By Bob Grimm
The summer movie season has begun!
The film industry has been trying to get back to normal for a couple of years now, and 2023 looks like it’s getting closer. We have a bunch of sequels, remakes and brainless big-budget projects on the way! This will be a summer when we can go to a theater rather than stay home, and watch things go really, really fast and/or explode.
Here’s a selection of films in the next few months that will attempt to coax you out to theaters over Netflixxing and/or Maxxing in your residential cocoon. (If you absolutely refuse to leave your house, calm down, because we’ve included some major streaming releases, too.) The release dates here are accurate as of this writing, but they could change, and often do.
Oh, and stick around, for the after main article, I talk a little bit about some TV series coming up this summer. (It’s like a post credits scene in a Marvel movie!)
Fast X (May 19): Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 got things started, and this is your second blast of mush-mouthed Vin Diesel in May. (He, of course, provides the voice of Groot in Guardians.) I think, at one point, this was supposed to be the last Fast film, but now it’s being called the first chapter in a finale trilogy—so the nightmare goes on. There’s a good chance that Dwayne “The Rock My Cock” Johnson will eventually return to the franchise after the world said, “Fuck you!” to his Black Adam.
The Little Mermaid (May 26): I’m not a big fan of the live-action remakes of Disney animated classics. In fact, I’m not a fan at all. To hell with these damn things! They’re a waste of creative energies. So what if I’ve sort of enjoyed one or two of them? They’re still stupid.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (June 2): The first of these animated Spidey movies was a masterpiece. Here’s hoping the sequel offers more of the same.
The Boogeyman (June 2): A great Stephen King story from his Night Shift collection gets the PG-13 horror-film treatment. PG-13 horror is like pizza with cheddar cheese and ketchup for sauce.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (June 9): No Shia, no Mark Wahlberg, no Megan Fox, no Michael Bay. Unfortunately, no Hailee Steinfeld, who was in the vastly improved Transformers movie Bumblebee. (It was set in the ’80s, so her character would be too old for her face.) This is an all-new take with an all-new cast. The previews look promising if you are into the whole cars-changing-into-robots thing. If you’re not, might I suggest a nice paperback book for your Saturday evening? You could even read one on your Kindle tablet gizmo. I know, I know; reading makes you involuntarily nap. I have the same issue. Well, then, how about a nice trip to the ice cream parlor for a tasty root beer float? They can be marvelous this time of year!
Flamin’ Hot (June 9, Disney+): Yes, there’s a movie about the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos by a Frito Lay janitor on its way to your home screens. Snack chips are getting movies now!
The Flash (June 16): Warner Bros. is trying to get this into theaters before star Ezra Miller completely loses his mind in public. (He’s definitely pushing the envelope with his wacked-out real-life shenanigans.) The Flash runs around in a multiverse that includes the return of Michael Keaton as Batman. Of everything happening at the movies this summer, nothing is more exciting than having Keaton in the cowl again. Come on, June 16! Get here before Ezra completely melts down on security footage at a Shell gas station and gets the release cancelled!
Elemental (June 16): Pixar has been experiencing a bit of a lull due to less-than-spectacular offerings and Disney sending a few of their releases straight to streaming. Lightyear got a theatrical release, but its lack of a connection to the original Toy Story made audiences grumpy. This one about cartoon representations of the elements (fire, water, etc.) looks a little like Inside Out (which had animated representations of moods and emotions). Hopefully it gets Pixar back on its usual track of turning out one animated masterpiece after another.
Extraction 2 (June 16, Netflix): Chris Hemsworth comes back for more Netflix fun! I remember absolutely nothing about the first chapter of this franchise, other than something was indeed extracted, and I don’t think it was wisdom teeth.
Asteroid City (June 16): Hopefully this will represent a return to form for Was Anderson, who bored me to death with his last movie, The French Dispatch; it was the first of his films that I didn’t enjoy. I’m liking the production design on this one. It looks a lot like the Cars ride at Disneyland.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (June 30): In this film, Harrison Ford’s Indy crash-lands a plane on a golf course and totally ruins some dude’s best golf day ever. (He had five birdies!) Oh, no, wait; that actually happened to Harrison Ford. This is just another movie in which he puts on the fedora and grabs the whips—except this time, Steven Spielberg said, “No mas!” as director, and Ford is super-old. We’ll see if the 127-year-old can pull this off without having a limb disengage and fall on the floor.
Biosphere (July 7): This is not to be confused with Pauly Shore’s Bio-Dome, which cost people a few brain cells when they watched it (mostly due to Stephen Baldwin; Pauly’s performance was soul-enriching). Biosphere stars Mark Duplass and Sterling K. Brown as the last two men on Earth.
Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part One (July 12): This annoyingly long movie title makes it sound like the film has zombies in it. Hey, I’d be all-in for a Tom Cruise secret-agent/bloodthirsty-zombie mashup. But, alas, this is just him running around, falling from high places and looking all quizzical again. His dyed hair is not matching his complexion. Let it go gray!
