The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

Welcome fellow movie lovers! It is I, the Self-Made Critic, here to save you from the horror of the Hollywood Summer Movie Season! So many movies, so little time! What to do? What to see?

Well put aside your fear and come along with me as I guide you through the upcoming hits and misses which will be vying for your attention in the next few months. Grab a hold, the roller-coaster is coming 'round!

Pre-Summer Blitz:

Summer starts on Memorial Day, but the summer movies have already begun to arrive. The first true Summer Blockbuster was Deep Impact, a little film about a little comet and a little tidal wave which made a little money in its first week of play. We're talking $41 million little dollars. Nice way to kick off the summer...

Then the first true chick film arrived, Robert Redford's The Horse Whisperer. Actually, industry experts (Josh and Gus at the local bar) have noticed that this film is the first in a long time to create a sub-category in the genre of chick film: The Old Chick Film. Seems that young chicks, who normally flock to this kind of emotional flood, are staying away, commenting that "This film is something my Mom might like." I mean let's be honest, Hot Stud Redford is, what, 83?

Older chicks think Rob's just dreamy.

One last pre-summer note. Warner Brothers entered the animation blitz with a mega-star production of Quest for Camelot. Two-headed dragon, talking hatchet. Sounds groovy.

One more last pre-summer note. Bulworth. Warren Beatty goes political. Everyone loves it. Biting, satirical, funny. Only in NY and LA right now, but will be expanding soon.

OK, bring on the heat!

May 22:

How do you win the summer? You make a movie that can literally eat the competition. Here comes Godzilla, he's one tough customer, he knows what he likes when he sees it.

OK, Godzilla actually opens the 20th, with a sneak on the 19th. (So doesn't that mean it opens on the 19th? Damn those wacky marketing folk!) Here's the Zilla-scoop. Big monster. Steps on New York. People die. Movie makes the most money this summer.

Come on folks, it's Godzilla! Done by the guys that did ID4! It stars...a big lizard!! Rock On! Self-Made Critic's Estimated Gross (SMEG): $250 million.

Also opening this weekend is a little movie for those of us who haven't found a way out of the sixties. Terry Gilliam (Monty Python, 12 Monkeys) brings us Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. A story about drug-addled Hunter S. Thompson whose biggest claim to fame, as far as I'm concerned, is being the inspiration for Doonesbury's "Uncle Duke." SMEG: $35 million

May 29:

Everyone's still scared of the Lizard, so we get more counter-programming here. Sandra Bullock cries a lot and Chris Farley comes back from the dead.

Hope Floats is for anyone who can't figure out the ending from the storyline: Woman loses husband, comes home, meets up with guy who likes her. How will she ever be happy again? Hint: I'm betting it has something to do with the new guy. SMEG: $30 million.

Almost Heroes is for anyone who wants to see Chris Farley's last film. Don't worry, this isn't some sick post-mortem piece, it was all done and finished before he died. It might actually be funny, except that it also stars the cute guy from Friends. And none of the Friends cast is ever allowed to be in a good comedy. SMEG: $17 million.

June 5:

With Godzilla still eating any action blockbuster that would dare poke its head up, the studios continue counter-programming.

The Truman Show. As if his ego wasn't bad enough, Jim Carrey stars in a movie where he's the center of the universe. In all honesty, Jimmy's getting good buzz for his portrayal of a guy whose entire life has been filmed without his knowledge. What isn't widely known is that it's a true story, based on the life and times of Jim Carrey. SMEG: $90 million.

A Perfect Murder. Michael Douglas is married to Gwyneth Paltrow and wants to kill her. Yeah, like that'd happen. My friends, if you're married to Gwyneth Paltrow, you do not kill her! I mean come on people! $45 Million.

Can't Hardly Wait. I only mention this because it's gonna surprise everyone and make some money from all the pre-pubescents who are graduating from high-school. Think of it as Fast Times at Beverly Hills 90210 High. SMEG: $25 million.

June 12:

OK, we've had 3 weeks, time to bring out the ammunition.

Harrison Ford is such the man, that he can win the love of a lesbian, Anne Heche. 6 Days, 7 Nights is the story of these two cats who get stranded on an island for, guess how long? Harrison's the biggest box office star of the century. He's old, but who the hell cares? $110 Million.

June 19:

The Truth is out there at the Movies on a big screen with popcorn in your lap. And this weekend, it's animated.

Who's conspiring against who? What's the black stuff? Who's related to who? Which aliens are good, which are bad? Will Mulder and Scully finally hop into bed? If these questions mean nothing to you, then you probably won't get much out of The X-Files Movie. But FOX doesn't care, because with a weekly audience of 30-40 million folk, they're betting that enough people will shell out 8 bucks to find the answers. I have a prediction to make about the movie: It will answer a bunch of questions, and raise a bunch more. You can quote me on that. $120 million.

Mulan. Every year Disney dusts off some old story or fairy-tale and creates a summer animated classic. Mulan is already a Disney Animated Classic and it won't be released for months. The story's about an Asian girl who pretends to be a man in order to fight in the army. Or something like that. I just want to know how Disney plans on getting away with its standard "huge, blue eyes heroines" in a story which takes place in the far east. SMEG: $75 million.

June 26:

One Doctor is in, the other is Out.

