Thursday, 10 August 2017

Thursday Movie Picks

Summer blockbusters tend to be big, expensive, and full to the brim with major stars that get audiences flocking to the cinema, even a rare appearance of the Sun on British land may not stop a cinematic juggernaut. 

Nowadays blockbusters are made up of the tenth film of the franchise, and the odd original film (which risks the chance of financial failure) which is a shame.

Why not start with the film that has been credited with inventing the summer blockbuster? Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, with Star Wars (in 1977) also lending a helping hand, practically invented the big summer movie. Released in the Summer of 1975, Spielberg’s thriller got bums on seats and generations of people too scared to ever dip a toe in the water. By 1977, Jaws made over 400m in ticket sales and rentals.

Sometimes summer blockbusters are so expensive, they are almost doomed to failure. This was almost a fate that befalled Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. Back when Kevin Costner’s ego was the size of the landmass of Russia, he produced, ghost directed and starred in this big, bloated mess. Still, it’s not a bad film and gets an unfair reputation.

How good can a film based on a theme park ride actually be? Pretty good it turns out. Obviously, some artistic licence was taken because the theme park itself would make a pretty shallow storyline if it was not for the ghost pirates, drunk central hero, and a pair of wooden romantic leads. The good thing about a good summer blockbuster is their re-watchability, and there are very few films more rewatchable than Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.


  1. Great choices! I used to love Waterworld when I was a kid, but then I watched it as an adult and it didn't hold up. I liked the first two Pirate's movies too and Jaws is a classic.

  2. JAWS is one of my all-time favorites; I hate WATERWORLD; I like but don't love PIRATES 1 and to me the sequels range from decent to bad but not unwatchable (I still haven't seen the 5th one).

  3. Jaws is the clear winner this week, as it should be. I also like PotC, this one and the 2nd, anyway. I've never bothered with Waterworld because of all the negative hype. Maybe one day.

  4. I didn't see Jaws in the theatre but when I finally did it was very impressive. Scary more for what's implied than shown, a lesson that many filmmakers should learn.

    I liked this first Pirates but the sequels have been woeful. Waterworld might have worked better with a tighter edit job but as it is it goes on too long and ends up a bloated mess.

    Since almost every summer turns out at least one blockbuster there were plenty of choices. I tried to simplify that by choosing three favorites.

    Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)-This will be brief since I’m guessing there isn’t a soul who hasn’t seen this or doesn’t know the story. Opening with a throwback to the adventure of Saturday serials we meet Indiana Jones professor and treasure hunter. Learning that the Ark of the Covenant is at risk of falling into Nazi possession he sets out to get it into the safe hands of Uncle Sam instead. Along the way he meets up again with Marion Ravenwood, daughter of his old partner and a girl he done wrong, who in many ways is as tough as he is. High adventure follows. Just a flat out good time at the movies. Made a mint on release.

    Total Recall (1990)-In the not too distant future Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is suffering from troubling dreams about battles on Mars. His wife (Sharon Stone) is dismissive of them but when he continues to have them he turns to Rekall Inc. a company that sell a different kind of vacation, implanted memories. But something happens when the memory is being placed and he ends up on Mars in a fight for his life…or is he? Very violent and convoluted but involving. Even now technically impressive and along with The Terminator the film that really put Arnold on top for a long time. Cost a fortune to make, made a fortune in theatres.

    Grease (1978)-Well summer vacation is over and Danny Zuko (John Travolta) leader of the T-Birds is back from a trip to Australia where he met the demure Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton-John) and had some Summer Lovin’. He’s back in his leather jacket and ready to pick up with his gang where he left off but surprise Sandy is a transfer student to his high school and now he’s torn between his image as a tough guy and his love for goody two shoes Sandy, who has been taken under the wing of The Pink Ladies lead by Rizzo (a far too old but sensational anyway Stockard Channing). Teen angst 50’s style, drag racing, a pregnancy scare, cameos by lots of classic stars and a load of good songs follow in this peppy adaptation of the Broadway hit. Raked in the bucks for months on original release then did it again when it was re-released to theatres for its 20th anniversary.

  5. Great picks! I saw Jaws a few days ago and it's a real masterpiece.

  6. I like your theme within a theme. Jaws is popular this week. I haven't seen Waterworld (nor do I want to). I enjoyed the first Pirates movie, it was good.

  7. I picked Jaws as well. A really great film actually, I have yet to see Waterworld but laughed at your comment about Kevin Costner. The pirates movies are good fun