Disney and Marvel tried to pull a coup last month, premiering Captain America: The Winter Soldier and trying to pretend the summer now starts the first weekend of April. They couldn’t trick us of course, the fools! Summer can’t start in April. Everyone knows that summer starts the first weekend of May. It’s a scientific fact. Just ask any Hollywood executive.
Well, the first weekend of May is upon us, and so begins that most intense of movie seasons. Blockbuster after blockbuster and seemingly no end in sight while you’re in its midst. If you have any self-respect as a consumer of popular culture you’ll wade right into that river. It can be dangerous, though, and if you’re not careful you’ll be swept right off your feet, down a waterfall, get scooped up by a spaceship and plopped onto an alien world crumbling under the oppression of a race of anthropomorphized CG raccoons that only you, the chosen one, can stop from turning on the Sarilliom Prism and destroying the Universe using your newly acquired superpowers and…
Do you see what I mean? It’s just that easy to lose yourself in that morass of quarter-billion dollar budgets.
You’ll need to be prepared, and that’s where I come to your rescue. This is your Summer 2014 Blockbuster Survival Guide:
1. Mind the Cape
That beautiful philosopher Edna Mode once said, “NO CAPES!” Her advice has never seemed so relevant. We’ve already gotten one superhero film this year, but that doesn’t count because it wasn’t even summer. We’ve still got three more to go. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 kicks off the summer this weekend. Later this month we’ll get X-Men: Days of Future Past and then The Guardians of the Galaxy in August, both of which look quite enjoyable. The common thing they share? NO CAPES! Capes are for suckers and you’d do well to leave them at home before heading out to your local midnight screening of the latest superhero film.
Godzilla is coming! He’s starring in a brand new self-titled film, Godzilla, and it basically looks like the best thing ever made. Don’t believe me? Look at Bryan Cranston’s face:
Would that face lie to you? So run, don’t walk, to see Godzilla when it comes out on May 16th. And let’s all pray we aren’t crushed under the monstrous foot of disappointment.
3. Think of the Children
Won’t somebody please think of the children! Kids want to go to the movies, too. Unfortunately this summer is light on family fare, especially with Pixar skipping 2014. But there is one film you need to see. How 2 Train Your Dragon — as it obviously should have been titled — is a no-brainer. So stick your kids in the back of the minivan, hide a ton of already-popped microwave popcorn in their coats, and get them to the theatre for the further adventures of Hiccup and Toothless. Sadly that’s about it, unless you want to be subjected to Planes: Fire and Rescue. And you do not. Trust me.
4. Laughter is the Best Medicine
The summer is a time of action and explosions. Fireball explosions, but also explosions of laughter. A Million Ways to Die in the West, Think Like a Man Too, Tammy, Sex Tape and Let’s Be Cops. So many to choose from. Of course, if you follow this simple golden rule you can’t go wrong: always watch movies directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. They’re the minds behind Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and The Lego Movie, and of course the makers of the hilarious 21 Jump Street and its upcoming sequel, 22 Jump Street. Oh, and Neighbors looks pretty great, too, based solely on Dave Franco’s Robert De Niro impression.
5. Don’t Stop Thinkin’ About Tomorrow
For those future-minded movie watchers among you, sci-fi is the place to be. You can watch Tom Cruise fighting future-wars and getting stuck in time-travel anomalies in Edge of Tomorrow. Or maybe get carried away by the Wachowski Starship and their seemingly insane Jupiter Ascending. Or if YA dystopias are more your speed, a bastardization of The Giver starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift is about to be unloaded on us. But if you know what’s good for you, you’ll be stocking your underground bunker in fear of humanity’s inevitable subjugation before heading out to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. #HailCaesar
6. Say “No Way” to Michael Bay
Bay is back with Transformers: Age of Extinction. You don’t need this punishment in your life anymore; no matter how much Marky Mark or how little Shia TheBeef it’s got. Just say “now way” to Michael Bay.
7. When All Else Fails…
If you just can’t take the blockbusters, you can always go indie. For that, Dustin’s already got you covered.