, charming and witty, it reminded the audience that Woody Allen makes great comedies. It was a wel­come change from the dramas he has recently been making. And, of course, how can you go wrong with gorgeous shots of Paris through­out the whole movie? Although it was kept quite vague in the trailer, the plot of the movie isn’t at all what you’d guess. It’s a film where you don’t exactly know what the plot is going into the theater, and as the credits roll, you’re grateful for it. This is a movie to savor.

Next on my list was a June movie, Super 8. Think The Goonies meets E.T. Director J.J. Abrams did a fantastic job paying homage to great 80s movies from Speilberg and Lucas without making it feel like a rip-off. The cast of kids is hilarious, and they get into all sorts of trouble as they make their own zombie movie (while, of course, their town is attacked by an alien). With awesome action scenes and a stellar cast of kids, this is a blockbuster summer movie in top form.

I’d like to find someone who didn’t see the final film about every­one’s favorite boy wizard, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The perfect blend of action, emotion, stellar acting and a love for the characters that can only be had after watching them grow up for ten years, in my humble opinion, this was the best movie of the sum­mer. The special effects were mesmerizing, from the dragon in one of the opening scenes to the final battle at Hogwarts. This is a movie to watch over and over, as I’m sure many people did in the theaters.

Next on my list is Crazy, Stupid, Love. I thought the film was Steve Carrell in top form, supported by great performances from Julianne Moore, Ryan Gosling (who can resist?) and Emma Stone. It was a movie that made the whole theater continuously laugh. The storyline is not exactly what you expect, but in a refreshing way. It makes you wonder what’s going to happen to the characters. In a time where romantic comedies can be so boringly predictable, this was a breath of fresh air.

Last but certainly not least is The Help. Although some have criti­cized the film because of its light approach to heavy topics, I thought it was a great historical piece true to the book it is based upon. Emma Stone once again shows her talent in a completely different role than those she has done in the past. For me, what made this movie were the acting performances and the storyline. It focused a lot on the dichotomy between the African-American maids and the children of their employers, whom they practically raise. It causes a deep bond filled with love at an early age, which as they grow older deteriorates as the influences of the segregated society around them take hold. Be­cause the maids spent more time with their employers’ children than their own, this feeling of loss is even greater as this love turns to rac­ism. Viola Davis, in the role of Aibileen, gave the performance of her career, showing the strength of her character. Moving and powerful, I would highly recommend this movie.

Unfortunately, I did not see all of the summer movies I would have liked. For example, there were simply too many superhero movies to see. However, I did catch Thor and greatly enjoyed it. It was funny with good action and a more offbeat storyline when compared to other superhero movies. I heard Captain America was enjoyable and that X-Men: First Class was one of the best of the summer. Alas, the time has passed to try to see them. However, there are some I am not sorry to have missed (and some I was sad I saw and wouldn’t admit that I actually did see them). Transformers: Dark of the Moon failed to redeem its series while Cars 2 shockingly marked the first Pixar movie that was greatly disliked. All things considered, it was a great summer for movies. For now, I’ll try to forget the memory of seeing Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Whoops. Did I say that out loud?