Fourth of July is shaping up to be too damn hot or too damn wet to make doing anything outside a viable option. It won’t stop anybody from crowding into whatever local park is launching stuff into the sky tomorrow night so they can spend hours elbow-to-elbow waiting for the ten minutes of fireworks. But Hollywood hopes they’ll make time for some movies in between the beer and the BBQ and the bombs bursting in air. Although there’s a good chance we have a bomb bursting on-screen as well.
Oh, who am I kidding? You’re going to make The Lone Ranger a hit because you all love Johnny Depp no matter what he does. It’ll be one of those movies that makes $300 million and that nobody remembers seeing four or five years from now. It’s cinematic cotton candy, entertaining for the moments your eyeballs are on it and no longer. The reviews so far have been catastrophic, with the kindest being that at least they tried something different. I was intrigued by the glimpses of the big railroad set piece they show in the trailers, but when I heard that comes near the end of two and a half hours, that made up my mind to give this a pass. There’s no need for this movie to be nearly three hours long. There’s almost no need for this movie. If only they’d stuck with the original idea of the Lone Ranger and Tonto fighting werewolves (thus the silver bullets), it might have at least been an interesting failure. But from all indications, this is just going to be loud, crass, and ultimately empty. No thanks. One Wild Wild West in my life is enough.
Not that I’m all that excited about the other wide release today. I thought Despicable Me was fine for what it was, even if I wished it had stuck more with the rivalry between the two villains instead of the little girls. I never thought it would be as big as it was, let alone spawn a sequel, yet here comes Despicable Me 2, which, you may be surprised to learn if all you’ve been looking at is the advertising, actually features characters other than the little yellow minions. Although it’s a smart strategy; people love those things. They can’t get enough of them at the ride at Universal, they howl at everything they do in the trailers, and they’ll likely eat up every last second they’re on the screen in this one. But Steve Carell has to have something to do to justify that salary of his, so how well this film does will depend on how the non-minion portions go over. And if people are making the slightly above average Monsters University the big hit it is, this should clean up too.
So big holiday, but not big releases as far as I’m concerned. But America has me out-voted on this one. And dammit, we fought a revolution for them to have the right to do so. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of box office.