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With only 10 days to go before the release of Thor and the unofficial launch of the summer movie season, Jared and I thought we’d share the 25 movies we are most looking forward to this summer. We’ll start with films 25-21.

JARED

25. Bad Teacher – Justin Timberlake as a nerd, Jason Segel as a gym teacher with a heart of gold, written by two guys who did The Office and directed by a Freaks and Geeks/Undeclared alum means I’m giving this movie a shot.  Of course, Stupnitsky and Eisenberg were also the pair behind Year One, so let’s not get too excited just yet.

24. Hobo with a Shotgun – Sure, Machete disappointed and the elegant simplicity of a title didn’t entirely work for Snakes on a Plane but come on.  Check out this trailer and tell me you aren’t excited for some B-movie awesomeness.
23. Conan the Barbarian – The original is a classic, obviously, but not sacred.  An intriguing supporting cast (you are doing something right when you cast Stephen Lang and Ron Perlman in a brawny adventure flick), but clearly the fate of this movie is going to rest on the (extremely broad) shoulders of star Jason Momoa.
22. Another Earth – One reason I love The Twilight Zone is that it often changed one rule of science and showed how that change could affect humankind, often through the story of a single person.  I’m really hoping this film follows that path.
21. Hesher – The mixed reviews are worrisome, but I’m struggling to see how a Sundance Grand Jury-nominated film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman could be bad.
BRIAN

25. Cars 2 – Pixar has pretty much earned my respect enough that they could produce Shrek 5 and I’d be willing to see it. Cars 2 isn’t that bad, but it’s close. The decision to make a sequel to everyone’s least favorite Pixar film just reeks of commercialism and opportunism, and I have disappointingly low expectations for Cars 2. But its Pixar, so we’ll see.
24. El Bulli – The first of two documentaries on this list, El Bulli is among those films I failed to see while I was out in Austin for SXSW. Centering on the legendary and innovative Spanish restaurant of the same name, the documentary looks like a good hour plus of food porn, and since El Bulli is shutting down later this year, may be the last chance we have to get a look behind the scenes.
23. The Change-Up – Any time a movie trailer kicks off with a baby poop joke, it cant be a good sign. And when that trailer follows it up with a diarrhea joke and a genital grooming joke, those are even worse signs. But Jason Bateman, Ryan Reynolds, and Leslie Mann are all pretty funny, so I’m still willing to hold out and see what the word of mouth is.
22. Another Earth  — Originally this list was 20 films, but then I watched the trailer and realized I had to expand. What a neat concept, from a psychological perspective especially. Just as I love me some goofy action flick during Oscar season, I also love me an introspective, small brainy film during summer blockbuster season. Could be intriguing.
21. Tabloid –  I fell in love with Errol Morris documentaries when I saw The Fog of War many years ago. Tabloid, about the mindboggling path of “former Miss Wyoming, convicted rapist, and dog-cloning supporter Joyce McKinney,” has the potential to be another masterpiece and look into the mind of someone crazy like a fox, or just foxy and crazy.
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Like most people, I can’t resist ranking stuff.  So, when I came across Pajiba’s ranking of the last 53 romantic comedies (with a wide release), I felt obligated to respond.  I’ve seen just under two-thirds, which I think is enough to contribute, and if I remember I’ll update this post as I get to more on DVD.

A few points, first.  I’m sticking with the author’s list.  There are a ton of definitions of “romantic comedy” out there, so you are never going to please everyone.  Here, Rowles says he picks “comedies where a romance was central to the story.”  I’d argue that Morning Glory does not fit the second half of that and probably not The House Bunny or You Again either, depending on how you parse that.  And I don’t think Love Happens is a comedy.  Also, going by Rowles’s definition, I would think you’d have to include WALL-E and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Second, I take some issue with how Rowles seems to think so many romcoms are bad and that it is weak genre overall.  Look, there are certainly bad romantic comedies.  But I’m willing to bet that if you made this list for any other broad genre, you’d get a pretty similar ratio of hits to misses.  There are a ton of bad action movies, bad Oscar bait, etc.  I’d say movies #20 to #29 are generally not fun, but only starting around #30 do they get unwatchable.  If you don’t really like She’s Out of My League, for example, then you most likely don’t like romantic comedies.  Which is fine, but then you don’t get the right to say all romantic comedies are bad, because it is on you.

Finally, as mentioned, the author takes a pretty narrow definition of romantic comedies.  When you include the two I mention above, plus films like Ghost Town, Run Fatboy Run, Charlie Bartlett, Bandslam, The Answer Man, Table of Three, The Trotsky, Nice Guy Johnny then I think you start getting a rather solid list.  Not to mention bromantic comedies (I Love You, Man) or action romcoms (Get Smart and Knight and Day both fit the author’s definition, I’d say).

Anyway, here’s my list.  And you can look forward to my 2010 countdown coming soon.

1. (500) Days of Summer
2. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
3. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
4. She’s Out of My League
5. 27 Dresses
6. The Invention of Lying
7. Mamma Mia
8. He’s Just Not That Into You
9. Going the Distance
10. Love and Other Drugs
11. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
12. Definitely, Maybe
13. The House Bunny
14. How Do You Know
15. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
16. Easy A
17. Morning Glory
18. Made of Honor
19. You Again
20. Love Happens
21. All About Steve
22. The Proposal
23. The Switch
24. Valentine’s Day
25. Fool’s Gold
26. Just Wright
27. The Ugly Truth
28. Leap Year
29. I Love You, Beth Cooper
30. When in Rome
31. Leatherheads
32. Couples Retreat
33. It’s Complicated

Haven’t Seen
The Love Guru
Bride Wars
Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Confessions of a Shopaholic
The Bounty Hunter
The Back-Up Plan
Just Go With It
You Don’t Mess with the Zohan
Sex and the City 2
The Dilemma
New In Town
Arthur
Hall Pass
Sex and the City
What Happens in Vegas
No Strings Attached
Four Christmases
Take Me Home Tonight
Sex Drive
Date Night

April 2011
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