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The Self-Made Critic Makes A Fool of Himself By Predicting the Summer Movie Season

Summer! Good movies are here! Movies to indulge in and frolic in and just love, love, love! Summer is a time for forgetting that movies are supposed to be art and remember that they're also entertainment, and this summer is shaping up to be exactly that, sheer entertainment. Most of these flicks won't be remembered come Oscar time, aside from the usual effects categories, but then again, Gladiator was a summer pic, and look what it did.

So here, in order, are my picks for the top 20 movies of the summer, in final box office gross. I've had mixed results on this in the past. For example, last year I correctly predicted that Mission: Impossible 2 would be the biggest film of the summer, I also said Battlefield Earth would end up in the top 10. I was wrong. So, for better or worse, here we go.

1. Pearl Harbor

It's Titanic without the boat. A huge period romance that also includes a huge chunk of some of the most amazing action footage ever seen. It's epic, it's historic, it was really, really expensive to make and you're gonna root for America all over again. It's the one moment in history which everyone can agree that big, bad America was totally and utterly the good guys. And directed by Michael Bay, which means all kinds of stuff will blow up!

2. A.I.

It's directed by Steven Spielberg. It's sci-fi. It's a touching story of humanity and robots. As long as no one mentions Bicentennial Man, it should rake in the dough. Plus, the movie gives ammunition for everyone who ever said that Haley Joel Osment's acting was robotic.

3. Jurassic Park 3

No books, no expectations, and according to sources, no script. Who cares? The Dinosaurs are back and they're pissed off. As long as we keep going to these movies, they'll keep cranking them out, but you gotta wonder why anyone in their right mind would keep visiting that island! "Hmmm.. OK. JP4 starts when Gilligan accidentally breaks the compass and the Minnow finds it's way to the shores of this former Dino amusement parkā^Ą¦"

4. America's Sweethearts

Summer Movie Truth #37: One movie always takes advantage of the fact that there are people out there who actually prefer movies that don't star special effects. Summer Movie Truth #37.5: Julia Roberts could star in an athlete's foot spray infomercial and it would make $100 million. I have no idea what this movie is about, something about married movie stars and the woman who comes between them, but they say Julia smiles in the flick, so it's good enough for me.

5. Planet of the Apes

I wasn't going to put this so high, but have you seen the trailer? It looks SO COOL! Tim Burton "revisits" (don't call it a remake) everyone's favorite simian world and all heck breaks loose. Word is the ending's all new. Instead of the Statue of Liberty, we get Epcot Center and a gaggle of singing Disney characters. Chilling, no?

6. The Mummy Returns

This movie has competing trends going for it. On one hand, it's opening the summer, and that always means big bucks (Gladiator and The Mummy both ended up top 5 when they were in this spot). On the other hand, it's a sequel, and they almost never make as much money as the original. On the other hand, every WWF fan in the world will see it catch The Rock in action, and that might put this baby over the top. Whatever, more mummies, more cgi beasties, should be fine. Although they added a kid to the story, and that is NEVER a good sign.

7. Tomb Raider

This will go down in history as the best video game turned movie ever. You watch. It'll kick Super Mario's ass. Actually Angelina Jolie could probably single-handedly kick Super Mario's ass, and his brother Luigi, too. Besides, the teaser poster of Angelina is already the number one poster on the walls of dorm rooms across America.

8. Atlantis

It's summer, so Disney needs a cartoon in the top 10, and they picked a dandy. I don't know why more Atlantis movies aren't made, as the subject is ripe for some exploitation. Atlantis is all things every 8 year old in the world likes, and their parents can probably be dragged to it as well. Mysterious legend, magical people, and Spock (lending a voice) make for a heck of a show! Now if they'd only come out with a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride movieā^Ą¦

9. Cats and Dogs

OK, this may be one where I eat my shirt, but I think a film about how cats and dogs are actually outer space aliens who have been warring over Earth in secret throughout time is just too good a concept to pass up. Have you seen the trailer? They've got ninja kitties! Ninja kitties!!! Pass the popcorn.

10. Scary Movie 2

Last year Scary Movie made gobs and gobs of money. This year, Scary Movie 2 will only make gobs of money. But I'll take gobs of money any day. There are so many bad horror movies to make fun of, here's hoping Pinhead shows up somewhere and traps Carmen Electra in a puzzle box. Wouldn't that be cool?

