The end of the 2010 Summer Blockbuster Season is fast approaching and the time has come to look back and meditate on Hollywood’s most recent offering of entertainment meant to amuse the masses during the hottest portion of the year (in the Western Hemisphere, that is). What better way to commemorate this event than with a “Best of” list celebrating the highs and lows in cinema released over the past few months? Clich├ęd though it may be, the task will be spiced up a bit by recognizing movies for their, shall we say, more unique qualities. That said:

iron man 2BEST MOVIE THAT PANDERED SHAMELESSLY TO FANS – IRON MAN 2

Did the plot of the second Iron Man lack the emotional resonance and depth of its predecessor? Yes. Was that in part because a large chunk of the film served primarily as a lead-in to Marvel’s upcoming Avengers movie? Arguably. Was the sequence that featured Scarlett Johansson dressed in a leather catsuit and knocking out guards with her thighs extraneous as well? Very much so, though I didn’t hear anyone complain about it afterwards. An example of great filmmaking? Not exactly (though, for the record, I still enjoyed it). A sequel that catered primarily to its fan base in the hopes of also getting them excited for future comic book movies set in the Marvel universe? Yep.

macgruberBEST COMEDY THAT RIFFS ON ACTION MOVIES – MACGRUBER

The Other Guys may have outgrossed MacGruber at the box office in a matter of days, but the latter was the superior action movie parody. Armed with an arsenal of R-Rated sex jokes and crude humor, MacGruber was the go-for-the-gusto, intentional (hence why The Expendables does not count) action comedy that Other Guys should have been. Neither one of these films was consistently funny, but moviegoers that saw both are far more likely to remember the “celery up the butt” gag from MacGruber long after the memory of Mark Wahlberg’s fetish for peacocks in Other Guys fades from their subconscious. You can quote me on that.

spliceBEST MOVIE THAT WEIRDED OUT THE 20 PEOPLE THAT SAW IT – SPLICE

Illegally splicing together animal and human DNA turned out to be a bad idea for the scientists played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley in this Frankenstein-meets-Species cautionary tale. The plot took a turn for the extremely bizarre when their creation, dubbed Dren, turned out to be one twisted little offspring – complete with a deadly tail for stabbing, as well as a major Oedipus-and-Elektra complex (just try and wrap your head around that one). Splice co-writer/director Vincenzo Natali will work on an adaptation of Neuromancer as his next project. Why he was not instead selected to direct the upcoming Smurfs movie is beyond me.

toy story 3BEST MOVIE THAT WAS DIFFICULT TO WATCH BECAUSE MOVIEGOERS’ TEARS KEPT FOGGING UP THEIR 3D GLASSES – TOY STORY 3

Quality threequels are a rare entity in Hollywood, but Pixar managed to buck the trend once again and create just that. The quality of animation was undeniably an improvement over the previous Toy Story movies, but it was the attention to storytelling and character development that earned this third film all but universal praise. The emotional conclusion of Toy Story 3 left many a moviegoer sniffling or forced to wipe their eyes on their sleeves – fortunately, this time it was for the right reason (insert X-Men: The Last Stand joke of choice here).

the last airbenderBEST MOVIE THAT PROVED WHY THE 3D CONVERSION PROCESS SUCKS – THE LAST AIRBENDER

M. Night Shyamalan’s big-screen adaptation of the Nickelodeon TV show, Avatar: The Last Airbender, featured some impressive visual FX and dark scenery – in 2D, at least. The post-production 3D conversion process darkened the film stock even more, resulting in several shots that were so murky and blurred it was difficult to make out much of anything on screen. Both Last Airbender and this year’s Clash of the Titans remake are prime examples of why films that were not shot in the 3D format should not be converted after the fact – that both also suffered from terrible writing, acting, and directing is another issue altogether.

salt dinner for schmucksBEST MOVIE THAT FEATURED EITHER A SHOE-KNIFE OR POSTMODERN ART COMPOSED ENTIRELY OF DECEASED MOUSE PARTS – SALT & DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS

A number of moviegoers flocked to Angelina Jolie’s latest action flick – ludicrous plot and all – so as to watch the attractive actress perform elaborate stunts and shoot things. Some of those same individuals went to see Schmucks as well, since it stars the potentially hilarious and generally entertaining duo of Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell. I sincerely wish I could write something more meaningful about these films, but I am honestly not certain what it would be. So I will just move on awkwardly to the next item instead.

scott pilgrim vs the worldBEST MOVIE THAT YOU LEFT YOU WONDERING IF YOU WERE HIGH – SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD

Inception boggled many a mind with its tricky narrative and meta concepts concerning the nature of the sleeping state and our perception of reality. But, those that saw the video game/comicbook/Michael Cera/visual extravaganza that is Scott Pilgrim, answer this – was it all a dream? Was part of it a dream? How did the reality in this world work? Did you ever even think to question the notion that Jason Schwartzman is capable of growing thick sideburns? Juno may have been the master architect responsible for creating city landscapes that fold in half, but it was her own Paulie Bleeker’s trippy quest to win the heart of his (literal) dream girl that really had fun messing with the concepts of reality.

piranha 3dBEST MOVIE THAT RAISED THE QUESTION AS TO WHAT EXACTLY EARNS YOU WORSE THAN AN R-RATING – PIRANHA 3D

Those that shelled out cash to watch this sleazy, B-movie horror pic got to see more graphic nudity and grotesque violence than they would have at a double screening of Showgirls and Hostel. Somehow the bloody mayhem caused by the flesh-eating stars of this film was able to avoid being branded with the stigma that is the NC-17 Rating by the MPAA. One does wonder how exactly the rating session for this movie went – when the censors watched the scene in which Jerry O’Connell’s “family jewels” are bitten off, chewed up, and spit back atthe camera by a ravenous fish, did they think, “Well, it happens,” and then just vote in favor of an R-Rating anyway?

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