Summer Movies … ’cause America!

Reel DirtWhat are we waiting for? It’s summertime, y’all. Say what you want about Christmas, but right now is the most wonderful time of the year.

This is when the world sees what we are made of. What we choose to buy reflects who we are. We choose to spend money on movies that feature explosions, and dragons, and people who can turn themselves into ice and/or fire. And that’s just what happened in the month of May. We still have June, July, and, yes, August to look forward to. Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of summer!

We’ve talked before about the definitions of movies and films. In my view, the film is what’s most often celebrated at ye olde Oscar event. Emotional, well-written, classy. A movie is the kind of thing where you escape the summer heat, buy a container of popcorn bigger than your head, and sit in a group with your buddies to be wowed by spectacle.

Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of summer!

The scale of a movie is way bigger. More money is spent to make them. More is spent to promote them. And more is spent to go see them.

Even if there are more quality, heart-warming dramas by number, the punch-you-in-the-crotch and watch-a-tanker-truck-explode movies fill the theaters. They have the advantage of mass. Fewer in number but greater in quantity of seats devoted to their consumption. I’m sure there’s an equation for this, and I’m also sure that the U.S. is out of whack and favoring the blockbuster to a large degree. I’m also sure that I’m fine with that.

I’m not saying that the industry isn’t a great way to move the social consciousness to address important things like poverty, dolphin abuse, the obesity epidemic … I’m also pretty sure that I enjoy watching superheroes battle supervillains and take out large cities in the process. It’s just a fact. It’s like, I realize that that tofu and bean sprout salad is healthy for me … but bacon is so good.

Right now, at this very moment, I’m quite sure, whatever the average equation is for the year or during the month of November or February … right now, in this magical zone between Memorial Day and Labor Day, your local cinemas are going to be overrun with mutants, evil witches, dragon-riding youngsters, laser-gun-toting raccoons, and, yes, teenage mutated reptiles with proficiency in ninjutsu.


I do think it’s important for us to imbibe movies with messages, though. Man cannot live on bread, or popcorn, alone. The thing is: A lot of the time, the popcorn popper may try to sneak some hidden food or spice into the kernel.

Is my boy being secretly taught communism by the Lego movie?

It’s important that you know, aside from your standard popcorn butter with the polysorbate 80 and Yellow No. 5, what else you might be getting. Is my boy being secretly taught communism by the Lego movie? Does X-Men: Days of Future Past sneak in pro-violence messages? Will I watch Maleficent and come away wanting to eat only granola and alfalfa?

The answer to all of these is “No, not really.” Although you could make something of an argument for each of those. Granted, it’s a weak argument. Reasonable people wouldn’t come to those conclusions.

That’s not to say that some people won’t, but if the world were full of reasonable people who thought through information that they read and saw and didn’t just believe whatever others told them and generally thought for themselves (and basically just thought for themselves), the newspaper would be quite boring. Wouldn’t you say?

Think serious thoughts. But do yourself a favor: Go see a movie. Or two. Or five. And eat the nachos. With the peppers. They’re good for the soul.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About James Brown

James Brown
James Brown is not related, affiliated, or representative to or of the estate of the Godfather of Soul. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

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