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The penultimate of the series, in which Jared makes his most ridiculous pick for the summer and I reveal some hopelessly optimistic rankings.


10. Cowboys vs. Aliens – This movie has one of my widest ranges of expectations. Possibly because the cast and crew seem to have been randomly chosen. Five writers were given screenplay credits. Kurtzman and Orci are no strangers to big budget fare, but in my mind only have one hit (Star Trek) and a bunch of middling work (e.g. the Transformers films, The Island, The Legend of Zorro).  Damon Lindelof did Lost, of course.  And Fergus and Ostby are the Oscar-nominated writers behind Children of Men and Iron Man.  The cast features three of the strongest supporting players around in Sam Rockwell, Paul Dano, and Walton Goggins, plus an incredibly oddly matched pair of leading men in Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford.  Plus Olivia Wilde, still waiting to be given the chance to be more than a pretty face.  Director Jon Favreau notably started hedging his bets last year, pointing out that given then sheer number of blockbuster-type films, some movies will inevitably flop.  That’s the bad sort of foreshadowing, Jon.

9. Crazy Stupid Love – When Steve Carell is the weak point of your cast, you did something right.  Sure, the plot appears to be rather stock, with Carell the schlubby husband who’s lost something with his wife (Julianne Moore) only to get rejuvenated by ladies’ man Ryan Gosling, whose womanizing ways are stopped in their tracks by a crush on Emma Stone (which, I mean, duh).  Plus Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon are thrown into the mix.  Frankly, that’s a movie that’s going to be watchable three-quarters of the time and no worse than 10:1 to be really good.  Frankly, my only concern here is screenwriter Dan Fogelman.  Fogelman’s a hot property as of late.  He recently pitched a political film that apparently netted him seven figures after a five studio bidding war.  And the movie now has Tom Cruise attached.  I’m, however, still stuck on the fact that two of Fogelman’s prior credits include Cars and Fred Claus.

8. Larry Crowne – Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts have the luxury of picking out projects that they really really want to do.  So when they join up, I’m interested. The supporting cast is filled with fun people and Wilmer Valderrama. If you missed the trailer, well, the film looks pretty much exactly like the light-hearted romantic comedy teaching a life lesson you’d expect from Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. And while you may think that’d be enough to hook me (and you’d be right), here’s why I’m most excited: The last film written and directed by Tom Hanks?  That Thing You Do!

7. Something Borrowed – Brian’s made fun of me for this one. And maybe rightly so. But does this movie really so different from Crazy Stupid Love or Larry Crowne, other than having lower-wattage star power? Anyway, this film seems like you are going to get exactly what you expect out of it. I like that Kate Hudson is playing the “evil” role here, I think it will prove to be a nice departure from her previous roles.  Slotting into that role is Ginnifer Goodwin.  Who is nothing short of fantastic.  And I’m not just saying that because she played a recurring character on Ed.  I’m a little worried about this Colin Egglesfield guy, I’m not entirely convinced he is a real person.  But John Krasinski looks to be channeling some of his mojo from Away We Go, plus there’s Victoria (Cupcake Girl) from HIMYM and the funny Steve Howey.  What you really need to know, though, is the last feature film directed by Luke Greenfield (prior to this one, of course).  The Girl Next Door.

6. Green Lantern – Martin Campbell was a fascinating choice to direct this superhero movie.  He’s already directed two of the most famous superheroes in the world in three wildly popular films: Zorro in The Mask Of Zorro (and The Legend of Zorro, but let’s pretend that never happened) and James Bond in GoldenEye and Casino Royale.  So he’s clearly got the chops. Star Ryan Reynolds is well-deservedly starting to break out something fierce. And if you happened to catch Paper Man, you have no problem buying him as a superhero. I’ll admit, I was a little low on Blake Lively at first, but then I saw The Private Lives of Pippa Lee and like three million different magazine covers with her on it.  If there’s cause for concern, it is that the script comes from not super-heralded television writers.  But writing for No Ordinary Family probably will come in handy here.  Plus, as Adam will point out, if you cast Mark Strong as the bad guy, you are halfway to a good movie.


First off, a quick commentary. Something Borrowed, Jared? REALLY? That’s just terrible — if you watched Big Love, then maybe I could understand your Ginnifer Goodwin idolatry. But even THEN, its indefensible. I will probably mock you about this for months.

10. Hangover: Part II — I don’t really know why I have this so high as I have yet to laugh at pretty much anything in the trailer. I’m hoping the writers recapture the unpredictable mirth of the original and have a few tricks up their sleeves. The Mike Tyson cameo was ruined for the first one (and it seems he inexplicably comes back for Round 2), but I’d love it if there were some surprises this time. Also, going from a tiger to a monkey as the animal cast member is a big downgrade. So… hopeless optimism? Perhaps.

9. Horrible Bosses – As Jared mentioned, there’s no trailer or preview for this, so having this in my top 10 is a rather big risk. But the premise, of people murdering their bosses, is deliciously dark. Jared was wise to point out the “Motherfucker Jones” character, not to mention the rest of the cast. Jennifer Aniston’s comedic talents have been underrated since Office Space and even in really bad movies Jason Bateman makes me smile. I’m also banking on the July 8 release date being a vote of confidence from the studio. My hope is that the lack of a trailer means they want to do a sneak attack on moviegoers. Or it’s really bad. Ok, from here on in I am much more confident (and happy) with my choices.

8. Our Idiot Brother — I was shocked that this was so low on Jared’s list. Dreadful trailer he says? I thought it was great! In an inverse of my previous item, the only thing that gives me pause is the late August release date — it’s where movies are sent to die. You’re going to tell me a movie with Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, Steve Coogan, Adam Scott and Emily Mortimer isn’t going to be good? It looks like a great extension of the Apatow manchildren, a role Paul Rudd specializes in, but moves him away from the self-aware schnook that he usually plays.

7. X-Men: First Class  — The more I see of this one, the higher up my list it goes. The alternate historical fiction, with the original X-Men saving the US during the Cuban Missile Crisis is right up my alley, and I find the mythology of the series to be among the most compelling of all superhero stories. The Xavier/Magneto relationship has a lot of heft to it, and I’m reasonabily confident that James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender can pull it off. The younger, star-depleted cast should also provide a sense of vitality and promise — which is exactly what you’d want in an origin story. Unlike Wolverine — which we’ll just forget ever happened. Oh and the special effects look sick.

6. Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Speaking of unreal special effects, Andy Serkis is bringing it again in the resurrection of the franchise. I was taken aback by a number of setpieces in the trailer, and superintelligent monkeys are freaking scary. The acting looks rather bad, but if this one ends how I think it will end — then James Franco and Frieda Pinto will have to succumb to the simian overlords, and that’ll be fun to watch. In terms of a goofy, entertaining popcorn flick, it looks like this will be the last nail in the coffin of Tim Burton’s atrocious 2001 remake.

Our final five films tomorrow night!

May 2011