Eddie Murphy, fresh off his "I thought she was a hitch-hiker, not a hooker" stunt, warms his way into our hearts with a remake of Dr. Dolittle. Hell, the Nutty Remake saved his career, so it's a good bet that this one will help wash that awful taste of call girl out of his mouth. No comment. SMEG: $90 million.

George Clooney, best known as "The guy who killed the Batman franchise," plays a bad guy who hits on good girl Jennifer Lopez. It's called Out of Sight, and, while fun, I think that's the title best describes the film's future in this action-packed market. SMEG: $30 million.

July 1:

Continuing the summer's theme of "People love to see millions of other people die," Bruce Willis, a couple of months too late to save the world from Deep Impact, tries to save it from Armageddon. It's a different movie, honest! No comets, meteors!! And instead of sending Robert Duvall up to negotiate with the heavenly bodies, we send Bruce up to kick some celestial ass! And instead of being the size of New York, this one's the size of Texas!

Whatever, who cares, I'm there. SMEG: $180 million.

July 10:

Small Soldiers. Toys go bad and start attacking kids. Think Gremlins with batteries. The producers thought that, so they got Gremlins director Joe Dante to direct it. You all have to see this film because...I'm in it. Well, my car, at least. During a scene where the school is let out for the day, a dark green Saturn drives up to the front of the school and picks up a little girl. That's me. The car, not the girl.

I just hope I don't get lost on the cutting room floor. SMEG: $70 million

Lethal Weapon 4. Mel Gibson, not enough. Danny Glover, not enough. Rene Russo, not enough. Joe Pesci, not enough. Who else can we cram in there? Chris Rock. Word on this sequel (it's the fourth - says so right in the title) is that this is a good movie. The Lethal Weapon series has done strange things to the idea of sequels, as #'s 2 and 3 made more money than #1. Who knew? #4 should do pretty well too. SMEG: $150 million.

July 15:

There's Something About Mary. Never heard of it. But test audiences loved it so much that the studio pushed it up to a summer release. It's supposed to be funny. Never heard of it. SMEG: $15 million.

July 24:

>From the desk of Steven Spielberg:
Dear Academy. So you passed me over for Amistad. Jerks. Well here's your chance to make up for it. I got two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks in a gripping war drama called Saving Private Ryan. If I don't get a Best Director nomination this year, you can kiss Indiana Jones 4 goodbye.

Love, Steven.

That about sums it up. SMEG: $130 million.

Also opening this weekend, Antonio Banderas as a swashbuckling stud in The Mask of Zorro. SMEG: $50 million. And Lloyd Bridges' final role, the leader of organized crime in Jane Austin's Mafia. It's a parody, or didn't you figure that out? SMEG: $25 million.

July 31:

Movies that no one has heard of starring who really cares. Are the Olympics on this year?

August 7:

Mike Myers vs. Nick Cage.

Mike gets into Disco in the movie 54, about famed nightclub studio 54. Nick brings down a bad guy in a boxing match as a hurricane approaches in Snake Eyes. I give the match to Nick $45-$20.

August 14:

Quick! Summer's Ending! We need one more blockbuster!


Sean Connery, Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes are destroying and saving the world in style. Remember the old TV series The Avengers? Me neither, but the movie looks fun. SMEG: $85 million.

And for those who needed some cheap B-movie thrills. Jamie Lee Curtis journeys to Ye Old Science Vessel out in the middle of the ocean where all the good B-movies take place. This time, she's up against something that's made out of whatever, or whoever, is handy. Hey, you know it's bad, it has Donald Southerland in it. SMEG: $27 million.

And that's it. That's all. I'm done. Did I miss a movie? Well that movie isn't important. Only these are. If you see any other film, you're taking your life into your own hands, and I won't be held responsible.

To sum up:

Top Ten movies of the summer, in order, will be:

1) Godzilla
2) Armageddon
3) Lethal Weapon 4
4) Saving Private Ryan
5) X-Files
6) 6 Days, 7 Nights
7) Dr. Dolittle
8) The Truman Show
9) The Avengers
10) Mulan

Peace, love, ju-ju-bees,

The Self-Made Critic

Editor's Note:

So the Big, Bad Critic thinks he can handicap the summer, eh? Well last year he thought Speed 2 had "blockbuster" written all over it! So he's obviously fallible. Think you can do better? So do I. Here's how you can put your prognosticating knowledge to work for you:

Pick the movies you think will be the top ten grossing movies of the summer and list them in order from 1 to 10. Movies will be graded on how much money they make from release through Labor Day Weekend (7 September). For our purposes, films which were released prior to May 19th (Deep Impact, Horse Whisperer) are ineligible. Sorry.

Mail your picks to by Wednesday, May 27.

We'll post all of the entries and we will continue to update the box office progress of the movies throughout the summer.

Scoring is as follows:

Points are awarded based on how close you got to the actual top ten films of the summer. 10 points for correctly guessing a movie's final place, 8 points for being one off (You said it'd be #7 and it was #6 or #8) , 6 points for being 2 places off, etc. Ties, as they say, will be decided by random draw, and we won't tell anyone your e-mail address or use it for anything other than notifying you about the contest.

There will be prizes awarded. The winner gets a Brunching Shuttlecocks T-Shirt and a "Combat Claw Godzilla" action figure. The three runners-up (or "losers, but barely") will get Shuttlecock T-Shirts.

Good Luck. And please beat The Critic.

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