Summer Movie Wrap-Up: The Winners and Losers

Summer Movie Wrap-Up: The Winners and Losers

Summer is over. With the release of “A Walk Among the Tombstones” and “Maze Runner,” the Fall movie season will officially begin in about 10 days. While we wait, this seems like a good time to look back and, in some cases, re-evaluate the offerings of the summer movie season. Rather than a list of best-to-worst, let’s think about it in the same way everyday moviegoers do: Will I buy the Bluray, maybe buy the Bluray, or pray for memory bleach?

Links go to my original review. In some cases, you will see a change of heart.

Definite Bluray Purchase:

Get On Up – This James Brown biopic was far and away my favorite of the summer. My review begins with the blanket statement that Chadwick Boseman will win a Best Actor nomination for his mind-blowing transformation into Soul Brother Number One. The film’s unfortunate crash at the box office might hamper that.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Over the weekend I again saw what is far and away Marvel’s best film since the original “Iron Man.” It was just as good a second time. This sequel is not only head and shoulders above its predecessor, it successfully and shamelessly steals the visceral, real-world edge that Christopher Nolan gave to “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises.”

Godzilla – I can’t wait to see this again.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Though I’m still furious this was shot in a 1.85: 1 aspect ratio as opposed to the wider 2.35: 1 every other “Planet of the Apes” feature was shot in, the power of the story, battle sequences, and a surprisingly generous (for this franchise) pro-human theme forgives much. Pretty great entry in my third favorite film franchise (after this and this). Would’ve been even greater in widescreen.  

Expendables 3 – Forget the nostalgia, the cameos, the gimmickery of it all; Stallone delivered one helluva standalone action pic. Easily the best of the franchise and the best of its type (B-movie, genre action) in years. It’s a shame this tanked due to “Expendables 2” being so tired the franchise already seemed played out.

Transformers: Age of Extinction – Other than “Guardians of the Galaxy,” this is the summer flick that found me most out of step with other critics and most American moviegoers. To the legions who claimed the nearly three-hour runtime was too long, all I can say is that I was sorry when it was over.

Might Buy On Bluray

Before I go ahead and make a purchase, I need to give these one more look-see.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – I remember almost nothing  about this movie.

The Purge: Anarchy  – Over time I tend to grow fonder of B-films like this. It could easily move up in category before the week is out.

Edge of Tomorrow – Cruise’s big budget box office disappointment is a definite Must-Watch Again. I just want to be sure it will hold up on repeat viewings. Same goes for the titles below.


The Giver

Glad I Saw But Won’t Watch Again

The titles below rank as a fine time at the movies but nothing more. I won’t purchase the Bluray (or request a review screener if offered) and won’t I watch any of them again on HBO or the like.

Some movies are one-offs. They do the job. You don’t walk out of the theatre feeling ripped off. But the moment you do walk out the relationship is over. The first two titles I didn’t review but did see:


Heaven Is for Real


A Million Ways to Die in the West – Seth MacFarlane’s comedy-Western qualifies for what Andrew Breitbart once told me about raunchy comedies: “They’re fun to watch in a crowded movie theatre but at home alone you feel a little dirty.”

The Fault In Our Stars

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Into the Storm – My memory of this is kinder than my review. If things keep moving in that direction, I could own the Bluray someday. These things happen. Watching stuff get destroyed never gets old.

22 Jump Street – To be honest, this is another film I can hardly remember. My review makes me want to drop it in the category below. This standing is a benefit of the doubt.

Guardians of the Galaxy –  If the fanboy love for this holds out another 5years, I’ll give it another shot. Basically, though, I thought it was stupid.

Sin City 2 – To be honest, in a few years I can see myself plucking this out of a $5 bin.

November Man

Wouldn’t Watch Again On a Bet

Sex Tape – A potent reminder that libertinism is neither sexy nor erotic — even if it’s Cameron Diaz.

Amazing Spider-Man 2 – A muddled, frenzied mess that might kill the franchise for a generation.



Deliver Us From Evil – If only it had been scary.

Lucy – Empty as a crushed beer can.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Title of my review says it all.

Let’s Be Cops – Let’s give me my money back.

If I Stay – After seeing the movie, the title now sounds like a threat.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC                


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.