2019 is by far the worst summer for movies that I can remember. Of course there were a few good films. Probably the best were “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, “The Farewell”, the new Spiderman movie, and maybe “Peanut Butter Falcon”. My two favorites were “Yesterday” and “Blinded by the Light”. There were the usual action films like “Hobbs and Shaw”, “Angel Has Fallen” and “Avengers: Endgame” (which I did not like), but not much else. There is usually one great or near great comedy, but not this summer. Even the animated films were lackluster, including “Toy Story 4”. And how many more remakes of Disney animated films can we see? One sleeper was a film almost nobody saw, “Booksmart”. When Labor Day weekend comes around and there isn’t a film I want to see you know it’s a bad year!
Here is another example of an independent movie being better than the majority of big films that have come out recently. “Peanut Butter Falcon” is the story of a young man with Downs Syndrome and no family who is placed in a retirement home because he can’t take care of himself. His dream is to become a professional wrestler. He finally escapes and hooks up with who is running away from his messed up life. The two of them end up on a journey that is filled with surprises. Shia LaBeuf plays one of the characters and he is natural, realistic and charming. This is really a road picture, but it is very entertaining and there are plenty of interesting twists. Zach Gottsagen, who has Downs Syndrome, plays the young man and he does an outstanding job. Dakota Johnson is a social worker who is sent to find the young man and bring him back, but instead joins their trek. Entertaining, enjoyable and well-executed
“Ready or Not” is a modern horror/black comedy movie with a bunch of twists. A young woman marries into a rich, eccentric family. As part of their tradition, the newlywed must play a game with them. One of the games is hide and seek with the in-laws ultimately killing the newlywed. A lot of the action is played for laughs. The biggest star in it is Andie MacDowell, but Samara Weaving as the bride is wonderful. Lots of blood and gore, but kind of witty and lots of surprises. An enjoyable “B” movie. If you don’t see it in the theaters it can be a good diversion on a rainy afternoon.
“Angel Has Fallen” is similar to “Olympus Has Fallen” from a few years ago. Gerard Butler plays a Secret Service agent assigned with protecting the President of the United States. This time the President, played by Morgan Freeman, is attacked but saved by Butler. He ends up in a coma and Butler is framed for the attack. He has to hide and try to find out who really did it. Lots of action, not all of it believable. Nick Nolte plays Butler’s father, who ran away from civilization years ago. This is a fun action picture. By the way, I would vote for Morgan Freeman for president in a minute.
“Fast and Furious Presents Hobbs and Shaw” is a spin off of the series with Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprising their characters. This time they are rivals who are forced to work together. They are trying to stop someone from wiping out half of humanity. Their main rival is played by Idris Elba and he is a bad ass. The female lead is Vanessa Kirby and she is also quite formidable. Lots of action, comedy, things blowing up, not to mention car chases. One of the better action movies of the summer.
“Blinded by the Light” is the story of a Pakastani/British young man who is leading a mundane existence. His father runs a strict, traditional home and his son is not allowed to do anything he really wants. A friend introduces him to the music of Bruce Springsteen and it transforms his life. The big difference between this film and “Yesterday” is that the music inspires the protagonist instead of propelling him to fame. Directed by Gurinder Chadha, who did “Bend it Like Beckham”, this is a funny, inspiring, and quite enjoyable movie. It’s a nice little film. If you love the Boss’s music, you will love this movie.
“Good Boys” is a middle schooler’s version of “Super Bad”. It’s about three 12 year olds who are kind of nerdy. They get invited to a boy/girl party and make it their business to learn how to kiss a girl. Jacob Tremblay, who was so wonderful in “Room” and “Wonder”, plays his first normal role. The film is cute, the kids are believable and there are plenty of plot twist. Mildly entertaining. If you are looking for a comedy, this one is decent.