For all intents and purposes, the 2020 summer movie season is canceled.
I have a modest and enjoyably time-killing proposal: What if we took this summer — set to be the worst summer at the movies since the dawn of the medium more than a century ago — and instead used it to celebrate the best? What if we put our heads together and, over the next four months of presumed self-quarantine, compiled a list of our favorite summer movies week after week and watched and discussed them from the safety of our homes?
What if we turned the summer of 2020 into the Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown?
Is ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ the ultimate summer movie? Let’s discuss
Justin Chang: “I haven’t seen many movies over the past five years that felt like classics on first viewing, but “Mad Max: Fury Road” is undoubtedly one of them. I still recall the excitement — no, not strong enough — the pure, unleaded exhilaration surging through the audience when I saw it in a Burbank screening room in May 2015.”
This week, it’s ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ vs. everything else
Now we look to Week 3, which covers movies that opened in U.S. theaters between May 15 and 21, 1975-2019. It’s a powerhouse week in which many contenders come in pairs: We’ve got two “Star Wars” movies, two “Mad Max” movies, two Maverick movies, two Paris movies, two Mel Gibson movies, two Val Kilmer movies and two Keanu Reeves movies.
Looking back at how ‘Bridesmaids’ broke comedy rules, on its own terms
Voters have chosen “Bridesmaids” (2011) as their winner for Week 2, dedicated to movies first released in theaters from May 8-14 (between 1975 and 2019). Times film critic Justin Chang sat down with entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp to discuss the enduring appeal of the Kristen Wiig-starring comedy, the obtuseness of the “Are women funny?” debate and the pros and cons of that scene.
After a brutally close final vote, with two movies locked in a virtual tie for eight hours, we have a winner.— Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) May 7, 2020
THE FIFTH ELEMENT put up quite a fight, but it couldn't multi-pass the competition. Behold your #UltimateSummerMovie Showdown Week 2 champion. pic.twitter.com/kpp94CjdNh
This week ‘Bridesmaids’ and 15 more compete
There were no Marvel movies in contention this week, which covers movies that opened in U.S. theaters between May 8-14 , 1975-2019. But there are some excellent movies, and even the also-rans commanded passionate support among the Times colleagues who helped me hash out the list. There are “Friday the 13th,” “The Natural,” “The Fifth Element” and more.
And we have a winner.— Justin Chang (@JustinCChang) April 30, 2020
Talk about strength in numbers: To likely no one's surprise, THE AVENGERS (2012), the first superhero mash-up in the hugely popular and not-at-all-overexposed Marvel Cinematic Universe, has won the #UltimateSummerMovie Showdown, Week 1 (May 1-7). pic.twitter.com/sZ5RF9LKeR
Our critics take another look at ‘The Avengers’ in the #UltimateSummerMovie Showdown
The #UltimateSummerMovie Showdown is underway, and voters have chosen “The Avengers” (2012) as their winner for Week 1, dedicated to movies first released in theaters from May 1-7 (between 1975 and 2019). Times film critic Justin Chang sat down with entertainment columnist Glenn Whipp to discuss the dominant performance of the 2012 Disney/Marvel blockbuster and where it fits amid the overall glut of superhero movies.