There’s no denying such films as Meatballs, Stand By Me, Cloak & Dagger, Dirty Dancing, Caddyshack, Red Dawn, Friday the 13th, The Flamingo Kid, and many other films from the 1980s are classics. And there have certainly been excellent summer movie seasons in the 1990s, the 2000s, and other decades. However, 2018 has them ALL beat by miles.
Many of you are going to argue with me. You are going to be outraged by my claims and call the headline for this piece clickbait. The reality is that the 1980s were great. They were special, significant and they shaped a lot of what we are seeing in present day cinema. They are also over.
This is a fact that many people (largely around my age group) find very hard to get their heads around. Many of them (and I suffer from this sometimes) cannot watch a movie without filtering it through the lens of the films from that decade. However, time has gone and even I, somebody who has made a film called 1985-1986, had to accept this.
So sit back and get ready to have your mind blown. When you read the context that I put behind the 2018 Summer Movie Season, I truly defy you to think that it is not the best movie season ever. The sheer magnitude of its releases, coupled with the quality of those releases, is going to make your head spin.
Infinity War and Solo were released 13 Days apart.
Read that sentence about Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story again. And reread it again if you have to. Not only did we get an Avengers movie that totally changed the game for that series of films (and for the superhero genre), we got a highly under appreciated Star Wars movie. Alright, Solo: A Star Wars Story might have only (and I use that term relatively) made $350 (give or take) at the global box office, but in 20-30 years from now that film and Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be seen as watershed moments for that franchise. It would’ve been one thing to have gotten one of these films in a year. That we got Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story, and they both happen to be unlike anything we have ever seen from these kinds of films, is absolutely incredible. Add to this that Disney was responsible for both films and that makes the feat even more impressive. Disney isn’t known for being groundbreaking, cutting edge or genre defying. The fact that one could say those three things about those two films is even more impressive.
Jurassic World 2, Ant-Man 2, Deadpool 2 and Mission:Impossible 6, anyone?
Studios competing with one another using tentpole projects isn’t anything new. However, the caliber of projects competing against each other this Summer Movie Season is downright jaw dropping. So we have Disney with Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story. Universal brought us Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Fox gave is Deadpool 2 (which managed to be as good, if not better, than its predecessor), Disney gave us Ant-Man and The Wasp, and lastly Paramount has served up Mission:Impossible – Fallout. All of these projects stand to earn much more than $500 million and even that number is conservative. Ask yourself, has there ever been a summer where we have seen so many solid tentpole movies? Have we ever seen such star power from competing films? People like to cite the 1970s as a time when cinema truly opened up. Others cite years like 1939 when you had such films as Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz . However, for sheer entertainment across landmark franchises and genres, I think you would hard pressed to find a better season than the summer of 2018.
Black Panther may not be a summer movie, but it sure felt like one.
When you gross $700 million domestically you’ve made a film that defies just about everything. Black Panther is that film. So strong was this movie that even after Avengers: Infinity War lived up to the hype (and much more), people still felt that need to discuss, dissect and revisit Black Panther. Okay, this movie came out in February but it sure felt like a summer movie didn’t it? This film wasn’t about a race so much as it was about the human race. It defied categorization. For a superhero movie to achieve this monumental task that is truly remarkable. With a budget that had to be sizeable, it wouldn’t have surprised anybody if the bean counters would’ve forced the filmmakers to play it straight. However, maverick director Ryan Coogler has shown an ability to breathe new life into everything he touches. One need look no further than Creed or Fruitvale Station to see this point. However, Black Panther is a Disney film based on a Marvel property. It had every reason to play it safe. That Disney made such a splendid piece of cinematic gold only confirms that, when done right, big budget or otherwise, films can truly transcend their medium to become cultural touchstones.
Let’s not forget White Boy Rick, Ocean’s 8, Sicario 2, and Crazy Rich Asians.
The best part about all those above mentioned films is the fact that those aren’t even all of the good, lower, medium, semi-big budget films opening during the 2018 Summer Movie Season! Yet, if that was all that was being offered besides the above mentioned big budget, genre defying films, this would still be the best summer movie season on record. Simply look at White Boy Rick. This story of a young hustler on the come has been done to death. However, there’s something about this Matthew McConaughey starrer that seems special. Probably the fact that McConaughey isn’t even the main character and the film still looks electric! Then there’s Sicario: Day of the Soldado, a sequel that looks to be better than the original! And given everything that is happening at the border, could this film be any more timely? Now, I could break down the relevance of all the other films I mentioned, but there wouldn’t be a point. 2018 is a special movie season. Somehow, amidst films that are sonically and visually blowing us out of the theater, we have these special films that, while not as bombastic, are managing to blow us away on an emotional level. That some of the huge blockbusters are also doing that, simply reaffirms what a special, summer movie season this is and has been.
And no list would be complete without Hereditary.
While not for everybody, the horror movie Hereditary is both scary, special, and already finding a place in what is a very stacked movie season. I could list out other horror movies to help bolster my point about just how special the 2018 Summer Movie Season has been. Yet, in this case, at least as far as horror and Hereditary are concerned, if you see this one horror movie this summer season, make sure that it is this film. Rich with symbolism, supernatural moments, and downright weirdness, Hereditary plays like Rosemary’s Baby and Phantasm had a child. Again, this movie isn’t for everybody. It asks viewers to make a logistical leap that many might find hard to scale. However, if you are game, Hereditary makes it all worth it. With it’s shocking moments, indelible performances, and overall strength, Hereditary is a horror movie that is pushing its own genre. Again, the summer movie season in 2018 was doing just fine but this film only bolstered my case. Taken together, film for film, their content and what their releases represent, the 2018 Summer Movie Season is the finest moviegoing season any summer has ever seen.