Oppenheimer (July 21): Nothing can get your summer-movie season going like a real-life drama about how the human race basically screwed itself back in the’40s. Hey, the doll movie described in the next paragraph comes out the same week if you need to balance things out. Christopher Nolan directs this one, and that means you will be watching a lot of intimate, slo-mo shots of atomic explosions on screens across the USA! Look at all those vibrant oranges and reds! We might all die from this someday!
Barbie (July 21): Two of the most beautiful people in the world (Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling) play Barbie and Ken in this film from writer-director Greta Gerwig. With Gerwig (Lady Bird, Little Women) at the helm, this should be something way beyond a typical, by-the-numbers toy-franchise-adaptation movie. I’m thinking it will be a lot better than Battleship.
Haunted Mansion (July 28): I hated the Eddie Murphy Haunted Mansion movie, but I did love Muppets Haunted Mansion, and now this take has Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield and, from the looks of it, plenty of nice nods to the theme-park ride. Yes, Disney often just takes established franchises, rides and animated classics, and uses them to push out routine “new” spins, but this looks like it could be fun. However, I always say optimistic stuff like that before the resultant shit splatters onscreen. Oh, that was negative. Sorry … I will try to be happier. I REALLY HOPE THIS ONE IS GOOD! HAUNTED MANSION IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE RIDES!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Aug. 4): Seth Rogen produces a new animated take on the Turtles that looks to be faithful to their dark comic roots—and it may very well prominently feature weed. Sadly, it won’t have James Franco. He and Rogen are no longer on speaking terms. This makes me sad.
Meg 2: The Trench (Aug. 4): Ben Wheatley, the guy who directed the weird serial-killer movie Sightseers, directs a giant-shark movie. I am very much looking forward to this one.
Gran Turismo (Aug. 11): I know this is an old video game, because I don’t currently play video games, but I recall playing this game when I had a Playstation 2 or Atari or whatever the fuck the console was way back then.
Heart of Stone (Aug. 11, Netflix): Gal Gadot, possibly out as Wonder Woman in the new James Gunn-led DC world, now has a Netflix action franchise. She had to personally turn in her golden-rope thing and crown to Gunn last week, and word is that it was very awkward, culminating in Gunn getting dick-punched.
Strays (Aug. 18): Foul-mouthed dogs (including a Boston terrier voiced by Jamie Foxx; Boston terriers rule!) go on an adventure to return a good-natured pup (voiced by Will Ferrell) to his negligent master (Will Forte) so he may bite his dick off. I’m not being vulgar for the sake of being vulgar: That’s the actual plot.
Blue Beetle (Aug. 18): This DC offering looks a lot like a Spider-Man knock off. But ya know, the character is blue. And, apparently, a beetle. Actually, I like beetles more than spiders. I’m gonna give this one a shot.
The Equalizer 3 (Sept. 1): And the summer movie season comes to an end with Denzel Washington in his so-so action franchise.
Some TV Shows
FUBAR (May 25, Netflix): Arnold Schwarzenegger gets a TV show! His career decline is complete. If the show is great, he shall be resurrected, not unlike crusty Harrison Ford and his new status as a TV mega-star (Shrinking, 1923).
I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, Season 3 (May 30, Netflix): This will probably be the funniest thing you see this summer. The first two seasons were spectacular.
The Crowded Room (June 9, Apple TV+): This has Tom Holland in it, and the more projects Holland does, the more time it will be until another Spider-Man movie comes out. So I’m sort of mad at this show before I even see it. I am what you would call a big, lame-ass geek baby.
The Full Monty (June 14, Hulu): Everything is a little saggier as the story picks up many years later.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Season 2 (June 15, Paramount+): I watched two episodes of Season 1 and liked them. I’m not sure why I stopped watching. Maybe the show’s not that great, because I failed to see it through? Maybe I’m just a lazy bastard?
The Walking Dead: Dead City (June 18, AMC): Zombies in NYC, with Lauren Cohan and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I might actually start watching The Walking Dead again.
Secret Invasion (June 21, Disney +): Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury, the role that doesn’t allow him to say motherfucker, ’cause, you know, the kids are watching.
The Bear, Season 2 (June 22, Hulu): Here’s another show I really liked but never finished as far as first season is concerned. It’s confirmed: I am a lazy TV bastard.
Twisted Metal (July 27, Peacock): I played this video game. I actually owned it. I don’t get to say that a lot, and I’ve said it twice in one article. No, I don’t play a lot of video games. This is just quite the coincidence.
Only Murders in the Building, Season 3 (Aug. 8, Hulu): Meryl Streep is joining Steve, Martin, and Selena!
Ahsoka (August TBD, Disney +): I am in “no longer gives a shit about Star Wars” mode right now, and I do not have high hopes this will return me to the fold.