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        The L.A. Times Ultimate Summer Movie Showdown

        This week’s summer movie is “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Join film critic Justin Chang and special guest George Miller for Week Three of the #UltimateSummerMovie Showdown series.

        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?

        To vote: @justincchang | Landing pages for video: Facebook | YouTube


        Read more, including voting times and rules >>

        Week 3

        Is ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ the ultimate summer movie? Let’s discuss

        ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’
        Tom Hardy as Max Rockatansky in “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
        (Jasin Boland / Warner Bros.)

        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.”


        Read more of the Justin Chang/Glenn Whipp discussion >>

        This week, it’s ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ vs. everything else

        ‘The Empire Strikes Back’
        Darth Vader in 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back.”
        (20th Century Fox)

        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.

        Read more and get the entire list for week 3 >>

        Week 2

        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.


        Read more about ‘Bridesmaids’ >>

        This week ‘Bridesmaids’ and 15 more compete

        The cast of “Bridesmaids.”
        (Suzanne Hanover / Universal)

        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.

        Read more and get the entire list for week 2 >>

        Week 1

        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.

        Read the discussion >>

        Only good movies

        Get the Indie Focus newsletter, Mark Olsen's weekly guide to the world of cinema.

        You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.
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