THE BLOG

A Bland Summer at the Movies

07/01/2010 12:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A dearth of enamoring epics has caused the 2010 summer movie season to largely be a disappointment. That's right, it had to be said. And it is not simply personal rumblings. Rather, the lackluster movies have translated into one of the weakest summers yet. The season kicked off with a dreary Memorial Day weekend of ticket sales that had not been seen since 2001. Summer movies have not only let down fans but received blistering reviews from critics. According to Time magazine we should not be deluded into believing that actual people are flocking to the theaters. If you've visited the movies recently you've left with quite the headache from the brick bats to your bank account courtesy of mind numbing prices. With the resurgence of 3D technology and a slow recovery we'll probably be paying upwards twenty dollars by next summer. Regardless, trends show that by years end we would have seen the lowest number of admissions since folks flocked to see Independence Day back in the summer of 1996. So who is going to save summer movies? We cannot continue to dip into the never ending well over at Pixar.

I came to this conclusion after viewing the 7pm showing of Toy Story 3 on Sunday evening. You would have thought some R feature was playing from the sheer number of adults sprawled throughout the Cineplex. Nevertheless the film was absolutely brilliant. From the left leaning opening short, to the heart wrenching closing moments the audience was lifted onto an emotional roller coaster ride. However, one must admit that it is a little unfortunate that a 3D cartoon about toys would be our safest bet for a thrilling time at the movies this summer. This of course withstanding a possible upheaval by Leonardo Dicaprio's highly anticipated, Inception arriving later this summer. Leo aside, most hundred million dollar flicks are simply not making the cut for movie goers. This sentiment is further evinced by most summer blockbusters holding the fort at number one for no more than two consecutive weeks. After ten straight popcorn barrels this writer manages to remain empty and yearns for a truly engrossing action adventure that does not feature "Woody" or "Buzz Light Year" as the protagonists. Summer blockbusters have become more formulaic and predictable than an episode of Law and Order or NCIS. Consider two years ago when we flocked to the theaters to see Heath Ledger captivate audiences in The Dark Knight. Even last year we were pleasantly surprised by the secrets of District 9 and some Nazi hunting courtesy of Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds.

Audiences are looking for fresh ideas. We want to throw all caution to the wind while watching a summer flick. Movie makers should not forget the central nucleus to movie going. Folks want both a substantive and enthralling time at the theaters. If the people at Pixar and fellow animation studios can pick up on this notion while managing to produce complete packages then hopefully some "human" studios will follow suit. Otherwise we can just wait in angst for the next installment of "Mr. Potato Head" trying to figure out where his pieces went.