11. Evolution

I want this movie to be Ghostbusters. I worry that it'll be Wild Wild West. But even WWW made over $100 million (didn't know that, did you?) and so will this. David Duchovny, tired of being type cast as the sci-fi guy, leaves X-Files to star in this sci-fi movie about aliens from outer space who are trying to take over the world. Great way to branch out, Dave. Oh but wait, this baby's a COMEDY, which makes it different. Whatever, me, I just wanna see Orlando Jones, that guy's funny.

12. American Pie 2

The teenage gross-out movies are dying, but there's still room for one more trip to the well, and American Pie 2 is gonna squeeze out as much as it can until the well's dry. Sex jokes. Sex with baking goods jokes. Men not understanding women jokes. More sex jokes. What more do you need? I hear there's an incredible bit with a strudel you have to see to believe.

13. Rush Hour 2

Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker re-team for another go around. This time they're in Hong Kong. Same movie, different culture. Jackie's the cool dude on the home turf, Chris is the fish out of water. Rinse, repeat. Still, Jackie continues to kick some serious ass, and any chance to see him do it in English is much appreciated on this continent.

14. Dr. Dolittle 2

Notice that 4 of the last 5 movies on this list have the number 2 in their title? Eddie Murphy is back, talking to the animals and once again trying desperately to erase the memory of Eddie Murphy: Raw. See kids! Eddie's a family guy! He's a loveable funny uncle! He talks to animals! He's not dirty, never swears, and you just want to bring him home to mom! He's already in production on Nutty Professor 3, with Dr. Dolittle 3 waiting in the wings. Ten bucks says he just keeps jumping back and forth between these two franchises until he dies.

15. A Knight's Tale

I would be so much more into this flick if the trailer did blare out "We Will Rock You" at all decibels. Not exactly period, is it? But then, that's the point. This ain't a period piece, it's a movie about people slamming long shafts into each other over and over again. And you thought I'd only be able to use that phrase when they made Boogie Nights 2.

16. Swordfish

John Travolta, still licking his wounds after the one-two punch of Battlefield Earth and Lucky Numbers (do you ever remember Lucky Numbers? It was out less than a year ago. No, really.), returns as a bad-ass master criminal trying to steal the world's computer secrets. Or something like that. I dunno, it's not like Hackers or Anti-Trust or anything has bowled audiences over in the past year or so. In fact, there really hasn't been a good computer movie since War Games. Unless you liked Short Circuit. I'm guessing Swordfish won't have much in common with either of these movies.

17. Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

The best computer animated effects ever seen on the big screen. In America, at least. Fans say this is the next step in motion picture entertainment. Others say it's just another Titan A.E. I say the truth lies somewhere in between.

18. The Animal

Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo was a horrible movie. It made tons of money. Which is really the only reason why The Animal is on this list. Rob Schneider is really hoping he can become the next Adam Sandler, who's still crying in the corner over Little Nicky. But there's more to this movie than meets the eye. For one thing, it's got a cute and perky Survivor on it (Colleen Haskell, not Elizabeth) and secondly.. well, have you seen the trailer? Rob gets injured and a freaky doctor saves his life by replacing bunches of his organs with parts from various animals. I groaned when the trailer started, but by the time it was over, I was bowled over in laughter, and so was everyone else in the theater. We weren't proud of this fact, but we all kinda looked at each other and admitted that yes, we'd lust laughed our collective tushies off at a Rob Schneider trailer. Worth a look.

19. Shrek

This may well do much better. It's getting really, really good buzz. So I'm ready to take my medicine when it passes $250 million and is the biggest animated flick since Lion King. Dreamworks has done animation pretty well so far (Chicken Run) so here's hoping they can keep their streak alive.

20. Angel Eyes

Something has to get the 20th spot, why not a movie starring J.Lo. No one knows anything about this movie, it's supposed to have a secret ending that makes it impossible to describe. They' compare it The Sixth Sense. I'm guessing that means Jim Caviezel walks around muttering "I see almost-naked people!" every time Lopez walks on screen.

There are, of course, other movies that aren't on this list. And undoubtedly one or two of them will be huge hits while A.I. bombs. Take your pick. Nicole Kidman sings and struts sexually in Moulin Rouge, DeNiro, Brando and Ed Norton try to out-act each other in The Score, a bunch of young studs drive Fast and Furious, Kirsten Dunst plays with punctuation and other things in Crazy/Beautiful, the Swingers boys are back with Made, everybody and their mother stars in the Vegas movie that isn't Ocean's 11 - Rat Race, and Martin Lawrence and Danny DeVito piss each other off in What's the Worst That Could Happen?

So many movies, so little time. There's really only one thing we know for sure this summer: Lord of Rings and Harry Potter won't be here 'til the holidays!

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