Long, Hot Summer Flicks

If you’re looking for something to do between the beginning of May and Labor Day, you’re obviously way out of the loop—just go to the movies! Does the fact that Natalie Portman and Matt Damon went to Harvard mean nothing to you, my friend?

Major studios are collectively releasing $1 billion worth of movies over the next few months. Variety reports that since the summer of 2002, the number of movie tickets sold has slowly declined. Distributors are in need of a spike in sales, and with one huge popcorn flick coming out every weekend between now and July 4, this summer is expected to be one of the biggest of the decade.

Most Harvard students, however, could care less. “I’m completely out of the loop. I guess I’m trapped inside the Harvard bubble,” says Julia E. Heath ’09.

“Really? ‘Superman’ is coming out?” is her first reaction to hearing that the movie cost $250 million to produce.

Clotilde A. Dedecker ’09 also admits to being “completely clueless about summer movies.” When asked about her possible interest in “Miami Vice,”—the big-budget Hollywood adaptation of the iconic ’80s television series, starring Colin Farrel and Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx—she replies: “Wow, I just have no idea about any of it.”

Katherine E. Conden ’06 doesn’t even plan on finding out what’s new in Hollywood cinema this summer, “I usually just go to Kendall Square to see movies. I have no interest in big movies like that,” she says.

So, is the “Harvard bubble” so all-encompassing that only a small percentage of us actually know what’s coming out during the most profitable season for the entertainment industry? Well, my well-educated-in-nothing-that-matters brethren, rest assured, that’s what The Crimson is for. Here are some of the biggest movies coming out this summer and here’s what you had to say about them.


Due Out: May 12

Wolfgang Petersen (“Troy,” “The Perfect Storm”) directs this remake of the campy 1972 “The Poseidon Adventure,” about the luxury cruise ship, “Poseidon.” The vessel is struck by a ginormous wave on New Year’s Eve and it’s up to a small group of extremely attractive passengers to get out. Starring Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, and “Entourage’s” Kevin Dillon, this one has Adam M. Jasienski ’08 hooked. “I saw the trailer awhile ago. I like the big, trashy, special effects movies with no plot.”

Mayuri N. Shah ’08 is a fan of the trailer but a little confused: “It looks like Titanic. Is it the same story? I wonder?”

If there’s a director in the business today for a movie like this, it’s Peterson, so we can be sure this will be one giant thrill ride—and if not, we get to see the annual giant wave headed for a lot of innocent people.

The Da Vinci Code

Due Out: May 19

What’s to say that hasn’t been said before? With so many fans of the book all over the globe, this movie may already have the lock on being the biggest flick of ’06. Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, and Paul Bettany star in this Ron Howard-directed adaptation of Dan Brown’s unstoppable book.

With the novel back to the top of sales again, it seems everyone wants to read it before the movie comes out.

Like many movies this summer, this one has a huge built-in audience and the curiosity factor is sky high. And with Oscar-winners Howard and Hanks onboard, Krista E. Weiss ’09 is totally stoked: “I read the book and absolutely loved it. When I was reading it, I could just see how you could make it into a movie, so when I heard about [the movie version], I got really excited.”

X-Men: The Last Stand

Due Out: May 26

Many seem to be revving up to see the third and final installment of the blockbuster comic book franchise.

Sheel C. Ganatra ’06 has been an X-fan since childhood: “I watched the Saturday morning cartoon growing up. I’m anxious to see Jean Grey turn into the Phoenix,” he says, referring to one of the characters who is expected to make a return. In this installment, a cure for mutancy threatens the X-Men and their enemies—every mutant will ask the question whether or not they want to stay unique.

With a cast even larger than the first two, the original players are all back for round three, including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and the ubiquitous Halle Berry. The director of the first two, Bryan Singer, decided not to return and instead directed “Superman Returns.” But director Brett Ratner—of “Rush Hour” and “Red Dragon” fame—is at the helm. We’ll have to wait and see whether Singer made the right choice to leave.

A Prairie Home Companion

Due Out: June 9

Of the many independent films that are being showcased as alternatives to big summer movies, “A Prairie Home Companion” seems to be the one that Harvard is most anxious for. It chronicles the backstage goings-on of a fictitious weekly variety radio show. Nathan D. Johnson ’09 had this to say: “It is a sampling of talent from several generations. All these people who seemingly have no relation come together and I’m anticipating how this experiment will turn out.”

After one major success (“Gosford Park”) and one major dud (“The Company”), this one should put director Robert Altman back on the map. Oh right, and Lindsay Lohan is in it. Any combination of Meryl Streep and Lindsay Lohan has to be entertaining. Nuff said.

Superman Returns

Due Out: June 30

Many seem to be revving up to see the third and final ins

If people are disappointed that Spider-Man is a no-show this year, there’s another superhero who could fill his place. In this rebirth of the franchise, Superman has been M.I.A. for a while, it seems Metropolis doesn’t need or want him anymore. With the excitement on campus and all over the world, it’s pretty clear that “Superman” is a welcome return and there should be some movie magic in it for everyone.

Filling Christopher Reeves’ tights is newcomer Brandon Routh. Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey costar as Lois Lane and Lex Luthor, respectively. Bryan Singer is helming this installment after many directors were assumed to take the reins, including McG and Brett Ratner (who is directing Singer’s former franchise, “X-Men,” see above).

The buzz is good, the fans are excited and the profits are expected to be out of this world.

Snakes on a Plane

Due Out: July 28

As many have said, the title says it all. Internet blogging has been so huge for this film that producer C. Stokeley Chaffin ’92 insisted on changing aspects of the film to please fans. Samuel L. Jackson signed on for the film without even reading the script because the title got him hooked. This is the quintessential campy flick that has college students across America, including Harvard, going berserk. Jared S. Gruszecki changed everything on his profile to reference this movie. Alex N. D’Amour ’08 thinks it looks like “the sweetest movie ever. It’s the only movie this summer that I won’t miss.”

Chaffin, who recently spoke at a “VES 195: Contemporary Hollywood Cinema” lecture at the Carpenter Center, said, “This film is changing the way movies get made. We never expected such a strong reaction.” Expect to see stellar box office performance and subsequent “Snakes on a Plane” DVDs circling around Harvard next year.

The next few months will be bigger than ever, but if audiences aren’t there, there may never be another one like it. So, whether you’re in the Harvard bubble or not, make sure to make time for the movies.


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