There has been a lot of talk about how great the summer of 1982 was for movies. And, boy, it really was. (Among the 1982 summer releases were "E.T.," "Blade Runner," "Tron," "The Road Warrior," "Rocky III" and "Poltergeist.") The summer of 1982 was so good, in fact, that for a movie writer covering these current August movies -- doldrums of August, even -- it's kind of depressing. (But, "ParaNorman" is great. I promise.)
The month of August has built itself quite an infamous reputation as one of the worst movie months of the year: The summer blockbusters have wrapped up and awards season has yet to start -- which leaves audiences with movies like "Total Recall." But 2012 is far from the worst movie August ever. So, in the spirit of 1982 being the best summer for movies, I present you with a case for the worst August in the history of movies: 1996.
Even in recent years, August hasn't been a complete disaster. "The 40 Year Old Virgin" seemed to set off a trend of a raunchy August comedies -- which led to films like "Superbad," The Pineapple Express" and even this week's "The Campaign," making August a little less terrible. In the 1980s, every August seemed to have something worthwhile. The lauded 1982 had "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "The Beastmaster." The following years gave us August releases like "Cloak & Dagger," "Risky Business," "Buckaroo Banzai" and "Teen Wolf."
Even August of 1986 -- which included terrible movies like "Howard the Duck" and "Shanghai Surprise" released -- was at least redeemed by "Manhunter" and "The Fly." Actually, looking through every August from the last 30 years, most had enough redeemable qualities that they were collectively, at the worst, tolerable.
Except for 1996.
Ah, 1996! Let's take a look at what your local cineplex offered you that August, shall we? Here's every major release from that month:
"Escape From L.A."
"Tales From the Crypt Present: Bordello of Blood"
"She's The One"
"A Very Brady Sequel"
"The Island of Dr. Moreau"
"The Spitfire Grill"
"The Crow: City of Angels"
From that list, "Tin Cup" and "Matilda" could be considered anywhere from "good" to "serviceable." But "Jack," "Chain Reaction," "The Island of Dr. Moreau" and "She's The One" are four of the worst movies that I've ever paid to see in a theater. As a baseball fan, "The Fan" was obviously made with the assumption that no one who actually knows the rules of baseball would ever see it. (Put it this way: Anytime someone criticizes "Tin Cup," I'm always the one who jumps in to passionately defend that movie for reasons that i have never understood. Looking at this list, I think, now, I know why.) Other than that, I defy you to come up with a worst August in the last 30 years.
Mike Ryan is senior entertainment writer for The Huffington Post. He might watch Tin Cup tonight. You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.